This search engine optimization (SEO) guide answers the question, “why does keyword density matter for SEO?”
Below, you’ll find out the reasons why keyword density is important for a website’s search engine rankings and get a list of the top benefits of keyword density in SEO.
There’s also a section with additional resources that explain more about the fundamentals of keyword density to help you create the most effective search engine optimization strategy.
Table of Contents
Why Does Keyword Density Matter for SEO?
Keyword density matters for SEO because keyword density helps search engine crawlers understand what a particular page is about for indexing and ranking in the SERPs. Keyword density is an important part of an SEO strategy to help a web page rank for the right keywords in the SERPs.
Benefits of Keyword Density In SEO
1. Improves Keyword Relevancy
The top reason for why keyword density matters in SEO is that it improves the keyword relevancy for the content. Keywords are a critical factor of a good on-page search engine optimization strategy and paying close attention to the frequency (or percentage) of times a target keyword phrase is used on the page can boost the perceived relevance for search engine algorithms.
For example, if a web page was targeting the search term, “best SEO tools”, but the content never once mentions that keyword phrase on the page, then the search engine crawlers may not recognize the content as being relevant for that search term.
Similarly, if a web page only contained the target SEO keyword one or two times in a 3,000-word document, then it may indicate that the content has low relative importance for that keyword. In other words, the term is not a key part of the subject matter.
2. Important for TF-IDF Analysis
Keyword density is also important because it relates to a numerical statistic called TF-IDF (Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency). TF-IDF is used by machine learning algorithms and information retrieval systems to quantify the importance, relevance, and the typical number of times a keyword phrase is used in a web page document compared to the collection of similar documents in the search index.
Therefore, if the keyword density for a target SEO search term in your content too high or too low based on the other similar documents in the search engine index, then it can impact the rankings of the web page in the SERPs. Too low of a density means the content is not as relevant for the target keyword while too high of a percentage could indicate a web spamming technique called keyword stuffing.
3. Helps Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Another advantage of keyword density for SEO is that it can act as a tool for measuring the potential over-optimization of a target keyword on a web page. Keyword stuffing is the practice of repeating a term or phrase a large number of times in the content to try to manipulate search engine rankings. And search engines like Google have systems in place that can detect this type of spam tactic.
By analyzing the keyword density for your target SEO keywords, you can make sure your content falls in line with the industry average standard to prevent any potential algorithm penalty due to keyword stuffing: around 1-2% density. This equates to using the keyword phrase about 1-2 times per 100 words of content.
4. Encourages Writers to Focus On a Target Keyword
One of the best reasons keyword density matters in search engine optimization is that it encourages you (or your writers) to stay on topic by focusing on a specific keyword phrase during the writing phase.
It’s not uncommon for website publishers to go off-topic when writing an article to explore other parts of the subject matter they deemed important for the reader. However, that wandering off can cause misalignment with the user search intent which is an important part of the ranking algorithms for SEO.
By aiming for a specific keyword density, or just keeping the frequency at the forefront of the mind while typing, it forces you (or the writer) to stay on topic and write content that better satisfies user search intent.
5. Good for SEO But Not the Ultimate Ranking Factor
Overall, the main benefit of keyword density is that it’s good for SEO, but it’s not the ultimate ranking factor for search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing.
Clearly, keyword density does matter; however, there is no optimal keyword density that can be applied to every web page you publish. In 2013, Google’s algorithm was changed with an update called the Hummingbird Update, which transformed Google’s search engine into a semantic search engine. This gave Google the ability to provide the most relevant search results for its users by interpreting the searcher’s intent rather than relying on a specific keyword density on the page.
Google and search engines now understand the true meaning behind the content on a web page to match it to relevant search queries; not just counting the number of times a keyword is used in the content. This means that keyword density matters less for ranking a document in the search engines than it had previously and has been replaced by using more semantic SEO practices.
Therefore, good keyword density is beneficial for rankings but it’s not the ultimate ranking factor for search engine optimization. Instead of just trying to use the keyword as many times as you can on the page, the content must also meet user search intent and include related entities that matter for establishing high topical relevance.
Learn More About Keyword Density
The links below explain more about keyword density and how to use it correctly for better search engine optimization. Use these resources to expand your knowledge on the subject.
- What Is a Good Keyword Density for SEO?
- How to Calculate Keyword Density In SEO
- Best Keyword Density Checker Tools for SEO
Keyword Density Matters for SEO Summary
I hope you enjoyed this guide answering the question about why does keyword density matter for SEO.
As you discovered, keyword density is important because it helps search engine crawlers understand what a particular page is about for indexing and ranking in the SERPs. Keyword density also matters in SEO for improving keyword relevancy, TF-IDF analysis, avoiding keyword stuffing, and keeping writers on topic. However, keyword density is not the sole ranking factor for search engine optimization by itself and must be accompanied by quality content that satisfies user search intent and entity-based semantic search engines.