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SEO – What is keyword density and how to avoid keyword stuffing?

Written by Brett Sidaway, February 21, 2011

SEO – What is keyword density and how to avoid keyword stuffing?

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What is keyword density?

Keyword density is an indication of the number of times the selected keyword appears on a web page.

However, it should be noted that keywords should not be over used, but just sufficient enough to appear at important places. By repeating your keywords with every other word on every line, your site will probably be rejected as an artificial site or worse – a spam site. Keyword density is always expressed as a percentage of the total word content on a given web page. Consider this, you have 100 words on your webpage (not including the HTML), and you use a certain keyword four or five times in the content. The keyword density on that page is achieved by dividing the total number of keywords, by the total number of words that appear on your web page. So the calculation would be: 5 divided by 100 = .05. To achieve the keyword density this figure is multiplied by 100 which equates to 5%. The accepted standard for keyword density is between 3% and 5% to get recognised by the search engines – this limit should always be adhered to, not exceeded.

Avoiding keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing is the main contributor of spam.  This is intensive placement of keywords within a web page’s copy or meta data. Generally, the level of keywords would be so frequent as to overwhelm the rest of the copy. While the overuse of keywords is likely to trigger a search engine filter, the potential loss of visitor traffic due to hard to read content is a much larger problem.  If a searcher comes across a web page that consists of keywords that have been jammed in everywhere on the page, then it is not very likely they will remain on the page for long.  The loss of traffic is double due to keyword stuffing.

Common forms of keyword stuffing

Keyword stuffing can result from jamming as many of the keywords in the page’s informational copy as possible. The copy will read like a string of keywords and little else. Another form of ‘stuffing’ is to pack the word or words as many times as possible into the meta data, including the page title tags. Search engines often downgrade the page in the search rankings, or perhaps ignore the keywords entirely, neither of which is beneficial to the website. The constant and complete usage of the same link anchor text for all inbound links can also be considered a form of keyword stuffing. If a search engine comes across a site that has been keyword stuffed, it is more than likely the site will be penalised. Google in particular is sensitive to overuse of keywords on a page and triggers a filter should it come across any such pages. Penalties include a website been downgraded in the search results or loss of Google PageRank. As with all search engine optimisation efforts, common sense and thinking of what benefits your site’s visitors is the best action for any website owner to use.

Getting SEO support

For those just getting started with building an online presence, developing a successful SEO strategy can be a very difficult process.  It is essential to look for reliable search engine optimisation consultants who can help you to get your business website to the top of the search engines in an ethical manner. You could even consider SEO courses to help develop your knowledge in this area. Opace Technology Solutions are successful Birmingham SEO consultants who study keywords to know which ones will work and which ones won’t. The higher the keyword search volume and the higher your website ranks in search engines, the more people will visit it. Over the next few weeks we will be covering a series of SEO topics in more depth. Please follow us @opaceweb on Twitter and Opacewebdesign on Facebook for information on blog updates, please feel free to subscribe to our feed.

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