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What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword appears in a piece of content compared to the total word count. It is calculated by dividing the number of times the keyword appears by the total word count and multiplying by 100.

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For example, if a keyword appears 20 times in a 1000-word article, the keyword density of that keyword will be 2%. 

In the early days of search engines, keyword density was a crucial metric for determining the relationship between a keyword and the content in which it appeared. This idea was based on the premise that keywords related to the content should occur more frequently than those unrelated to the content.

However, keyword density is no longer relevant as search engines now use sophisticated algorithms and systems like BERT to determine the relationship between keywords and the content in which they appear.

Importance of Keyword Density to SEO

Keyword density is not important in SEO. Google has confirmed that it is not a ranking factor and does not affect a site’s ranking. Google also clarified that there is no ideal keyword density for content looking to rank on its search results pages. 

Google added that keyword density varies depending on the length and type of content. While keywords will help Google understand a piece of content, excessively repeating them has no effect on ranking. In fact, trying to achieve an ideal keyword density could lead to keyword stuffing, which can result in penalties.

Keyword stuffing is the act of adding unnecessary keywords to your content. It violates Google guidelines, is considered a black hat SEO technique, and can cause Google to demote your rankings or even remove it entirely from search results pages. 

Despite Google’s repeated statements about keyword density’s irrelevance to ranking, many SEOs and bloggers insist that it is a ranking factor and continue optimizing their content to achieve the perfect keyword density.

Why Bloggers Think Keyword Density is a Ranking Factor

Keyword density was somewhat significant back when Google relied on keywords to understand the content published on a webpage. Back then, bloggers focused on repeating their keywords as often as possible to achieve the perfect keyword density. 

This allowed them to rank on Google as far as they added enough keywords. However, Google and other search engines have improved since then and can match search queries to relevant content without relying on the number of times the keyword appears in the content. So, keyword density is not relevant anymore. 

What to Do Instead of Optimizing for Keyword Density

Instead of bothering yourself with achieving the perfect keyword density, you should consider keyword clustering. This refers to the practice of optimizing your content for multiple keywords with similar search intent.

Keyword clustering works because Google is less interested in matching keywords with search queries and more interested in satisfying the search intent of the searcher. That way, a single piece of content can rank for hundreds or even thousands of keywords, increasing your chances of receiving organic traffic from search results pages.

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