Is Keyword Density Beneficial or Harmful to SEO?


The field of enterprise SEO is continually changing. Ranking elements that were formerly fundamental have become more ambiguous as time has passed. Best practices for search engine optimization have included using keywords sparingly from the start.

So, what should the optimal keyword density be? Before delving into that, here are a few key points to keep in mind.

Points to Remember :

  • The keyword density tells you how often your term occurs in your text and its importance to your SEO strategy.
  • Data mining, user modeling, and information retrieval all employ the TF-IDF weighted keyword density algorithm.
  • Before SEO strategists learned they could game the system with keyword stuffing, keyword density was an objective statistic Google utilized to assess the relevance of a page.
  • The keyword density theory may or may not be alive and well in Google’s search algorithm. Naturally, inserting keyword phrases does seem to boost relevancy, though.
  •, Yoast, and Moz are all tools that may assist you in determining the proper keyword density for your site, blog, or webpage.
  • The creation of high-quality content and a positive user experience should always come first, not keyword density.

What does keyword density mean?

What is keyword density

Keyword frequency or keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears on a given webpage or within a piece of content as a ratio or percentage of the overall word count.

Historical information on keyword density and SEO

Keyword density in SEO was an important part of SEO’s early days.

Early web crawlers were little more than sophisticated versions of library card catalogs.

As a result, they utilized the metadata from each site to create a “file tab” in their catalog that users could access.

While algorithms have evolved, one thing has remained constant: a site’s on-page content should match its meta tags exactly. Google, in particular, needed a mechanism to let content take precedence over meta tags even if sites didn’t update them.

This is where keyword density comes in. It gave Google a measured, objective technique to determine the subject matter of each page in its database.

Choking texts with keywords

SEO web admins soon learned that stuffing as many keywords as possible into a piece of content was a way to cheat the system. And while this is not something we recommend, it is a reality.

Adding white text on a white backdrop would sometimes be used to hide the keyword-rich material. Search engines, on the other hand, could read it.

Stuffing keywords worked so effectively that it spilled over into off-page SEO, resulting in backlinks replete with anchor text precisely the same as the target keyword.

Google was quick to catch on.

Google was quick to notice and respond. Pages with sparse content or an extremely high keyword density were punished in Google’s Panda update. In addition, it hunted down sites that used obvious manipulation techniques like veiled text.

However, the term density metric was not wholly omitted from the equation. They improved detection methods for when the measure was being manipulated inappropriately.

As a result, they started looking into trust signals off-site to balance out the effects of the on-site characteristics.

Thus, the Google we know and love today was created.

Several new trust and usability cues and more profound knowledge of search behavior are now used to assess the relevancy of a page for a specific keyword, allowing Google to provide users with the best possible service and the highest possible quality content.

Keyword density is still a part of Google’s search algorithm, although only to a limited extent. It’s become a lot more complicated.


Some information systems use a more sophisticated metric called TF-IDF to determine keyword density.

For “term frequency and inverse document frequency,” the abbreviation is TFIDF. The keyword frequency in a given text is calculated using a simple formula by the algorithm.

Next, an inverted document frequency number is used to offset the original document frequency number. As a result, less frequently used terms are given precedence, and unique keywords get more weight.

Data mining, user modeling, and information retrieval have all benefited from the formula’s success.

Does keywords density have an impact on your Google rankings?

Impact of keywords on Google ranking

Let’s be real. Stuffing keywords isn’t going to help you rank well in Google’s search results. The moment Google notices, you will be penalized and could lose both your website ranking and traffic.

Several different variations of the keyword

Every day, Google processes approximately 5 billion queries, 15% of those searches being brand new. In the sense of “completely new,” this is the first time such terms have been searched for in human history.

What makes it possible?

The way people search has evolved.

Voice search and artificial intelligence (AI) have transformed the way people use search engines.

Long-tail keywords have gained in importance, whereas emphasis keywords have shifted to insignificance.

Relevance is no longer only determined by how many times a keyword appears in a piece of content.

Keywords with a demonstrably high search volume are still worth optimizing, and you should do it without fail. Just be aware that you’re not focusing your efforts just on those keywords. In addition to optimizing for the primary keyword, you’re also targeting hundreds of related keywords and queries.

Everything revolves around the user’s experience.

Let’s go back to the 15% of all searches that are brand new this time. As Google’s RankBrain system improves, these queries have pushed them to begin indexing more meaningfully.

Google utilizes personal information like a user’s Google search history and location to evaluate accurately and give the best content. In addition, Google has methods for figuring out whether or not your website is related to a specific keyword.

Find out how much keyword density you should use in SEO

Optimal amount of keyword density for SEO

Keyword density should be used as a guidepost for your content.

Below are key guidelines for optimizing keyword density:

  • The keyword density advised by Google is not fixed.
  • The keyword density for your chosen keyphrase should be compared to the top-ranking material on Google.
  • Additionally, you can look at the keyword density of your high-ranking content on related subjects.
  • It would help if you did what seems natural and gives the most incredible user experience rather than following keyword density guidelines established by tools like Yoast.
  • Create a few keywords that are contextually or semantically similar to your goal term (synonyms, variations, related themes, etc.) and include them into your content as you fill up the thematic emphasis of each page. To find out what phrases and keywords the top-performing sites are using, utilize tools like, which scans competitor material.

Always, always put the needs of your users first by creating high-quality content. Any page you create needs to have a strong focus on the user experience.

Keyword density tools

To determine the optimal keyword density, you may make use of several various SEO tools. The following is something we appreciate:

1. Yoast

In terms of SEO, the Yoast SEO plugin is much more than a simple keyword density tool. However, it’s a valuable tool for quickly gauging your content’s emphasis keyword density when creating new pages or content.

It’s enough to know that the purpose of Yoast’s objective metrics is to make the SEO process as simple as possible.

As a result, its suggestions may not always make sense on an individual basis. Using Yoast’s Premium plugin, diverse word forms are recognized as a single keyword. Also, if you use your term more than once in a single phrase, it will still qualify as a “mention.” To make matters worse, the technology ignores keywords that are spread out across numerous words. Synonyms are also a problem, as it has no idea how effectively your material supports the primary term in context.

While Yoast’s tool is better than nothing, it falls short compared to Google’s semantic indexing approach. However, it’s a convenient method to maintain tabs on any personal objectives you make due to your SERP analysis. And if you go above Yoast’s top limit, you’ll probably have to make some changes to your content and provide more variation.

2. Moz

For a more comprehensive view of keyword density, use Moz’s On-Page Grader. The program will ask for a website address and a keyword to concentrate on. In addition to keyword density and page title,

Moz will evaluate the page’s overall quality based on various other characteristics. The program will also look for keywords linked to the focus term used by your rivals. This provides you with ideas for expanding your material and establishing your authority in a specific area. As a result of the competition analysis based on SERPs, this is an excellent tool to use at the beginning and conclusion of your keyword research.


Keyword density is more complicated than it seems. The key is to focus your effort on great user experience.

Talk to our Experts

If you’re ready to know that your keyword density for your website is on point, check out SEO services and make sure your keywords are working for you… and not against you. 

Have questions about keyword density or how the changing SEO landscape will impact your business? Don’t hesitate to reach out and speak to one of our digital specialists.

With years of experience planning thousands of successful SEO campaigns for clients across the globe, our talented team of experts at First Page will help you make sure your keyword density is what it should be. 

Get in touch to learn how we’ll help your brand and business stay on top the ever-changing SEO landscape.