What is the ideal keyword density of a page?

What is the ideal keyword density of a page? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from the Bay Area of California. The question is, “What is the ideal keyword density: 0.7%, 7%, or 77%? Or is it some other number?” Oh, boy. Keyword density, let’s talk about it a little bit. A lot of people think there’s some one recipe and you can just follow that like baking cookies. And if you follow it to the letter, you’ll rank number one. And that’s just not the way it works. So if you think that you can just say, I’m going to have 14.5% keyword density, or 7%, or 77%, and that will mean I’ll rank number one, that’s really not the case. That’s not the way that search engine rankings work. So the way that modern search engines, or at least Google, are built is that the first time you mention a word– hey, that’s pretty interesting. It’s about that word. The next time you mention that word, it’s still about that word. And once you start to mention it a whole lot, it really doesn’t help that much more. There’s diminishing returns. It’s just an incremental benefit, but it’s really not that large. And then what you’ll find is if you continue to repeat stuff over and over again, then you’re in danger of getting into keyword stuffing, or gibberish and those kinds of things. So the first one or two times you mention a word, then that might help with your ranking, absolutely. But just because you can say it seven or eight times, that doesn’t mean that it will necessarily help your rankings. So the way to think about it is this. Think about the keywords that you’d like to have in your copy. Make sure your copy’s long enough so that you can work those keywords in to your copy in a natural way and not an artificial way. And my recommendation is to either read it aloud, or read it to someone else, or have someone else read it, and sort of say, do you spot anything that’s artificial, or stilted, or it doesn’t quite read right? And if you can read through the copy and have it read naturally where a person isn’t going to be annoyed by it, then you’re doing relatively well. But if you’re like one of these guys where all you’re doing is– I know you’re interested in red widgets because red widgets are one of the best things in the world to have. And if you’re an expert on red widgets, then you’ll know that the best source of red widgets is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Then that’s really going too far. And you can really kind of tell whenever you land on a page if you’re an experienced SEO, if someone’s just like trying to get the same phrase on the page as many times as possible, because it just looks fake. And that’s the sort of area in that niche where we try to say, rather than helping, let’s make that hurt a little bit. So I would love it if people could stop obsessing about keyword density. It’s going to vary. It’s going to vary by area. It’s going to vary based on what other sites are ranking it. There’s not a hard and fast rule. And anybody who tells you that there is a hard and fast rule, you might be careful, because they might be selling you keyword density software or something along those lines. So I hope that helps. Maybe we can dispel that misconception and people realize not to worry that much about it. Just make sure you have the words that you want to have on the page. Make sure that they read naturally. And you should be in pretty good shape. Thanks very much.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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