Search Engine Ranking and Keyword Density

Google has just updated their toolbar page rank. And, it appears the way they calculate backlinks has changed also. These updates typically get SEO professionals scrambling. The engines are continually changing their algorithms. Although there is a constant in the midst of change: It's the emphasis on relevant content. Content still is king. So what determines the importance of content? Many things. But for now, let's focus on keyword density.

What is keyword density? Keyword density is expressed as a percentage. It is based on the amount of times your keyword or keyword phrase appears on the page in proportion to the other words on the page. Each of the major search engines have built in the importance of keyword density in their search algorithm. However, the importance and ranking of the algorithm is different with each search engine. Also, each engine has its own policy as to when to penalize for too high a keyword density rating. At this point, you're considered a spammer.



How often should you use your main keywords on your Web page to get a higher ranking in the search engines? At what rate does keyword density become keyword stuffing? Does keyword density affect my search engine rankings? Are the keyword density standards really different for each of the search engines?

So, what is the magic number for your keywords? Well, it's best to keep your keyword density under 5 percent. Usually, anything over 7 percent has the flavor of spam. If your keyword density is over 7 percent, it is possible that the search engine algorithm could label you as a spammer and penalize your site by dropping your rankings dramatically.

In addition, too high a keyword density (keyword stuffing) could adversely affect the readability of your Web page. After all, you want visitors to convert. Not to be confused by your keyword-dense page.

Something else to keep in mind while writing content is keyword prominence. That is where you place your keywords higher on the Web page, and at the beginning of paragraphs on your content. Most algorithms will consider a page with the keywords appearing higher, more relevant than another page where the keywords appear lower. However, some consider the bottom of the page equally important because it symbolizes the conclusion.

Don't try to optimize on too many keyword phrases on a single page. It's best to create a separate page that is specific to each one of your keyword phrases. The page could lose its readability if you're optimizing on too many keywords.

Keyword stuffing will adversely affect the user experience. Forget about the fact that you're at a high risk from being penalized by the engines. Who cares if you're in the top spot, if everyone who gets to your page is annoyed with your hard-to-read content. If your goal is to get a visitor to convert into a paying customer, then stay away from keyword stuffing.

Overall, the best approach to keyword density is to focus on one or two keywords per page, and to keep your content easily readable so your visitors will convert to customers.

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