When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, one of the phrases you’ll hear most often is “keyword density.” It’s one of those terms that might scare a lot of people off because it sounds overly technical and something you’d leave for the webmasters. But it’s simple stuff, really. Which is a good thing because making sure your site is using appropriate keyword density is essential to improving your SEO and making your business more visible to potential customers.

What is keyword density? According to Wikipedia, “it is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page. In the context of Search Engine Optimization keyword density can be used as a factor in determining whether a web page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase.”

Why is keyword density important? Because if you want to improve your search ranking on Google it is NOT enough to merely use keywords in you page titles and section headings. You must use the right keyword density (3-5%) for the regular content within the pages of your site. This is because the algorithms for Google are designed specifically to reward sites that have incorporated searched keywords into their site in a natural and comprehensive way.

Keyword density is displayed as a percentage. For instance, your site has a page with 100 words on it and a keyword appear 5 times on the page, your page would have a keyword density of 5%.

However, the density formula changes if you are using a phrase with more than 1 word. If that’s the case, the formula is: times the phrase is used multiplied by numbers of words in the phrase and divided by total words on page. Don’t get frustrated by this. If you write “Pediatric Care” 5 times in a blog post consisting of 200 words, then the keyword density is: 5*2/200. Which equals .05. So the keyword density is 5%.

To successfully optimize your site and increase your search engine rankings, you want to have a density of 3-5% for keywords. That may seem like a small amount, but think about how often you’ll have to use that keyword or phrase. It’s quite a bit, especially when you consider that you want to work it into your site organically. The point about working it in organically is VERY IMPORTANT!

Nobody knows Google’s algorithm (except for Google’s developers) but it’s known that Google and the other search engines have devised their algorithms in order to penalize spam sites. So you don’t want to use an unnatural amount of keywords. MAKE SURE YOU USE 3-5%! This is not a case of some being good and more being better. Your site will be counted as spam by the search engines if you use, say, 40% keyword density. So don’t think you can outsmart the webmasters by making pages with nothing but keywords!