Optimum SEO Keyword Density – A Real-Life Case Study
So you’ve built your website, you know what keywords you want to target (i.e. what words your customers are searching for), and you’re ready to write your copy. You’ve been told that you should use your keywords frequently so that you appear in search results for those words. But what does "frequently" mean?
How many times should you use your primary keyword? This case study helps answer that question.
Some background on "Keyword Density"
In order to understand optimum keyword usage, we first need to have some way of measuring keyword frequency. In the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) world, frequency is actually referred to as density. Keyword density is a measure of the number of times your keyword appears on a page expressed as a percentage of the total wordcount of that page. For example, if your page has 100 words, and your keyword phrase appears 5 times, its density is 5%. So when you hear someone say "keyword density", that’s normally what they’re talking about. (TIP: You can automatically check the keyword density of your page at .)
However, there is another, more complex measure of keyword density which takes into account the text components in the HTML of the page (i.e. the meta tags: Title, Keywords, Alt Text, Description, and Comments). When using this measure, you don’t just count the words your visitor sees; you also count the words in your meta tags. For example, if you have 100 words on your home page, 10 words in your Title tag, 20 words in your Description tag, 70 words in your Alt tags, and 10 words in your Comments tag, your total wordcount for the page is 100 + 10 + 20 + 70 + 10 = 210. Similarly, when counting keywords, you don’t just add up the number of times a visitor will see your keyword, you also count the number of times that keyword appears in your meta tags. For example, if your keyword appears 5 times in the home page copy, 3 times in the Title tag, 5 times in the Description tag, 30 times in your Alt tags, and twice in your Comments tag, your total keyword count is 5 + 3 + 5 + 30 + 2 = 45. So with a total wordcount of 210 and a keyword count of 45, your keyword density is 45/210 x 100 = 21%. It is argued that this measure of keyword density is more relevant as the search engines measure density in this fashion. (TIP: You can automatically check the keyword density of your page using this more complex measure at .)
Keyword density range: Using the simple measure, my density ranged from 0.4% to 7.6%. Using the complex measure it ranged from 1.6% to 17.5%
Some comments on the figures
oThe figures and corresponding ranking detailed in this case study may not be directly relevant to every site. There’s a lot I don’t know about the algorithms and there are bound to be other factors at play which I don’t know about.
oWith regard to Wayne Hurlbert’s article, it would seem that he is referring to keyword density as calculated using the simple method discussed above.
oThe range figures are noteworthy because they suggest that you don’t need to be paranoid about having some pages with a very high density and some with a very low density.
A simple keyword density of 1.9% can be enough for a first page ranking in Google.com (assuming you have enough quality backlinks – see and for more information).
Happy SEO writing!