Keywords Density – How Much Is Too Much And How Less Is Too Less
Since the onset of search engines, we all have seen some self styled and some real SEO gurus delving in great details about the subject of optimum keyword usage on WebPages. Being a leading web content writing, we also get requests from numerous clients who want our opinion on what should be ideal keyword density for web content pages and articles. We also agree and believe that keyword optimization is an important factor not only for web content writing but also in the overall search engine maze. So, let us think aloud on what should be the right formula of optimal keyword density.
First let’s see what the SEO gurus do and suggest. As an SEO content provider, we have dealt with many clients including some well known SEO experts. We have seen that some gurus suggest a very peculiar format of using main keyword phrase at particular places in the article, secondary keyword phrase at a particular spot and then using lots of related keywords all over article body. Other school of thought prefers one main rather long tail keyword phrase being repeated at frequent intervals all over the article in a set or identifiable pattern. Some gurus have even gone to the extent of deriving complex mathematical formula for optimum keyword usage.
Keyword Spamming Pays – Not Really
Then there are some experts who suggest and use what we consider as blatant keyword spamming. They prefer using the keyword phrase as much as 12-15 times in a 400 word content page. Well, it sounds ridiculous and rightly so. We always feared that pages or sites like these will be de-indexed or penalized for trying to spam search engines and eventually we will lose clients. But, the logic behind search engine algorithms completely defies any such thinking. To our astonishment and contrary to our fears, we have seen many keyword stuffed content pages with this kind of keyword usage rank right on the top of search results in very competitive niches.
However, let us not get any encouragement from this strange behavior because we know it quite well that all major search engines consider a host of complex factors to decide their search engine rankings and what seems like a disastrous on-page keyword optimization effort could be paying dividends because of a number of other unseen or off-page reasons. So, we might start following a seemingly successful but wrong practice without completely understanding the real reasons behind its success. Moreover, you never know how long this success will last as Google and other search engines change their algorithms very frequently.
Does A Formula Really Exist
Not just the gurus, the finesse of using the right keywords in right places on website pages and directory articles is much in demand by the clients as well. During our six-year stint with SEO content writing specializing in keyword enriched articles, we have had experience with numerous clients who would swear by their preferred keyword usage pattern. Some are so much in awe of a particular SEO guru or keyword formula that they specifically define the exact number of keywords to be used at exact places and even a minor deviation from their suggested rules calls for immediate disqualification of our hard work. Figure this – A three-word key phrase for example, hot cross buns should be used five times in the body of an article of about 500 words. Now using this phrase five times is okay as per their guidelines. However, using it four times or six times is bad and calls for disqualification. We believe in the maxim that client is always right. But is this the right way to go. We would say, no its not right, its wrong. This is wrong not just for us as a web content provider, but more importantly, it is wrong for the overall long term interest of the client.
Patterns Are Easy To Identify
Yes, you have read it right. Using such easily identifiable patterns is going to be dangerous. We believe that we are in business because of our clients and their long term interest is always what we have to be careful about. If we write good content pages that bring our clients good rankings, good traffic and great conversions, we are doing our bit to help them excel in their business. It in effect means that our business will automatically grow. However, from the above example, even a school going kid will be smart enough to identify a pattern, and we are here dealing with search engines with complex algorithms and best brains working continuously to detect such patterns. Imagine what will happen to sites with the same keyword usage, same word count for each page and a very obvious similar content structure.
What Is The Solution
We have discussed this issue time and again with our clients, friends and my partner, who keeps a close watch on search engine behavior. The crux of all the discussion always has been that what is normal and logical is correct. This rule applies to almost everything in our day to day lives and this applies to search engine optimization as well. With search engines striving really hard to come as close to human thinking as they possibly can, and with growing buzz around LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) based search results, we are not far from seeing a quantum shift in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) with natural user friendly WebPages being given more prominence and rank over the Made For Search Engine web content pages.
We see the big question mark on your face. Are we are trying to suggest that keyword focus is redundant. No way. We are not trying to suggest that keyword focus is useless. We are simply trying to say that an obsession for using the keywords in a particular density or format is not going to fetch long term results.
That being said, if you have set your eyes on short term AdSense or affiliate gains in particular profitable niche markets, there is no harm in experimenting with these formulas. If you are a long haul player we sincerely recommend that you should try to have content rich pages that are natural and those that provide a good user experience. This might sound a bit old fashioned and clichéd, but this definitely is the recipe to internet success in the end.
As for keyword optimization for the website content pages and articles that we are allowed to write on our own, we have combined the SEO guidelines of 2-3 SEO gurus that we respect such as, Ken Evoy, James Martell and Christopher Knight. Based on their guidelines clubbed with our six-year SEO writing experience, we use the main keyword phrase in the article title, once in the first paragraph of the article body, preferably in the first few characters, in the last paragraph and 2-4 more times in the article body, but with no set pattern. We also use secondary keyword phrases and related words sprinkled evenly but naturally all over the article body, of course, in moderation to provide spider feed for as many keywords as possible but without making it look spammy.
We prefer writing freely without being too conscious about keyword usage but at the same time, being careful using the right keywords. Being natural but mindful about keywords usage we believe is the best mantra of the right keyword density and overall SEO success.