Keywords density

Keyword Density: What It Is and How to Calculate It

All SEO efforts start with using the right keyword, and with it comes a concept called keyword density.

If you’re wondering what exactly it is, how it affects you, and how to apply it to your content, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will offer some insights into the concept of keyword density and how you can use it to your advantage.

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears in an article compared to the total word count. The ratio between the two is usually expressed as a percentage.

If keywords help you to stay focus on the topic of the text, keyword density helps search engines to determine what your article is talking about.

Let’s say you’re using “digital marketing” as your focus keyword. If you only use that phrase once or twice, search engine bots can’t tell whether the article really talks about digital marketing or not. If this is the case, it would be hard for your page to rank.

That’s why it’s crucial to consider the keyword density when writing an article. It signals engine bots that you’re focusing on a particular topic, boosts the content’s relevance, and improves your chance to rank high on SERP. Keep in mind that keyword density is only one of the many factors impacting SEO. To get the best results, you should learn about content tailoring – the practice of making sure your posts are aiming at the right target audience, helping you gain authority in your selected niche.

The Formula to Calculate Keyword Density

Calculating the keyword density is quite straightforward. Simply count the number of times a keyword occurs within a text and divide it by the total word count. The result is then multiplied by 100 to express it as a percentage. 

For example, if your keyword is “political science” and this phrase appears ten times in a 500-word article, the keyword density will be:

(10/500)x100 = 2%

keywords density

What’s the Recommended Keyword Density?

Search engines don’t have a specific rule regarding the ideal keyword density. However, many SEO experts believe that 1 to 2% should be enough for search engines to decipher what your content is about.

It’s important not to go overboard because a high density can be considered as spam. As a result, search engines will penalize your site and remove you from SERPs.

Search engines are highly strict with this rule due to the old trick known as keyword stuffing. Back when SEO was still new, a page can easily rank if it’s filled with the same keyword over and over again. Thus, SERPs were dominated by tedious and hard-to-read content.

Keyword stuffing can also cause a high bounce rate. Due to poor quality content, visitors will immediately move to other websites that can provide the information they need.

For those reasons, we recommend using keywords in a natural way. Aim to achieve the recommended keyword density, but high-quality content should still be your main priority.

How Do You Check Your Keyword Density?

There are two methods of checking it: manually and using some helping tools.

For the former, count the number of times the keyword appears in your content then use the formula discussed above. This method works best for short pieces but can be tiresome for long articles.

The second and best method is to use online tools like the Yoast SEO Plugin. You’ll get a comprehensive analysis of your content, and the plugin will tell you whether the density is enough or whether you need to distribute the keyword more evenly.

content marketing

Tips For Good Keyword Density

Now, the question is, how can you get a good enough percentage without boring the readers with repetitive keywords?

Well, the first thing to remember is that you write for human readers, not bots. 

Search engines want to give the best content to its users, so you should aspire to write a valuable and informative article. Make your content easy to read by including the keyword when it fits the context. That way, there’s a comfortable flow in your content.

You can also use variations of the target keyword rather than having to repeat the same phrase so many times. For instance, it’s possible to substitute “bathing suits” with “swimming suits.”

Stemming or words with the same root form is also counted as word variants. That way, search engines can connect you to the right audience despite a slight difference in their search queries. An example of this case is housing (the original word) and house (the root form).

Other than that, search engines include singular or plural forms, abbreviations, and accent marks as close variants.

Final Words

Web owners should be mindful of keyword density when writing their content. While it seems like a small matter, the right density percentage might just be what you need to get first page rankings.

We hope this article was helpful, and you can apply what you learn to your content. Best of luck!

Mary J.


I am a passionate blogger and the chief editor at my own content marketing company PRable. Since college, I was interested in break-through technology and technical writing about innovative products and services that change our everyday lives for the better. I am also interested in web design and photography.