Why the Importance of Keyword Density Will Continue to Decline in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Once upon a time, keyword density was an important factor in writing website content. By definition, keyword density is the number of times a given keyword appears in a piece of content, and is expressed as a percentage of the total number of words in that article. Best practice in the old days typically called for writing to a keyword density of 5 percent or more. Many online marketers rose to the top of the search results not on the quality and relevance of their content but on the sheer number of keywords that could be stuffed into a single article.

Keyword Density Will Continue to Decline in 2015

Those days are long gone, and the reliance on keyword density to help write content for the benefit of the search engines has gone right along with them. With the advent of semantic search and Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, the final curtain call has for the most part fallen on the entire concept of keyword density.

Make Sure That Your Writing Flows Naturally
These days, content is written for the reader rather than the search engines. Semantic technology will attribute related keyword phrases as you write in a natural style without the necessity of blatantly stuffing your article with keywords that will irritate your readers and earn you a Google penalty.

The most skilled SEO writers have the ability to write as if they were having a conversation with the reader. If natural sounding, conversational writing is beyond your abilities, you need to find a knowledgeable writer who can deliver copy that will resonate with your readers.

You do need to have a keyword phrase in mind when writing for SEO, but it should never become the focal point of the article. Avoid repeating a single phase – make use of synonyms wherever you can and create variations on your keyword phrase to gain more traction in the search results. Semantic search technology is designed to make the connection between your target keywords and related phrases.

Remember that the purpose of your article is to offer value to the reader, preferably something that they can’t find anywhere else. Depending on your goal for a given piece of content, value might take the form of entertainment, information, creating an interaction between the reader and your company, or even selling.

In short, your content needs to make sense to the reader, be readable, and offer genuine value. The less you worry about keyword density, the more effective your content is likely to be.

Where to Place Your Keywords for Maximum Impact
While keyword density has lost much of its importance, it still has a role to play in drawing visitors to your web pages. In order to rank well in the search results, your keywords need to appear

  • At least once anywhere on your web page. It’s strictly a matter of personal choice whether your keyword appears in your headline or within the body of your text – either one is just as effective as the other.
  • Once within the title of the page
  • Once within your page URL
  • Once in your H1, image, and alt tags

If you wish, you can lightly sprinkle related keyword phrases throughout your content as long as you carefully place keywords so that they they flow naturally. Never force keywords into your text in a way that disrupts reading flow or creates unnatural appearing content.