Keyword Density for SEO | How important is it?

Keyword Density is Important for SEO

If you have spent any time doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) than you are probably wondering if I’ve lost my mind by saying that keyword density is important for SEO. For a number of years there was a lot of talk about keyword density being an important concept for SEO best practices, specifically that there was a legitimate mathematical component to search engine algorithms that figured in keyword density. For the record, which has been proven by smarter mathematicians than myself, keyword density as a mathematical component that improves Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERP) results is a fantasy. However, I still called it important and still included mention of it in the Delphic Sage Writing Guide for SEO. Why?

There are actually 3 reasons that I promote keyword density, and still talk about it with clients. They are:

1. While a specific keyword density won’t help you, over reaching on keyword density will certainly hurt you. If you over optimize, you will be seen as having spammy content. It is a lot easier to remember to stay under a %, say 12%, than to “use your best judgment.”

2. There’s a ton of terrible corporate copywriting out there, which talks about benefits, but never actually mentions the product. Keyword density at least keeps the use of the topic recurring.

3. Keyword density at least reminds copywriters to keep their subject prominent. Amazingly, even when a topic is used often, it gets lost deep into paragraphs. If the subject matter is worth writing, than mention it.

Readability, Copy, Keyword Density for SEO

You can certainly be reductionist and argue the summary of my points are that my recommendation of keyword density is a way to protect against poor copywriting, and in some respects it is. In fact, no matter how often you say to use your keywords intelligently and as a reader would normally expect to see them in your content, they are underrepresented. So, while saying “write better copy” might suffice for some of the reasoning I talk about the benefit of keyword density providing, I think it is fairly helpful to have a definitive method of properly executing copy. Especially because the content is one of the three pillars of SEO, but that is a post for another time.

For the reasoning listed above, that is why our SEO writing guide groups keyword density near readability, and why it is in a writing guide in the first place, rather than under a “get some rankings” guide.

If you care to check your readability and keyword density, here are some choices:

Readability Tool

Keyword Density Tool

Happy copywriting…er…SEOing.


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