“My density has popped me to you.” How true that is. This misspoken statement by George McFly in may have had more meaning than he ever knew. But the question is how much influence does keyword density really have in the search results that are “popped” to you?
I think we can all agree that proper keyword usage on a site plays a key role in how your site ranks for those keywords. But what is the best placement for these keywords? And how much is too much? When does it become keyword stuffing?
We’ll address these and other questions…after the break.
Just kidding, we’ll do it now.
What is the best placement for keywords on your site or article? Well, let me answer that by asking you this: What do you remember most when you read an article? The first and last paragraph, right? At least that’s how it is for me – and for Google, apparently. So when you’re wondering where to place your keywords, of course you want to have them spread throughout the content. But if you can, do something to make the first and last paragraph stand out. The h1, h2 and h3 headers are always dependable for this, as well as internal linking (if possible) or even just using bold type. That way you can use the keyword in several other places, but the places that stand out the most will basically be highlighted for Google.
How much keyword density is too much? That is actually a great question that it seems no one really knows for sure. The word on the street is that it can be as low as 3% and as high as 12%, with Yahoo and MSN being more tolerant of keyword stuffing than Google. I also found sites that were majorly stuffed with keywords (www.halloween.com, which was rightfully mentioned in the SEO Fail Blog for having over 21% keyword density for the keyword “Halloween”), but were not banned by Google. I guess they may still be penalized in their rankings, but that’s very hard to tell from the outside looking in. One thing I couldn’t find though is some good examples of pages getting banned from Google for keyword stuffing. In fact, I actually found one keyword stuffing experiment where keyword stuffing of up to 51% had no perceived effect on the PR of the page or the ranking for the tested keyword. So I thought I’d open that up in the comments section of this post. Got any good examples of keyword stuffing getting a page banned?
Bottom line: despite the vagueness of the limits on keyword density vs. keyword stuffing, I think it’s safe to say it’s always a matter of good practice. As long as your article or page flows naturally and is readable to the human eye, you’ll make friends with your readers as well as Google.
Oh, and just for your information, I have posted the keyword density for a couple of the keywords in this post just below:
Keyword: Keyword Density (1.13%)
Keyword: Keyword Stuffing (1.32%)
Keyword: Keyword (4.73%)