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SEO: The Optimal Keyword Density Myths and Organic Growth

Xugar Blog
Sagar Sethi Entrepreneur
Sagar Sethi

Keyword Density has always been a topic of debate amongst the webmasters. Some say the optimal keyword density is 1% – 3%, while some argue it is below 1%. While I can’t say either of them are wrong, the topic of keyword density is debatable. For us at Xugar, we take every page as an individual entity and optimise the contents around the keyword rather than stuffing keywords to increase keyword density.

Enough said about the optimal keyword density, let’s dive in to find out what keyword density is.

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword Density is the percentage of times the keyword appears in the web page in comparison to the total number of words. However, the scope of search engines like Google has increased by so much that it looks for content’s E.A.T ( Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) to rank in the search engine rather than looking blindly at the keyword density.

On saying that, this article is regarding how you can ensure that you don’t get penalised (or keep on walking the wrong path) for using the keyword density in a wrong manner, rather than finding the optimal keyword density. There’s not any optimal keyword density for SEO.

This tutorial will help you to ensure that what are few things that you’ve got wrong regarding the keyword density and how not messing up with the keyword density will help you to avoid penalty. It will further talk on a few more topics regarding how you can rank at the top in Google.

Before getting into that, let’s see what Google’s John Muller and Google Webmaster Guidelines has to say on Keyword density as a ranking signal:

Keyword density, in general, is something I wouldn’t focus on. Search engines have kind of moved on from there.
John Muller, Google

Keyword Stuffing…. results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking Google Webmaster Guidelines

Let’s dive into some Keyword Density Myths:

Myth 1: Bolding and Italicising the Keyword Helps

Besides helping the users visiting your site to figure out the most important path, the answer is No. Making the content bold or italics will only result in the formatting of the content, rather than getting the latest search engines to consider focusing on the keyword.

What’s the WorkAround?

Instead of Bolding the text or Italicising your main or tertiary keyword, bold the most important phrases or sentences. This will improve the user experience and Google highly appreciates a website having a good dwell time. Work on improving the article by Bolding and Italicising the terms that people want to know more than your main keywords.


Myth 2: Optimal Keyword Density is 1 % – 3%

There is no optimal keyword density. Including the same keyword multiple times just to increase the keyword density to 1% to 3% is just going to ruin the user experience and there is more chances for Google to penalise you for the user experience.

  • What’s the WorkAround?

Optimise contents for the user rather than for the Search Engines. Google loves content which are highly engage-able and unique. A moderately optimised content can do better than the contents with stuffed keywords. You can use the synonyms and similar variants of the keyword if you are looking to optimise the keyword in a better manner.

So now we know what are the top myths on Keyword Optimisation, let’s see about the mistake that most of the digital marketer do: Keyword Stuffing

What is Keyword Stuffing?

Keyword Stuffing is the unnatural repetition of keywords in a piece of content, done solely to improve the keyword density of the page. Keyword Stuffing, a practice that a lot of novice marketers do, is one of the most harmful signal for SEO.

It is better to avoid these kinds of unnatural practice to avoid being penalised from Google. So a question that might be going in your head might be: how to rank in Google?

How to Improve Rankings in Google through your Content Organically

Write Naturally and Rank at Top in Google


As we discussed in our previous tutorial (SEO: The Keyword Intent Optimisation Tutorial), the best way of getting the most out of your content is to ensure you are targeting the right intent of keywords through your content.
Write naturally and you’ll normally rank at a very good position in Google. Google gives priority to contents that have authority and uniqueness. If you write good contents without stuffing the keywords and provide the information on the topic that you are writing on, you will rank for it.

However, on saying that, there are some niche that are highly competitive and you might have to work more on complete on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation after creating the content.

The Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (i.e. EAT) is an important factor. If your site hasn’t developed the niche or you are starting the site fresh, you’ll have to invest more time on developing useful contents that can help you to build the authority of the site. Once it the authority is build, your ‘Natural‘ pages will start ranking and performing well.

Text Quantity

Text quantity plays a vital role in getting rank for the keyword you are intending to rank for. Although the quality of text is a big ranking factor in terms of Google, if your post is too shallow then there is a very less chance for you to rank on that page.

Do a competitor analysis for the keyword you want to rank for, and create the article based on how much is required. Just ensure that you do not do keyword stuffing for getting the keyword density to a number that other webmaster might talk about. There’s simply no optimal keyword density.

Optimise for Long Click and Short Click

Before you optimise for these terms that you might never have heard before, lets learn what long click and short click keywords and pages are.

  • Long Click Keywords/Pages
  • If the search intent for the keyword is informational or navigational, people are more likely to stay a longer time in the page. Especially in the informational intent pages, if your pages provide information on things like recipes or a tutorial, people stay on the page longer and grasp the information. These are the types of keywords you should be targeting for.

  • Short Click Keywords/Pages
  • Short Click keywords are the keywords that people look to find quick information about something like the price of a third party tool, the screening time of a movie, or the directors and casts for a movie or a show. People intend to stay on pages targeting for a particular information for a short time.

    On saying that, I would ensure that I include multiple short click – related keywords in a single page giving it a long click intent.

    An example to that is our article on “SEO On-Page Optimisation Tips“. Instead of targeting each elements individually in a different page, whose intent will be short click, we made a list of the On-page tips so that people spend more time on the page (Just the way you are spending on this page 😉😉).

    To put a cherry on the top, we’ve also included an on-page optimisation infographics on the same page. It attracts the people and people love scanning the page rather than reading it. An infographic is just the right way to do it.

    Focus on ‘Things’, Not ‘Strings’

    Just like Google said back in 2012, they always gave priority on things, rather than strings.

    It’s why we’ve been working on an intelligent model—in geek-speak, a “graph”—that understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings.

    Amit Singhal, Google (SVP, Engineering)

    Since then, till now, Google prioritises on showing the right information to the people. And that is what we should focus on too.


    Optimal Keywords, Natural Content, Quantity of content, the Intent Optimisation, and all other techniques won’t work unless you are targeting the arrow to the right direction.

    You can never catch a shark on the land and an elephant in the water. You just need to be at the right place to get the right target.

    That is same with Google. If you want your content or website to rank in the top position, focus on things, the topic that you are focusing on, rather than defining the right keyword density for your content.

    Get the Things right, the Strings doesn’t matter.

    Focusing on the User

    This title might look like a new topic. But it isn’t.

    Everything that is mentioned above is all about focusing on the user. Build the content for User, not for Search Engines, not for Google.

    Once people start loving your content, Google will automatically start enjoying your page and give you the best VIP treatment. So every time you write the content, you need to focus on how much will the user enjoy the content, rather than feeding contents that they will probably doze off.

    If you are looking for local SEO to grow your business, contact Xugar today! We are a leading web design & digital agency in generating leads for business!


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    Sagar Sethi