All hail the good news! Keyword density is no longer considered a ranking factor. But keywords can still make or break your digital marketing efforts. Here’s how.
It seems like a simple concept: More relevant keywords signal more relevance. Right? If I mention dark chocolate in every other sentence, it’s likely that the article has something important to say about the topic. In reality, keyword density doesn’t work like that. Repetition and density are not related to quality, and Google is very clear on this.
Here’s what lawyers need to know about keyword density, including proof that density is no longer a ranking factor and what to focus on instead of keyword density.
Keyword density is the ratio of KWs to overall words
This is a basic measure of how many keywords are on a page relative to the overall number of words.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you have an article with 1000 words that mentions “injury” 20 times. Your keyword density for this keyword is 2%, or 20/1000.
In the early days of SEO, keyword density was a very big deal. It was an easy way to signal relevance to the search engines. The more keywords the better, it was thought.
But now, things have changed.
Farewell, keyword stuffing! KW density is NOT a ranking factor
Today, keyword density isn’t nearly as crucial. In fact, using too many keywords can backfire.
This is called “keyword stuffing” and it’s considered a black hat SEO technique that is aimed at artificially speeding up your online visibility” (before the algorithm punishes you, that is). Cancel your agreement with any agencies that use these techniques.
Google has actually gotten a lot smarter than it used to be. The algorithm can now understand what a page is about using additional signals beyond simple keyword density. Furthermore, Google can detect poor quality content.
SEO experts, Google, and Bing have all confirmed these changes:
- “Keyword density, in general, is something I wouldn’t focus on. Search engines have kind of moved on from there.” – John Mueller, Google
- “Keyword density is an overrated concept.” – SEOBOOK
- “Modern search engines have never used keyword density.” – Moz
- “Write content the way you’d explain it to someone over the phone.” – Search Hermit
If you’re not getting the results you want, you may need a new website—or simply a new SEO approach. Here’s how to tell the difference.
Keywords and keyword strategy still play a very critical role in SEO
Make no mistake, keywords are still incredibly important to SEO.
Here’s what you need to remember: Keyword selection and keyword placement matter, whereas frequency and density do not.
Selecting keywords ensures that your content aligns with user intent. This will improve your visibility on the SERP. When you find the right group of keywords and long-tail keywords, you can attract the right audience. You also need to avoid content cannibalization.
Placing keywords in the right spots is a clear way to communicate with the search engines. More importantly, it communicates relevance to your intended audience: searchers. When you put a keyword in a title, heading or meta description, it signals that there is more content about that topic.
Too many keywords might indicate unnatural content or poor-quality writing. Search engines like Google want to provide users with the best possible content, so they’ll penalize sites that prioritize keyword density over providing actual value to online visitors.
The best strategy is to ignore density. Instead, focus on developing a content strategy that is tailored to your niche and aligned with search intent. Then, write naturally to answer the questions of your site visitors, build up thorough topic coverage, use thoughtful structures and prioritize link earning.
Final words on keyword density
You may still be feeling some doubt. Keyword density seems like a straightforward way to communicate with the algorithm. Won’t you fall behind if your competitors can find a way to squeeze in more target keywords?
SEO is a moving target, certainly. But all the experts agree that density is not a worthwhile investment.
There are free tools online that can help you calculate keyword density. However, we recommend you use these tools to determine if you have too many keywords. If your density is too high, this could be a signal that you’re not writing naturally and your online visibility will decrease. In this case, rewrite and recalculate.
As long as you’re practicing good legal marketing habits, you’ll succeed without keyword density.
Review and next steps
Don’t let anyone tell you that keyword density is critical for SEO. Any agency that is pushing this tactic may not be up to date on best practices for modern digital marketing.
It’s possible to succeed with SEO if you’re willing to develop a comprehensive strategy and invest in long-term success. You don’t need deceitful techniques like keyword stuffing to boost your online visibility.
Whether you need a website audit, content marketing or a brand new site, get advice from Omnizant’s digital marketing experts.