It looks as if keyword density for seo purposes might be changing, if Yoast’s post is any indication.
Yesterday, Yoast SEO published a post on their blog titled ‘Keyword density in a post-Panda world’ where they indicate Google might be getting stricter with excessive keyword stuffing on webpages:
Google prefers nice, readable texts. Your text should be well structured and attractively written. Texts with a high keyword density do not read nicely. They are, in fact, terrible to read! Instead of using your focus keyword over and over, you should use synonyms if possible. Google actually recognizes synonyms to keywords now. With Google’s ability to recognize synonyms, optimizing for a single focus keyword becomes more and more silly.
Before I go any further, Yoast is known for its popular WordPress plugin to help optimize your blog for getting found in the search results (SEO).
It’s also important to know what keyword density is in the first place. Here it is as defined by Webopedia:
In search engine optimization (SEO) keyword density is the measurement in percentage of the number of times a particular keyword or phrase appears compared to the total number of words in a page.
I also mentioned keyword stuffing above…which is the practice of using a keyword excessively in your content (to try to rank for that keyword) whether it reads well or not.
Keyword stuffing was used all the time years ago on webpages. It is not now and I STRONGLY recommend you DO NOT do it! These days Google will easily find pages that are ‘stuffed’ and penalize your site.
Yoast SEO is now recommending your optimal keyword density be between 0.5% to 2.5%:
We therefore decided to update the keyword density check in Yoast SEO. In the new Yoast SEO the keyword density for your post has to be between 0.5 and 2.5%. In the old analysis, you could get away with a keyword density of as high as 4.5%. We’ve come to the conclusion that that’s just too high in this post-Panda world!
(If you’re not familiar with Google Panda, you can read about it HERE)
So there definitely seems to be a trend towards a lower keyword density for seo threshold.
To be clear, Yoast is not saying Google is actually changing anything. But to me…this is an indicator not to be ignored.
Above all else, make your content easily readable for your audience first before trying to rank for a keyword. Use common sense.
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