Keyword Density: What is it and how to calculate it?

Keyword Density: What is it and how to calculate it?

What is Keyword Density?

Keywords are a ranking factor for the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). They help Google to identify what your page is about, and then it crawls the web to find relevant content based on the users’ search. So, they must be used properly. 

Overloading content with keywords just to rank highly will affect the quality of your content. Keyword stuffing can harm your website and lead to penalization if you’re not careful. 

Keyword Density refers to how frequently a keyword is used in one piece of content.

Using a method called Term Frequency and Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF), you can calculate the term (or keyword) frequency of an existing piece in comparison to the content that you want to publish. As it also helps with calculating keyword density, keyword density becomes more relevant amongst other SEO techniques. 

The TD-IDF technique doesn’t calculate singular keywords, but instead, calculates a range of keywords based on the users’ search query. This method alone won’t help you rank higher in SERP, but it does draw attention to quality over quantity, which does help to boost rankings.

Why Is Keyword Density Important in SEO?

When a user searches for a particular keyword or phrase, Google will display the most relevant content on SERP. 

Using this particular keyword or phrase in your content heightens your chances of showing up on SERP. This is where keyword density comes into play. The number of times the keyword or phrase is used has an impact on ranking for SEO.

How Do I Calculate Keyword Density?

You’ll need to use the keyword density formula to calculate the keyword density score. 

(Keyword Repetition / (Total Words of Content – (Keyword Repetition x (Number of Words in Keyword Phrase -1)))) x 100 

Example Calculation

Let’s put the keyword density formula into action. 

Say that your content is 2000 words, you’ve used your keyword phrase 25 times, and the keyword phrase contains 4 words. 

Keyword Repetition (KR) = 25

Total Words of Content (TW) = 2000

Number of Words in Keyword Phrase (NWK) = 4

KD = (25 / (2000 – (25 x (4 -1)))) x 100 

KD = (25 / (2000 – (25 x 3))) x 100 

KD = (25 / (2000 – 75)) x 100 

KD = (25 / (1925) x 100 

KD = 0. 0129 x 100 

KD = 1.29%

There isn’t necessarily one ‘perfect score’ for the ideal keyword density. However, you should aim for the keyword density percentage to be between 0.5 and 1.5%, but could extend to the maximum of 2%.

Calculating keyword density is only useful if it’s supported by quality content. As Google continuously updates, its systems will have an impact on user experience, particularly in search.

Avoiding Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing can be identified in a few different ways, including, using keywords repeatedly, out of context, and irrelevant to the topic. Some may even list phone numbers or cities to target specific rankings.

It will impact your content, and not in a particularly good way. To aim for the ideal keyword density, here are a few things that you can do.

#1 Primary Keywords

Select a primary keyword that’s low competition and relevant to your content. Assign it to one web page and use it solely for this one. By doing so, each page is more targeted and it eliminates the risk of diluting your other web pages, and therefore likely to rank higher in SERP. 

#2 Secondary, LSI, and Long-Tail Keywords

To demonstrate the relevancy of your primary keyword, you can also add secondary, latent semantic indexing (LSI) and long-tail keywords to your content. 

#3 Copy Length

To improve your web page’s chances of ranking higher in Google SERP, ensure that your content is over 300 words. 

#4 Quality Over Quantity

You can insert a keyword phrase here, there, and everywhere, and yes, it could rank higher, but if it’s saturated with keywords, the content becomes invaluable to the reader. 

It’s obvious if you’ve forced keywords in for the sake of it. Instead of focusing on the number of keywords, you can cram into your content, consider writing the content first. You can then add the keywords more organically. 


You should now somewhat understand what keyword density is and how to calculate it. Calculating the keyword density, and remaining within the ideal percentage will help you to avoid keyword stuffing for SEO, and potentially rank higher in SERP.

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