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Individual Keyword Density in Body Text


Individual keyword density differs from overal keyword density, in that it is the density of each keyword or key phrase. It is not the density of all keywords lumped together (overall).

For many years the keyword tag dominated search engine ranking factors. These days are long gone. Many of the big players included don’t even use it. If you have optimised for 3 key-phrases, then you will have 3 individual keyword density scores. Although you can add 1,000 characters to this tag, search engines are very wary of long tags and may consider the site ‘spam’. Keep the whole tag down to 10-12 words.

Each key-phrase should have greater than 1% density but less than 6%

  • >1% → < 6% − (each keyword/ total words)

Although this is ranked behind overal keyword density, if you have optimised for just 2 or 3 phrases then it will take priority.

There is an obvious balancing act and trade-off between individual and overall. You want to create a strong ‘theme’ to a page but a heavily focused page may be a little too niché.

As a guideline, aim for at least 3 key-phrases but less than 7 total. The more copy you have on a page the more key-phrases you can insert.

For 3 different keywords (appearing twice each) and 300 words of copy:
100% x (2×3)/300 = 6% (overall density)

For the same keyword appearing 3 times and 300 words of copy:
100% x 3/300 = 3% (individual density)

For the same keyword appearing 30 times and 1000 words of copy:
100% x 30/1000 = 3% (individual density)

The danger is, the more copy on a page the less focussed it can become. Don’t ramble and get the copy proof-read by somebody unfamiliar with the subject. If they get to the end of the first paragraph and yawn, you’ve failed. Keep the text friendly and aimed at a secondary educated student, rather than their ‘geekie’ white haired professor.

Keywords within content is still a very significant ranking factor. However, these keywords no longer need to be declared within the keyword meta tag.

The problem…

Suppose you sell a unique product. Your website is the only place on the planet where someone can buy it. Your site is light on content because you only sell one product. That product has a generic product name, such as ‘golden block’.

Because other sites have loads more content on various different ‘golden block’ subjects, your listing doesn’t appear until page 100 of results.

The solution….

  • Concentrate content on the type of product / service and not the brand name – ‘Golden Block’ is a non-starter!
  • Place that page within a ‘themed’ branch of your website, offering a page on every possible piece of info you think a customer could use
  • The keyword density of this page needs to be at the upper end of the range
  • The body word count needs increasing
  • Lose any excessive scripting, the big banners, condense the page html and compress images etc.

There is a definite bias towards keyword and total word count. Sometimes, it may seem that you can get your point across in 10 words and yet other sites with 1,000 words of boring, rambling or inappropriate content beat you in search results. It is then you need to look at your analytics, see which phrases people are actually arriving at the site with and see if you can’t throw them some kind of biscuit. They are obviously looking for an answer, so try to guess what their question is and provide them with a detailed and relevant answer. Sure, this answer maybe slightly off topic, but the website needs to follow demand.

Look at the competition, grab their keywords and beat them at their own game. Don’t copy content, even a single sentence, generate fresh ‘lively’, detailed content that is broken down into headed subject areas.


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