Keyword Density: What’s the Best Keyword Density for SEO Today?

Creating an article, blog, product review, or other online content requires knowledge of multiple SEO factors, including keyword density. Keyword density refers to the ratio of SEO keywords to the rest of the page's MC (main content). In 2022, Google continues to publish material highlighting the necessity of keywords in search. Therefore, digital publishers who rely on SEO and inbound marketing must stay abreast of methods that keep them on top of SERPs.

How Do Keywords Work in SEO?

Keywords are words and phrases that customers type into the search field of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yandex. Google, for one, has spent the last decade trying to perfect its AI/ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning) to understand better how people use natural language to 'speak' to machines in their daily quest to find timely, relevant, and accurate information for different types of needs.

In SEO, keyword research is tricky because you need laser focus to bring the right customers to your website. As a result, many SEO professionals dedicate many years to figuring out the best keyword density for different kinds of content.

They must constantly engage in SEO experiments as Google doesn't publish formal keyword-density guidelines. Instead, Google simply tells publishers and business owners to write the best content they can for customers, and good search engine rankings will follow. However, the situation on the ground is always different due to competitors, so digital publishers and SEOs must always be on their toes.

Search engines use keywords not just to determine which pages are likely the most useful for customers but also for determining user intent or, essentially, the emotions and needs behind those keywords.

The further advancement of mobile technology for the web means people are on their smart devices almost every time they need anything. These "micro-moments" in search have radically changed the digital marketing landscape.

What Keyword Density Works for SEO?

Suppose you've been reading material on keyword research. In that case, you're likely interested not just in a method of finding keywords but also computing a keyword density that would likely bring your content in front of more customers. Keyword density is not rocket science, nor does it require extensive training. Follow these keyword density guidelines for the best results:

Many important keywords are competitive because more businesses want to rank on top for these. If you have several competitive focus keywords, it’s best to focus on just one or two focus keywords per piece of content. Please don’t overdo it, as Google measures how much helpful information you offer within the context of your focus keyword. If you use too many focus keywords and your content length is insufficient, that piece of content may not rank well at all.

If your primary keyword is competitive but too important to pass up, find phrases or longtail keywords related to the focus phrase and use those in other content pieces. These related longtail keywords may only have a fraction of the primary keyword’s search volume, but they may have lower competition, and therefore, you may rank better for them.

Computing the keyword density in content is crucial to your success, primarily if you’re engaged in content auditing of older content pieces. One percent keyword density is the baseline and will likely work for most content pieces. However, if your search term is short (like a single word), then feel free to go up to two percent (or more) if you use the keyword naturally and must use the keywords to get your points across.

The formula for keyword density for SEO is as follows:

KD = 0.01 x (total word count)

If your content piece totals 5,400 words, your keyword should appear about 54 times on the page. This is the conservative approach, as increasing the keyword density by one percent brings the total KD to 108 times per 5400 words.

Some of you might be wondering how necessary it is to prepare things like this for online content, and it’s natural to question why specific methods are essential to make content rank.

And the truth is that you’re dealing with computers primarily with tallies and numbers.  

Google measures and counts the components of our content all the time.

Endless split-testing from different digital marketing and SEO agencies back the 1%-2% ratio for keyword density, so there’s no harm in applying it to your content.

However, there’s more evidence that it works than the opposite, and if your content needs a severe boost in traffic, maybe it’s time to perform a content audit and change your approach to keyword density in your newer content pieces.

To clarify, Google sometimes rewrites content titles to make them more readable or fit better in the limited space on SERPs. SEO titles are formatted differently from the ‘actual’ titles on the page. It’s best to stick to a stricter ratio of 30% to 75% for SEO titles. As for the more creative title of the MC (main content), ensure the primary keyword is prominent, preferably positioned at the beginning of the title.  

The formula for keyword density for SEO titles and page titles is as follows:

KD for 30% density = 0.3 x number of words in the title

KD for 75% density = 0.75 X number of words in the title

If your title is “Top 10 Reviews of the Most Efficient Air Purifiers for Homes” (11 words) and your keyword phrase is “most efficient air purifiers for homes,” then a quick compute would yield 8 words for 75% keyword density and 3 words for 30% density.

Is the SEO title/page title compelling based on our parameters? We can say that it is effective as the entirety of the keyword phrase falls within the desired keyword density of 30%-75%.

How to Determine the Best Keyword Placement for SEO?

The most important places to include keywords for search engine optimization are the page titles, the subheadings, the meta descriptions, and the MC (main content). You can use SEO tools to add keywords quickly and easily.

Page titles

Optimizing page titles is the first thing you'll do when working on your website's technical SEO.

The page title is typically the first thing customers see when they land on your page, and it should be highly descriptive, informative, and valuable for readers. You have around 3 seconds to convince a reader to click your sitelink over the others on the same Google SERP. The page title also helps search engines understand what your MC is about.

Consider adding the focus keyword at the beginning of the page title. That will ensure that it receives a higher level of importance in the eyes of the public. Furthermore, and more practically, your page title will not be abbreviated in mobile SERPs, as is sometimes the case with small screens.


The meta description is another prime spot to use keywords for search engine optimization. You'll find this as the accompanying information in a listing you find through a search engine.

The meta description may not directly affect your ranking, but it does help Google understand whether or not your main content is helpful to users. In addition, the meta description influences a user's decision to click on a search result and visit your site.


Including optimized subheadings improves your content's readability by providing natural breaks. Subheadings also make your main content scannable and mobile device-friendly.

Subheadings can aid readers in determining whether a piece of content is helpful to them. There's also a chance they'll pop up in an answer box or highlighted passage. Our SEO audit guide goes into more detail about this kind of structured data. At least two subheadings should incorporate keywords.

Main content

Getting your keyword density right on the MC is crucial, as improper keyword usage can hurt your site's search engine rankings.

What is Keyword Stuffing?

"Keyword stuffing" means overloading pages with keywords or numbers to boost their position in Google's search results. Stuffed keywords frequently appear in a grouped or alphabetized list or isolation (not as natural prose).

The user experience and your site's ranking will suffer if you stuff your pages full of keywords and numbers. So instead, you must place all your energy and attention on simply producing high-quality content that answers readers' questions while also incorporating relevant keywords.

Good content with the proper keyword density serves the interests of customers best.

There are many types of keyword stuffing:

      Adding directory information like phone numbers that do not offer value to readers.

       Adding clusters of text that indicate specifically targeted locations.

       Overusing the exact search phrases or words to the point where sentences or blocks of text no longer sound natural.

As previously discussed, one of the primary SEO strategies we use for on-page optimization is employing keywords that potentially reflect what our target readers need or want when surfing the web.

Why can't we stuff keywords on the page and expect good results?

In the earlier years of the web, it may have worked, and "SEO" may have been more about gaming search engines than making better customer experiences.

However, keyword stuffing is 100% a wrong turn in SEO today, don't even try it. It will create problems eventually, and you'll have to repair the content (which will impede your SEO progress).

In SEO terminology, there are two kinds of keyword stuffing:

Visible keyword stuffing

       Too much unnecessary wording and phrase duplication all over the place.

       Using filler phrases and jargon that have nothing to do with the advertised service or product.

       A single phrase or word's unnatural and unnecessary repetition makes the content harder to read.

"Invisible" keyword stuffing

In the 2000s, it was common practice for websites to cloak their keyword stuffing efforts by adding strings of keywords at the bottom of the page and turning the text white to blend with the white background.

Instead of just figuring out the proper keyword density for the content, some website owners chose the path of less effort.

Users didn't see these keywords, but the search engine bots did; for a while, keyword stuffing worked so well that it became a 'standard practice' for ranking low-quality pages.

Google eventually caught on. The search engine eventually released updates to remove these low-quality pages from SERPs. Other instances of "invisible" keyword stuffing include:

- Adding keywords to the source code.

- Stuffing your meta-data with keywords. Again, users don't see the meta-data all the time, but the search bots do.

Why Should You Avoid Keyword Stuffing and Other Black Hat SEO Practices?

Bad SEO practices ruin customer experience

All optimizers and digital marketers should aim to create the most pleasant and valuable digital journey for customers. So, yes, we're now in charge of creating experiences, not just content for reading.

With all the things you can put on a page on a website, there's no real excuse not to give people a better time when they land on your page. However, suppose your main SEO tactic is to break the keyword density we recommended and stuff the content with all the keywords you found using your SEO tool. In that case, you probably won't attain your goal of ranking better than your competitors who care about customers more.

Google's dreaded penalties

The practice of overusing keywords is now frowned upon by search engines. Therefore, if your site does this, you may receive penalties on the offending pages or the entire site. It's also possible for Google to delist your website in extreme cases. You are truly better off trying other types of SEO experiments. Steer clear of keyword stuffing.


Flawed pages stuffed with keywords create terrible online experiences. On the other hand, no one likes landing on pages that offer thin, repetitive, and irrelevant content. Trust us when we say that your users will stop engaging with your website if your content is focused on just the keywords but not on providing what they need from you.

Brand erosion

The use of excessive keywords in content can be harmful to your branding. Bad content will convince people that you run a shady business, and some of them will stop trusting you if your content is consistently low-quality and full of overused phrases. People catch on quickly nowadays.


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