Keyword Frequency

Google algorithms have been designed to detect keyword stuffing, which is a black-hat search engine optimization practice that can result in penalties. Knowing keyword frequency is, therefore, essential to all your online content marketing endeavors as it helps you optimize your web pages without compromising the quality of your content.

What Is Keyword Frequency?

Keyword frequency, which is also called keyword density, refers to the number of times a search term appears on a piece of content. 

Finding the right keyword balance is an important part of your search engine optimization strategy. If your content doesn’t have enough keywords, you might have trouble ranking on search engine results pages, especially when you’re using competitive keywords. On the other hand, if your content contains too many keywords, it might get you in trouble with Google.

How to Calculate Keyword Frequency

Divide the number of times a keyword appears on a page by the total word count. Multiply the result by 100, and you’ll have your answer. That means an 800-word article that has a search term that appears 10 times has a keyword frequency of 1.25%.

There are also online SEO tools that can help you calculate it, especially for long-form digital media such as whitepapers and blog posts.

Why Does It Matter?

Google and other search engine algorithms are smarter than ever before. Part of their job is to ensure that web pages provide relevant and valuable content for people. Calculating and testing the keyword frequency of your content will help you prevent over-optimization and under-optimization.

Here are a few reasons why you need to calculate your content’s keyword frequency:

  • Ensure your visibility

The number of keywords you add to a web page or a paid ad will affect its visibility. It determines how well search engines will be able to find your content. In turn, it affects how well people will be able to find you organically.

  • Improve user experience

Adding too many unnecessary keywords hurts the user experience. You can improve it by creating high-value content and sprinkling relevant keywords throughout the page. In turn, you can reduce bounce rates and drive conversions.

  • Boost search rankings

Google values user experience more than the number of search queries on a page. Knowing how to calculate your keyword frequency enables you to avoid keyword stuffing.

  • Avoid penalties

Checking your keyword usage will help you avoid Google penalties, which may include ranking demotions or the full removal of your content from search listings.

How to Determine the Right Keyword Frequency

There is no ideal number. Most digital marketers stick to 1% or 2%.  However, even that isn’t true for all. The best way to determine the right keyword frequency for a piece of content is by performing regular tests.

Testing your web pages will help you determine how your keywords influence their rank. By conducting regular A/B tests, you can determine when a web page needs more or fewer keywords.

To determine the appropriate keyword density for your web pages, test the current performance of your content. Take note of the metrics before doing other tests. You can add or remove keywords to determine how your keyword frequency affects your web pages’ rankings. Depending on the results, you can make the necessary adjustments to ensure that your pages perform well.

Finding the Right Keyword Balance

Google penalizes websites that use too many keywords to manipulate the search rankings of their content. Instead of stuffing your web pages with your keywords, aim for keyword balance.

Here are a couple of strategic ways that can help you maintain optimal keyword balance.

  • Determine keyword placement

Place keywords strategically throughout your content as this will help you rank better on SERPs. Integrate your keywords into the URL, meta description, title tag, H1 tags, and H2 tags. You can also add your chosen keywords into your content, preferably at the beginning and end of the article.

  • Add keyword variations

Instead of filling a web page with the same keywords, use latent semantic indexing to add variety to your keywords. These refer to terms or phrases that are contextually related to your main keyword. The LSI keywords for the term “car,” for instance, can be “automobile” and “vehicle.”

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.