How often should you repeat your keywords?

Keyword density. That’s a term that refers to how many times you use a certain keyword phrase on a web page as a percentage of the total number of words on that page.

Some people offering SEO services hammer on about making sure your text has a certain keyword density (e.g. that 3% or 6% or whatever of your text should consist of your targeted keywords).

Well, guess what? That’s nonsense. (And don’t just take it from me, listen to Google. See Matt Cutt’s webmaster video below.)

There is NO magic number when it comes to keyword density in SEO.

Yes, you need to make sure you DO actually mention the keyword phrases you want the page to be found for. Obviously. Preferably a few times. But generally:

You don’t need more than three

Including a targeted keyword phrase in your page content around 3 times is good. If your page is quite long, it’s OK if you mention it once or twice more, but much more than that (e.g. 6 or 7 times or more) and search engines may start to see it as keyword stuffing. And that’s definitely not good for your SEO. In fact, it can hurt your rankings because you may be seen as a spammer.

It’s a good idea not to try to cram in your exact keyword phrase too many times but instead, include variations and related words, so the page will be topical and relevant. But that’s something you would or should do naturally already when you write a page about a certain topic, for example when you describe a product.

Keep it natural: read it out loud

I am an SEO tutor at Search Engine College [update: from 2009-2014] and what we’ve been teaching our SEO students for years is to read web copy you have written out loud to make sure it sounds natural. If you mention your keyword phrase three times in two consecutive sentences, that’s likely to sound stilted and unnatural. So change it.

Remember: if you wouldn’t say it that way, don’t write it that way.

Here’s a webmaster video by Matt Cutt, head of webspam at Google, dispelling the keyword density myth and giving some sound advice on including your keywords in your website content:

So there you have it, straight from the horse’s mouth.

Are you finding it hard to write web content that naturally incorporates your targeted keyword phrases? I’m a professional SEO web copywriter and I can help you. Find out more on my website.

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