The term keyword density refers to the percentage of times a targeted word or short phrase appears within a page of web content, when compared to the total number of words contained within the text. Google requires that you walk a fine line today, encouraging websites to use keywords and phrases conservatively within natural and engaging content. The practice of keyword stuffing will get you in trouble with Google’s algorithms and cost you in search engine rankings. Read on for some helpful information about keyword targeting and the relevance of context.
What is Keyword Stuffing?
Once internet marketers figured out that the use of keywords could earn them a more prestigious spot in the search engine rankings, a phenomenon known as keyword stuffing began to emerge. You may remember reading content just a few years ago that contained repeated, non-natural occurrences of key words or phrases, in a blatant attempt to game the rankings system. When Google adjusted its algorithms to recognize high-quality content, the use of keyword stuffing began harming those sites that used it.
The example of keyword stuffing that Google offers may resonate with you, as you have likely seen evidence of this practice still in use today: “We sell custom cigar humidors. Our custom cigar humidors are handmade. If you’re thinking of buying a custom cigar humidor, please contact our custom cigar humidor specialists at email@example.com.”
The Move to Keyword Targeting
Today, the key to staying on Google’s good side is to identify appropriate keywords and phrases and use them when and if it’s appropriate as a part of high-quality content. Repetition is generally discouraged and is beneficial only in limited quantities. Keywords should be used in your title but that title must be a good one, one that would engage a potential customer enough by to click on. Once that person lands on your site, the content must also engage them as well as support the title. Otherwise your site visitor will hit the browser’s “back” button and return immediately to his search. This behavior is known as “pogo-sticking” and Google will hold it against you, especially if it happens often.
Keyword and Key Phrase Context and Relevance
Google’s algorithms are so sophisticated today that they can consider your keywords within the context of your industry and your geographic location. If for example you repeatedly mention the name of your business but never the names of your competitors, Google will recognize that your content is designed to promote rather than provide information or engage a discussion. The main takeaway here is that keyword density can no longer be, well, dense. This means conducting effective keyword research and then using those terms judiciously within exceptional and engaging content.
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules that fit every scenario. Mastering the concept of keywords and using them successfully requires an exceptional level of experience but also requires that you stay up-to-the-minute on what makes Google happy. Business owners often find that the most cost-effective strategy is to focus on building their own business and partnering with a marketing services expert to guide the direction of their inbound marketing efforts.