The best keyword density in 2020 was 0.5% to 1% and we expect this to stay the same in 2021.
This means a keyword appearing 3 to 6 times in a 600-word article or 5 to 10 times in a 1,000-word article.
The reason a keyword density of 0.5-1% is best is it prevents unnatural keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is when you mention a keyword too many times. Google lists it as a no-no in their quality guidelines.
What is keyword density?
Keyword density is the number of times a keyword appears in a piece of content relative to the number of words on that page.
For example, if ‘sleepsuit’ appeared 18 times in 600 words, the keyword density would be 3% (for what it’s worth, that’s way too high).
Why is keyword density important?
Ask an SEO expert what steps you should take to rank high in the search engines and high-quality content will be first on the list.
It’s important to nail keyword density because mentioning keywords too often, or too infrequently, will impact the ranking potential of that content in Google.
Here’s the bottom line: if you go in too hard with keyword density Google will think you’re keyword stuffing. If you go in too soft Google won’t pick up on the keywords you want them to.
Is keyword density a myth?
Keyword density is not a myth.
It is important to mention keywords and it is important to keep track of how many times you use them.
The keyword density myth argument is that the number of times a keyword is mentioned is not as important as where keywords are placed in the content.
Where keywords are placed in content is of course important, but so is keyword density. Truthfully, keyword density and keyword location are both important signals for Google.
Why does Google care about keyword density?
Quality is one of the steps to a Google-friendly site.
To rank for a specific keyword, your content needs to be both of high quality and relevant.
One of the ways to achieve the latter is by engineering keywords into your content and repeating them.
However, if you repeat them too often you will be keyword stuffing. This can get you penalised by Google.
The ideal keyword density is 0.5% to 1%.
We base this on having written hundreds of high-ranking web pages since the turn of the year.
1% is enough for Google to take notice without appearing spammy.
0.5% may sound low but mentioning a keyword at the top of an article, in the middle, and at the end is natural.
Your keyword will probably be in a heading too. So let’s call it 4 keyword mentions in 600-words and 8-10 in 1,000-words.