Spend enough time in a forum such as Digital Pointless, and you will come across some interesting pieces of work where they talk at length about the myth that is keyword density. What happens is one guy usually with the link in his signature with the anchor text “SEO Guru” writes “What is the best keyword density for Google?”. Another guy, often also with a link in his signature with the anchor text “SEO Guru” writes in return “Usually between 2-6% is great keyword density for an article”.

That’s bullshit, and here’s why.

Lets assume we want to rank for a one word keyword, say the word “Yesterday”. And lets use an article, say for example, the lyrics to the Beatles song “Yesterday”. The song has 98 words in it. Within those 98 words “Yesterday” appears 9 times, giving it a keyword density of 9.2%. Much higher than the 2-6% SEO Gurus quote. So lets reduce the keyword density of the article to the touted 2-6%, and change the first three verses to this:-

All my troubles seemed so far away,
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay,
Oh, I believe in.

Suddenly,
I’m not half the man I used to be,
There’s a shadow hanging over me,
Oh, came suddenly.

Why she
Had to go I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said,
Something wrong, now I long for.

Giving a keyword density of the whole song of 5.3%. Perfect for ranking in Google!

Also making it completely and utterly fucking pointless to rank for, as it doesn’t make sense.

Look at it this way, if I search for “Yesterday” in Google, chances are I could be interested in receiving Beatles lyrics. Those words above – whilst “keyword optimized” – don’t give the reader what they want. I know this, Google knows this, as a search for “yesterday” in Google includes lyrics at the top of page 2.

Okay it’s a very simple point & it’s a little exaggerated, but the fact remains the same – to rank in Google, write for readers, not for search engines. By all means include your keywords in the title, description, header, bold & link text, but really by doing that, you’re not being a good SEO’er in helping Google, you’re being a good webmaster helping readers.

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