For those of you who have never heard the term “keyword density” before, it is the percentage of your total content that is made up of your targeted keywords. There is much debate in forums, SEO chat rooms and the like as to what the “optimal” keyword density might be. Estimates seem to range from 3% to 10%.
While I admit that logic dictates that indeed there is an optimal keyword density, knowing that search engines operate on mathematical formulas implies that this aspect of your website must have some magic number associated with it that will give your content the greatest chance of success.
With this in mind there are three points that you should consider:
You do not work for Google or Yahoo! or any of the other major search engines (and if you do you’re not the target audience of this article). You will never know 100% what this “magic number” is.
Even if you did know what the optimal keyword density was today, would you still know it after the next update? Like other aspects of the search engine algorithm, optimal keyword densities change. You will be chasing smoke if you try to constantly have the optimal density and chances are you will hinder your efforts more than help by constantly changing the densities of your site.
The optimal keyword density for one search engine is not the same as it is for another. Chasing the density of one may very well ruin your efforts on another.
So what can you do? Your best bet is to simply place your targeted keyword phrase in your content as often as possible while keeping the content easily readable by a live visitor. Your goal here is not to sell to search engines, it is to sell to people.
If you are simply aware of the phrase that you are targeting while you write your content then chances are you will attain a keyword density somewhere between 3 and 5%. Stay in this range and, provided that the other aspects of the optimization process are in place, you will rank well across many of the search engines.
Also remember when you’re looking over your page that when you’re reading it, the targeted phrase may seem to stand out as it’s used more than any other phrase on the page and may even seem like it’s a bit too much. Unless you’ve obviously overdone it (approached the 10% rather than 5% end of the spectrum) it’s allright for this phrase to stand out. This is the phrase that the searcher was searching for. When they see it on the page, it will be a reminder to them what they are looking for and seeing it a few times will reinforce that you can help them find the information they need to make the right decision.