Keywords in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I wrote a small web tool that can be used to measure keyword density of keywords and phrases in online articles. This blog post explains why keyword density is important and what is the role of keywords in promoting your website to the headlines of search engines.

It might be surprising, but most people are not aware of these very simple concepts. Just by reading this short article, you are already more advanced and knowledgable than most of the people who build stuff on the internet. Please use this knowledge for good and not for evil.

So, why would you even want to be in the headline (aka. first place) of the search engine result page (aka. SERP) in the first place? Well, if you want your shiny website to get traffic (aka. unique visitors), then organic search results are the best way to get it, and its cheap with no direct fees unlike Ad networks like AdWords where you pay for user clicks. Another advantage of organic search results is that they convert extremely well, in other words, users who are looking for your product and find you in the first place of the SERP are much more likely to buy your product.

Keywords are the heart of any search engine optimization. The whole purpose of SEO can be distilled into this very simple principle:

Place a specific web page to appear as high as possible in the list of search results for a certain keyword.

Note that it talks about single web pages and specific keywords, your website might have more than just one page, and it might appear at the first place for more than just one keyword. It depends on your the competition for the keywords you target, and if many people search for it – its a good bet there is a lot of competition.

Armed with this new understanding, you might say “I’ll just repeat the same word a million times on this page – and it will rank my page as the first result in the SERP.”. Well if this was 1995 that was exactly so. But modern search engines do not really like keyword stuffing and will most likely penalize a page that does it rather than reward it.

But lets step back for a moment, and look at the importance of Keywords in SEO as a general principle. Usually, the very first thing that SEO experts do is called “Keyword Research”, and that needs a little bit of explaining. Keyword research is mostly two things;

First, the hard part, is coming up with a list of keywords. The most apparent way of doing this is just asking the business owner what are the keywords he believes relevant to his business. A slightly more sophisticated way is visiting pages of competing companies for the business and looking for keywords they use in their articles, be it via keyword density, or by finding links from other websites to these competitors and looking at the link text.

Second thing in keyword research is finding among all the relevant keywords for a business – the keyword or phrase which has the most search hits in search engines, and then creating content and links targeting that keyword. Google has a tool to make this research, the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, it was built to see how many searches a certain keyword receives in Google searches. Bing has a very similar tool called the Bing Keyword Research Tool.

Modern search engines like Google and Bing prefer to rank pages with factors that are out of the direct control of web masters and content authors. These factors include things like links from other web pages to your page, and many other secret algorithms which are usually not revealed in full. One part of the algorithms is keyword density, and although it is not as important as it once was, it still should not be neglected completely.

The Keyword Density practice of SEO, described in length on wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyword_density explains how to calculate this important metric, and that instead of having a keyword density of 99%, many SEO experts consider the optimum keyword density to be 1% to 3% and using a keyword more than that might be considered search spam.

This article started with a promise, I promised to show you a tool that can make it easier to find keyword density of articles you write. This calculator was created to help you optimize articles and have the best word density for search engine optimization, between 1% to 3%.

Using it is very easy, just paste some text into a text area, and it will calculate, in real-time, how many times each word is repeated in the article and the density of that word as percentages. Among other features, the density calculator also removes stop-words that do not really matter when doing indexing of articles, words like “a”, “an”, “for”, “of”, “the” and the likes.

Note that it might need some more testing. For example, with a very small amount of words the calculation might not be correct and show distorted results, and other bugs might be hidden in it as well, so it is far from perfect – use at your own risk.

Lastly a link to the tool that started this article:

http://kesor.net/keyword-density/