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When engaging in on-site optimization (i.e., changing the code and text of your web page to rank highly in the search engines), one of the primary criteria you should use is “keyword density”.

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or phrase appears in an area of a web page divided by the total number of words in that area. For instance, if the word “investment” appears three times in the body section of a web page, and there are a total of 200 words, then the keyword density would 1.5% (3 / 200).

Keyword density must be measured carefully. If it is too low, you will lose out on relevancy for the search phrase. If it is too high, the search engines might think you are trying to spam your way into their indexes, and you will be penalized. A good target to shoot for might be 3 – 5%. We recommend not going much above 5%. 10% is probably too high. For a more accurate analysis of what your keyword density should be, you should compare the keyword density in the body (and other sections) of your web pages to web pages that already rank high for a particular search phrase. This is a good strategy in general – mimic, and then improve upon, what sites are doing that already rank highly for your desired search phrases.

You should measure your keyword density separately in different parts of your web page – the body, the title, header tags, alt tags, etc. Each of these will be considered separately in ranking your site. You can calculate keyword density manually by counting the words, or you can use any number of software or online tools. Your target keyword density for your page title and other “short” elements, such as headers, will be different from the body copy. In your title, try to maximize keyword density without repeating the keywords. For example, if your target keyword is “Los Angeles Real Estate”, then that exact phrase would make a good title, which would give you a keyword density of 100% for that phrase.

Here is a good free tool to use that calculates keyword density as well as other information about your site:


Any good search engine optimization suite of tools will have a keyword density checker. If you need help implementing a successful search engine optimization campaign for your business, call Work Media at 888-299-4837 or email us at info@workmedia.net.