Keyword density refers to the frequency with which a keyword appears on a webpage in relation to the total word count. In the past, keyword density was considered an important ranking factor in SEO, and many professionals would overload their content with target keywords to try and boost their rankings. However, search engines, particularly Google, have evolved to understand the content on a webpage beyond just keyword density. Google has confirmed that keyword density is no longer a ranking factor and that it is more important to focus on delivering the best user experience and providing valuable content.
Google algorithm updates, such as Panda, released in 2011, and Hummingbird, released in 2013, have changed the importance of keyword density in SEO. The Panda update targeted websites with thin or duplicate content and emphasized the value of providing valuable content to users. The Hummingbird update focused on understanding the context and intent behind search queries, rather than just the individual keywords. This shift in algorithms further moved away from keyword density as a primary ranking factor.
RankBrain, introduced in 2015, uses machine learning to understand the meaning behind search queries and focuses on search intent. It looks at the context of words and the entities behind them to determine the user’s search intent. This means that relevant pages can be ranked for a keyword, even if the exact keyword is not present in the content.
Overall, search intent and context are more important SEO factors than keyword density. It is more valuable to include relevant keywords naturally and contextually in well-written content, rather than repeatedly using the same keyword to increase density. Quality content that provides value to users and matches their search intent is more likely to rank highly in search engine results. Semantic search, which analyzes the relationships between entities and understands different variations of keywords, is used by search engines to provide accurate and relevant search results.
In conclusion, keyword density is no longer a key factor in SEO success. Search engines have evolved to understand content beyond just keyword density and now prioritize search intent and the overall quality of the content. It is important to use relevant keywords naturally and contextually in well-written content to provide value to users and improve search engine rankings.