How Many SEO Keywords Should I Use?
There is a misconception that search engine optimization (SEO) is all about which keywords you target and how many you use. While it is important to target the right keywords for your website, keyword density is less important than how those keywords are used.
There is no single answer to the question “How many keywords should I use?”, but there are strategies for determining where to use these keywords in order to get your content to rank.
Below, we’ll dive into what keyword density is, whether it matters for your website SEO, and what techniques you can use to optimize your content the right way.
Keyword Density in SEO
Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword is used in a given page or post and is expressed as a percentage of the overall word count of the web page.
For example, if a target keyword is used 10 times in a 1000-word article, the keyword density would be 0.01, or 1%.
Marketers and website owners have long looked to keyword density as an indicator of whether a web page is optimized. But with Google’s BERT algorithm becoming smarter about the context of the terms used, using a specific keyword a certain number of times is becoming less important.
Does Keyword Density Matter?
In a sense, yes. Obviously, you want to use your target keyword throughout your content in order to get your content to rank.
While most sources recommend 1-2% keyword density, there is no hard rule for what you need to hit in order for your content to be considered optimized.
Be wary of trying to shoehorn a keyword into your content in order to hit a certain percentage. Instead, you should focus on the value you are providing to the user and whether your content provides a good solution to their search query.
How Many Keywords Should I Optimize My Content for?
You should not disregard keyword density altogether, because you still need to include your keywords throughout your content in the right way. While many SEOs have thrown out the idea of keyword density, you can find an opportunity to write user-friendly, optimized content.
In short, the number of keywords you use in your content depends on your ability to use those keywords naturally and follow best practices laid out by reliable content optimization tools.
Keyword Density and Content Optimization Tools
Most SEO content optimization tools assess some form of keyword density in order to ensure that you use your target keywords throughout your content. Many of them aim for 1-2%, but you are not required to hit this target.
These same tools might also suggest that you use semantically related keywords throughout your content for further optimization as well. This suggested density (and the recommended keywords) are often based on what is included in the top-ranking pages.
Best Keyword Density Tools to Use
Here are some keyword density tools you can use to optimize your content for your target keywords, based on data from the top pages in the search results:
Each of these tools allows you to analyze your existing content based on the keyword you want to target, and then you can reach recommendations for how to further optimize your content. Many of them also offer additional features such as recommended word count, related keywords, heading usage, and more.
How to Use Keywords in Your Content
The above keyword density tools will give you recommendations for how to use your target keywords throughout your content, but most of these recommendations are based on existing SEO best practices.
In terms of using keywords in your content, you should:
- Use your target keyword in your page title
- Use your target keyword in the URL (if possible)
- Use your target keyword or related keywords in your H1, H2, and H3 headings
- Use your target keyword, naturally, throughout your body content
The goal is to write content that effectively answers what the user was searching for while being sure to include your target keywords in a natural way. This way, you can rank in the search results and provide valuable information to your target audience.
Optimize Your Content for SEO Keywords
The key to optimizing your content isn’t using the right number of keywords – it’s using the right keywords in the right way. The best way to find the right keywords and know how to use them throughout your content is to gain a better understanding of on-page SEO.
Whether you are just getting started with SEO or simply need a refresher, you can check out our wealth of free resources to take your strategy to the next level. Be sure to check out our SEO blog for more tips, tools, and tutorials.