1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

SEO Myth Busting 01 - Keyword Density

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by hacko, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. hacko

    hacko Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    350
    Home Page:
    It's that time of the month again, so I got me a six pack again and about to drop some knawledge on y'all. I'm going to talk about keyword density and why Google couldn't give less of a fuck about it these days.

    First of all, don't get me wrong. Keywords are important. Disregard them and you're obviously screwed. However, keyword density really isn't. We're done with that. It's gone, bye, ciao, sayonara.

    Why, you ask?
    Google is still just an algorithm - it just isn't so stupid nowadays. Whether you have your keyword in your article 0.5% or 1.5% of the full word count doesn't matter at all. What if your keyword was five words, compared to three? Is there a magical number? Do you need more content in order to have the perfect keyword density to match the number of words? Do qualifiers and stop words count? These are all stupid questions that we shouldn't be asking ourselves - at least not anymore.

    If anything, mentioning "why do I have a wart on my balls" multiple times in your ball warts article is only going to hurt your ranks. It doesn't look natural at all (then again, are warts?) and probably even having it in your content more than once could hurt your ranks.

    An IRL Example
    You don't have to take my word on this. Let's take a look at one of the more popular drones out there, the DJI Phantom 4. The keyword "DJI Phantom 4 Review" has 2900 monthly searches and KWFinder gives it a difficulty of 57. While I'm all about manually double checking your keywords and SERPs, anything over 40 competitiveness I'll take KWFinder's word on it I would never waste my time with it.

    So, let's see who actually IS ranking for it.

    We have TheVerge.com on #1 with https://www.theverge.com/2016/3/10/11193354/dji-phantom-4-drone-review

    Where is the keyword found on their page? It's in the H1 heading and the permalink of the page and that's it. Go ahead and do a CTRL + F to see how many times you find it.

    On #4 we have https://www.wired.com/2016/04/review-dji-phantom-4/ - they don't even have the keyword anywhere - not in this particular order of words, anyway. There H1 heading says "Review: DJI Phantom 4" and that's in their permalink also. Google knows what this page is about even if you don't have the exact words arranged the way All-in-one SEO and Yoast would tell you to do so. And I bet if you went and re-optimized everything doing what these plugins recommend, it wouldn't change shit.


    The Business Insider page on #9 - same thing. You won't find the exact keyword even once.

    So, what DOES actually matter?
    Headings
    Mr @Ste Fishkin's husband would probably disagree with me on this, but hear me out. Headings do fucking matter. Why wouldn't you want your keyword in your title? I've had low competition keywords rank on the first couple pages with almost no content JUST by having the proper title/heading/permalink structure. Rand can fuck off (not really, I think he's great).

    This is especially important with lower competition keywords. Get your headings right and tell Google what your site is about and you might actually rank better.

    I personally like to target the main keyword in an H1 and a bunch of secondary/long tail ones in H2 headings. @validseo made a great thread on this https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/kicking-your-ass-with-data.918419/ - he basically says that H2 headings do matter, and it's based on data.


    Permalinks

    This one is rather stupid, but it is what it is. Same as headings, your URL does tell Google what a certain page is about. It isn't that hard to do right - so do it.

    Meta

    The meta title is usually the H1 heading (as in the drone sites examples above). However, having "DJI Phantom 4 Review" in the meta description may or may not look natural. Google already knows what your site is about if you have it in a heading, title and permalink. You don't have to keep repeating it.

    Relevancy

    This is a huge one. Having a robotic article with no relevant content and supporting keywords won't cut in anymore. You need RELEVANT, engaging content. Mention as many features and do as many comparisons as you can. Having other relevant keywords will tell Google that your article might actually help someone. You will also rank for a bunch of long tail keywords you never intended to rank for.

    Exact match keywords in the domain name don't matter neither. Niche relevant keywords do - a partial match domain will often do better than an exact match. You see the same thing happening with content.

    Authority
    Last but not least. Like it or not, this is where all SEO is going. Consumer Reports will rank for everything and anything while barely mentioning the keyword itself and you shitty new little site won't. Accept this now and start building up authority in a niche you want to dominate tomorrow or you will cry with every next algo update.

    Wrapping up
    It hurts me to see plugins like Yoast SEO (which is actually great, by the way) still take keyword density into consideration. It's not a thing anymore bro, get over it.

    Before anyone starts bitching - yes, there are going to be cases when you will have the absolute perfect 1.5% keyword density and the site will be ranking well. Doesn't mean it's ranking well because of keyword density and correlation doesn't equal causation. Just because you see all the page 1 sites ranking for "best toilets" have the perfect onpage keyword density for that keyword, it doesn't mean that their "good" keyword density has anything to do with it, nor does it mean that a higher density isn't actually hurting their ranks.

    Keyword density isn't a thing anymore. Stop wasting your time on it.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 11
  2. Zwielicht

    Zwielicht Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Messages:
    7,119
    Likes Received:
    12,569
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Reaper
    Location:
    Riverside, California
    Home Page:
    Thread Moved
     
  3. Nargil

    Nargil Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,624
    Likes Received:
    2,968
    Location:
    Europe
    Home Page:
    Sorry, but I do not agree with most of the things in the article. Been working and tweaking my densities for years and it's (miraculously), one of the aspects that Google hasn't changed at all in years. And yes, this comes from experience and is not based on theory.

    You can't compare densities of authority sites with some crappy affiliate sites that 98% of IMers are trying to rank. Authority sites rank without barely mentioning the keyword and yes, that's what they do and that's why it's so hard to outrank them. If they had correct density, outranking would be even harder. Try to compare some crappy affiliate sites, let's see what results will you get there. You can't be like "Oh, nobody targets this particular long tail of the keyword, I will rank!". No. It doesn't work like that anymore. Google understands the content, including synonyms and so on, so it is pretty hard to target particular long tails like we did in the past, like "Best hair brush for bald people", when there's gazzilion sites ranking for "best hair brush" and expecting to rank it with just EMD, no. Not anymore. However, that does not change anything about the fact that there are ideal keyword densities and always will be.

    Every niche has it's own ideal density, that's how Google works. Compare hack crack niches, compare some "calm" amazon niches, compare wordpress theme niches and there will be a world of difference between them.

    With hacks cracks, Google wants higher densities, because that's "natural" for the given niche, with Amazon it's the other way around etc. The worse the density, the more backlinks and authority you need and vice versa. I could rank for some 2K+ a month amazon keywords with just decent content and densities without barely any backlinks. That would not be possible if my densities were crap.

    I would also expect some bigger case study if you are here to claim these things. Checking two authority sites is obviously not enough.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 13
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  4. BloodyNinja

    BloodyNinja Power Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2013
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    559
    Location:
    Deeptown
    That's the key problem.
    By trying to tune such things as keyword density, affiliates are turning their sites into an unreadable promotional shit.
    Authority websites write for people, thus get natural links and shares from people.
    If you want to outrank authority sites, you need to prioritize building authority over improving SEO.
    This is the case where seemingly longer route is actually the shortest one.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  5. Nargil

    Nargil Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,624
    Likes Received:
    2,968
    Location:
    Europe
    Home Page:
    I agree here. Many sites can be fairly undreadable when people stuck the keywords randomly. It's quite an art to have both good densities and nicely flowing content. However, the advantage it provides is massive and I spend a lot of time screwing with my content to achieve this.
     
  6. abhi007

    abhi007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    5,797
    Likes Received:
    3,918
    Location:
    Theatre of dreams :)
    Well what niche are your facts based on?

    I for one have to agree with the OP on what he has shared. You have to understand that it varies according to the industry.

    Every niche has it's own ideal density

    You both are actually right as you too have tested stuff but one just goes into more detail.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  7. Nargil

    Nargil Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,624
    Likes Received:
    2,968
    Location:
    Europe
    Home Page:
    I don't have to understand buddy, because I already understand and I literally said that in that post you quoted. :)

    And it's based on any niche you can come up with. Had been working with spammy churn and burn parasite niches for years, now it's mostly long term stuff. There are ideal densities.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  8. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,185
    Likes Received:
    7,833
    Home Page:
    Like I said the other day, I think keyword density is becoming more like meta keyword tags - Google are starting to look at other ways of checking relevance because they know its too easy to manipulate. I think they are working more now on context, related keywords and subjects as a whole.

    In contrast to the example that you gave, I am currently targeting a keyword, 5400 searches per month, and the top result for it has the exact keyword mentioned 35 times in their content.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  9. RealGibson

    RealGibson Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2017
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    24
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    SEO Advisor
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Let's take high authority sites that naturally gets hundreds, if not thousands of backlinks every day, each time they post an article and rely on them for accurate keyword density metrics. /s

    Keyword structure matters, keyword density is probably a little grey in regards to "what's the correct % to optimize for", but if you can weave your keyword naturally throughout your content, it works very well and I have yet to see any signs of it's demise.
     
  10. Ste Fishkin

    Ste Fishkin BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Messages:
    2,058
    Likes Received:
    5,007
    Google are getting better and better at learning language, this doesn't seem to take into effect that it's pretty easy to tell the difference between "review" pages and ecommerce pages or other types of pages which may mention your product so having an exact match with "review" on the end really isn't all that important.

    For example analysing breadcrumbs on the page can easily determine this is a review article.

    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile on the verge page you mentioned there is a fuck load of partial match keywords which aren't really taken into account.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
  11. T2tkid

    T2tkid Elite Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    3,801
    Likes Received:
    1,732
    I agree with hacko. I mentioned this sometime ago, where a site has the keyword in the post title and description only. Nowhere on the article, still it is ranking first for its KW.
    Who look at what Yoast plugin when it comes to KW density again? If you mention your KW twice or thrice in your article, it is more than enough.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  12. nodyguy

    nodyguy Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    716
    Likes Received:
    174
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Algo? Let's play with you.
    You can't take facts just by analizing authority sites, it is not a fair test.
    You can easily claim that links are not needed because there are authority sites on page 1 without links to the exact URL.

    IMO, KW destiny doesn't really matter and there is not a magic number, just make sure article flow is good and it is easy to understand what's the article about by using LSI's and longtails.

    I actually updated some old pages of mine with ~1.5% destiny to ~0.2% destiny and I haven't seen any real different yet (Old content was sux and the new article was perfect with many LSI's and longtails, so it isn't a fair test too)
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
  13. hacko

    hacko Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    350
    Home Page:
    That just proves that there are going to be cases of both low and higj keyword density and both can rank, which means keyword density doesn't matter. Is this a 1 -2 word keyword? 35 times sounds like way too much.

    You can't, but authority sites are what you want to be building so why not follow what they are doing? We're trying to outrank those exact same authority sites - having the keyword mentioned a few extra times won't do that.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  14. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2011
    Messages:
    10,185
    Likes Received:
    7,833
    Home Page:
    4 word phrase. Yea I was shocked when I see that density.
     
  15. hacko

    hacko Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    350
    Home Page:
    You seem to be making claims just as bald. FIrst of all, these two sentences contradict each other. Also, isn't it a little naive to assume that the people behind the authority sites don't know what they're doing when it comes to keyword density, and that their is a correct keyword density for them to have that would make their sites harder to outrank? So what is that correct keyword density? I'd say that keyword placement matters, and density doesn't. Prove me wrong.

    Again, I did say that there will be websites on the opposite end of the spectrum that will also be ranking. Doesn't mean keyword density has anything to do with it.

    Even if I'm wrong, saying that there will always be ideal keyword densities is definitely not true. Everything is moving towards relevancy and authority and websites and business that don't adopt will fall behind. We can do real SEO and focus on what matters, or focus on what the "ideal" keyword density for every niche out there is, which to me is irrelevant and unachievable.

    Not true. That's NOT what Google wants. Google doesn't adapt to every niche out there. Keyword densities in these niches are only that way because the people ranking for those niches build their sites that way - most of the time that's all they know and I wouldn't take CPA sites to be the standard for anything since I've seen enough teenagers make money with them. A legitimate usable github bot/script will often outrank a fake "Agar.io hack" or whatever even though it may or may not mention the keyword.

    Also, checking two authority sites was me trying to prove a point without analyzing the entire Internet - it means that authority sites can afford not to care about keyword density. That should be what everyone should strive for - building enough authority to make it irrelevant, even if it still is (which I don't think is the case). If you care about keyword density, you're doing it wrong.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  16. Nargil

    Nargil Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,624
    Likes Received:
    2,968
    Location:
    Europe
    Home Page:
    I am not doing claim just as bald. I have to run now, otherwise I would show you a few examples. It's not naive, big sites do not care. Amazon doesn't care about keyword density, nor onsite SEO of particular pages. Neither do big ecommerce sites. They simply do not have to, because they rank with sheer authority, even if they mention just a partial match keyword once. I do not have to prove anyone wrong, I honestly do not care. It's you going against things, that most people agree with. The burden of proof is on your shoulders buddy, not mine, and so far you are not handling it too well. Placement matters just as density matters.

    If I have a small 50 pager niche site, I couldn't care less about "authority" nor "relevancy". I am here to rank, I am here to make money and I want to rank as cheap as possible. With perfect onsite SEO and densities, I need less backlinks. This is pure pragmatism, it's not about "Google ideals" about which I couldn't care less. To you it might be irrelevant, fine, to me it saves thousands of bucks.

    As already mentioned, if I rank small sites, I do not care about authority, trust, relevancy, anything. I am here to make money and take whatever advantage I can. This is not Warrior forum and there's way too many "trust" "authority" "relevancy" kind of keywords that make me a bit bloated.

    Uhm... so people built sites particular way, okay, now they rank, okay, so that to me is a pretty good proof of the fact that Google adapts. If Google wouldn't want these KW stuffed sites on first positions, it would penalise them for overoptimisation and put different, less stuffed sites there. But it doesn't, because keyword stuffed sites are the standard of that particular niche. Same applies to ideal anchor texts for example. There are standards for every niche and I am not pulling this out of my ass. You can read another opinion about ideal anchors here - https://www.blackhatworld.com/seo/5...vice-inside-15-000-words.821874/#post-8654217

    As you can see from posts in this thread, I suppose most of us make money wrong then. Also, pretty bold claim, considering you checked two sites and otherwise just quote Google guidelines. Well, your call.

    I advise you to read this old guide from Phpbuilt, which is still pure gold and works perfectly to this day. It also explains the importance of placement, which matters as well. - https://www.sendspace.com/file/ximzjp

    Especially this image here is fairly relevant:

    [​IMG]

    It basically means, that the better your onsite SEO, where densities play a huge factor, the less links you need and vice versa.

    Alright, that should be enough proofs on my end on a short notice.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2017
  17. redarrow

    redarrow Elite Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2013
    Messages:
    5,164
    Likes Received:
    1,171
    i give up on telling ppl the inportance of basic seo before jumping to advance stuff ppl just dont care ,

    whap app you use for keyword/page destoney

     
  18. javabro

    javabro Power Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Messages:
    631
    Likes Received:
    674
    Gender:
    Male
    umm. I dont know much about SEO. but the keyword I try to rank.
    #2 site using the keyword 51 times. Freaking 51 times.
    It is NOT a hacking/cracking/cpa site. A very competitive niche.
     
  19. Nargil

    Nargil Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    May 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4,624
    Likes Received:
    2,968
    Location:
    Europe
    Home Page:
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  20. widowermark

    widowermark Newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Good points raised and helpful too. Basically keyword densities appear to be the obsession of new affiliate marketers which authority sites dont focus upon that much.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1