Monday, February 6, 2012

Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

OneClick SEO - Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

First, a quick definition for keyword density.
Keyword density is the frequency of a particular search phrase within a body of text or element within a web page. If a keyword phrase appears 100 times within the body of a web page with 1000 words, this frequency represents a keyword density of 10%.

OneClick SEO - Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

How to Test Keyword Density: What Keyphrase to Test?

Our test had a few parameters:
  1. First, the search phrase had to be something that was competitive. We wanted to test a search phrase that the SEO’ers had worked hard to optimize. A competitive phrase was more likely to have been tested and retested to obtain high rankings.
  2. Second, we wanted a phrase from within the world of SEO–again, a phrase that was worked by its handlers, people that are versed in the idea on keyword density.
  3. So, we settled on the phrase “SEO Expert”.
We Googled our sample test phrase and sure enough, the top results were from easily recognized names in the world of SEO. The number 1 result was Brad Fallon’s (of the StomperNet SEO education courses) page,
And here are the top 3 search results for the search phrase “SEO Expert” (using a Chrome browser):

Keyword Density – Running the Analysis

The table that follows shows the keyword density analysis for the top 3 performing pages for “SEO Expert” for a variety of HTML elements. We have also included the total number of on-page words.
Attribute Where “SEO Expert” Appears
(% Keyword Density)
Top10SEOTips (% Keyword Density) Mr.WebGuru (% Keyword Density)
Title Tag 44% 22.2% 28.6%
Body Text 0.1% 4.1% 1%
(Total Words in Body Text) 1744 1228 1366
H1/H2/H3 Tags 0% 23.5% 25%
Link Text 0.2% 11.8 3.1%
Bolded Body Text 0% 40% 0%
Meta Description 0% 14.8% 7.4%
Meta Keywords 0% 100% 0%

What It Means, and Solving the Riddle

These results intrigued me–at first. Top10SEOTips and Mr.WebGuru’s keyword densities, while for the most part relatively equal, bear almost no relation to the number 1 result,
First, with respect to Top10SEOTips and Mr.WebGuru, the results make sense. Sure, there are some differences: Mr.WebGuru has no Meta Keyword for “SEO Expert” and has no bolded body text. Nevertheless, the similarities between these two pages are striking: the keyword densities for Title Tags (22 vs. 28%) Total Word Count (1228 vs. 1366), and H1/H2/H3 Tags (23.5% vs. 25%) are nearly equal.
Meanwhile, Brad Fallon hardly seems to be trying–hence the riddle. Except for a very high keyword density in’s Title Tag, the search phrase hardly appears at all. And, a reading and review of the pages themselves makes quite clear that Top10SEOTips and Mr.WebGuru are highly focused and hyper-optimized pages, while is simply a blog front page which displays his 10 most recent posts.
So why does rank so well for “SEO Expert” when his on-page keyword density on is near zero? The answer lies in the number of backlinks that each page enjoys. Top10SEOTips Mr.WebGuru
Inbound Links/Backlinks 16,178 661 733
As this table shows, enjoys a tremendous number of backlinks, more than 10 times the 2nd and 3rd results combined.’s backlinks obviously “brute forced” the search rankings and pushed it to the top of the results–despite’s lack of specific optimization for the phrase “SEO Expert”.

OneClick SEO - Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

Keyword Density: The Lesson

But we set out to learn about keyword density–we already know backlinks are important. Setting aside, the 2nd and 3rd ranked sites offer a valuable lesson. These highly tested pages are obviously finely honed–and thus the keyword density percentages that appear on these pages are a valuable and reliable benchmark that I’ll use going forward–at least until I can get 16,000 backlinks.

OneClick SEO - Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

Keyword Density Formula = ([Keyword Count]*100)/(Total Word Count]
For example, let’s say that you have a 500 word article about PEZ dispensers, and you are optimizing for “PEZ”
Total Word Count: 500
PEZ keyword uses: 12
“PEZ” density = (12*100)/500
Keyword density for “PEZ” on the page is 2.4%

OneClick SEO - Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

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OneClick SEO - Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

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OneClick SEO - Keyword Density Analysis and Placement

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