What’s the Latest on Keyword Ratios, and How Do You Calculate Them?


It’s pretty difficult to stay on top of the latest updates to the ever-changing world of SEO, but one issue has really garnered some particular confusion: keyword ratios.

With the issue of keyword ratios as variable as it has been in the world of SEO, it’s often difficult to keep track of the current state of keyword density and how much strength the concept still has in terms of ranking high in organic search results.

What’s the Optimal Keyword Ratio for SEO?

This is somewhat of a trick question, because content marketing experts agree that there truly is no target number that writers should aim for in their content.

Experts Chime In

According to Forbes, marketers are quickly moving away from keyword density as a focal point when creating content, and Google’s Matt Cutts has said that there is no magic number that will help a web page rank.

Keyword Density

SEOBook’s Aaron Wall believes that keyword ratios are part of an overrated and outdated concept for modern SEO, while Brett Tabke offers up what he thinks could be much more useful, one that he refers to as keyword proximity density. As he explains it, modern SEO is concerned much more with where keywords are than how many are crammed into a page. The basic guidelines of the theory of keyword proximity state that keywords should be:

  • On the page
  • In the H1 title
  • Preferably, in the URL
  • In the header of the article
  • Spaced out throughout the piece

When you start to examine where keywords are in your post rather than how many there are, you’ll start to see results in terms of SEO. The most important factor when writing blog posts or website copy is that the information is valuable to the reader, following along with the latest tenets of content marketing.

[ctt template=”4″ link=”f2D34″ via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]Content marketers agree that there truly is no target number you should aim for in your content.[/ctt]

So Are Keyword Ratios Still Relevant?

Don’t take the fact that keyword density is an outdated concept to mean that you shouldn’t worry about keywords at all. You still should, but be aware of your priorities in regards to them. What matters more to the search engines is not the number of keywords on the page, but rather where the keywords are and how they’re used.

If you don’t use a keyword or target phrase at all, your page has no chance of ranking for that word or phrase. Try not to force keywords into the text. Instead, use them where they naturally fit in the body of the content, and always keep value to the reader top of mind.

Related: Why Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords Allow for Better SEO

What’s The Lesson?

Keyword density isn’t a concept you should really be worried about. Instead, spend time focusing on using keywords strategically in accordance with where they are on the page.

In the presentation mentioned above, Matt Cutts wraps it by saying: “In other words, your keywords are important to show Google what you’re talking about.”


Posted in SEO
Drew Berger

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Drew holds a degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics. He has experience writing in the areas of politics, economics, sports and sports business, and product descriptions. He always strives to produce unique content within a given deadline at a high level of quality.

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