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Number of Keywords on a Page

Aug 17, 2007
One of the most accepted ways to catch the eye of a search engine spider is to optimize the number of keywords on a Web page. By keywords, we mean the core subject described on the Web page, or a particular word or phrase a person wants the search engine to find in cyberspace.

For the best SEO results, the keywords must be repeated at least three to four times within a page of text. There are no defined limits to the number of times the keywords can be used, but ideally they must not be used too often or too infrequently. For keyword phrases (combinations of several keywords), you must take care that the keyword phrases are repeated several times throughout the text, with each of word in the phrase appearing in the exact order every time. Additionally, each word in the keyword phrase must be used often and independently elsewhere in the text.

For example, if the keyword phrase is "SEO optimization," the whole phrase should be used a number of times in the text body, and the individual words "SEO" and "optimization" should appear spread throughout the text independently a number of times. As a rule of thumb, if the key phrase "SEO optimization" is used 10 times, the individual word "SEO" can be used 7 times and "optimization" can appear 5 times. This is not a set pattern, but it represents the general picture of keyword/key phrase distribution.

Another way to describe the number of keywords on a page is the term "keyword density." In fact, this is how Web designers explain the arrangement of keywords on a Web page. Keyword density denotes the frequency of times a keyword appears in the given text. It is usually expressed in percentages. For example, a keyword appearing 6 times on a page of 100 words has a keyword density of 6 percent.

Paying attention to keyword density is important because if the keyword density is too low, search engines pay scant attention to the page. Likewise, if a keyword density that is too high could invite trouble if the search engines regard it as spam and activate the spam filter for that particular Web page. If the latter occurs, Google will penalize the Web page and demote the Web site's ranking. Very simply, maintaining keyword density is like a tightrope walk, with very little room for error. It is hit or miss at its very best!

For optimal search engine response, keyword density on a particular Web page must ideally hit between 5 and 7 percent. In the case of keyword phrases, the total density of the individual words in the phrase must also fall within these limits. Anything more than 7 percent could be counterproductive, as it is detrimental to your SEO success and also spoils the readability of the page's content.

Another aspect of keyword use that could ratchet up your success with search engine response is the number of keywords used intelligently at the start of the page or in the headings. Search engines generally place more weight on keyword density at the upper portion of a Web page. Also, keywords used in the title tag, those in strong/bold font, and keywords or key phrases featuring links to other pages could influence search results phenomenally.

To conclude, keywords are vital for improving the rankings of any Web page. But you must use caution to use them often enough to positively affect the search results, but not so often that the spiders consider them spam. Once Google or other search engines penalize a Web page for its contents or ungentlemanly behavior, it becomes very difficult to regain the lost ground
About the Author
Scott White is a SEO Specialist in Ranking Websites Gain More Traffic, Learn how to rank your website at the top swhite@seotutorialprogram.com. Also: www.seotutorialprogram.com.
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