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Keyword Density

 3:32 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Has any of the sites that are ranking well for the latest update checked your keyword density against sites that rank below you?

If so, have you noticed that you have a lower or higher overall density than the sites ranking under you?

This may not be the case, but for the set of SERPS I'm watching, I've noticed that sites with a lower density seem to be out performing sites that are higher in density.



 3:43 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

You think kw density is a factor in the algo? Many good seo's don't. In the traditional sense, I don't think it does.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 5:06 pm (utc) on June 17, 2003]


 3:51 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Repetition of keywords and placement seem to matter, however, keyword density really doesn't play too much of a role. On any given SERP, you can see top 10 sites wiht 1%-20%.

GoogleGuy once stated here that did not believe that having a high keyword density helped with rankings.


 3:52 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

KWD is definitely a significant factor with Google. However, you just can't get very far with Google with high KWD. High KWD works better with other SEs.


 4:06 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

With regard to obtaining a high ranking, density may have little to do with it i agree.

But surely density plays a small part?

If the density was a 100% percent does that not show that the site is a load of tripe and therefore not worth ranking at all, or very very lowly?


 4:11 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have also been checking top 10 positions, some sites have lower page rank than me and lower kwd and they are right up there.

Maybe there is a spam filter? repitition of a certain word equals some sort of ban.

When you use some meta checkers for a site, they always say that repeating a kw more than 3 times is considered spam, and maybe the new google algo is taking that point more seriously?


 4:15 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

this is basically the only thing I think.. I noticed me and one other site that have high keyword density and arent doing well... I think their might be truth to this unless I have some sort of penalty on this site, but keyword density would be the only penalty I could ever think of having... their has to be something with this or similarity between pages on the same site, if their to similiar ... one or the other has to be my problem...


 4:20 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<When you use some meta checkers for a site>>

If you are reffering to meta tags, only the title plays a role with google in terms of ranking.


 4:21 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm trying to determine as to whether or not I might have a density that is to high on the page.

As Brett said, I normally don't even look at density and haven't for a long time. But, I was trying to determine why I dropped like a rock for some terms, and held my own for others.

I feel for the terms I dropped on, I know the links with anchor text I had are no longer counted for whatever reason, and it did impact some of my SERPS. The older more established sites that had a lot of anchor text links prior to Feb seem to of remained steady. I'm trying to see if it has to do with the density of the targeted anchor text I've been using.

To go a bit further, I've noticed for the terms that dropped, an inset page showed up that had a much lower density. It did not show up to replace the position that was lost, but it did show up.

It may be a bit premature since the dance is not done, but I think what is there is a pretty good indication as to how it will settle.

[edited by: mrguy at 4:25 pm (utc) on June 17, 2003]


 4:23 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)


""If you are reffering to meta tags, only the title plays a role with google in terms of ranking""

From what I have been reading, that could be changing


 4:24 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)


I too am seeing some pages drop for keywors where they still rank very high for anchor text search. If you are analyzing on page content, you may want to look at all the factors, not keyword density.

It is very strange I must admit.


 4:25 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<From what I have been reading, that could be changing>>

I highly doubt Google would go back to using the keyword tag for ranking. :) Actually, the only engine that claims to use them at all anymore is INK.

Do what you think is right, however, IMO, I would not waste much time analyzing meta tags...


 4:29 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have also noticed that Freshie indeed is playing a big part in this update.

I'm seeing newly created pages storm into the top with no links, nothing. They are making it strictly with what is on the page.

I've seen it talked about here and there that perhaps anchor text and links in general have been reduced in value for this go around. I think there is some merit to that.

As all of you are, I'm just trying to get a handle on what I need to do to get my pages back to where they were.

So far, I've noticed pages that were doing well for more than say 3 or 4 terms are no longer doing that.


 4:39 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google has hired some pretty smart academic people, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if they've developed an algorithm that can recognize (and discount) unnatural keyword densities.


 5:07 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

>placement seem to matter

Yep, but traditional %on%the%page% density? I don't think it does.

>recognize (and discount) unnatural keyword densities.

Run a density checker across say 30,000 top ranked pages on top sites. It will change your mind about "what is density and how is it calculated" in a big hurry. It is all over the map. Some of the top ranked pages have obscene levels of density, right next to some that have don't even have the kw in the page text. If there is density at work, there are so many qualifiers and exceptions to the rule, that there is little way you could determine which part and where that density played a part in the ranking.


 5:28 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Brett is absolutely correct. We have done extensive research and found no patterns in terms of density. If it is a factor and you have somehow figured it out, all the power to you!

I just looked at a popular keyword today due to this discussion. The #1 page has KWD 16% the #2 has 1.6%.

RFDgxm1 made a good point. I do believe that a somewhat higher keyword density helps an awful lot with INK. Of course, this will only matter if Yahoo starts using INK results in a meaningful way. If that day does come, however, the SEO world will change quite rapidly.


 5:33 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is my perception, based on www-fi SERPs, that repeating a keyword in the title or in anchor text leads to a downgrade in placement. I had a page titled "Widget X ¦ Widget Y" and for searches containing those keywords I've lost 20 places. However, if a third element is entered into the query, such as "Blue Widget Y" I still continue to be in the top 5.

I am thinking of changing my title tag to "Widget X ¦ Y" though "X and Y Widgets" might sound better, but Google's algo (sigh) doesn't recognize "widgets" (plurals) as relevant to queries to my content that are primarily singular.

I will let you all know whether I jump back up into a top spot once a new crawl picks up my revised title tags without the repeated keyword in title and anchor text.


 5:42 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is my perception, based on www-fi SERPs, that repeating a keyword in the title or in anchor text leads to a downgrade in placement.

I had one page on a content site get booted with this last update. The only thing I can see wrong with it was that it had a very high keyword density. Some of the other pages in the site went up or down a bit in the SERPs, but none of the other ones lost 100 positions like this one did. KW density is the only difference I can see between this page and the rest, so I suspect it tripped some kind of new spam filter.


 5:46 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Run a density checker across say 30,000 top ranked pages on top sites. It will change your mind about "what is density and how is it calculated" in a big hurry. It is all over the map.

I should have said "keyword usage patterns" (in the context of natural language patterns) rather than "keyword density."

Also, Google could have a cutoff point beyond which additional keyword density wouldn't be counted. This wouldn't involve a penalty; it would simply prevent blatant keyword repetition from boosting a page's placement for a given keyword or keyphrase.


 5:49 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree with you, Jane_Doe. There is a new filter for certain types of keyword density.


 6:22 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am also seeing a pattern here. Two of my clients appear to be over optimized. I don't think this is KYD alone though, perhaps a combination of KYD and anchor text.


 7:35 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah, it's probably not just KW density alone. The page of mine that dropped didn't have any external links to or from it and it pointed to a page that was light on content and heavy on affiliate links.

Google probably has multicondition code like the credit card companies. Everytime I buy gas and then make a big purchase the credit card companies call me to make sure it was really me using my card. Buying gas alone or making a big purchase doesn't trip the call, but the combo does. It seems thieves like to test the cards out on a small place where they can make a quick exit first, and if they get away with it move onto a bigger purchase right after that.

So the Google folks probably have a large number of conditions they check for, but I do suspect having a keyword density too high is at least one of their negative ranking point criteria.

Anyway, in all honesty it probably wasn't one of my better pages and deserved to get the boot, but it is too bad because it was selling a lot of stuff compared to the time it took to put it up. I've changed the pages around a bit so I suspect the next time it gets indexed it will do much better in the SERPs.


 8:39 pm on Jun 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

I see one page sites that are essentially nothing but keyword link text doing extremely well. They have zilch going for them besides that... weak linking, medicore title tags, low pagerank. Hyperlinked words on the page is all they have, and they have a lot of it, and they rocketed up the serps.


 1:01 am on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

We're all just clutching at straws of course, but there's definitely something going on... I've got one particular site that has bombed for a 2 word phrase post dominic (widgety widgets)and the only factor I can see is that the site was heavily optimised for this phrase. It's what the site sells, so, you know...
I thought Esmerelda might fix it, but no luck. The 'about us' page is now at google Page 5, this is the least optimised page in the site. Explain that. Previously the index page was #4 page one.

A secondary keyword we focus on, we do well for at #4 but the #1 site has no backlinks, the page is just a splash image, no alt text, to text at all on the page, the keyword is mentioned only in the keywords meta tag, once.
So this page that has zero keyword density and no links is getting a #1 ranking. I fail to see how. I fail to make any sense of google anymore. I might stop offering SEO for a few months because I feel like I can't offer any kind of useful service that people couldn't do themselves by sheer dumb luck!


 1:19 am on Jun 18, 2003 (gmt 0)


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