|Matt Cutts: Is Keyword Density Dead?|
Keyword density within <body></body> might have lost its effect on Ranking
Matt is a man of surprises! In his later post and a comment SEO Advice: Writing useful articles that readers will love [mattcutts.com], I feel that he mightbe signaling new tendency in the way Google ranks pages.
SEO specialists use to (and still are) pay much attention to "manage" the targeted keyword density, on the body of pages. However, I see Matt is indicates, between the lines, that its no more of importance.
Please don't get wrong. I'm not saying that the important keywords shouldn't be within the body as part of SEO. What I'm saying is that the density isn't an issue anymore.
Density hasn't been an issue for some time now. (years) And when I speak about keyword density I mean title, body, link text, etc. Write naturally. Create copy that is compelling and useful. Use descriptive titles. If a keyword can be used naturally in the title, use it, but don't use it more than needed.
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Health Insurance Rates - Health Insurance For Seniors - Sarasota Health Insurance Bad
The key is to anticpate what search engine engineers use as their criteria for ranking. So be wary of techniques that seem too easy, make manipulation too prevalent.
KWD and hyphens in domain names would be two areas that I would take a close look at. There's a reason it's Google.com and not fantastic-search-engine.com
Keyword density IS and WILL BE very much important.
It would be silly to believe everything that Cutts is saying (or implying)...
If you want average ranking, yes, you can do it the "natural way".
If you want to be on the top, you'll have to get "close to line" and in some cases to cross it... this is especially true in my industry (adult)...
You are right. I agree with you. I have noticed this as well. It IS still very much important. I am in a battle with our competitors right now with this exact thing. The keyword we are targeting is EXTREMELY competitive and lucrative.
Our competitors actively use those techniques talked against and WIN, plain and simple. We do NOT use it to the extent our competitors use it and we still come up good, yet below.
I refuse to use garbage like they use, but it is most certainly apparent that it STILL works in Google. My .02...
[edited by: WiseWebDude at 8:37 pm (utc) on Aug. 23, 2006]
There seems to be no other on-page factor with more oomph than keyword density, besides keywords in the TITLE tag. More repetition = higher ranking. Exact density doesn't seem to matter as much as the number of times a keyword is repeated, though I only tested up to around 14%.
According to Matt, if you're shooting for low competition/long tail, on-page factors are all you need. Unfortunately, when I aim for long tail, I often end up smack in the middle of over-optimized, bottom-fishing spam.
First off, if you're targeting one keyword, you're fighting the wrong battle, you're at the mercy of ranking for one keyword and you're missing out on the long-tail and some of the most lucrative traffic on the web.
Secondly, if you can prove that your competitors are beating you in the SERPs because of one factor, and that factor is keyword density, I'm all ears. If it were that easy, I'd simply find the keyword density of the best ranking sites, mimic it and be done with it. It doesn't work that way. Even if it did work that way, soon all the competitors would have the exact same KWD and a new 'sweet spot' would have to be determined. And on, and on.
You have some good points and, of course, we are not targeting just one keyword; that would be ludicrous. Actually I was talking about the Title tags and not so much the keyword density.
These competitors repeat the same keyword around 3 - 4 times in the title tag (and as many times as they can on top left of page, including h1) and win. It actually sucks because then when you type in that keyword in Google all of the results look almost identical.
Someday that will be straightened out, but it still remains today.
Keyword density hasn't mattered much in years. What matters a lot more is using what Google has decided are related words.
I've got a blog entry that suddenly started getting a lot of traffic on a big money keyphrase. Both words appear, but one of them only once in the body of the text. The subject matter is right on for the search results, but google is unlikely to have figured that out without an understanding of synonymous phrases. I displaced a lot of sites that were concentrating on that exact phrase, to the point of reading unnaturally.
You might get away with concentrating on keyword density if there is no one credible that is writing naturally on the subject, but don't count on it staying that way.
There is no such this as keyword density in title tag - you should only only use keyword/phrase in title once (preferably in the first place). If you need some variation - create another page! I have never heard of anybody getting any benefit from repeatting keywords in the title...
On the page, however, I've gotten some of the pages up to 17% on one keyword - with good success... That sounds very spammy (and it is...), but I did good have a good reason for this... TBW - the first 10 on google for my keyword (adult) - have 10%+ density on their page for that keyword... Cutts is so full of it... who is he kidding...
Again, don't try this at home! Create another site for exprimental purposes and put different density pages on it...
>>what Google has decided are related words
And that continues to increase in importance. Extend LSA to link text as well. Forget KWD, start working on concept density.
What matters a lot more is using what Google has decided are related words.
I have a page in german language ranking well for (translated) "country vacation", which doesn't contain the word "vacation" at all, neither on-page nor in any external anchor text that I'm aware of. The words actually present and primarily targeted are "country", "travel", "tours", and "adventure".
Now that's not an extremely competitive search, because said country is not very well travelled, but I found the observation fascinating anyway. It means that you can rank with zero keyword density, provided the concept matches.
Francisco Franco continues his battle to stay dead.
|I've got a blog entry that suddenly started getting a lot of traffic on a big money keyphrase. Both words appear, but one of them only once in the body of the text. The subject matter is right on for the search results, but google is unlikely to have figured that out without an understanding of synonymous phrases. I displaced a lot of sites that were concentrating on that exact phrase, to the point of reading unnaturally. |
Good point. I've seen that happen with some of my blog pages as well. Front page of a blog on page one for all related target/long-tail searches. Barely any incoming links, no internal links (only one page indexed), low KWD, yet the page ranks and has held its position for over 8 months.
Still, this is a worn out debate, and the answer ultimately depends on your niche and the type of website you own.
"What matters a lot more is using what Google has decided are related words."
Agree with BigDave on this. Synonym's and "themed" content are the key.
Well, DG, I gotta' say that you've coined the perfect term. Short, sweet and covers it all.
|If you want average ranking, yes, you can do it the "natural way". |
If you want to be on the top, you'll have to get "close to line" and in some cases to cross it...
It's a better business practice to have tons of #2 and #3 for years than to have a #1 for three weeks and fall rolling in the river and start again with another pack of domains, another set of tricks, just to cross another red line and fall rolling...
... Yeah, stable #2 and #3 is way better then unstable #1.
Accept, in my industry (adult) first 10 are ALL unstable - every couple of weeks everything change - pretty much everybody get kick out - and other 10 come in! It's totally different inviroment from other (regular) SERPs - I have to think multi-dimensional - so I have few sites - one on the top others on 3-4 page below. When the first gets kicked out - the one that was below usually comes in on its place...
Then the work of figuring out what happen begins - I change the one that got kicked out - adjust title, add/remove links, adjust density, add/remove subdomains -- many times I will change the whole site - different tamplate, different everything...
Lately google has added an extra "dimension": new'ness of the site is important - now I have register and create new site every couple of weeks - for a little while this new site will get a "freshness" boost - then another one 2 weeks later...
Hey, they started it (google did)! Don't even think of blaming me for this - I'm just trying to stay ahead in the super competative markets: viagra / sex / casions...