SevenCubed - 6:19 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)
Keyword density is very much alive and well. The problem is that too many people simplify the definition of keyword density by thinking it is a simple matter of counting the number of times a keyword appears on a page.
When I write a page of text I first write it as I would speak it. Then I subject it to hours of analysis and editing until I get it to fall into my sweet spot. I will not reveal how or what it is all about but I have 2 values I aim for -- 3% and 75%. They are 2 different metrics that compliment each other and extremely difficult to achieve in balance. Most times I can get the 3% right where I want it but the other metric typically falls between 70%-74%. When that balance is achieved (3-75) magic happens.
I will say this much; critical density of your keywords is diluted by overuse of "stop words" such as "the, and, you, your, they, their...". Yes search engines do ignore them but they cannot compensate for the percentage of weight that those words have gobbled up. If you remove those excessive repetitions your targeted keyword weight increases naturally.
Analyze any top placing sites and you will see this as a very common denominator. My methods go deeper than that, but a guy has to keep a little bit of secret sauce to himself to indulge in :p