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Thanks for advice.
As far as Google is concerned, your meta description is not important at all and is therefore not even indexed. Many of the other engines are starting to not put any additional weight/boost on these words. Of those that may still do so or those that may just treat them as ordinary page text, then keyword density would become a factor.
So to answer your question ... with all other things considered, the words in the meta description would have the LEAST effect on ranking if any at all.
I am trying to get the balance right between keyword density and copy that will get the searcher to click on my site and am wondering if keyword density is an important ranking factor in the metadescription.
Thanks for your definitive answer Caine! I would be interested to hear other peoples' experience too ;)
The thing is, when I optimize these days, I usually have Google at the top of my mind. And Google often tolerates a higher keyword density than the other engines because their basis is Page Rank and they trust that math so much.
But when that same page gets evaluated by another SE, and it mixes the meta tags into the calculation, a too-high density can easily be the result. So once is definitely enough in the descrip, I'd say, if you're aiming for a one-size-fits-all page.
[BTW, according to one of their engineers, the Google algo doesn't look at keyword or description meta tags at all, not for anything, ever.]