A concern I hear very frequently from prospects and new SEO audit consulting clients is about keyword frequency—they want to know how many times a particular keywords needs to be incorporated into a piece of content for that content to be considered well optimized. My answer is always the same: keyword density does not equal good SEO! Even if you aren’t actively stuffing your content with keywords (a black hat tactic that the search engines are cracking down on), calculating out your keywords isn’t going to make a mediocre piece of content any better for either the reader or your SEO.

The number one rule of content marketing is to always write for a human reader first and the search engines second. Most of the time, a well-written piece of content that was created with the reader is mind is going to be fairly well optimized because the most important keyword will just be naturally incorporated into the content. When you’re trying to write a piece of content, be it a blog post, new product page, article or whatever, sitting there and counting out the keyword density is just going to make the writing process that much harder. Since most site owners and marketers I talk with (especially in the B2B realm) say producing content is the hardest part of their content marketing campaigns, why would you make it any harder on yourself by counting keywords!

Calculating your keywords might negatively impact the user experience of your content as well. When you are trying to force a certain keyword into your content where it doesn’t flow or fit well within the rest of the sentence, it reads wrong. For instance, which sentence reads better: Brick Marketing is a Boston SEO firm or Brick Marketing is a SEO firm Boston. “SEO firm Boston” is still a valid keyword, but it doesn’t make sense in that sentence. If I was trying to target “SEO firm Boston” in this piece of content and HAD to get it in 8 times, I’m actually shooting myself and my content in the foot.

Another problem with calculating keywords is that site owners forget to diversify their anchor text. They get so focused on ranking well in the search engines for a particular keyword or keyword phrase that all the content the produce is focused on that one keyword. While there is nothing wrong with using the same anchor text in various pieces of content, you don’t want it to be the same keyword in everything piece of content you create! Even if you aren’t trying to manipulate the search engines, a site that only targets one or two keywords in their anchor text is going to attract the wrong kind of attention from the search engines. You want to diversify your anchor text and prevent your site from being penalized. For instance, I might target “SEO company,” “SEO agency,” or “SEO firm” (along with a laundry list of other keywords) in my content. Each of those variations is still an accurate description of my company and will drive targeted traffic to my site, but I’m not risking a penalty by only focusing on one keyword. A strong and consistent content marketing campaign will give you ample of opportunities to target each keyword plenty of times—there is no need to count them out in each piece of content you write!

About the Author – Nick Stamoulis

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a Boston SEO solutions company. With nearly 13 years of SEO experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting to the Brick Marketing Web Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 150,000 opt-in subscribers.

Contact Nick Stamoulis at 781-999-1222 or nick@brickmarketing.com

One Response to “Stop Calculating Your SEO Keywords!”

  1. cindy says:


    You may want to review your sentence structure (i.e., last paragraph), especially considering the subject matter of your blog!

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