Keyword density is an important part of your SEO strategy. Other than putting out relevant content, ranking for your primary keywords helps your site climb up SERPs.

So it shouldn’t surprise you – a lot of advice on SEO revolves around keywords. Select the right keywords and ranking for them will in turn boost traffic and increase sales.

But how many keywords should you use? Can you use too many keywords? How can you calculate keyword density? And what if the search engine gods determine that your site has too many keywords?

Our guide will talk about what keyword density is, all the ways it matters and how to implement it so you can reach your SEO goals.

What is keyword density?

Keyword density is essentially how many times a target keyword is used on a page relative to the total number of words. It is a ratio or percentage; the more your keyword appears on a page, the higher the number.

Keyword density is one factor search engines use to determine if a piece of content is relevant to the particular keyword or keyphrase.

Why does keyword density matter?

Keywords are what drive searches. How do you search for a product or service? You’ll use keywords that reflect your intent, and let the search engine do its job.

While Google now takes into consideration factors like your location and domain authority, keywords are still an important factor in a website’s success.

However, you can’t just put in a bunch of keywords in all of your content and think that it will work. This is known as keyword stuffing. 

What is keyword stuffing?

In the early days, keyword stuffing was a notorious black hat SEO technique. You’ve probably come across it before – brands would write content that very often didn’t make any sense and stuff it full of keywords, while linking to similarly over-stuffed pages. Unsurprisingly, users were frustrated and search engines had to change something.

While keyword stuffing is uncommon today, a page may unintentionally keyword stuff if its keyword density percentage is too high. You’ll want to avoid that, as search engines will penalize page rankings and remove the page from SERPs.

What is an ideal keyword density?

While there’s no one-size-fit-all advice apart from “no keyword stuffing”, most SEO experts advise using about one keyword every 200 words. An ideal keyword density is between 1-2%.

Let’s also not forget the usefulness of keyword close variants – similar words or phrases, but not the same as your target keyword. 

For example, let’s say you’re selling patio flooring. While your main keyword would be “patio flooring”, stuffing this keyword will instead sabotage your SEO efforts.

Instead, consider close variants like “outdoor flooring” or “garden flooring” can improve your SERP rankings without keyword stuffing.

Not sure on what keyword variants to use for your business? Search for your primary keyword and scroll to the bottom of the Google SERP. Check out the “related searches” section. Google understands intent, so the “related searches” section will reflect your keyword’s similar terms.

How is keyword density calculated?

The formula for calculating keyword density is straightforward.

Simply take the number of times your keyword appears on a page and divide it by the total number of words on the page.

Number of times primary keyword appears / Number of words on a webpage = Keyword density

But while you can calculate keyword density all by yourself, this can take up unnecessary time and waste resources, especially as your website grows and page volume increases.

Which brings us to…

Keyword density tools

Here some tools that can help you streamline your process instead of manually checking your keyword density.

SEO Review Tools – Keyword Density Checker

This free tool is browser-based – no need to download a software. Simply key in your site’s URL or input your page’s text, then complete the CAPTCHA to check your keyword density check. This tool doesn’t come with the capabilities and in-depth analytics of other options on this list, but it’s useful and fuss-free if you just want an overview of your keyword density.

Yoast SEO Plugin

If your website is powered by WordPress, you can use the Yoast SEO Plugin to assess keyword density within your post editing page. It checks if you’re using your keyword or keyphrase too often, or not enough in your text. How it grades you also depends on how long your keyword is. If you are trying to rank for a keyphrase, Yoast understands that it might be more difficult to use it the same amount of times than if you are just using a keyword. This means that you don’t have to use a longer keyphrase as often as a shorter keyword or keyphrase.


SEMrush is powerful tool for online visibility and content marketing. It is made up of a bunch of SEO tools to help finetune your marketing strategy. For example, it is able to conduct competitor analysis and make suggestions on how you can improve your keywords usage. There is also an SEO Writing Assistant which evaluates your content while you are writing it, then generates advice on your keywords while suggesting close variants that you can use.


Seobility is a SEO software for website analysis and optimization. It offers a free stand-alone keyword checker, which analyzes and suggests improvements for the existing content of your web pages. Based on the target keyword you input, the tool also gives you a list of relevant keywords and phrases that you can include into your content. It not only analyzes your content and shows you a score, it also provides you with information for about ten competitors.