Calculate Keyword Density

Everyone throws around the term "keyword density" in web content writing.  Chances are, your clients have heard of keyword density - and they're going to expect you to know all about it, too.

What is it?  Why do you need it?  How much should you use?  How do you figure out how "dense" your keywords are?

Keyword density is simply the number of times you use a keyword or phrase in your document as they relate to the overall number of words in your document.

Search engines base their results on keyword density; if they think you can answer someone's question based on the content of your page, they'll hand you over to people searching whatever term relates to your site.

There's a huge debate raging over how dense any given web document should be.  The general consensus is between 4 and 6% right now - but that changes daily.  I always aim for 4%, but leave room to add more.

For example, if your keyword is "freelance" and it appears one time in a 100-word document, you have a keyword density for "freelance" of 1%.

If "freelance" appears ten times in 100 words, you have a keyword density of 10%.

I made a keyword density cheat sheet - here's a screen shot:

I made it so I don't have to manually calculate each time - and it's come in so handy, I couldn't even begin to tell you how much work it's saved me.

Go into Excel (or whatever program you use for spreadsheets).

Your first block is where you input the number of words in your document.

The second block is simply for your input, as well - enter the number of times your chosen keyword appears in your document.

The final block is your end result - and all it contains behind-the-scenes is a simple formula: the number of keywords divided by the number of words.  In the picture, 8 out of 489 words were my keyword - so my document had a keyword density of 1.636%.

Saving your own keyword density cheat sheet can save you a lot of time - especially when clients want to see a certain density for several keywords.  If you periodically update it as you write, you can keep an eye on how you're doing as far as meeting the client's keyword density requirements.

As I write, I stop once in a while to highlight each keyword in a different color.  That way I can just count the colors and write a small report at the top of the document for the client - so the tops of all my documents look like this:

Like I said, all I have to do is count the colors and I can provide a comprehensive report at the top of the document for the client's easy reference.

How do you keep track of your keyword density?  Do you have a special method, or do you just incorporate keywords as many times as you can?  Please leave your comments below - and feel free to leave a link to your own website or blog!

"Typing Hands" image courtesy of Zela at