How many times should I use a keyword in a blog post?
How many times should you use the focus keyword in your text? Here are 13 answers from content marketing and SEO professionals.
- Run A/B Tests to Find the Right Number
- As Many Times as the Competition Allows
- Follow the Less-Than-5% Rule
- Use the Ratio Formula
- Be as Natural as Possible
- Minimum of Three Times
- Three to Six Times
- Not More Than Once in Every 150 Words
- As Many Times as You Can Within Guidelines
- Depends on the Length of Your Content and Their Correlation
- No More Than 5 Times
- Once Every 100 Words
- At Least Two Times
Run A/B Tests to Find the Right Number
The best way to find out how many times you should use a keyword in your content is to A/B-tests. Create two similar pieces of content, but with different keyword use, and see which version gets the most engagement. This is a much more precise and objective method than using an arbitrary number of keyword mentions. There is no magic number of times you should use a keyword in your content, but you can use your A/B test results to determine the most effective amount.
Before you run your tests, you can use Google’s keyword planner to determine the average monthly search volume for a word or phrase, and then use that data to determine how often to use that keyword relative to other ones. You can also take a look at your competitors’ content and see how often they use the keyword. But again, once you have made your best guesses, the best way to validate your usage is to A/B test multiple versions of that content to determine what works best for your particular audience.
Matthew Ramirez, Founder, Paraphrase Tool
As Many Times as the Competition Allows
In my opinion, keyword density is more art than science. There are no hard and fast rules, like use your target keyword every 100 words. There’s nothing really like that. Google’s algorithm seems to do whatever it likes, keyword by keyword. Sometimes it ranks content that has very light keyword usage, and other times it ranks posts that are seemingly stuffed to the gills with keywords. That is why I always stick with what the competition is doing. I check the keyword density on the top 5 posts ranking on Google for my keyword, and take an average of their density. Once you get this range, I usually go for the lower end of the range. User experience is important to us, and I personally believe keyword overuse makes for poor, unappealing writing. So track what the competition does, find your range, and go for the lower end of that.
John Ross, Chief Executive Officer, Test Prep Insight
Follow the Less-Than-5% Rule
Though most focus on utilizing keywords to trigger Google algorithms, it is just as important to use the “less than 5%” rule to make sure you continue to engage your readers. It is easy to think that readers absorb content with little thought to the use of certain words and instead believing it is the topic that solely keeps them engaged – but this is an oversimplified approach that can turn out to be very detrimental.
Though using keywords is important, overstuffing them into a piece can limit the quality of the information provided. In addition, readers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and will begin to notice patterns which make a content piece read more like an advertisement, causing your visitors to lose interest and leave the page. By limiting your keywords to less than 5% of your total content, you will be able to effectively trigger Google algorithms while providing value to your readers and keeping them engaged.
Matt Miller, Founder & CEO, Embroker
Use the Ratio Formula
As someone who has written over 180 SEO-focused blogs for our business, I’ve learned some great SEO practices in writing. When writing blogs or articles prioritizing search engine optimization (SEO) there are a few keys to be mindful of. Your keyword or phrase should not be longer than four words. Keeping it at four words or less makes the algorithm easier to identify your keywords in the article. Your keyword or phrase should always be included in the first paragraph of the article. To determine how many times you should use a keyword in a piece of content determine how long the overall content is. Blogs or articles with an SEO focus should be 500 words or longer. The sweet spot is 500 – 2000 words and the ratio for the keyword should be once for every 100 words in the article from 500-700 words. Once you cross 700 words you’ll want to stick the keyword in once every 300 words. Make sure the keyword is spread out throughout the article too.
Seth Newman, Director, SportingSmiles
Be as Natural as Possible
My team and I look at keywords much like we do our make-up. If you overdo it, it’s glaringly obvious and not attractive. We keep keyword usage as natural as possible but aim to use a keyword once every 200-250 words. Let’s say a piece of content has a word count of 1.6k, then we’d aim to include a keyword between 5 to 8 times. Ideally, we’d use the keyword in the first sentence, but as a minimum in the first paragraph. Readability is high on our content creation list, and if maximizing keywords affects this, we’ll always opt for the lower repetition.
Catherine Mack, Owner, House Buyer Network
Minimum of Three Times
When you are writing a piece of content it is important to make sure that the keyword is in there. But not only one time. You need to be sure that you wrote the keyword a minimum of three times, in the beginning, when you are developing the piece and at the end of it. Keywords are the key for searching, for knowledge. But you can’t be too repetitive, otherwise people will not read your piece and stay happy or willing to search for it. Using the keyword with a minimum of three times in your piece of content will help you, but make sure that it’s really well done, and it will capture people’s attention.
Stanislav Baciu, SEO Strategist, BuzzLogic
Three to Six Times
Depending on the form and length of your content, keywords should be used mostly between three and six times. This is a ballpark figure that ensures your content is displaying genuine relevance to the topic (i.e. not just putting a keyword in your title) but while at the same time showcasing some genuine expertise on a subject (i.e. talking about topics that circle the keyword rather than just the keyword alone). So for these reasons most forms of content should be aiming for no less than three, but no more than six uses of a keyword.
Daniel Apke, CEO, Land Investing Online
Not More Than Once in Every 150 Words
Keywords play an important role in attracting readers to the topic in a smart way. But the overuse of it may denigrate the whole essence of using it. The use of these words is to be moderated and should be done in moderation else it becomes redundant for the eyes to see. A conventional approach suggests the usage of keywords once in every 150 words. This convention is made keeping in mind factors like mental attentiveness and other factors in the user’s mind while reading a particular content.
Steve Sacona, Legal Writer, Top10lawyers
As Many Times as You Can Within Guidelines
There’s no hard and fast rule about how many times you should repeat a keyword in your content, but the more often you use it, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to rank for that keyword. That being said, there are still some guidelines to follow when repeating keywords in your content. The first guideline is that you shouldn’t overdo it. If every sentence has an exact match for your keyword and nothing else, Google might pick up on this and penalize your site for spamming its search engine results page (SERP). You also want to avoid using too many synonyms for the same word across different pages on your site—this could cause confusion among visitors who are looking for information on one topic but end up finding something unrelated instead because they searched for a different word than what they intended!
Amer Hasovic, Content Writer, Love & Lavender
Depends on the Length of Your Content and Their Correlation
Using keywords in your content is the starting point for any SEO strategy. Effectively adding keywords is critical for increasing your website’s visibility. Adding 1-3 keywords per page is an effective strategy. However, the amount of keywords depends on the length of your content and their correlation. You may have identified ten keywords during your research. This does not mean you need to add all of them to your page. Cluttering them decreases your chances of being seen on search results. The phrase – too many cooks spoil the broth should serve as a reminder. The content should be logical and relevant. Adding too many keywords will harm the readability of the material. If the keywords are similar, you can add more. But make sure that content makes sense and is not just a jumble of keywords.
Tali Ditye, Co Founder, DITYE LLC
No More Than 5 Times
Determining an adequate number is something of an inexact science, but generally you should include specific keywords no more than five times in a piece of content. Anything more than that can be considered spammy to the reader and negatively impact SEO and the user experience. Google warns against repeating the same words or phrases so frequently that it sounds unnatural, so it’s best to use your keywords sparingly and strategically.
Andrew Chen, Chief Product Officer, CommentSold
Once Every 100 Words
If you’re wondering how often you should use a keyword in your content, the answer is once every 100 words. This will help ensure that your content is optimized for search engines without coming across as spammy or keyword-stuffed. Of course, this is just a best practice, and you may need to adjust the frequency depending on the length of your piece and the density of your keywords. But following this rule of thumb should help you strike the right balance between SEO and readability.
Ludovic Chung-Sao, Lead Engineer & Founder, Zen Soundproof
At Least Two Times
Two keywords ought to be enough. You should include keywords to ensure that you’ll show up on searches, but you don’t want to craft your entire post around keywords. You still want it to flow and make sense – and be written in your voice. My suggestion would be to write something like you normally would. Be as naturally creative as you can. When you’re finished, go back and review it and insert two or more keywords into the post. You want to be strategic with your writing, but you also want to create something that doesn’t come off too forced or too much like a piece of cookie-cutter content writing. Sprinkle in a couple of keywords in a post that still reads like your own free-form style.
John Sarson, CEO, Sarson Funds
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