Skip to content

Keyword Density vs Keyword Stuffing – Good Practice vs Over-optimisation

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

As a digital marketer, you will be well aware of the perils of placing keywords into the text on your website. Too fewer keywords and Google will not make the connection between your chosen keyword and your content, generally leading to a lower rank on Google. However, too many keywords and you fall into the ‘keyword stuffing’ camp. This is not a place you want to be as a marketer and can lead to you (or your agency) being labelled as black hat tactic users. There is a key difference between keyword stuffing and keyword density.

But what about if you are not a marketer? What if you are a business owner who doesn’t know all that much about the world of digital marketing? How do you know the difference between a great keyword density and keyword stuffing?

That’s what this article is here for. In this post, we will go through the definitions of both keyword density and keyword stuffing, what is generally considered to be a good keyword density and what is considered to be keyword stuffing.

So, let’s get to it.

Keyword Density

Keyword density refers to the number of times a particular keyword appears on a given webpage or within a piece of content as a ratio or percentage of the overall word count. Sometimes, it is referred to as ‘keyword frequency’. Essentially, your keyword density is a percentage (normally) of the number of times your chosen keyword appears in your chosen content. This is one of the fundamental principles of SEO as search engines need to understand what your content is about in order to place it into the correct set of search results.

Let’s say you were writing a piece of content around electric cars, and you wanted your content to be found on Google when searching for ‘electric cars’, you would want your keyword to be electric cars. This is the keyword that you want to get into your content, whilst still ensuring your content does not sound unnatural when read, and that it still makes sense! This is the key part for Google nowadays, which I shall come onto later.

Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing, to put it simply, is your keyword density taken too far. Generally, you are considered to be keyword stuffing when you have put so many of your keywords (and keyword variations) into your content that it no longer makes sense to the reader. Not only will this force Google into lowering your rank due to the keyword stuffing alone, but it will also force Google to lower your rank even lower due to other SEO factors such as bounce rate. We know now that Google pays a lot of attention to the experience a user is having on your website, so if a user was to click off because your content did not make sense, this will also have a negative impact on your ranking in the SERPs.

Whilst this practice is seen as unusual today, when SEO first came about around 10 years ago, this was a tactic that was widely used by SEOs who used it as an extremely quick way to get their clients ranking on the top of Google without really using any effort at all.

However, as Google’s algorithm has become more advanced and is now able to spot instances of keyword stuffing, this technique has been used less and less, almost wiped out altogether. However, it is still surprisingly used by a wide number of agencies today.

What is a Good Keyword Density?

As with all SEO tactics, there is no correct answer here! The trick is finding the right line between having enough keywords for Google to understand what your content is about, whilst still remaining easy enough for everyone to read. If done well, when used in conjunction with other SEO tactics, your content could quite easily reach the top of Google. We have found that the average keyword density of content that does well in Google is anywhere from 3-5%.

Of course, it all comes down to the length of content that you are putting out, and what the keyword you want to be found for is. As mentioned above, if your keyword is found plenty of times throughout your content, and the entire piece of content still makes sense to the reader, then you are good to go.

With this, we’d also suggest using LSI keywords, most SEOs already do this but for those that don’t know; LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. These LSI keywords are words that are directly relevant to the content you’re creating. For example; if the topic is ‘SEO’ then an LSI keyword would be ‘content marketing’ or even ‘SEO services’. There are a few free keyword tools that can help you such as Google trends but, you can pay for tools like Ahrefs or Nightwatch.

Man using Google Analytics


So, I hope this post has given you some useful information you can go away and use when you publish your next post or page on your website. The general takeaway here is to ensure you are mentioning your chosen keyword a few times within your content, but also read it through and make sure it makes sense and doesn’t sound overly promotional. If you stick to this rule and use a few other SEO tactics that we have mentioned in previous blog posts, your content is sure to go far.


Read these next...


Signup to our newsletter and get the latest tips and trends from the world of ecommerce, straight to your inbox