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  • Writer's pictureJean Dion

How Many Times Should I Repeat My SEO Keyword?

You searched high and low for the perfect search engine optimization (SEO) keyword. You poured over spreadsheets, dug into the research, and found the ideal term.

It's understandable if you're tempted to repeat it over and over again, just to put all of your hard work to good use. But it's wise to reconsider.

Keyword density, or the frequency with which you repeat the same term over and over again, is a critical part of SEO. Mistakes you make here can directly impact your performance in search results.

SEO Techniques Are Changing

In the early days of SEO, it was relatively easy to game the system and force content to rank. You'd find a keyword and repeat it over and over again. If you've ever seen a page with tiny text stuffed with terms in the header and footer, you've seen this technique at work.

While stuffing a page with terms made sense to writers, it delivered an awful experience for readers. If you were searching for an answer to a question and got a page of gibberish instead, you clicked away quickly. And you left the experience feeling a little less confident about search engines.

Search engineers responded with a series of adjustments that prioritized experience over stuffing. That means content that actually answered questions, regardless of the number of times a specific term was used, ranked higher. Each tap and link worked like a vote of confidence, and the stuffed pages faded away.

How Much is Too Much?

Search engine architects are (understandably) cagey about their rules and regulations. The more information they release, the more SEOs will adjust accordingly. As a result, we have no hard-and-fast rules about keyword density.

We do know, however, that most writers follow a general density rule of thumb. You're likely using it too often if you're shoving in your keyword more than once per 200 words.

Find the repetition with:

  • Word processors. Run a search for your suggested term and count the highlights.

  • Grammar checkers. Programs like Grammarly flag repetition.

  • Reading. Grab a sip of water and read your piece out loud. Your ears might catch what the eyes miss.

If you're repeating your term too often, step away from writing for a day or two and return when you're feeling fresh. A tiny writing gap can help you see the document with clear eyes.

If you're still fighting the urge to repeat, ask a colleague to help. A good editor can make your writing shine, and reading through the comments can help you avoid mistakes next time.

Eliminating Repetition Helps Your Writing

Your online readers find your page through your clever use of keywords. But they don't want to read the same term over and over again.

Lively, varied writing keeps readers engaged and moving down the page. And the longer they stay, the more likely sites like Google will believe you've written something wonderful.

So test your content and rewrite as needed. Your readers (and your internal stakeholders) will thank you.


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