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• Repeating the exact same words in your linking
text, which the spider will interpret as
automated link swapping. (Interestingly, it™s
fine for the spiders to be fully automated, but
they hate it when we do that!)

• Stale content that never changes.

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Chapter 4: About Specific Keyword
Density Ranges

With the decline of meta-tags, keyword density
ranges have become very important. They™ve also become
very controversial. Here™s the thing: you want a high
enough keyword density”at least 7%--that your keywords
rank highly in the bigger search engines, such as Google,
Yahoo, DogPile, and HotBot.
But, as we discussed, you don™t want your keyword
densities so high that they turn your content into over-
hyped gobbledygook, nor do you want to raise a red flag
when the spiders come crawling over your content. If your
keyword density is 20% or more, the search engine will
most likely red-flag you for “keyword stuffing” and
penalize you by moving you down in the search results.
Thus, keyword density ranges are controversial. To
make things worse, different search engines have different
algorithms. One of them might thing an SEO keyword
density of 18% is fine, another may not.
The only way a search engine can figure out just
what your page is about is to search for the keywords you

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use. Those keywords don't necessarily have to be right
there on the page”they can be in the title and in links that
will lead to the page. Having said that, though, keywords
that appear on your page are certainly the most common
way that search engines use to decide what your page is
all about. Keyword density refers to the ratio of keywords
to the total number of words on the page.
Now I want you to look again at the paragraph
above. There are 95 words total, and I used the word
"keywords" exactly five times. The keyword ratio for the
paragraph, then, is 5 divided by 95 times 100, or about
5.26%. Easy math, correct? You bet.
But how much does that stuff matter?
Well, it™s not a matter of life and death, but it™s
pretty important. You see, when a search engine
compares two pages to figure out which one ought to rank
higher, keyword density will factor into it”usually pretty
significantly. In fact, all other factors being equal (which is
pretty much impossible, but let's pretend), the page with
the higher keyword density will generally rank higher.
However, simple as Keyword Density is, it can also
get really complex in a hurry. Do plurals or other stemmed
variations of your keyword count as keywords? Should
stop words, which are those common words you see all the
time like "a" or "the," be ignored when calculating density?

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Should you include off-page content, like meta tags
and titles, in your calculations? What about keyword
frequency or keyword proximity or keyword prominence?
And like I™ve said before, bear in mind that if your keyword
density gets too high, search engines just might realize it
and penalize your page.
But now, hold on. Even though keyword densities
are getting to be a complex science with lots of
complicated algorithms, you can do it!
Keyword densities really are not rocket science, so
don™t fall into the trap of making things more complicated
than they need to be. Go to Google and search on
"keyword density." The first three pages should be ones
that provide about 20 or 25 different tools for calculating
Now all you have to do is pick one that feels user-
friendly to you and use it to optimize your web page,
noting the results. Now try something else: run a Google
search on your keyword, and run the analysis on the first
ten sites. Take a good hard look at the results. From this,
you should get a good idea how your page will compare
with the ten top ranking pages in Google, at least in terms
of keyword density.
Here™s the thing that frustrates people, though: if
you go and do that with three or four different KWD tools,
you will no doubt come up with different numbers, but the

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graph of those numbers will look very similar. Don™t worry
about it, because the numbers aren™t the most important
thing. You only care how they compare to each other.
Something else you'll probably discover is that
keyword density is not a very good indicator of rank. The
top ranking page may have a much lower density than the
page at number ten, for example.
Why does this happen, when you work so hard to get
your keyword density high? It happens because KWD is
only one factor among many. It's important to a good
ranking, but it's not the be-all and end-all of a good
ranking. What you really want to know from your analysis
is the range of density values that rank well. Chances are
good that if your page is below that range, getting on page
one to compete with the big dogs will be tough, and if
you're above that range, the search engines may think
you™re “keyword stuffing” and you™ll be penalized. Just
remember, though, the numbers are guidelines you should
know, not carved-in-stone rules that forever define your
fate. Experiment!
You may hear self-proclaimed website gurus say that
keyword density should always run between two and eight
percent or whatever the current numbers being quoted in
forums across the Internet happen to be. That™s partly
true. Those numbers are probably fairly accurate for most

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keywords. They™re based on averages and it™s always good
to stick close to an average.
But there™s a problem. Here™s how the problem
goes: the most commonly used letter in English is the
letter “E.” If you wrote a ten word sentence, it would be
much easier to use the letter E five times in that sentence
than it would be to use, say, the letter Z five times. Letters
aren™t an even distribution. Neither are keywords. Big
shock, huh?
Remember what I said earlier about not sounding
awkward in your content? Well, the biggest thing about
keyword density is that it must read well and sound very
natural to a user. It™s useless to get a page one ranking if
your content is very lame.
Like the letter E, some keywords are easy to use a
lot of while still sounding natural. For instance, if your
keyword was “grass” on a site about lawn care, it wouldn™t
be hard to use “grass” a lot.
But some keywords just don™t lend themselves to
being used a lot”like “quince.” (It™s a type of fruit.)
Here™s the choice to be made: you can use an average
range, which will work well most times, or you can spend
time analyzing the top ten pages to find the best range for
that particular keyword and be sure you're not trying to
optimize for a Z or a quince.

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Frustrated? Don™t be! It isn™t that hard. If you™re
still confused, check out a competitor's page in Google's
cache (which highlights the keywords for you) to get a
good visual feel for density.
Another good tip is to perform a “real person sanity
check” on your content. Reading your optimized content
out loud several times, and try to get a natural flow that
will make the copy draw users who will come back. Then
take a hard look at your content. If you can substitute a
keyword for a pronoun without loosing your flow, do it.
For instance, if your keyword is “hammock”, instead
of a sentence saying, “I love to lie in it,” say, “I love to lie
in my hammock.”

Do-it-Yourself SEO

There are a ton of free online SEO tools available on
the internet. Most feature some very impressive statistics
and information to help you optimize your website, analyze
search engine positions, research your competitors, and
lots of other things.
There are two ways you can use these free online
SEO tools:

(1) If you™re new to SEO, these tools provide

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excellent insight on how a website is
performing and ranking. Use them to highlight
issues and trends with your website and
provide indicators for where optimization work
is necessary.
(2) If you™ve had some experience with SEO,
these tools will act as a complement to the
more specialized SEO tools, like WebPosition
Gold or SpyderOpts. You can also use them to
supplement an SEO™s internal knowledge base
and experience.

Here are some choice tools for both new SEO users
and more experience SEO users:

Keyword Research Tool

Use this to research appropriate words and phrases to
include in your webpage's body text so that you™ll rank
higher. It™s easy to use. You just enter the word or phrase
you want to be found under, then the tool suggests
additional words and phrases for you to consider using.
You also have the option to select from a range of top
search engines, e.g. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Teoma, etc.

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Keyword Analyser Tool
This one will read the body of the page and give you a
report on what words are used and how many times they
are used.
Since most engines rank sites depending on that site™s
keyword density (which typically ranges between 3% and
9%), this is a really good tool to have.

Search Engine Position Checker Tool
This tool checks to see if your website appears in the first
fifty results in major search engines for your designated
keyword or phrase. If your URL is present, the tool
outputs what position it occupies. This tool also lets you
know if any other URLs from your domain appear in the
search results.

Link Popularity Tool
This tool will measure the total number of links or "votes"
that a search engine finds for your website. One of the
best feature is that besides tabulating data, it also
produces a very cool graph of the resulting data. One other
nice feature is the ability to compare your website to your


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