Keyword Density in Retrospect


picture of keyword density writer typing

Keyword density in respect to the way search engines serve relevant results to the user has changed the face of the internet. It affects what we see and read on a daily basis, especially if search engines are used as the tool to browse the internet. Case studies like the Nielsen Report tell us that most of us do use search engines to browse the internet.

In fact, for June 2010, the Nielsen Company found that the average time spent online in the U.S. grew by more than 3% when compared to the previous month.

nielsen report showing search engine usage

If you look at the above graph taken from the Nielsen Report website, you will notice search engines continue to be the primary method people use to browse and view the internet. Although Nielsen’s report is US based only, a similar report found that this is a worldwide occurrence.

Some other statistics you might find useful…

Out of every 2000 US based consumers it is estimated 86% use search engines to find local businesses.

Of every 2000 US based consumers, 81% said the internet was vital to their lifestyles and among that group 90% said they use search engines to search for local businesses.

The “research web” was born 20 years ago and was comprised of research servers used at colleges. Four years later, 1994 was named the “Year of the Web” by Cern. The Web had 10,000 servers, 2,000 of which were commercial, and 10 million users.

When we were talking about our experience in building websites, my response was I had 10 years of experience in building websites; his rebuttal was “You’ve been building websites for 10 years? I’ve been at it twice that time.” I had to correct him and tell him the “research web” was launched in December of 1991 and it is impossible for anyone to have 20 years of website building experience.

The whole point is that the web is like the newborn child of the digital world. Keyword density in respect to the web has changed how we see and view the web on a daily basis. Only in 1994 did the web morph into what we use today. The search engine algorithms did not meet the expectations of the user in those first 10 years. The webmaster could easily manipulate the results by spamming their website with the same keyword repeatedly to reach top listings. Keyword density was born to counteract such manipulation of search engine results.

In a very crude fashion, the search engines were forced into setting the standards on how to write website content to counteract the manipulation of blackhat internet marketers. A widely held myth is that if you write and serve good content, search engines will recognize you. Simply put a, search engine is a computer and a computer does not know how to distinguish a good writer from a poor writer. That is why it is so important for you as a webmaster to understand the history, the fundamentals, and ideology so you can make an educated decision on whether to conform to the standards set for keyword density.

Let us not discount the fact that to be a good writer you should not be using the same words and phrases repeatedly to begin with. Keyword density is not something new and it certainly does not take a college level education to wrap your head around it. Many websites already offer writing classes to teach you how to write like a professional. If you find the need to subcontract your work out, The Content Authority offers a seamless and affordable solution for written articles and we have a keyword density option.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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