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keyword density

Sometime back, I decided to try to find one of's most famous page, The Free C/C++ Compilers, on Alta Vista using the search term "+free +c++ +compilers". I must have scanned at least 20 pages of the search results, but could not find that page listed anywhere.

I went back and looked at my page again, and realised that in the interest of brevity, I had listed every compiler on the page without the words "C++ compiler". That is, the "Borland C++ Compiler" was simply listed as "Borland". I did a simple change to the page so that every compiler was listed under its full name (with the "C++ compiler" bit), and resubmitted the page to Alta Vista.

After nearly a month, I checked Alta Vista again, using the same search terms. The page was now listed on the first page of the search results. Incredible!

(I don't know if it's still on the first page though, these positions change everytime someone submits a site.)

What is Keyword Density?

One of the simplest ways to improve your site's placement in the search engine results is to work on the "keyword density" on your page, which was what I did.

For my purpose here, I will refer to a "keyword" as a word that the user searches for when using the search engine. Keyword density is the ratio of the word that is being searched for (the keyword) against the total number of words appearing on your web page. If your keyword only occurs, say, once, in a page that has a twenty-thousand words, then it has a density of 0.005 percent.

Needless to say, if a particular keyword has a higher density on your web page, then the likelihood of your page obtaining a better search engine ranking increases.

How to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

How do you improve your keyword density?

1. When planning a page, think about which search terms a user is likely to use when searching for the information your site provides. For example, a visitor who is looking for information on "Search Engine Ranking" may search for things like "search engine positioning", "search engine ranking", "search engine placement", "keyword density", "top ranking", and the like.

2. After you have collected your list of keywords, do NOT simply dump those keywords into a senseless list on your web page. I've seen some websites do this in an attempt to influence search engine listings. This may not work with all search engines. Some of the engines attempt to be smart when processing keywords and if it sees keywords occurring together in a senseless sequence, it may penalise your website.

3. Instead, try to form sentences that use those keywords. If you are a good writer, you may have to kill some of those good habits you previously used in writing documents: for example, many good writers have an aversion to repeating a particular word too often, choosing instead to use alternative terms that mean the same thing. This makes for a more pleasant reading, but it will not help you get your site listed with a top rank in search engine results for that particular keyword.

For instance, if you want your page to have a high ranking when someone searches for the phrase "search engine ranking", keep repeating the phrase "search engine ranking" in your document instead of substituting with pronouns like "it" and the like. Do likewise for the other keywords that you want a high density on the page. You'll of course have to use your discretion with this, or your page will be unpleasant to read.

You can see an example of how this is done by examining this article itself, and see how often I have repeated keywords and phrases like "keyword", "keyword density", "search engine ranking" and "search engine positioning".

4. In days of old, some people tried the trick of having a very short page for a particular keyword. For example, the page may only have the following one sentence: "Keyword density is important in search engine ranking." Since there were so few words on the page, the page was actually easy to draft and the keywords "keyword", "density", "search engine ranking" have a density of 12.5 percent each.

This method is not very useful nowadays. For example it no longer appears to work with Alta Vista, which seems to rank pages that are bigger than 4K more favourably.


When I increased the keyword density of certain keywords on my Free C/C++ Compilers page, my page ranking on Alta Vista took a big leap upwards. Improving the density of keywords on your pages may also do the same for your site's search engine position.

Copyright 2000 by Christopher s l heng. All rights reserved. Get more free tips and articles like this, on web design, promotion, revenue and scripting, from or subscribe to the FREE newsletter by sending an email to

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