Keyword Density

All about keyword density!

Keyword density is the percentage of times a particular keyword shows up in relation to the overall amount of text on that page. Example: your webpage about widgets has 100 words on it overall, and your top word that you wish to rank well under is “widget” and it appears 5 times on this page. This keyword would have a 5% weighting on the page. It is also important that your top keywords on your webpage are also included in your meta tag. Care should be taken with keyword density as it can greatly effect your website ranking. Keyword density relates directly to text on your webpage, because text is content and content is king as far as search engines are concerned!

Why is text so important for search engines?

Text is important because the robots (aka: spiders , web crawlers) the search engines send out to index your site are really only able to use text information from your site in their databases. The robot indexes your website looking for text, and once it finds it…by downloading your page and parsing out the html to retrieve useful text. It sends the information back to the search engine database where it is stored and made searchable. The text words that were found on your site are associated with your webpage url inside this database. (Parsing is sometimes done on the engine side in order to free up the spider for more spidering…it really depends on how the engineers developed their system, but you get the idea of how data is being handled)

Key words in the database are broken out across a tree format as a form of storing them in the database and are assigned a pointer back to a stored URL, and the URL is assigned a weighting as to the number of times this word appeared on that particular page (and other funky algorithms).

When an incoming search is made, the engine walks its tree to find the appropriate word and the URL’s that the keyword is pointing to (pointer as mentioned above). All URL’s associated with this keyword are gathered together and sorted as to which order they will appear. Pages that the engine determine are more relevant receive a higher ranking. Often this result is cached for rapid look up the next time…particularity because the sorting of the data tends to be a tremendous over head for search engines. Now this may not be the exact way all the search engines handle their data, but it does show what can and does happen in the world of search engines. Each engine has its own twist on the variable, but they all have the same issues such as: getting data, storing data, making it searchable at high speed and across Beowolf style super computer clusters…the searchable part also means handling the sorting of data which is a difficult problem. Some engines may handle some of the work load of data handling during the spidering process, while others may choose to simply download everything into storage and deal with it as a separate process, and others a combination of both.

When text is not text and the effect of graphics on keyword density

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The one on the top actually has text below the picture and this text is capable of being indexed by the search engine robots/spiders. The image on the right has text embedded in the image and will only benefit an actual human user who can see the image and will not help you with your search engine ranking as there is no information for the robot to add to its database. Now the picture on the right negatively impacts keyword density by effectively taking out 15 actual words (not including stop words such as “on” “the” etc) that search engines can add to their database. The search engine will not associate the keywords embedded in the picture with the web page. It also effects the overall page word count there by impacting keyword density. (the total number of times a keyword appears in relation to the overall text on a page).

Keyword density is text and text is data! All engines are in the business of handling data and they need data to survive…without it they have nothing to form a useful database with….lucky for them we don’t still use hieroglyphics :)