Last updated on 13th June 2023 at 21:22 by Alex Nicholas

Trying to stand out among your competitors in the blogging industry while being a newbie can be overwhelming. But it needn't be, especially when it comes to understanding the basics such as how many keywords you should use per page for SEO, and where you should use them.

Therefore, I have compiled all the nitty-gritty details regarding this basic SEO principle of optimizing your content for keywords per page.

From how many keywords should be used for SEO to how you can improve their quality, you'll find it all here. So, without any further ado, let's get right into it.

How many keywords per page for SEO work best?

For your writing to work via SEO you must get to the point, you must talk about one single topic on one page, which means one keyword per page is enough, however, you're targeting things and not strings so you need to also build on the target keyword by including entities and closely related phrase terms.

Essentially, you need to give the end user and the search engine algorithm the information (and metadata) they require through information retrieval and research because we live in the age of the semantic web where user intent and user experience are critical for a web page to be successful in the SERPs.

So whether you are writing an informational blog or a review article, your message should be useful, clear, and fluff-free. It must not contain irrelevant details that have nothing to do with the overall topic, because including irrelevant details can not only harm the SEO process but also cause the reader to leave your site.

Therefore, focusing on one keyword and using it as an anchor for keeping the rest of the article/blog coherent is the best SEO content strategy when focusing on a web query.

Keywords and related search terms

In many cases though, targeting only one keyword can be challenging, and that's why (as alluded to above) you also have the option of using closely related keywords and entities that “fit” within the content of each URL.

These words are variations of the head keywords or search phrases that should be included in the content. They're sometimes referred to as “long-tail keywords”, but in all honesty, they're just phrases that it makes sense to use in your content.

These long-tail keywords are longer yet specific words used to make the content sound more natural, increase the breadth of the topic being covered, and therefore increase the chances of allowing the web crawler to understand your web pages and rank them higher.

To put this into context, suppose you are running a business that sells a range of organic cosmetic products. If each of your web pages focuses on a single specific keyword and it's closely related search terms, the chances of the search engine understanding your content go up, therefore it's likely to rank you higher and for a broader range of search queries.

So, if someone searches for “buy organic cosmetics” on Google, and you've optimized your content using the main keyword “buy organic cosmetics” only, along with it's related search terms, the chances are that your page will get due recognition for it and appear in more searches. And in this context the intent of the search is to purchase a product, therefore your category page needs to be optimized.

And as a content creator, I recommend that you pay close attention to the long-tail keywords because they more often than not have a much better conversion rate. And this is generally because the searcher has gone specific with their search term, which means they know what they're looking for.

One and two-word search terms are very broad in 90% of searches and can mean many different things to different people and are often dominated by big brands. Therefore, I recommend going after search terms that have eliminated all but your ideal customers.

How many keywords for SEO according to content length?

The answer to the question “How many keywords should per page for SEO be targeted” generally depends on the length of the content that is to be written.

And without making it sound like I'm talking about keyword density, you need to use your keyword as often as it makes sense without spamming your content and making it unreadable.

For example, if you are writing 500-1000 words of content for your eCommerce category page, then it probably only makes sense to use your keyword only two to four times, however, when you are writing 2000-3000 or more words, then it's easier to use your keywords a lot more often.

Just make it look natural and don't overthink it.

Understanding keyword density for better SEO

Keyword density is used to calculate the number of times a keyword is used in the content. It shows how many times a targeted keyword occurs in the content in relation to the total number of words. All too often (even now) you'll hear “experts” advise a keyword density of 2-3%. And to be blunt, this is bad, outdated advice.

You should use your keywords as and when they need to be used, forget percentages.

With the advent and constant improvement of algorithms such as Hummingbird, Google is constantly getting better at understanding the context of web pages, therefore, writing useful content for your users that satisfies their intent should be your number one priority.

However, if keyword density is your thing, or you want to test it out for yourself, you can calculate the keyword density of your content easily by dividing the number of times a keyword occurs in the content by the total number of words:

Keyword density = Number of times the keyword occurs / Total number of words

Various online sites can also help you calculate the keyword density of the content more accurately and efficiently.

Examples of such sites are “SEO Review Tools” and “CheckSERP.”

Mistakes to Avoid for Better SEO

One of the most common mistakes that content makers make while writing is “keyword stuffing” or spamming.

Stuffing is essentially going after a large keyword density by adding an abnormal amount of keywords into your content just for the sake of gaining a high ranking on SERP. This frequent use of keywords in greed for improving SEO makes the content sound unnatural. And once your audience recognizes this non-human tone, it will be no longer interested in what message you're trying to convey.

Therefore, stick to a sensible quantity of using both the head and the long-tail keywords on a single page. Otherwise, you'll end up sounding like this:

“Organic cosmetics keep you away from the harms of chemicals that are very commonly put in conventional cosmetics. Organic cosmetics care for your skin and body. Many brands promote organic cosmetics for the very same reasons. Apart from this, organic cosmetics not only care for you, they care for your environment too. With the use of biodegradable ingredients and packaging, organic cosmetics prove to be environmentally friendly as well. Thus all the more reasons to use organic cosmetics.”

As a reader right now, you can see what the problem here is. So you got the memo?

Now that our concepts about how many keywords for SEO should be used are clear, it's time that we turn our focus towards “are we targeting the right keywords.” Because no matter how cleverly you add keywords to your web page, if you don't target the right keywords, you will not bear the desired results.

Choosing the Right Keywords to help the search engine

The key to choosing the right keywords is intent. If you are targeting the keywords for each page that your competitors are searching for then you're already a long way down the path to success.

And whilst this might sound obvious in principle, it's easy to overlook critical search terms. This is when an SEO consultant comes into their own because they have years of experience when it comes to keyword research.

However, if you're on a tight budget you can seek help from Google keyword planner for this part, or preferably sign up for the 7-day trial for a tool such as Ahrefs. They're free or incredibly cheap to use and can help you heaps in identifying the right keyword. It will tell you all about the trends and how much audience a particular keyword is attracting.

Secondly, you should try to look for words that are less competitive i.e. other authoritative websites are not using them in high amounts. If keywords that you are using are less competitive, then you have less competition to fight for in ranking on SERP. Thus resulting in your web page ranking high.

However, it is not good to choose a highly uncompetitive word. This can potentially result in no traffic coming to your page.

You should make sure that the keywords you are choosing are neither too mainstream and common on every other website nor are so uncommon that you hardly see them anywhere on the web.

And remember, search intent is key here, so make sure that you're targeting your ideal customers for each piece of content you create.

Where should I add my keywords?

As a hard and fast rule, I recommend the following:

  • In the URL – but only if it's a new page. Don't change an existing URL as this will mean you've created a brand new page and will have lost any history you have with Google for that page
  • In the page title
  • In the H1
  • In the first paragraph – before any other related search terms if possible
  • Throughout the remaining content (including H tags) as you see fit

The first 4 spots are still important to Google and it's important that you use your keywords there. But with regards to the keywords in the URL, if you have a page that is in the Google index that doesn't have any external links pointing to it and is sitting below page 3 then by all means create a new URL and redirect the old one to it.

Just make sure that you check for any internal links that it might have coming to it and make sure they connect to the page.

Summing up

There is no “correct number of keywords” to use in your content, it should be natural and read well. There's no over-optimisation penalty for using keywords too many times.

Right quantity for some might refer to the usage of 2-4 keywords in a 500-1000 word piece of content and the usage of 5-8 keywords for 2000-3000 words and so on. The right quality basically means that you're targeting the correct keywords and are including closely related search terms.

But this is just a rough guide on how many keywords and how often they should be used in your content. You might find that some of your competitors are using keywords so often that the keyword density of their page is over 15%. And in all honesty, if they are, then it's clear that Google is happy with this and simply doesn't care, especially if they're ranking highly.