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Keyword Density vs LSI in SEO

Keyword Density vs LSI

SEO is a complex and changeable field, thus, it can be a troublesome technique to use when you want to achieve online visibility. Your website must offer nothing less than the best possible online experience for your target customers.

Keyword Density and LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) play a big role in the search optimization world and in the way you develop your content. There’s just one question – which one can help you achieve better SEO results?

Your target customers and Google want to see relevant content. But, how exactly do Keyword Density and LSI help you achieve that? Let’s find out.

Related: 2018 Best SEO Trends – A Must Read!

Importance of Keywords for Search Engines


If you want to begin with SEO, the one factor that you need to worry about are keywords – words that can bring traffic to your website. They bring your content closer to your target customers.

Once you’ve found your target persona, you will need to choose which words and phrases matter to your customers. You’ll also need to plan how to place them on your website. You need to optimize each section of your website for a keyword that is relevant.

When you place your keywords in your website, think about what Google actually appreciates when it comes to web ranking. When people search for the exact name of your brand, it is understandable that your homepage will be ranked number one. But, when people search for specific terms, they will get a result in the form of a more specific page. So, make sure that you will optimize every page of your website for a relevant keyword.

Related: How To Find Low Competition Keywords with Commercial Intent

What Is Keyword Density?

Keyword density tells you how often a search term appears in a text in relation to the total number of words that the text contains. For example: if a keyword appears three times in a 100-word text the keyword density would be 3%.

Why Is Keyword Density Important for SEO?

importance of keywords for seo

If you’re careful with your keyword density and apply this tactic without breaking the white hat SEO rules, Google will know that your web copy is all about a given topic and revolves around the keyword that you are targeting. This is what gives your website positive search rankings, relevance, and a healthy keywords presence.

But, you should not overreact with your keywords. Keyword stuffing will create a spammy experience for the users. It is a black hat SEO tactic, it makes the copy look fake and it’s the ultimate disrespect to your target audience.

There isn’t an exact recommended keyword density percentage. Back in the prehistoric era of Google, you would’ve gotten away with a keyword density as high as 5 or 6%. But, by today’s standards, it’s fair to say that the most optimal keyword density percentage would be from 1-2.5%.


When you look at all the factors that Google uses to calculate your web ranking and all the percentages, you got to ask yourself if there’s a formula that you can use to calculate the density of keywords. In fact, there is:


Nkr stands for the number of times that a specific keyword or a phrase is repeated. Nwp is for the number of words in a given keyword phrase. And Tkn stands for the number of total words in the copy.

This formula does not imply that you should follow an “ideal” keyword density percentage in your web copy. But, what you need to be sure of is that your copy is mindfully written and relevant to your target customers.

There are also many calculators online as well as WordPress plugins for your website that can help you calculate the optimal density. But, your best bet is to always place your main keyword in the following areas of your webpage:

  • In the page permalink
  • H1 and H2 tags
  • The meta title tag
  • At the start of the article
  • End of the article
  • Using the target keyword as anchor text

Whatever you do with your keyword strategy, remember that you’re writing for actual human beings. Google can’t be fooled, especially after Panda emerged and changed the entire SEO landscape.

Related: SEO For Startups: Why Startups Need Search Engine Optimization

What Is Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)?

LSI keywords

According to the Search Engine Journal Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is:

“a mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts in content. The contents of a webpage are crawled by a search engine and the most common words and phrases are collated and identified as the keywords for the page.”

This means that LSI assumes that the words in your copy are naturally related to each other and that these words can appear in a different text too.

The words and phrases are semantically connected to each other. They are not just synonyms that have a similar meaning, but words and phrases that correlate with your main keyword phrase.

Let’s say that you want to develop content about roads. So, you choose the keyword “road” for your content. But in terms of semantics, a “road” can have lots of meanings, especially in search engines:

  • Road – A route, paved land between two places, highway
  • A 2017 movie called Road
  • ROAD – Regional Operative Administrative Department
  • ROAD – The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration

You can write for any of the given topics above. But, according to the extra text in your content, Google will know exactly what you’re writing about. If you write about roads in general, your copy will contain words like asphalt, lanes, length in kilometers, etc. If you write about the actors and review about the movie Road, you can’t expect Google to rank you about roads in general. That’s what LSI is all about.


Related: What Are Search Engines Looking For? 17 Facts About SEO You Need To Know Right Now

Why Google Uses Latent Semantic Indexing?

Before the big Google Panda update in 2011, the relevancy of your page was calculated by keyword density. This was abused by spammers and people that wanted that first Google results page by all costs!

That’s why Google shifted the ranking criteria towards LSI keywords. Slowly, but surely, Google removed keyword density as the main ranking factor for your website. This helps Google comprehend the actual meaning of a given search phrase.

For example, Samsung’s website will accommodate keywords that are closely related to Samsung products, such as S9, Galaxy S9, Samsung Computers, and Samsung LED TV etc.

This is why Google will match Samsung’s website as the number one search result when the consumers enter “Samsung” in the search bar.

Related: 10 Elements of a Highly Effective On-Page SEO

How LSI Improves Your Web Ranking?

Web Ranking

We already said that Google now values the entire semantics and content’s context more than keyword density. That means that your main keyword will be your main advantage when it comes to your website ranking. It is the only keyword that provides Google with the context of your website copy.

The other major way, that LSI improves your web ranking and your content, is in fact, one of the main advantages over keyword density. If you happen to reach your keyword density percentage limit, then it’s not a good practice to insert the specific keyword anymore.

Instead, what you can do is to keep adding related words and phrases that are in the context of your main keyword. This will also improve your content and the content flow.

How Can You Use LSI Keywords to Improve Your Google Ranking?


First of all, make sure that your content sounds pure and organic to the consumer. It has to if you want it to be appealing and let the target customer know that you wrote the piece to provide value. If it’s hard for you to find the appropriate keywords, you can always use carefully picked synonyms as your main keyword.

If you do this right, you don’t have to worry about density anymore. In fact, your mindfully prepared and semantically placed content can overshadow every case of keyword density on your webpage. The best areas of your website where you can use your keywords are:

  • Your Page title
  • The H1 and H2 headlines
  • Meta tags
  • URLs
  • The Alt text of your images
  • Your first paragraph
  • Anchor Texts
  • Last paragraph

Wrapping up

Brands and content marketers repositioned themselves to use LSI keywords over keyword density. They realized that placing related keywords in a given webpage will not get them in trouble when it comes to web rankings.

Think about it from Google’s point of view. There is a desperate need for valuable content online and Google will continuously try to connect every synonym and related phrase with your main target keyword and your brand.

To wrap things up, you have to constantly produce high-quality content and use LSI keywords in the copy. Be consistent with this approach, and before you know it, your website SEO ranking will organically skyrocket to that main Google page.

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