Keyword density is questionably one of the most misunderstood parts of SEO.

Back in the day, some digital marketing professionals would game the system via keyword stuffing to try to move their web rankings higher. But it no longer works that way. Today’s search engines have gotten more efficient and much smarter.

Search engines have gone through many big overhauls, particularly Google’s Panda update, Hummingbird algorithm change, and the creation of RankBrain.

Google has confirmed that RankBrain, the machine learning (AI) algorithm, is the third most vital factor in search ranking, after backlinks and content. It sorts the search results to know search queries and gauge how users interact with the results.

This ranking factor means that even though keyword density is critical to a certain degree, other factors like user experience now have a bigger role in the search engine results page.

Keyword density and SEO?

Where you put your keywords is more important than stuffing a ton into your article.

Let’s be clear: optimal keyword density is a myth. There is neither a one size fits all solution or ideal percentage.

Truthfully, loading your content with a huge volume of keywords is not as vital as putting them in at the right spots. As a general rule, keywords should appear in:

Most important:

Title (at the beginning of the title)

Body content (the first paragraph)

Less important:

Headings (H1, H2, and so on)

Meta description

Image alt tags

The seed keyword must be put just once in every meta description, URL, title, headlines, and so on, while both the meta and seed keywords in the body content can be repeated more than once.

The results also suggest that Google offers a higher score to the relevancy of highly searched terms, instead of a page or article’s density of keywords.

You should put the keyword in your body content and title, but don’t go overboard.