Keyword density is an easy way to tell search engines what your site is about. In other words, what words does the search engine find most often on your site or page or blog post. If you’re following my blind five year old principles you know how important this type of repetition is to a search engine.
There are plenty of tools you can use to figure out keyword density. However, most provide the results as a percentage which, while informative, doesn’t always help tell the whole story or provide the most impact. Instead, I suggest using Wordle.
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.
Copying your blog post text and creating a Wordle word cloud makes it much easier to quickly determine how a search engine might interpret your content.
Once you create your Wordle word cloud you’re looking to see which words immediately jump out at you. This is what the search engine will see. It’s as easy as that.
Here’s a Wordle word cloud from my first blog post.
Here are some simple guidelines for using Wordle as a keyword density tool.
If no words immediately jump out, you’ve got a problem.
If the wrong words jump out (e.g. – your post is on ‘iPhone battery life’ and the words ‘refurbished ottoman chair’ are most prominent), you’ve got a problem.
To make it even more interesting, print out your Wordle and tape it to the wall, then take three big steps back and find out what you can still read. Once again, this is a good proxy for how your post will be received by search engines.
The visual nature of Wordle makes it easy to quickly determine if you’re on the right track. It’s not rocket science. You’re not measuring whether the density is 5% or 8%, you’re simply using the quick (and fun) visual technique to make sure you’re giving your content the best chance of being seen by interested users
It might not have been created as a keyword density tool, but Wordle is a great tool for the casual blogger who wants to do some basic search engine optimization.