SEO Articles

Avoiding Keyword Stuffing Ban

December 18th, 2006

Average Keyword Saturation for Google, MSN and Yahoo

When deciding upon keyword placement we all try to get the most out of our target keywords saturation. In the same time no one wants to get penalized by accidentally inserting too many keywords in the page copy, or by including too many words between H1 tags. Since search engines would never publish the exact numbers for maximally alowed keyword frequency or keyword prominence, all we can do is just study top pages in SEPRs and make more or less informed guesses. Or we can conduct an experiment, and calculate the average numbers for top pages in the results of the major search engines: Google, Yahoo! and MSN. For the tables below I used data provided by WebPosition software, which calculates the average scores of the top 5 positions for dozens of keyword searches conducted by WebTrends Inc.

Of course aligning your parameters to the top averages will not guarantee you the high rankings, but it can ensure that your keyword saturation stays within the allowed boundaries.

Google Averages

Partial matching enabled, Non-Exact Search, Non-Case Sensitive

Areas Frequency Words Weight Average Prominence
TITLE tag 1.0 6.7 72.0% 62%
META Desctiption tag 0.7 10.8 32% 65.2%
Headings 0.5 7.9 32.1% 64.9%
Link Text 4.7 166.9 14.2% 55.8%
Hyperlink URL 9.2 N/A N/A N/A
Body Text 9.7 618 7.8% 56.2%


MSN Averages

MSN Averages: Partial matching disabled, Non-Exact Search, Non-Case Sensitive.

Areas Frequency Words Weight Average Prominence
TITLE tag 1.0 6.2 81.0% 68.7%
Headings 0.4 6.6 26.7% 64.6%
Link Text 2.2 135.1 8.1% 56.9%
Hyperlink URL 7.4 N/A N/A N/A
Body Text 10.5 608.1 8.6% 58.0%


Yahoo! Averages

Partial matching disabled, Non-Exact Search, Non-Case Sensitive.

Areas Frequency Words Weight Average Prominence
TITLE tag 0.9 6.1 71.8% 65.7%
META Keywords tag 1.1 13.7 38.4% 70.5%
META Desctiption tag 0.5 9.3 25.9% 65.4%
Headings 0.4 11.3 16.4% 72.6%
Link Text 2.4 142.4 3.3% 59%
Body Text 7.8 760.6 5.1% 57.2%

Head – words between HEAD tags, this includes TITLE

Body – words between BODY tags including:

  • Headings – words in H1, H2 and H3 tags
  • Link Text – anchor text of outgoing links
  • Hyperlink URL – words in URL of the outgoing links
  • Body Text – words in your page copy , excluding the content of ALT and COMMENT tags

Parameters’ Definitions and Calculations


When defining keyword/key-phrase frequency we distinguish between exact, non-exact and partial matching. Exact matching means looking for the exact matches of a key-phrase. Exact matching is possible when user performs a search with quotation marks around the search terms. For example if the content of an H1 tag is “Bahamian Paradise. Bahamas Islands: All inclusive Atlantis Bahamas Deals” then the frequency of “Atlantis Bahamas” by exact match is 1 (one occurence). By non-exact matching the frequency for the same phrase is 1.5: 1 for one occurrence of ‘Atlantis’, plus 2 for two occurrences of ‘Bahamas’ divided by 2 – the number of words in the search phrase. Partial matching or keyword stemming also considers keyword modifications as matches. In this case the frequency for “Atlantis Bahamas” will be 2 – word ‘Bahamian’ is considered as a match to ‘Bahamas’.


This is simply the total number of words in the analyzed area. Be careful not to put too many words between H1 or H2 tags, or in link text, since it might be considered as spam.

Keyword weight

This parameter determines the degree to which a specific keyword or phrase dominates in any given area. This parameter is calculated by multiplying number of words in the key-phrase by its frequency and dividing it by the total number of words in the area.

Average Prominence

This parameter shows how close are your keyword or phrase to the start of the area. Most of the search algorithms assign more weight to more prominent keywords, and therefore it is beneficial to have your targeted keywords in the top of the page or in the beginning of the page copy. However in order to avoid spam penalties the keyword distribution must be as natural as possible, and you might find it necessary to put a keyword in the middle or at the end of your page. Prominence calculation is:

  • If a keyword appears at the beginning of an area, its prominence will be 100%.
  • If a keyword appears in the middle of an area, its prominence will be around 50%.
  • If the keyword appears at the beginning of the area, then another repetition appears at the end of the area, the prominence would be 50%.
  • If the keyword appears at the end of the area, prominence would be 0%.
  • If the area consists of multiple parts (like having 3 heading tags on the page) then all three areas are treated as a single contiguous area when prominence is calculated.

Did you like it? Was it useful? Bookmark or share this post:

34 Responses to “Avoiding Keyword Stuffing Ban”

  1. Search Marketing Facts » Avoiding Keyword Stuffing Ban Says:

    [...] Average Keyword Saturation for Google, MSN and Yahoo When deciding upon keyword placement we all try to get the most out of our target keywords saturation. In the same time no one wants to get penalized by accidentally inserting too many keywords in the page copy, or by including too many words between H1 tags. Since […]Read full entry [...]

  2. Jason Says:

    Great article! I have been trying to get more organic search hits on my site but most everything I read is very confusing.

    Thanks for breaking it down to more basic information.

  3. OJ Eppers Says:

    Thanks! Finally I found what I was looking for and explained in an understandable way. I’ll give it a try with my page.

  4. Kaydee Says:

    Great article!
    Thanks for writing an article that can be understood by most people and
    contains good information on how to make the most of keywords. I am going to
    check my site now and make sure is not using to many keywords.

  5. intenet marketing secrets Says:

    Hi, I usually don’t make trackbacks on blogs but i found the information very useful for my site also so I trackback your RSS feeds for internet marketing secrets , if you accept paypal donations for your blog let me know it to cooperate . Thanks Mike

  6. Tony Nguyen Says:

    I’ve done a lot of reading on SEO articles, and I rank yours as one of the best on the subject of avoiding keyword stuffing bans by the Googles and Yahoo!’s of the world.

    I especially liked the quantitative research and methods that you included with your article. Your numbers allowed me to compare the Google, MSN, and Yahoo averages to help me avoid any keyword stuffing on my own site,

    I’m gonna digg your article and fave your blog!

  7. kubik Says:

    hi – hi i have just read your article about words saturations in google msn etc. i just wonder to know if it has changed – this article is from 2006 and noww is 2007… can you give me some advice how to check it myself? if you can explain like for the donkey – i just start with seo. Thanks and have a nice day

  8. Are my menu systems hurting my rankings. - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] Re: Are my menu systems hurting my rankings. 1. This web page contains 150 urls. Some Search Engines have problems with more than 100 urls on a page. For example, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines state Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100) 2. I seriously consider 5.08% keyword density is harmful. And the word DVD is found in 62 times in your page, which results the above 5.08%. Here is a cool reading about this issue: » Avoiding Keyword Stuffing Ban 3. Did someone mention that Google cannot read the content of the noscript tag? If so, that is not true. Good luck. __________________ Search Engine Optimization Consulting Company | SEO Analysis Tool | SEO Articles & Tutorials [...]

  9. club penguin cheats Says:

    I would be interested in seeing the exceptions to the statistics you have up here. Is it totally impossible to land a top spot if you have your keyword in the title four times? What about three times? Do synonyms count against you?

  10. Phil Says:

    Thank you SO MUCH. I have had such a hard time trying to find away to get more organic click-thrus on my site. This information will definately help me reach my goals quicker.


  11. Allinanchor Question - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] its helping you, lose them. I think this toll in combination with this tutorial is excellent: » Avoiding Keyword Stuffing Ban __________________ SEO Workers – Search Engine Optimization Consulting Company | SEO Analysis [...]

  12. Top 10 web design firms use black-hat SEO - Page 2 - WebProWorld Says:

    [...] how much "value" is placed on the things that are taken into account. For example: Avoiding Keyword Stuffing Ban [...]

  13. Phil Says:

    Thanks for the advice. I’m currently working on a site for a client who believes that, “more keywords equal more click-thrus.” I will be emailing him this link.


  14. Mark Says:

    Excellent article! I’ve been trying to optimize my home page for the keyphrase truck accessories and will be putting this great advice to work.

    Thanks again for the research…Mark.

  15. web design chennai Says:

    It is so worth
    Thanks for sharing your information

  16. kumar Says:

    google is the regular bot changing the factors on monthly basis, one of my newest site ranking at 1 to 10 pages for various targeted key phrases, it has PR 1 and 2 back links, even thought competition with PR 7 and PR6 sites.

    the most basic thing for search engines is visitors, and the time spent on your site by a visitor.

    strict to user friendly and complete basic SEo things that will bring on top.

  17. Zak Says:

    This is good to know. I just started a blog for the city of Glendora that I live in.

  18. ProGarment Medical Says:

    Volusion’s got a pretty good SEO setup, following their example might be helpful to some. Jusst check out

  19. news feeds Says:

    I am wondering whether Google has tightened up on keyword stuffing even more since this article was written. Our experience is that it has and frequency of keywords should be reduced.

  20. Famefashion Says:

    How to check keyword stuffing ? I have keyword “butik online” and it seems, my site couldn;t find with my keyword

  21. Benard Says:

    I have seem people writing 10-12 lines of keywords and most of them are the ones that have never been repeated in the website content and they expect to rank for those keywords.

  22. Andrei Says:

    Hi, quite a great review about KW stuffing. I’m wondering this website: could be penalized for prognoza meteo kw?


  23. oleg.ishenko Says:


  24. Big Orange Planet Says:

    Thanks for the article. I too am trying to avoid penalization- while informing the public about our services of course BOP

  25. Jigna Mulani Says:

    Keyword stuffing is considered to be an unethical search engine optimization (SEO) technique. Keyword stuffing occurs when a web page is loaded with keywords in the meta tags or in content. The repetition of words in meta tags may explain why many search engines no longer use these tags.

  26. StevenZ Says:

    Thanks for the info. The site I’m managing sells cosmetics and some keywords it used to rank well like Medik8 and Sothys got de-listed. I just removed many H2 links from the home page and now hoping for the best that the site will re-appear on page one again. :-). Thanks again for the info.

  27. How to get the right keyword density on your webpage : Adworkz Says:

    [...] might allow up to 5 percent, so it’s important to do your homework. There are many free keyword density tools available online that can help you determine the right keyword density for your [...]

  28. SEO Enhancement Series: Copy Writing | The Adventures of SEO Boy Says:

    [...] a science for keyword insertion. If you are more of a numbers person, check out this article on keyword stuffing. It’s a little dated but gives a great “by the numbers” perspective to using keywords in [...]

  29. Remy Goddess Says:

    The information you provided is so simple to understand. Im going to make changes to the Meta tags. Seeing actual numbers and the importance placed put things in perspective! Thanks.

  30. ¿Qué es el Keyword Stuffing? – Says:

    [...] [...]

  31. The Top 3 SEO Mistakes | Jo Petkovic blog Says:

    [...] like the search engines particularly Google, users hates keyword stuffing too. Keyword stuffing builds links spam. It is natural for wanting our web sites accessible to [...]

  32. Kenny Fabre Says:

    thank you for this post now Im aware how much keywords to put and to be very careful thank you

  33. Keyword Drunkenness: An SEO Problem » infinite ink Says:

    [...] to maximize the number of keywords in your content without being penalized, pay attention to the keyword weight.  The keyword weight is calculated by multiplying the number of words in the key phrase by its [...]

  34. Blog SEO and Keyword Saturation | Celtic Ozark Solutions Says:

    [...] basic rule applies to blogs as content seo. You want to have around 3 to 8% keyword saturation. The Online Marketing Website has a good ratio for this on their chart, which shows the averages of keyword saturation across [...]

Leave a Reply