A common question that pops up in every SEO’s mind is “how many SEO keywords should you target per page?” Should you target just one SEO keyword or aim to use multiple keywords per page?
Another common question regarding this topic is, “should you create entirely new web pages for each individual keyword variation?”
In this article, we will answer these commonly asked questions regarding the best keyword usage per page, you’ll also learn why less is more when it comes to this subject.
Before we begin, let’s first clearly define what an SEO keyword is.
An SEO keyword is a word or phrase that people type into Google and other search engines to find the information that they’re looking for.
Why Are Keywords Important For SEO?
Selecting the right keywords is essential to the success of any SEO campaign. In fact, SEO without keywords would be impossible.
The reason for this is that keywords tell search engines what your website and web pages are about.
Without keywords on your page, search engines won’t be able to understand the context of your web page(s) and therefore won’t know which search queries to rank your website for.
Keywords have formed the foundation of search engine ranking algorithms since the inception of the modern search engine and have been used ever since then in determining which web pages to rank.
Now that you have a better understanding of why keywords are so important for SEO, let’s discuss how many SEO keywords should you target per page.
How Many Keywords Should You Focus On Per Page?
Search engine marketers should focus on targeting one main keyword or keyphrase and two to three keyword variations per individual page.
But you may be wondering which keyword should you use as your main keyword if there are multiple variations of the same terms.
For instance, the search term “ads on a car” has got multiple variations such as “ads on car”, “advert on car”, “advertisement on car”, etc.
The key is to find keywords that have high search volume but low competition.
Once you’ve got the main topic and keyword that you’d like to target, you can find two to three close variations of the respective keyword.
Remember, you don’t want to be targeting too many keywords on one page as that will decrease the odds of your web page ranking for your main keyword.
Besides, even though you’re targeting only one main keyword, you’ll naturally end up ranking for several different keywords. (more on this subject later)
Why Focusing on Fewer Keywords Per Page is Better
When it comes to the number of keywords to target per page, less is more. Here are the reasons why you should target one main SEO keyword per page.
By only focusing on one keyword per page, it allows you to be laser-focused on the topic at hand.
Imagine targeting 4 to 5 keywords per page, how will you structure the content without confusing your readers and search engines? Additionally, how will you write title tags and meta descriptions if you’re trying to target more than one keyword per page?
By targeting only one keyword per page, SEOs can create optimized meta descriptions and title tags for each specific page.
Reduce the Risk of Keyword Dilution
Focusing on one keyword per page also reduces the risk of keyword dilution.
By targeting more than one main keyword per page, you decrease the power of each individual keyword.
For instance, let’s imagine that you’ve got an eCommerce store selling women’s fashion items.
If you were to target 2 main keywords such as “women’s shoes” and “women’s hats” on one page, then the odds of that page ranking for both terms are really slim. This, therefore, “dilutes” the power of the individual keywords.
The Trickle-Down Effect
In SEO, the trickle-down effect can be defined as when a page ranks for keywords that it isn’t optimized for.
Here’s an example of the trickle-down effect in SEO:
When a page has a high ranking in Google, it means that Google thinks that the page is the best resource for the keyword that people are searching for.
So if the page ranks for “men’s sunglasses”, then Google is smart enough to know that this page is also the best resource for the keyword “sunglasses for men”.
Although both keywords are different, they essentially mean the same thing.
How Many Keywords can a Page Rank for Realistically?
Simply stated, a single page can rank for hundreds of different keywords. With that being said, you shouldn't intentionally try ranking for hundreds of keywords.
Take for instance the SEOptimer article about SEO proposals, according to Ahrefs, it’s currently ranking for 44 keywords in the United States.
Now, do you think we originally set out to rank this page for 44 different keywords?
The reason why this occurs is that a single page can rank for multiple long-tail keywords and other keywords that are closely related to the main topic.
This phenomenon occurs naturally when a page has got high-quality content focusing only on one specific topic.
Can I Have Too Many Keywords on a Page?
The answer to this question is an absolute yes!
The process of adding too many of the same keywords on a page with the hopes of manipulating a site’s rankings is known as keyword stuffing and Google doesn't like it.
When search engines weren’t as sophisticated as they are today keyword stuffing was widely used to improve a page’s ranking potential.
But nowadays, search engines can easily recognize keyword stuffing and penalize a site for practicing it.
Imagine coming across a page that practices keyword stuffing:
Buy men’s sunglasses at our Men’s Sunglass Shop. We sell the best men’s sunglasses for all men. All our men’s sunglasses are imported from Italy - the fashion capital of the world. You can buy mens’ sunglasses by contacting us today!
Not only can this harm your site’s ranking, but keyword stuffing also results in a horrible user experience and makes your content difficult to read.
How Many Keywords Should You Target on the Homepage?
If you’re the owner or marketer of a business that sells multiple products across a wide range of categories you may be wondering, “How many keywords should I target on the homepage?”
Surely you will want to try and target all of the keywords related to your products or services on the homepage?
Well not quite, you should think of your homepage as any other page on your website.
This means that you shouldn’t try targeting keywords for each of your 10 different products or services.
Instead, you should think of the core product or service that your business is offering and optimize your homepage to target those keywords.
For example, SEOptimer’s homepage is primarily focused on targeting the keyword “SEO audit” even though we’ve got multiple tools such as our keyword tool and embeddable SEO audit tool.
After reading this article, we hope that you now have a better understanding of how many SEO keywords you should target per page.
The main goal is to target one specific keyword with 2 to 3 related keyword variations.