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A long time ago the easiest way to reach high rankings in many search engines at that time was to stuff pages with target keywords. Some tried to hide some part of the page by using background color also for text, while others simply put few paragraphs with apparently irrelevant keywords at the end of the page.
Because word frequency was one of the most important factors to rank pages, it was pretty easy to reach top positions just by exaggerating with keywords. Of course, today keyword stuffing is dead. Search engines and especially Google take into account also many other factors to determine page relevance for particular keywords. In addition to this, excessive keyword repeating is considered as a violation of webmaster guidelines.
Keyword frequency is still an important factor for high ranking. If the page does not mention specific keyword then it is obvious that the page is not about this keyword and this will reflect in rankings. Therefore, there must be some proper frequency that will make the page important for some keyword without excessive word usage. Unfortunately, there is no general rule on what should be the best keyword frequency. It depends on the niche specifics and many other circumstances.
The best approach for SEO and best word frequency is to use natural writing style. This means that you simply write text as you would do it also for other purposes, for example writing for magazine article. Natural writing also means that readers would never notice any unnatural elements in the text. In some cases even if you will write without thinking about any particular keywords in mind it is still possible that some word or keyword will be repeated more than it should to look natural. Therefore, it is a good idea to check the article with some word frequency analyzer.
Many Firefox SEO plugins have keyword checking functions (for example SeoQuake has such functionality). After you finish the article you simply check the frequency of all the keywords and in case you spot some high numbers you slightly modify the text to reduce excessive keyword usage. Of course, you need to know what too high keyword frequency is. As a rule of thumb you can use 6% for single words and 3% for longer keywords of two words or more. Again, these figures are an average number for typical websites. You should adjust them for your niche and the context of the page or article.
One typical example of slightly different frequency thresholds is the Restaurant pizza ovens website. The text is about pizza ovens so this keyword has some higher frequency as you would expect, but the frequency for longer keywords like restaurant pizza ovens is still within limits.
The basic approach to have the right keyword frequency is simply to write naturally and then to check the frequencies with some tool just to be on the safe side.
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