SEO and Applied Semantics — The Future Trend of Calculating the Keyword Density of a Webpage

When people talk about keyword density in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), they usually limit themselves to saying, “use the exact the same keyword throughout your web copy to stress the related keywords”. And the general rule is: the more repetitive the keyword is, the more it looks relevant to your site from the standpoint of search engines.

However, search engines have become even cleverer now. They do not simply index your page by keywords in your site. They also use applied semantics technology to aid the work.

Applied semantics is a technology that teaches search engines to group variations of your targeted keywords into meaningful clusters. What this means is that synonyms and other related, relevant words are counted into the calculations of the keyword density of a particular keyword.

It is not an easy job to apply the semantic technology to different articles using the exact words. Let’s look at an example to illustrate what I’m talking about. Search engines have to distinguish the word “Apple” in a website discussing Apple, Inc – the manufacturer of iPod and iMac – from that of the site that discussing farming technology or agriculture.

Here’s another example of what could be a headache for you. Search engines have to understand more than a dozen variations of the same word, “design”. According to, design could also refer to:

  • Architecture
  • Arrangement
  • Blueprint
  • Chart
  • Composition
  • Conception
  • Constitution
  • Construction
  • Diagram
  • Draft
  • Drawing
  • Idea
  • Layout
  • Makeup
  • Method
  • Model
  • Outline
  • Paste-up
  • Pattern
  • Perspective
  • Picture
  • Plan
  • Rough draft

And that’s just 23 variations. There could be many, many more! So do you see why I say that it could be a headache?

In 2003, Google acquired Applied Semantics, giving it a new platform for its contextual pay-per-click Google Adwords and Adsense Program. However, what I have been watching closely since then, is that its adoption of the semantic technology can effectively be put to use in their search engine technology.

Many SEO forums are discussing the changes in the past few years in Google’s ranking algorithm. However, few of them are able to attribute it to this acquisition of Applied Semantics

What I conclude is that the tactic of using a carefully planned list of identical keywords in a single passage is no longer a good strategy. You now need to use a variety of synonyms of the specific theme in your website copy.

So is this good new or bad? The good news is you are no longer tied in your copy to using the identical keywords just because you want to build keyword density in your article.

However, the bad news is that you don’t have a simple formula to calculate the keyword density of your website copy any more.

Perhaps there is one conclusion can be drawn: Search engines are getting smarter. The SEO game is becoming more difficult to play.
Related Topics: SEO, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engine Optimization, Applied Semantics, contextual advertising, pay-per-click advertising, keyword density, Google Adwords, Google Adsense