Keyword Proximity

Keyword proximity is the distance between two words in a sentence. In SEO, the proximity of keywords is the difference between the combinations of words that make up the target keyword of a web page. The closer the keywords are to each other, the better the indexing and ranking of the said web page. The closer the search terms are to each other, the more relevant Google considers your page to be and the higher your position in the SERPs.

Keywords are very important elements in the creation of content for the web. They are the basis of the strategy to be implemented to achieve the various SEO objectives.

There are many methods related to the research and use of keywords in web content

For example, the density of keywords, the use of long tail keywords, the latent semantic indexing keywords, the proximity of keywords, etc

In this article, I will introduce you to the concept of keyword proximity and share good information about this method.

In particular, you will discover:

  • The real meaning of keyword proximity in SEO;
  • The context of using keyword proximity;
  • The different types of proximity and how to use them.

Chapter 1: What is keyword proximity in SEO?

Keywords are of paramount importance in SEO. Their proximity on a web page is even more important

The more the keywords of a web content are of optimal proximity, the more the web page becomes more and more relevant. But what does Keyword proximity really mean in SEO?

1.1. what does Keyword proximity in SEO mean?

In SEO, keyword proximity refers to the distance between the two words


The space between the keywords placed in a text is an important factor for the indexation and positioning of the said web page in Google search results.

The closer the two keywords are placed, the higher the chance of appearing on the first page of SERPs

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Generally, keywords are expressions that users enter in their search field. They allow them to access concrete information that meets their expectations.

This is why the research and use of keywords are essential in content marketing. Keywords allow you to direct the writing of articles to meet the needs of the audience and especially to serve the natural referencing.

The proximity of keywords is therefore a focal point on which SEO experts must focus to achieve their positioning objective. This aspect must be taken into account before writing content to be published on websites.

For example, the keyword “buy pillowcases” is much more likely to be referenced than the keyword “buy your pillowcases”. The gap between the words “purchase” and “pillowcases” of the two keywords is not the same.

Similarly, the case below illustrates more the relevance of keyword proximity for SEO. The main keyword is ”black shoes Nike”

Furthermore, the keyword is inserted in the following two forms

  • Nike black shoes are pretty tough;
  • Nike shoes are super tough and you will love the color black
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If we have to comply with the rule of proximity between the keywords, the first sentence seems more suitable. However, in the second sentence the gap is too much between portions ”Nike shoes” and ”black”

When a user searches for the keyword ”Nike black shoes”, the chance of appearance of the first phase is very high.

Google has become more sensitive to the proximity of keywords in a web text since the update of its Panda algorithm in February 2011

The main mission of this algorithm is to check the quality of web pages. This Google robot is therefore very rigorous in the face of duplicate content, plagiarism, content stuffed with keywords, etc..

When writing articles for a web page, you must therefore take into account the proximity between the keywords and avoid stuffing as much as possible

1.2 : Types of proximity of keywords

There are generally three types of proximity of keywords: proximity, average proximity and great proximity.

1.2.1 : Proximity in SEO

Proximity in SEO indicates the absence of gap, that is to say that there are no words inserted between the main keyword. When we take the example of the following target keyword:“Débouchage canalisation“. The proximity in a sentence will give

”It is essential to make the unblocking of the drain to maintain and keep your sanitary installations in good condition”

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You can notice that in this sentence, no other word or expression has infiltrated between the two words that compose the main keyword. There is therefore a proximity of keywords which is favorable to a good referencing of the page

1.2.2 : Average proximity

The average proximity indicates a slight distance between the keywords. This average distance can be a gap of 3 to 5 words inserted in the middle of the main keyword. This type of proximity is also relevant although the distance is not the same as the first one. For example, we can apply the average proximity to the first sentence:

”The unblocking, unclogging and cleaning of a pipe are very important to keep your sanitary installations in good condition”.

There is in this sentence, a gap of five dead between the main keyword.

1.2.3: Close proximity

The great proximity refers to a gap of ten words or more, between the words that make up the main keyword. Unlike the first two types of proximity, the great proximity is not very favorable to the referencing of a website.

By inserting more than 10 words in the middle of the main keyword on which you intend to position your site, you will have less chance of appearing on the first page of SERPs. Here is what we get when we apply the great proximity to the keyword ”unclogging drain”:

”The unclogging is unavoidable when you notice that waste forms a blockage in one of the pipes of your sanitary facilities ”

The portions “unclogging” and “drain” are far enough apart from the word that the crawlers find the main keyword in the sentence. In this context, Google’s algorithms cannot determine whether you are highlighting drain unclogging or something else.

The fourteen word gap between the main keyword does not benefit you from an SEO perspective. Therefore, we recommend that you keep the keywords as close together as possible in order to successfully rank your site on the target keywords

1.3 : Importance of keyword proximity in SEO

The proximity of keywords is very important for the positioning of the pages of a website. SEO experts consider the use of keywords as one of the best SEO strategies.

Your website can be easily ranked at the top of the page due to keyword proximity. Keyword proximity allows you to be efficient and save time when writing articles to raise in the SERPs

However, you should not focus all your attention on the proximity of keywords when writing your web content. You will be able to apply medium or high proximity at times to avoid the risk of your content not being pleasant to read.

In fact, the chaining of keywords degrades the fluidity of the article and lowers its value for Internet users. The keyword proximity rule is the same as the other SEO measures. The ideal is not to make a stuffing of keywords and especially not to abuse the rule of proximity.

Keyword proximity is also an excellent way to optimize a page with a long tail keyword. The latter requires the complete and strategic improvement of the key phrase unlike the single keywords

It is therefore obvious that you will not be able to get a good ranking on the SERP with a long tail keyword if you do not master the keyword proximity measure

Chapter 2: How to use keyword proximity in SEO?

Using keyword proximity is a careful job that you need to do very carefully

You should make use of proximity keywords as much as possible while applying from time to time the medium proximity or the large proximity.

But first, it is important to know the context of use and everything related to it.

2.1 : Context of use of the proximity of keywords

When you search for a word in the Google search bar, the information that is displayed varies from the order of the keyword you entered. Websites that rank high for your keyword may find themselves at the bottom of the list when you change the order of the keyword

The SEO writer must necessarily take this aspect into account when using keyword proximity. Specifically, Google’s crawlers rigorously examine the proximity between keywords.

You can use particularly the proximity of keywords if you want to appear in first ranking on the SERP. This rule is most effective when applied with keyword frequency, keyword density and keyword prominence.

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These three factors play a huge role in optimizing a page for a target keyword proximity. You should definitely keep these factors in mind when writing content for your website

2.1.1 : Keyword frequency

Keyword proximity frequency refers to the number of times the target keyword appears in the body of the content. This frequency is measured according to the number of key phrases that your article contains.

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The frequency of keywords is very important for the SEO of your website. But you must limit the number of keywords at the risk of being identified as spam content or keyword stuffing

2.1.2 : Keyword density

To increase the visibility of your web pages on Google, it is important to understand how keyword density works. In concrete terms, keyword density can positively impact the traffic on your site and increase your online marketing campaign revenues.

Keyword density and frequency seem to indicate the same thing. However, these two concepts have a clear point of divergence

Keyword density is calculated based on the number of times the target keyword is used. The total is then divided by the number of words in the content

You will then multiply this result by a hundred to get the keyword density on your page

For example, if you write a 1000 words content and your keyword appears 20 times, your keyword density would be :

20 (keyword frequency) / 1000 (total number of words) × 100 = 2.

Formule de calcul de la densite de keyword

Therefore, the keyword density in this 1000 word content is 2%. You can easily find your keyword density with plugins like YOAST SEO.


This tool will allow you to track the density in the meta box under the content editor. It is important to check the density so as not to exceed the standards

2.1.3 : Prominence of the keyword

Keyword prominence is about whether your main keyword actually appears in the important parts of the content. In other words, the prominence of a keyword is the measure of its distance from the beginning of the content. It is expressed as a percentage which is higher when the target keyword is placed at the beginning of the article

It also allows to know if the keyword stands out from the rest of the article when it is contextually more important. Keyword prominence refers to the integration of keywords on a website

Bolded or anchored keywords are more effective than those written in a specific format and font for their integration

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This is an important element to consider when developing your SEO strategy. Prominence is an integral part of the page analysis criteria that Google uses. We therefore recommend that you position your strategic keywords at the beginning of the text as much as possible

SEO professionals recommend placing these keywords in the first 200 words of the content. The prominence of the keyword is calculated from the content of the page

In this context, the words of the HTML code are not taken into account and the algorithms do not recognize the CSS style pages either

The engines calculate the prominence by taking into account the positions of the keywords in the source code. To organize your website pages, you can for example put the most interesting content first

2.2 : How to use the proximity of keywords ?

To better use the proximity of keywords in your content, you must first remove the ”unnecessary words” and tighten the distance between the keywords. This closing is crucial in that it accentuates the optimization process of your text.

After writing, you can reread your text several times to better reconcile the keywords

The application of keyword proximity must be carefully thought out in order to maintain the original order of the keywords. Any change in the order of keyword proximity can impact the position in Google’s search results

For example, Google will provide different results for the keywords “vacation camp” and “vacation camp”

On the other hand, there are specific parts of an article where you can use keyword proximity to hope for a good ranking in the SERPs. These are mainly the title of the page, H tags, meta description, introduction, etc.

2.2.1 : Page title

The title of your page must necessarily include the main keyword. The title is indeed the first element that summarizes your page. It must be catchy and carefully written. If your keyword is “drain cleaning Paris”, you must make sure that these words are found in your page title.

2.2.2 : Header tags

Keyword proximity also applies to the H tags of your content. More specifically to the H1 tag. For all header tags like H1, H2, H3, H4, etc. you need to put proximity while ensuring the meaning of the sentences. Hx tags are quite noticeable and larger than the rest of the content

Using keyword proximity would be a great asset to your SEO strategy. The same goes for:

  • unnumbered lists;
  • italicized content;
  • anchor portions and other styles;
  • Etc.

2.2.3 : Meta Description

The meta description is an important part of a content for the Web. It is a small text of about 160 characters that entices readers to continue reading. The meta description allows the reader to know what to expect for the rest of the text. It is then essential to use the proximity of the keywords in order to have a relevant meta description. You can use the proximity target keyword once or twice in the meta description.

2.2.4 : Introduction

It is very advisable to pay attention to the proximity of the keywords inserted in the introduction of a blog post or any other web content. In this context, you can use proximity or average proximity to properly integrate the keywords. While using average proximity is possible, you should not overuse it or you will lose the relevance of your text

If you use keyword proximity in these locations, your website will have a better chance of ranking. You will be able to get more traffic and income thanks to this practice. The process of using keyword proximity is knowing where to insert a keyword and in what form

These two elements allow you to be original and relevant

To highlight your keywords, you can also

  • use bold for the target keyword;
  • use italic font for the target keyword;
  • underline the target keyword and choose a particular color.

All of these optimization practices represent technical and strategic work that you must do with great care. However, the use of keyword proximity does not exclude the application of other SEO measures


Keyword proximity is a very important way of content optimization that should not be neglected. It allows Google to see the relevance of your web pages and to rank them at optimal positions in the SERPs

I explained in this article the concept of Keyword proximity and the different types of keyword proximity that exist. These include proximity, medium proximity and high proximity.

Keyword proximity is used in certain contexts by taking into account the factors of frequency, density and prominence. So you need to know where to insert your proximity keywords to have a good SEO and especially to avoid keyword stuffing.

If you like this content, leave us a comment or tell us what you think about keyword proximity!

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