Keyphrase Calculation to Include Resource Box

On May 7th of this year, we implemented a change in standards that no longer allowed a keyphrase density of more than 2% of the article body. Today we will be modifying that standard.

Effective immediately, we will be keeping the same 2% keyphrase rejection threshold as before, but will now include the Resource Box in the word count & keyphrase density calculation.

Why? A small minority of members were stuffing their resource box full of keywords and keyphrases because they figured out that we weren’t including the resource box in the 2% threshold calculation.

Here is a real life example of an article that met our standards prior to May 7th of this year:

This 325 word article had the following stats in just the article body:

Keyphrase: debt settlements occurs 9 times (2.7%)
Keyword: debt occurs 17 times (5.2%)

Under the newly implemented standards, the Resource Box is taken into consideration when doing the calculations – this is to ensure that the loophole is closed and that keyword and keyphrase stuffing discontinues. The same article calculated it with today’s calculation method would not meet our new standards:

Keyphrase: debt settlements occurs 14 times (4.3%)
Keyword: debt occurs 35 times (10.8%)

[The images shown here are of the actual article used for this example as viewed by our keyphrase (left image) and keyword (right image) highlighter tools.]

Enough of this crazy keyword loading I say!

If you are new to writing articles and want to know what an acceptable keyword or keyphrase density is, our recommendation is to either forget about this nonsense and write as you normally write. The alternative is to avoid repeating any keyword or keyphrase more than once per 100 words (i.e. 1% keyword or keyphrase density).

UPDATED October 28th 2009: Please post with your real name and a link to your primary website. This is a professional forum.


WritewhereUr writes:

Good to know as I have not yet submitted any articles. Any information that we can get to help cutting down on reasons for rejection of proposed articles is helpful.


Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 9:10 AM


Anonymous person, :)

I highly recommend you go watch the free training videos, specifically the top 10 reasons for article rejection and what to do about it:


Dave Doolin writes:

Good. And about time really.

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 9:18 AM


Jerry Smith writes:

Points well made – it seems that the best articles are those written genuinely to inform. it is pretty well impossible to do that when you are trying to “fit” the article around the same word repeated 50 times! Even if someone finds such an item, it is obvious it has been written that way!

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 9:59 AM


Morné writes:

This is great guys, I can all ready hear a lot of people screaming (what are you thinking!).

Advice to all the SEO’s out there, stop writing for spiders/bots! START writing for actual PEOPLE reading your articles.

This is not a back link or seo squatter camp.

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 10:22 AM


Jeff writes:

Just a quick question… Will this new standard still be enforced automatically during the article submission process?

I remember when I first got started with EzineArticles that I would occasionally get an article rejected for excessive keywords. It is really nice that the system now simply doesn’t allow you to submit an article with a keyword density that is too high.


Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 10:35 AM



This change happens during the submission process; which means it does not rely on our human Editors to catch it.

While that may be annoying for some members, it also means you just got real-time information to help you get your article ACCEPTED faster! :-)


James writes:

Wow, I guess whoever wrote that sample article won’t be making any changes too soon.

I don’t mean to complain or anything but I just have one comment to make.
I think that its unfair to have these type of articles grandfathered in on the system already. Not good for the site
And, doesen’t seem fair on newcomers trying out for the same type Niche Market.

But, thats just me!

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 11:44 AM



I agree.

If it were easy to run, we’d have already done it.

Plan A is to “right” this ship and stop it from being half-tipped over being flooded.

Plan B is to pump all of the bad water out of the ship once the ship is stable.

I think you may have wrongly assumed that the keyword/keyphrase spammers got some kind of unfair advantage in the marketplace. I really don’t think they did themselves any good.

Know we’re going to double-back after this new feature has some time to prove itself in implementation and will take appropriate action against massively obvious offending articles.


Dan Toombs writes:

Great move! I love the industry I am in and really like writing about it. I must say that it is really annoying when you put time into writing articles that you hope will inform people and then read an article by someone else stuffing their articles with keywords offering little or no real information! This change will benefit us all.

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 11:57 AM


Sam writes:

This is a good change. I never aim for a specific keyword density for my articles – I just try to write naturally – but sometimes it can be easy to go over the 2% threshold without intending too. After all, an article about debt reduction will naturally mention the word ‘debt’ quite a lot, even if the author isn’t trying to stuff keywords. So I’m glad that this is monitored automatically during the submission process, & we don’t have to waste our time & yours submitting articles that might accidentally be just over the limit.

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 12:14 PM


Kathy writes:

Have you put any thought into whether it should be acceptable to put links to non-related topic websites in the resource box.

Weight Loss article has link to “persion rugs” site in the resource box.

This is becoming a common practice as well that is resulting in lots of ‘spam articles’.

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 1:35 PM


Kate writes:

What about articles with resource box links that are unrelated to the topic?

Ex: Weight loss article with a resource box with links to a “persian rug” site. The links still say “persion rug” – but the articles are just spammy articles intended to get the links…

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 1:46 PM


We haven’t banned that practice yet, but we have educated authors in the past that is not a best practice.

In some cases, I think it’s an innocent mistake where a person is passionate about Persian rugs but also likes writing about weight loss.

If you feel the article is disingenuous, by all means, use the REPORT ARTICLE tool in the upper right corner of the article tools and we’ll investigate.


Mark Thompson writes:

Chris, in 90% of cases it’s not a mistake. It’s a method taught in a course. One that seems like an incredibly bad idea to me!


Kate writes:

Just a followup to my previous question.

You might want to consider some sort of process where the article writers police themselves somewhat in being able to report inappropriate activity. There is much gaming being done of the ‘system’ – for those who follow the rules – it is very frustrating. And – those who are following the rules are acutely aware of which authors aren’t..

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 1:54 PM


Dan Toombs writes:

Good point Kate. We do know who the offenders are and yes it is annoying. I have read the articles of many of my competitors and have either learned from them or at least respected them for the information they have tried to pass on. However, others seem to write for only one reason: themselves.

I think Chris is trying to fix the problem the problem of keyword stuffing articles but if we could all take a part in policing other problems as well, it could make his job a lot easier. Any ideas how that could be done?


Kate writes:

OK – here goes..

1) If the article author claims to be a Doctor – their credential should be verified. There are many articles being written in the health niche authored by ‘doctors’ who also write articles on ‘credit repair’ and ‘refinance your mortgage’- pretty smart ‘doctors’ -eh?

2) For those article marketer who game the system and submit scheduled articles 1-2 at a time so that they stay on top of the ‘most recent article’ list. I think this should be limited. Maybe only allow a given author a max # of articles/day. I know this could be contraversial – but there is one guy who is keeping a low profile right now that was doing this like clockwork in a couple of niches – every hour on the hour, there was a new article (or two) that would pop up.

3) If the referrer for an article is blank – ezine should not increment the view count. There are article marketers that either exchange or pay for traffic to increase article count – thus getting on the ‘most viewed’ list. They deliberately blank out the reffer so that EzineArticle can’t identify the traffic.

4) I see some marketers who use multiple pen names and accounts to mitigate their exposure. Ezine should be able to look at the landing page(s) in the resource box and see if there are multiple accounts (not necessarily pen names) pointing to the same landing page. They might be surprised at how much this is being done. Once again – the marketer is trying to game the system by pretending to be multiple authors – and dominating the ‘most recent article’ list. The multiple ‘account’ technique seems to be used to have one ‘in the bank’ in case their account gets banned.

Just implementing these types of changes would greatly reduce the amount of gaming that is being done on EzineArticle. And make the article marketers who are playing fair – actually play on a level playing field.


Kate writes:

Here’s another one…

Take a look at the use of keywords used by authors.

One really annoying spammy thing that is being done is that an author will write hundreds of articles that say basically the same thing – with the same keyword at the front of the title with a twist at the end.

Lose Belly Fat – Do this and you will see results in just 3 days
Lose Belly Fat – If you try this, your husband will worship you
Lose Belly Fat – Don’t make this mistake or you will be sorry

Basically – the author here is just looking to get hundreds of articles submitted, sitting in the ‘most recent’ list to get some traffic. Once the article falls off, it is never seen again. If some sort of rules were put in regarding keyword title spamming, this would also greatly reduce the crap that is being submitted.


Magriet du Plessis writes:

Yes, I found this out today when I had to change one word in all my resource boxes as they went over the 2%. No problem though, only a small change I had to make. I was not keyword stuffing I just never counted them! If the keyword is in the hyperlink you go over very easy! something I’ll have to keep in mind now.

Comment provided October 27, 2009 at 4:14 PM


Magriet du Plessis writes:

This is a reply to Dan’s comment about multiple pen names etc.

Hi I must add an extra two cents here. I also use quite a lot of author names. The reason being that I’m keeping a name per website. So all the articles under each name points to all the sites in a broader niche.

This why I can promote my author name and let people go to articles that they are interested in. Each author name has a separate website with another product or service. I do not think this is spam! Every article I write has unique content and adds value for the reader.

It has become very difficult and we live in a time where sheer hard work can also be considered spam!! Thanks to the spammers, of course!

Comment provided October 28, 2009 at 1:55 AM


I believe whereas, this might make sense, I believe it to be fraudulent, misrepresentative, and a violation of law. Here is why I feel this way.

If you are holding yourself out to be a “real person” with real knowledge of the subject, enticing folks to come and buy something from you, but you are using a fake name, then you are misrepresenting who you are in order to sell something.

It is fraud, although a mild form of it, even if what you sell is perfectly legitimate. Pen-Names are for literary writers, and not meant to be used in deception. I believe it’s also unethical and find it fascinating all the ridiculous rational that folks purport when trying to explain to me why I am wrong about this.

In fact, I cannot understand why anyone would do this and use false names to sell stuff online. it should be obvious that this is just flat wrong.


I hereby withdraw my last post as; “Magriet du Plessis” is using variations of the actual real name, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact, this is what folks should do if they have multiple websites, products and need to use multiple names on the articles to keep it straight Such as;

M. Plessis
Maggie Plessis
Marge Plessis
M.D. Plessis
M. du Plessis
Miss Plessis


John writes:

What I see here seems to me to be unfair. What I see happening is if you use a keyword in your resource box you may go over the threshold limit of 2%.
You have in your TOS an explanation of what should be in your articles. The body of the article should be your “give” and the resource box should be your “take”.
What I see here is your failure to understand that keywords are key to how much traffic you get to your EzineArticles pages which is key to how much exposure you get to your adsense ads that proliferate every page. I’ve seen as many as 17 ads on articles and as few as 3, but most pages have between 11 and 14. Using your words – allowing people to write articles for free to generate traffic to their web sites for free was your “give” and showing adsense ads were your “take”. Now you want to take away some of your “give” and continue to “take”. While some people who write articles that may naturally wind up having more keywords will get punished and told to write with fewer keywords you will still generate adsense revenue with excessive numbers of ads. I know that this is your house and you can do whatever you want but raising your standards of writing would probably go a lot further than focusing on keywords.
I was going to cite an article that is the type of article you continue to publish but I didn’t want to embarrass the writer. On your home page I found an article that started with a sentence that used the word “are” in the place of what should have been “is” and did the exact same thing in the third sentence. This article said the same thing several times in slightly different variations. This article was approved and you are more concerned if someone goes over the keyword threshold by 1 or 2%. Every day I go to your homepage I find articles like this. Sometimes I find articles that have 3 or more paragraphs that say exactly the same thing – just slightly different – in each paragraph. Every day I find articles that have been obviously outsourced to people who don’t know how to speak english fluently – and these are not edited by the people who pay for them. Their resource boxes are perfect but are disjointed by the unfluent english written in the article body but you continue to publish these. Where are your standards?
While I am against keyword stuffing in general when it is excessive I think this approach by throttling this way down may hurt not only me but many people who use articles to generate traffic to their web sites. That was what EzineArticles was about.

Comment provided October 28, 2009 at 2:58 AM


You’re over-estimating the importance of keywords/keyphrases to attract traffic.

It’s only one small part of the total authority/trust equation.

It’s true that a very small percentage of good-intentioned authors will be snagged in this policy shift, but it’s our belief that a hard line in the sand had to be drawn against those who only want to make a fast traffic buck instead of a long-term trust relationship with the market.


John writes:

You’ve only addressed one part of my comment. What about the rest. The excessive adsense ads. The continued approving of substandard articles. I am not talking about pure academic articles that would be comfortable in a university newspaper type setting but basic articles that make sense instead of articles that convey a sense of what the author meant to say. I’ve heard that you advertise for editors and pay only modestly. Is this the old adage of you get what you pay for?


Either you get traffic from us and it’s worth it or you don’t.

Today we’ll be delivering 200,000+ clicks to our members, as we do every single day (more on week days, little less on weekends).

If you don’t get traffic back to your website and perceived exposure/views to your articles… you’ll eventually stop submitting to us.

I absolutely know that our ads are NOT cutting into your TAKE as an author. The proof is that our incoming article supply continues to expand faster than previously. This can ONLY be because we’re delivering genuine value.

Feel free to share your full name and show us your articles. I’d be happy to review your account to ensure you’re getting the maximum yield from your articles.


John writes:

I am happy with the amount of traffic I get and I am learning how to get the maximum yield from my articles. I believe I am getting value for the time spent creating new articles. I don’t care that you have a lot of adsense ads but I’d like you to hold yourself accountable of your actions as well.
What I am not happy about is the fact that you keep approving substandard articles but focus on keywords and having a hard and fast percentage for keyword density. This is not meant to push your buttons and clearly I am seeing that I am so I won’t be publishing my name or articles to have a knee-jerk reaction from you. I just want better answers!


Mark Thompson writes:


I submitted an article this morning and it went through ok therefore the keyword density over the article and resource box was less than 2%

An hour later it was in problem status for having a too high a keyword density?

Why is it the pre-submission checks passed the article but the editor didn’t? Do we now have to manually calculate the density of all words?

Also why we are at it, can you look at the anchor text rules and at least make them flexible. some keywords phrases only make sense if all the phrase is used yet we can only have 3 keywords in anchor text.

for example “Writing Tips For Senior Citizens” is not acceptable so it would need to be reduced to “Writing Tips” which would in turn not be applicable to most of the people reading the resource box.

Comment provided October 28, 2009 at 10:28 AM


Your article should not have made it through our system.

We are tweaking the system as we’re testing word stemming and other ways of catching plural vs. singular use of keyphrases.

Sorry for the inconsistency. I expect more inconsistencies on this issue for at least another week before we get super tight on enforcing the 2% keyphrase cap.

I’m not going to ‘out’ your article, but I think if you did share it, others would agree with me that it should not be accepted.

As for the keyword anchored text thing, if your article was UNIQUE/EXCEPTIONAL and delivered on the ‘WOW factor’ — our Editors have the ability to allow up to 5 words in the anchor text. If it’s standard or substandard article, 3 is the max.


Mark Thompson writes:


Can you clarify, why should an article that had less than 2% keyword density not make it through the filter? There were no plurals in fact the phrase was not even the keyword phrase.


It didn’t have less than 2% KEYPHRASE density (notice that keyword density is a different concept than keyphrase density).

It was more like 2.2% keyphrase density on this issue if I have the correct article in question.

The code issue was figured out an hour ago and a fix pushed live, which means the same article submitted again would be rejected automatically correctly.


Mark Thompson writes:

Thanks For the clarification, I assume the title is not included in the calculations However is the url included?

for example would count as part of the KEYPHRASE Big Domain


Today, the article TITLE does NOT count towards the 2%, but the URL does.

There may be a day when we include the article title but for now, I’m pretty sure we’re going to continue to exclude that TITLE in the calculation.


It should come as no surprise that most keyword loaders tip us off by their use of the keyphrase in the article title. In fact, some repeat the keyphrase more than once in the article title. We may be nearing the end of that spammy-looking style of article title.


Mark Thompson writes:


Surely if you are writing about Red widgets then you should have red widgets in the title?

(doesn’t you guide actually say this??)

Are you really saying that the keyword or keyphrase should not be in the title?

Actually by including the url in the 2% then you punish the people write articles based on the theme of the site, surely this should be encouraged.

For example as i mentioned above If I have a site that is about “writing for senior citizens” I am punished for having a domain called while a domain called can stuff the keyword in the body (to a certain extent) and not be penalized.

As I have said numerous times before you can do what you want with your site and most of us will comply but surely it makes sense to encourage on topic articles and not penalize them.


You can put the keyword and/or the keyphrase in the article title. That’s way more important than stuffing the article body with nonsense-levels of repetition.

I was just tipping our hat to spill that we may in the future use the article title to help us identify abuse and/or we may some day soon limit the current ability to repeat a keyphrase more than once in an article title. That looks spammy to me every single time I see it…


Indeed, I’ve never had the “intention” of key-word stuffing, but the system catching me every once in a while doing it, so I have to get creative. For instance if I am writing about Global Warming, that combination often gets flagged. So, I use Global CO2 Warming or Planet Warming Claims from Human Activity or atmospheric ambient increases in temperature thought to be caused by man-made pollution.

At first this rule bothered me with some things like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or combo words like Nano Technologies, Bio Tech, etc. Sometimes it’s difficult but if you get creative, you can over come the issue, that’s what I’ve learned. Sometimes there are not readily available replacement words especially when using industry jargon, but if you know your subject well, it is something you can work around, and the articles actually look better too, they sound much better to the average person if you do not stuff, whether on purpose or purely by accident.


Jay Jennings writes:

Your article sounds better to the average person if you have to “get creative” just to get around a keyword limit? I doubt very much that would be true in many cases.

If your article is about global warming and the words “global warming” are the correct words for a sentence/paragraph to read well, then it should NOT be flagged whether it’s 2% or 3.14% of the text.

This is a rule EzineArticles has implemented but it’s simply not a good rule. It’s like the stupid zero-tolerance rules in our schools where a forgotten spork in a kid’s lunch box can get him suspended for “bringing a weapon to school.”

Recognizing real keyword stuffing (as in, designed for search engines) from good writing isn’t something that technology can do at this time — it should be left up to humans. Kind of like the whole porn thing — “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

Just because a word/phrase shows up more than 2% doesn’t mean it was stuffed.

Jay Jennings


Jay, well of course, you are right. I had made a suggestion a while back when this rule was instituted that authors that are not guilty of this and on the good list, be exempt. I thought that would be fairer really, but, this is an issue with software modification, and an arbitrary decision by a human, at a time when the world is moving towards AI software control for efficiency. I just thought you should know that personally, I do not like the rule, and work around it, and I never “puposely” key-word stuff, but I have seen articles in the past prior to this rule where people had, and yes, boy can you tell the difference, the articles look stupid and I am sure readers do not appreciate it much.



This is a good rule, I’ve totally noticed that myself, and wondered about it too. Good catch. We need to stop the stocking stuffers before Christmas, because Santa Clause needs to lose weight!

Comment provided October 28, 2009 at 1:16 PM


Magriet du Plessis writes:

Answering Lance

I’m not using fictitious names, I’m only using variations on my own name, variations some very real people call me. My name is Magriet, but my brother used to call me Gretchen, for example. My one uncle used to call me Grietjie and my mom called me Meidjie. You get my drift, no lying or false names here!

Comment provided October 29, 2009 at 12:55 AM


Oh, well my mistake, I mis-interpreted your last post and I apologize, my mistake. I applaud your methods in using this technique and believe it is the right thing to do. Again, I am sorry and apologize. – Sincerely, Lance


Magriet du Plessis writes:

Answering lance,

Don’t worry, I knew you misunderstood me and no offense taken!

Comment provided October 29, 2009 at 1:15 AM


Geoff writes:

Surely stuffing the resource box with keywords doesn`t make a lot of sense anyway? Would publishers want to place an article on their site or in a newsletter if it didn`t look `right,` I know I wouldn`t.

Comment provided October 29, 2009 at 8:57 AM


Royce writes:

New author here. I am confused about what percentage is used for keyword density. Prior to submitting an article, it was flagged in draft as keyword spammy. The software that flagged it said to limit keywords to 2%. I edited the ariticle down until it was no longer flagged as exceeding the 2% limit. I submitted it and was informed today that the article contained too many keywords. The email I received said the keyword should be repeated once every 100 words. That is a 1% density. The article was 304 words and the offending keyword was used seven times. 2% density would be six times; 1 % density woudl be three times. So my question is: was I over by 1 keyword usage or 4 ? Thanks.

Comment provided November 12, 2009 at 9:29 PM



I’m responding without looking up your particular case. If you want to know what the real issue is (if you haven’t found out already) please contact our Member Support team.

1% keyword density is the recommendation if someone asks us, but 2% is the max threshold that we allow. a 304 word article is pretty thin by itself, so keywords that repeat usually jump out at us….

Ok, I had to look up your case in order to figure out why you were asking this issue. We don’t comment publicly on article decisions, but I can tell you this was a case of our Editor confusing keyword density limits with keyphrase density limits…two totally separate issues. Your article in question has been approved. Sorry about this. I’ll make sure we do more training on this internally.

Update: See comment below.



An update after more research:

Our Editor wasn’t wrong to reject it originally.

You were able to submit the article because one of your keyphrases was misspelled. Upon our Editor fixing the misspelling, it was now above the 2% threshold limit.


Royce writes:


I wasn’t questioning the editor’s decision regarding the keyword density. I was seeking clarification between the published 2% limit and the 1% suggestion that I received in the email notice. I did go back and edit the article, cutting the keyword from 7 down to 3. This is only my third article, so I am still learning the craft. Thanks for your response and all your advice.

Comment provided November 15, 2009 at 8:14 PM



If you would have reduced the keyphrase from 7 repeats to 6, we would have been able to accept it.

The guideline is to not repeat a keyphrase more than once per 100 words, but the max allowed threshold is 2 out of every 100 words.

Keyphrases are defined as 2 or more words.


Jay Jennings writes:

How do you decide what is a keyword and what isn’t — do you only check on the words/phrases that we put in the keyword field when submitting?

I just recently submitted an article on podcasting and had a horrible time cutting down the number of times I said “podcast” — and I think the article doesn’t read as smoothly as it did before.

There aren’t an awful lot of synonyms for the word podcast. =:(

If I had left the word podcast OUT of the keyword field would my article have been submitted as written?

In general I don’t care about any SEO aspects of the articles I submit to you guys, so “keyword stuffing” isn’t something that’s important to me. But articles that read well *IS* something’s that’s important to me.


Jay Jennings

Comment provided November 28, 2009 at 1:14 AM



How many times did you repeat the keyword “postcast” per 100 words?

While the recommendation is 1-2 keywords per 100 words (1-2% keyword density) for those who ask, the actual threshold is significantly higher.

Feel free to email me the original article that you were trying to submit as I’d like to see your perspective.


Dave Wilk writes:

Chris can you actually answer Jay’s concern, please. Looks like you’re avoiding the answer here.

I have reported to support a similar problem that Jay had (comment 22). They kindly pointed me to this post without explaining anything. My original articles have been accepted but after making a correction in the title and re-submitting the articles have been declined. There was no change to the content.

I don’t mind you cutting down on keyword phrases, but if you limit the main keyword (single word) the article becomes crap.

It’s ridiculous to write 500 words article on horse training using “horse” 10 times.

Chris, can you see the point? Nobody is aiming at single word keywords anymore, so what’s the point of such a strict limit.

Like Jay said, sometimes you just don’t have substitutes for keywords at your disposal.

All Best!

Comment provided December 9, 2009 at 5:04 PM



Any single word is a keyword.

Any 2 or more words that repeat, we call them keyphrases.

When articles that were previously published are edited, they must meet TODAY’S article review standards and not the standards that they were previously accepted under. No articles are ever grandfathered.

Ref: “Horse” keyword

I’m not sure what you’re saying here. We would allow you to repeat “horse” 10 times in a 500 word article (2% keyword density). The single keyword density threshold is much higher than 2%.


Dave Wilk writes:

Thank you for prompt answer.

The issue I corrected the titles or a link appearance of articles that has been submitted 10 minutes earlier, not days or months, and they did not meet the standards on re-submission. On first submission the single word keyword density has not been even listed as an issue but exactly the same articles has been reject 2nd time.



I’m confused by your response. Are you saying that we rejected an article on keyword density on the 2nd submission and not the 1st one? If so, Chris still may be right based on the time and date of submission. Your article may have been in the mix of the changes. I don’t know.

Please email your concern and article title to Member Support and I will review your issue as I will need more details to better supply an answer.


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