Search engines find keywords in different elements of a page and use them to determine whether or not the page should be ranked in certain results. Proper use of keywords will get your page indexed for specific searches but does not guarantee placement or rank within that search. There are also some common keyword mistakes to avoid.
Each page should target a tight collection of keywords. In my opinion, you should not have a page that targets more than 3 to 5 and those should be related to one another. So ‘mailing list’ and ‘direct marketing list’ are related to one another subject-wise and could be used in coordination with one another on the page.
Your page should focus on great content that drives conversions, not concentrate on stuffing keywords throughout that content. Natural use of the keywords is most important – so that search engines see the keywords but visitors don’t necessarily see them. Content drives conversions (sales) – so write well!
How to Use Keywords Effectively on your site for SEO
- Domain – if your domain name has keywords, it’s great. If not, that’s alright as well.
Be sure you’ve registered the domain for 10 years so Google recognizes that it’s not a spam site and is viable.Update: It appears that domain registration length is an SEO myth. However, a young domain will have less authority than one that may have been utilized in the past for similar terms. Before you look for a fresh domain, check out some auctions on other relevant domains… you could get a head start if you’re just starting out!
- Home Page Title Tag – be sure your home page title tag has a few of the terms that you’re after and places them before your company name.
- Title Tag – each independent page should have the keywords that the content of that page focuses on.
- Heading Tags – in HTML, there are headings and subheadings. These are specifically <h1>, <h2>, <h3> tags in that order of importance. Search engines pay attention to these tags and it’s important that you pay attention to them as well as you create pages and utilize keywords. For blog posts, utilize keywords in your blog post titles. Avoid using <h1>, <h2>, or <h3> tags in your sidebar.
- Bold – bold your keywords on the page so that they stand out.
- Image Alt and Description – when you utilize an image (recommended) within your site pages or posts, be sure to utilize keywords effectively in the image alt or description tags.
<img src='domain.com/image.jpg' alt='The KEYWORD' />Your content management system should allow for this.
- Internal Links – if you make mention of other posts or pages within your site, be sure to utilize keyword effectively in the anchor text of the link to that content and in the title tag of the anchor tag.
<a href="domain.com/myotherpage.html" title='The KEYWORD'>More keywords</a>Avoid using generic terms like ‘read more’ or ‘click here’.
- First Words of Content – the first words on your page or post should include keywords relevant to the content within that page.
- Top of Page – Search engines view a page and analyze the content from top to bottom, the top of the page is the most important content and the bottom of the page is least important. If you have a columnar layout, check with your company that designed your theme and ensure that columns are lower in your HTML than the body of your content (many themes put the sidebar first!).
- Repeated Usage – within your content (also known as keyword density), it’s important to utilize keywords naturally within your content. The search engines are getting much more sophisticated at finding relevant terms, so you don’t have to repeat the same exact phrase. Always work on ensuring your content is natural and compelling. While over-optimized content may get you found, it won’t get you sold!
Your feedback is welcome on this post and I realize that search engine algorithms have changed over time. However, utilizing these rules won’t hurt your site and page optimization, they’ll only help it! Don’t stuff, though! You’ll lose visitors, lose conversions and may very well lose your search engine ranking.
If you can get external links with keywords back to your site, even better! This post was simply about on-site keyword usage, though.
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