Search Engine Optimization (SEO) covers a broad range of topics and actions all coalescing into a comprehensive strategy. While SEO is constantly evolving, there are a few tips or best practices that should enter into your website analysis. This article will cover a few related specifically to keywords and their placement on your site.
Page Title & Domain Names
A few of the more important ones involve your page title and domain name. Probably the most important is to use a page's most important keyword(s) in the title. Many believe that the first word carries the most weight. Another key factor involves having the keyword in the root domain name (keyword.com). Sadly this is out of most websites’ control but is certainly a consideration for a new site.
Head Tags & Links
The next group is important but carries less weight. Having head tags and using keywords in them is an easy way to highlight important topics on the page. The H1 is the most important, so having keywords there has the most impact. Once again, the first word is considered by many as the most important. Another area where it is important to use keywords is in your on-page links, both internal and external.
The final tip for this section is front loading your keywords. It is believed those keywords in the first 50 to perhaps 100 words on the page will carry more weight.
This next group contains useful strategies but are of lower importance.
- Keywords in the subdomain (keyword.ag-is.com), the page url (/keyword.aspx) or folder url (/keywordfolder/keyword.aspx) add value.
- Expanding on the H1 recommendation above, try to include keywords in the lower (h2 – h6) head tags on the page.
- Get in the habit of adding relevant keywords in image alt text or the image name (keyword.jpg).
- Bolding (b tag and strong) will also help to highlight important phrases and make them stand out from the rest of the text.
- The final tip in this group is repetition of keywords. The more often you use a keyword the more weight it carries. HOWEVER, overuse or stuffing can actually penalize you in search engine results. It primarily depends on the amount of text on your page. Plus, definitely don't use hidden text. A spider will know that a white text will not show on a white background, for instance. The basic formula (# of Keywords ÷ Total # of Terms) helps point out excessive use, but for the most part if you think it might be too much, it probably is.
Meta Description & Beyond
The final group can add to SEO but they fall short of having any major impact. It is still important to cover as many bases as possible and every little bit helps. Filling in the Meta Description serves to summarize the page and is often used in the search engine display results. Therefore make it short, keyword heavy, readable and descriptive. The use of keywords in lists and with the i or em tags can be useful. In addition, having the keyword in your query parameters (in the url of results pages), or in the file extensions for pdfs and such, are also pluses. The final low impact tip is using keywords in the comment tags in the HTML.
Remember in SEO all factors can help and focusing on 1 or 2 at the expense of the rest can leave you falling short of your goal of a 1st page ranking.