Things to consider

 

There are many things to consider when you go to put keywords in the text of your pages. Most search engines index the full text of each page, so you should put your keywords throughout your text. However, each search engine uses different ranking algorithms. And that’s the really hard part — difficult though it may be, you need to keep all of them in mind.

General rules

Your main page should be full of keywords because that page has a higher chance of being indexed than other pages.  And for some search engines, it will be the only page that is indexed.

Some engines will rank your page highly if it has at least 100 words on it, so consider that your minimum. Directories include pages based on the quality of their content, so make sure your pages aren't just lists of keywords.  If you do that, you risk not getting in the big directories AND you will irritate readers—they won’t come back.

Important design concepts

When you create your pages' content, pay attention to:

  • Keyword prominence
  • Proximity
  • Density
  • Frequency

The thing about keyword prominence is that the best place to place keywords in your text is at the top of each page, preferably the main page. The closer your keywords appear to the start of the page or the start of a sentence, the better. You'll frequently see “keyword prominence” used to describe search engines' algorithms.  Be aware that some engines also say the bottom of the page should contain keywords as well.

It gets more complicated.  Search engines view pages differently than people do. Here's an example

Home

About Us

Products

Contact

Chrome.  We’re all about chrome. Chrome bumpers, chrome trinkets, we love chrome.

Now, you may think you did pretty good by putting your keyword, which was obviously “chrome”, at the top of your page. A search engine, however, sees your page this way:

Home About Us Products Contact Chrome We’re all about chrome Chrome bumpers chrome trinkets we love chrome

Now your keyword placement doesn't look nearly as good as it did before, does it?  So the moral of the story is:  try to put keyword-rich text at the very top of your page. If you put images at the top of your page, make sure to include ALT tags so the search engine ignores them.

Now, about keyword proximity.  Some engines, such as Google, use keyword proximity as part of their ranking formulas. So what’s it mean?  Keyword proximity refers to how close keywords are to each other. You want to put your keywords as close together as possible and make sure your sentences are clear.

Here's an example:

Meow Mix sells the very best cat food as far as taste tests of actual cats are concerned.

versus

Meow Mix scored number one in taste tests to see what kind of food is really preferred by the typical cat.

 The two keywords are "cat" and "food." If a user searches for "cat food," the first sentence will rank higher because its keywords are closer to each other.  Why do search engines do this?  Because if you’re searching for “running shoes”, a page that contains “running shoes” is probably relevant, but a page that contains, “I was running late for work and forgot to put on my good shoes,” probably is not.

Why is keyword density important?  Because, as I said earlier, it measures how often that particular word comes up.  Keyword density is also known as keyword weight. The higher the percentage of keywords in relationship to other text, the higher your page will rank—to point.  Many search engines, Google included, have gotten wise to the fact that extremely high keyword densities are probably contrived.   

Here's an example of how keyword density it measured. Let's assume the keyword phrase is "cat food."

Cat food is our only business.

Since "is", "our," and other stop words are usually not counted, there are three "words" in the sentence: "puppy food," (which the search engine counts as one word, since that’s what it’s searching for), "only," and "business." "Cat food" composes 1/3 of the sentence, or 33%.

Realistically, keyword density is almost never this high, nor should it be or your copy will sound very contrived. The recommended density is 3-7%. This means that your keyword should repeat 3-7 times for every 100 words.

Sure, that may not sound hard, but believe me — having 10 keywords and trying to repeat each one 3-7 times per 100 words of text is practically impossible. Instead of trying to do that (and having copy that sounds really weird), pick two or three of your most important keywords and try to use them 3-7 times for every 100 words.

So what about keyword frequency?  Keyword frequency is a measure of the number of times keywords occur within a page's text. It's kind of related to the concept of keyword density. The thinking is that search engines want to see a word used more than once to make sure it’s something you’re really talking about.  The best number of times to repeat a key word is 3-7 times.

Don't get overly clever and try to use tiny or invisible text to put keywords at the beginning of your pages. Search engines look for this, and when they find it they call it spam and they’ll probably reject your site for it.

So, in a nutshell, you want to:

  • Include at least 100 words in page text
  • Use keywords at the beginning of the page
  • Place keywords close to each other
  • Repeat keywords 3-7 times for every 100 words



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