Proper Keyword Placement
You must focus on where and how your keywords are placed on your web page. The frequency of placement is less important than once considered. Many people believe that if they fill their web pages with nothing but keywords, they can attain top placement. Search engines have responded to this and actually penalize sites that over use keywords. The number of times your keyword appears on a given web page is called keyword density.
The concept of keyword density gets thrown around quite a bit in SEO circles. It refers to the number of times your keywords are used on a given page as a percentage of the total number of words. Most website gurus suggest a keyword density of 2 to 3 percent.
Today, keyword density has less of an impact than it once did on overall Google rankings. Of greater importance is the placement and treatment of your keywords. Use the following guidelines to optimize your page:
- • Place your keyword(s) in the title tag, description tag, keyword tag, and alt tags.
- • Place your keyword(s) in an <h1>, <h2>, and/or <h3> tag.
- • Place your keyword(s) in the first twenty-five words of your page.
- • Place your keyword(s) in the last twenty-five words of your page.
- • Bold your keyword(s) at least once on your page.
- • Italicize or underline your keywords at least once on your page.
Note: A great way to get keywords in the last twenty-five words is by adding it to your page footer after the copyright. For example, “© 2011 Your Site Name. Your Site Keyword.” Adding your keyword phrase in this fashion is relatively natural and appears virtually unnoticed.
Following these guidelines for proper keyword placement shows Google that your keywords are important to your web page and your website. It also helps you compete with other sites that are not as well optimized using these on-page factors.
Flash intros do not provide keyword content in a manner that is easily searchable by Google. Even if the Flash intro was well developed and contained your keywords in some shape or form, the Google spider would not be able to read it. The whole idea of a
Flash demo, which is a self-contained entity consisting of dense code is the exact opposite of what Google values. Google searches for open content that is readable and easily navigated.
Is all Flash bad? Only if your site is completely Flash based or your homepage consists of nothing more than a Flash presentation. If your intro page is largely Flash, I strongly encourage you to replace it with an HTML homepage. If Flash is still important, provide a link to your Flash script from your homepage. By doing so, you can optimize your homepage and then drive users to view your Flash demo.
A sitemap is a single page on your website that provides access to all other pages on your site, at least the most important ones. Sitemaps serve two purposes. First, they make it easy for visitors to find content on your site, and second, they enable search engines to spider your site much quicker.
When the spider arrives at your website, it will read the first page of your site and then start looking at your navigational links (which include a link to your sitemap). When the search engine spider reaches your sitemap, it begins visiting and indexing each link contained on your map.
It’s a good idea to have more than an index of links on your sitemap. Try to include short paragraphs of descriptive text for each link, which of course should contain your keywords.
You can create your sitemap in HTML. Doing so is easy and only requires an HTML editor. Your sitemap should consist of a single web page with links to your top-level pages.
Some search engines require an XML based sitemap. Creating an XML based sitemap isn’t difficult at all. In fact, Google has made it easy for you with more free tools. You can get started with Google sitemaps and other webmaster tools by visiting Google at
A number of free programs on the web
Note: Don’t forget to update your sitemap every few months or so. Your site changes, and so should your sitemap—to reflect all of the changes you’ve made.Uploading your sitemap to Google can have a positive impact on SERPs. Take the time to learn more about sitemaps, develop, and publish your own.
One of the most important on-page optimization opportunities you have is to develop a simple and direct internal linking strategy. Internal linking refers to the linking structure your site uses to link to secondary pages on your website. How you link from one page to another is very important. Many sites significantly improve their rankings based on a strong internal linking strategy.
Internal linking provides direct access to your web pages in order of importance. The best practice for internal linking is to link to your main category pages from your website’s homepage. To illustrate, I’ve created a fictitious website related to clothing.
In this example, the website’s homepage is all about clothing and the types of clothing being offered for sale. From the home page you can access main category pages related to specific types of clothing. Once users navigate from the homepage to a given
category they can read all about products, prices, and how to order individual items. To facilitate easy navigation, the homepage has links to each of the category pages.
Category pages may also be referred to as “top-level pages.” The reason I use this label is because each of these pages is directly accessible from the home page in just one click. There are numerous benefits to this type of architecture which I’ll be covering in
This would look something like the following:
Although internal linking can be accomplished in a variety of ways, this is just one example of a basic linking structure you can follow. Here are some tips you can use to ensure your internal linking is designed properly:
- • Include links to all of your main category pages from your homepage by placing links in a navigation menu. This menu should be available on each page of your website. Also, you can place links to your pages in your website footer.
- • Include your keywords in the links where possible. This tells Google what content can be found on the other side of the link and reinforces your internal linking strategy.
- • Don’t place more than three links to the same page on your homepage. This is unnecessary and it could trigger potential issues with the Google search engine.
Note: Never underestimate the power of internal linking. Internal links are important because they allow for easy access to your content by search engine spiders and can transfer Google PR between pages.
This wraps up some of the most important on-page optimization factors you should be working with to improve website rankings. From meta tags to title tags and even internal linking, on page optimization is essential for top rankings. But did you know that no
on-page optimization effort can be effective without considering what keyword phrases you are optimizing your web pages for?
Let’s change gears now and return to our discussion on keyword development. Once you fully understand keyword development you can ensure that all on-page optimization factors are created with your most important keywords in mind.
Keyword Development and Placement
Keyword development is one of the most important optimization factors you will learn about and it can make or break your website’s ranking! But don’t let that scare you. Now that you have a fundamental understanding of on-page ranking factors, I will show you the best way to find the right keywords for your website and determine whether or not you can rank well for them.
I mentioned previously that before we discussed keyword research and development, I wanted you to have a basic understanding of on-page optimization factors. This is because you want to optimize your pages around specific keywords and keyword phrases.
Additionally, you’ll want to focus on keywords when optimizing your site from an off-page optimization perspective as well.
Why are keywords so important? Because search engine algorithms are largely based on keywords—keywords on your web page, keywords in your code, keywords in the links within and pointing to your site. I guess you could say that Google and other search
engines have keywords on the brain.
A keyword is any word or phrase that describes your website. Another way to think about it is in the form of a search term. What a user enters into the Google search box is considered a keyword or keyword phrase.
Let me begin by saying that choosing a keyword is more art than science. However, your selection of a keyword can be greatly simplified if you follow these steps:
- 1. Define the content of your site in general terms. What is my site about? Tennis shoes? Photography? Business services? Desserts? Once you’ve identified a general topic, it’s time to start your keyword research.
- 2. Identify keywords/keyword phrases related to your topic. To do so, visit the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, which can be accessed directly or through a Google search at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. You may be asking why we would use an Adwords tool for SEO, but you’ll quickly discover the power of this free resource.
- 3. Enter the keyword you’re considering or the website you’re analyzing, enter CAPTCHA code and press Search. The resulting list contains all of the search terms and search counts—the number of searches using that keyword or keyword phrase performed during a given month on Google. Results are sorted by relevance but can also be sorted by search volume.
Your results will look like the following screenshot including a laundry list of related search terms and corresponding search volumes. Google returns the local search results and global searches for a particular keyword phrase. Although both are valuable, I tend to rely more heavily on local results.
- 3. Select anywhere from ten to thirty keyword phrases to research further. OK, here is where the rubber meets the road. Look at your list and choose a few keyword phrases (not an individual word because, in most instances, it will be way too competitive with many sites trying to rank high for that particular keyword) that represent your website. Make sure your phrases have a search volume of at least three thousand monthly searches. Keep in mind that the more searches on a given keyword, the more competitive it may be.
Now you might be asking, “Why not pick the phrase with the greatest number of searches?” It stands to reason that the greater the number of searches, the greater number of visitors to your website. However, there are other factors to consider such as how competitive it will be to rank well for the given search term.
When I conduct keyword research I usually generate a short list by eliminating anything over fifty thousand searches per month and anything less than three thousand searches per month. I also eliminate phrases that appear unnatural or may be difficult to
use in a sentence. This simple method usually gets my list down to about thirty keywords or so. Then I go to the next step to refine my search further.
- 3. Commercial intent. The concept of commercial intent has dramatically changed the Internet marketing landscape forever. Launched by Microsoft Adlabs, the idea of commercial intent is nothing short of miraculous. If you’re already familiar commercial intent, then you know that I’m not exaggerating. If you haven’t yet learned about this way of analyzing keywords, then you’ll benefit from learning all you can about this one-of-a-kind analysis tool. Commercial intent measures the likelihood of transaction by keyword. To illustrate, let’s look at the following example for the keyword phrase, “running shoes.” You’ll notice that the commercial intent tool, found at adlab microsoft.com/Online-Commercial-intention (or you can Google ‘commercial intent tool’) returns a commercial intent of 0.99. The closer the number is to 1.0 the stronger the commercial intent. The phrase “running shoes” has a very strong commercial intent meaning that the majority of users who search for this keyword phrase actually follow through and transact. A transaction may be an opt-in, clicking on an ad, or making a purchase. Although the accuracy of the tool is debated by some, I have had great success when researching keywords for affiliate products and SEO.
Now that you understand the concept of commercial intent, let’s continue with our keyword research. Take your list of thirty or so keyword phrases and evaluate their commercial intent. You can plug each one into the Microsoft Adlabs commercial intent
tool or find a resource online that allows you to grab the commercial intent of multiple keyword terms simultaneously. There are a variety of tools you can use that are either paid or free.
Before the commercial intent tool was available, the next best thing was to evaluate KEI. The KEI which stands for keyword effectiveness index is simply the number of searches performed on your keyword phrase divided by the number of sites competing for the same keyword.
You can find the number of competing sites/pages simply by searching for your keyword phrase in Google and looking at the total number of results noted in the upper left-hand corner of the search results page under the search box.
For example, if we were to choose the keyword phrase women’s tennis shoes and do a search in Google, we would see that 865,000 web pages (at time of publication) contain the phrase women’s tennis shoes. To generate the KEI ratio, we divide the number of searches, 6,600 by the number of competing sites, 865,000 and get .008.
Most SEO experts would look at this and say that this keyword phrase is “impossible” to rank well for because the KEI ratio is so low—less than one. I would argue to the contrary.
The primary reason is that 865,000 competing sites aren’t that many in the grand scheme of the World Wide Web. I would say that any phrase that has over three thousand searches per month with fewer than three million competing sites might be worth
Why do I say “might be worth optimizing for?” It’s because you need to do additional research to determine if the top-ranking sites are applying the SEO Made Simple techniques. If not, a well optimized site can outrank them.
Before moving on, be sure to analyze commercial intent, selecting keywords with a positive intent and eliminating those with a negative commercial intent, and then choose keywords with an adequate search volume of three thousand or more per month.
Try to avoid search terms that have more than three million competing pages but don’t use this as your only criterion.
- 6. Research the competition. Regardless of which tool you use to generate or research your keyword phrases, you’ll need to size up your competition. This is the final step in keyword research and definitely one of the most important. Remember that Google is a voting machine. The question you need to ask yourself is whether or not you can optimize your website (both onpage and off) better than your competition and attract more votes!