To this day, many budding web designers preparing their own piece of internet real estate often neglect to incorporate well thought out keywords or descriptions into their site design concept. Some leave the area untouched, while others choose to include hundreds of keywords, which in the end can have as little value as none at all.
Keywords, though an aging aspect of search engine inclusion and end placement, continue to play a role in those engines that are entirely spider based, scouring the internet for newcomers offering content of value to their visitors. Many of these sites consider some, or all of the following site inclusions when determining their overall ranking within their listings:
Your site title should be succinct, no longer than six or seven words, and must include selected keyword(s), in a logical order, and in as sensible and appealing a fashion as can be developed. When listed, this area will be featured on the spider-based engines as your highlighted drawing card, and must have appeal to your customers in order to be effective. Important keywords should be placed prominently within the title so as to indicate to the spider that these keywords play a significant role in the nature of the page.
There are a variety of search engine expectations with regard to the description area, and the number of terms or phrases that should be included. To offer a simplified suggestion, keep your description to the point, within a reasonable number of words – say between six and fifteen. Utilize both the keywords placed within the title, as well as additional versions of those words, such as plurals, and other related terms felt to be common queries within your market. Prominence plays a role here as well, so keep your major keywords in mind when writing the description, and if the number of words is growing too large when all aspects are incorporated, consider moving the pluralized forms into the meta keyword, and body areas.
Determining the keywords of most value to your operation can be an arduous, but necessary task. Utilizing tools such as the Overture search frequency tool can play a strong role in simplifying this process. In the end, your quest should be the targeting of keywords that are popular, entirely relevant to your product or service, with as little competition as possible.
For example, a company in the area of alternative health would do better to focus on keywords relative to specific ailments, where the number of sites focused on these areas is low, versus targeting the keyword health, for which competition is in the millions.
As in all other areas, select and place your keywords in careful order, keeping overall prominence, and number of words in mind. Don’t overdo it in this area, as too many keywords are a signal to some engines to ignore a site that may simply be attempting to misdirect traffic through the inclusion of a barrage of keywords, versus actual content. A safe number of keywords would be in the ten to twenty range.
Inclusion of keywords in your page’s body text, as well as the volume and placement of those keywords is an additional factor reviewed by search engine spiders. As they say, content is king, and a well written content page can please both spider oriented engines, as well as the keen eye of a manual review. Keep your keywords in mind throughout development of your page, targeting all forms of the keywords you are featuring. As prominence again plays a role, it may be of value to place your most potentially important words both near the beginning, and end of your content area.
Search engines will also take note of your site’s linked text, as an indicator of overall relevance. Ensure that your incorporate keywords into both the text portion of the link that your visitors will encounter, as well as the actual page name that the link will transfer them too. In order for link page names to be legible to an engine interested in them, phrases must be broken up into blocks, as in the following:
In this example, keywords internet, marketing, and directory are utilized to the best advantage of the site development team. Other forms of breaking up phrases include the use of the underscore: _
Comments and Alt Tags
Site designers often incorporate keywords into their comment and alt tag areas as well. Comments are notes to the designer made while developing site areas to remind them of each area’s location and/or designation. Alt tags are placed alongside link text so that the site visitor who places their cursor over the link can see a quick summary of that link’s offering. Adding keywords to these areas is not an imperative, but assists in establishing the overall nature of the site with the engine. Keep the number of keywords to a minimum, as too many comments and/or alt tags can again be seen as abuse, and result in non-inclusion.
All of the above areas are of value in designing a site that intends to develop traffic flow via search engine listings. Other factors of recent importance include overall site popularity, which is a search engine measurement of the number of sites linked to your property, and the newest technique, theme indexing, which measures the overall nature of your site, versus the nature of individual pages within that site. Understanding these concepts, and applying them to your final stages of design are imperative to successful traffic generation, and your overall potential for online success.