Keywords are the exact parameters using which a search is conducted. They are crucial to every search. They are the fundamental units of language using which a search request is processed. They are also the preferred means of categorization by search engines. Search engines, as they crawl through millions of web pages, store them into small databases which are sorted using keywords This means that if you would like your page to be returned in response to a particular search query, say “tigers”, the word “tigers” should invariably be a part of your site’s indexable content.
Keyword optimization aims at boosting your site’s referrals by identifying and thoroughly using pertinent keywords in your content. In earlier days, the process of keyword identification by search engines was head-on and mechanical. This led to many web-users abusing keywords by stuffing their pages to the brim with keywords, which more often than not, were completely irrelevant. Nowadays however, search engines have been designed to quasi-read a page/document so as to identify relevance and comprehensive usage.
Even otherwise, artificially loading your page with keywords is more detrimental than useful to your website in the long run. it has been proven that keyword density, in itself, does next to nothing in boosting visibility: i.e. repeating a keyword 30 times in a 500 page document, won’t necessarily do it much more help than using it just where it’s necessary. It is recommended to include keyword phrases naturally in your page. It is important to understand that keywords are not substitutes for good quality content and therefore, it is necessary to weave them into a document as opposed to building an entire page around them. It may be useful to note that for a search engine, the exact phrasing, the order of search words and capitalization are important and can massively affect results. Keyword optimization, ideally, should be used in such nuanced areas.
Keyword optimizing one’s website goes a long way in affecting its search visibility. It is, till date, employed as a key strategy in online marketing.
The following is a step by step guide to keyword-optimizing a website:
- The keyword that is being targeted should be featured, at least once, prominently on the title of the web page/entry. The title is of inordinate value. Firstly, it has to borne in mind to keep the title short, descriptive and catchy. It is, after all, the first impression that your page makes on both a search engine and a user. Keeping the title inherently readable is highly recommended. It should be made to create an emotional impact on the reader whilst also instilling a brand image, where applicable.
- Keeping the title tag short is also important considering the fact that search engines tend to show an “ellipsis’ effect after the first 65-70 characters of a title tag. It is for the same reason that it is recommended to keep the keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
- The keyword should also feature at least once at the top of the page. While it has been mentioned before that blind repetition in order to achieve keyword density is pretty futile, it is important that the concerned keyword is repeated sporadically all throughout the document. Depending on the size and structure of the document, it is recommended to use the keyword anywhere from 3-6 times. Also, more the number of contexts and variations of the phrase being used, in as many relevant situations/lines, the more a search engine picks up on its relevance.
- Mentioning the phrase on the alt attribute of the image(s) is useful not only in web page searching but also in conducting image searches, which, thanks to newer search tools, is a vital and viable traffic source.
- It’s very useful to mention the key phrase once in the URL and also in the meta data: The meta-text is a short description of your site’s content that is displayed below the search result. It is often instrumental in bringing in users into your site, although it doesn’t directly affect search results. Having a short, informative and intriguing Meta description will do wonders for your traffic. It’s best restricted to 160 characters provided you don’t have a Meta description, the search engine usually takes snippets from the main text body (which may not always be as enticing to a reader).
- Identifying keywords appears fairly straightforward on the face of it. Nevertheless, it can be a difficult task to pick and use them. Whilst picking keywords, it is very important to assess the value of a particular keyword. This is not a mechanical process and can’t be achieved just by using trending search terms in your website. A keyword’s worth is unique to every single web page. i.e. it is up to you to determine the worthiness of a key phrase to the content/service that your site provides.
It is almost always best to include only those keywords which you know can be backed up with specific and relevant matching content in your website. It may seem tempting to use keywords which are getting used by million, but more often than not, these aren’t the ones that are going to translate to useful business for your website. The more specific keyword, that may not have just as many searches but is completely and utterly relevant to exactly what your website is selling is more useful and should always be preferred. It is these keywords that usually translate to more than 70% of useful online transactions.
Various tools can be used to identify patterns, demand and trends in keywords: Most popular ones are Google adwords, Google insights, Microsoft advertising intelligence and Wordtracker’s free basic keyword demand.