Repeating Your Site’s Keywords
Increases Search Engine Ranking

You have a website. Now you want to drive traffic to it. Here are five ways to modify the code to do just that.

Studies show that people scan a search engine results page from top to bottom and left to right. Therefore, a company whose link appears at or near the top of the list is more likely to get “clicked through”. The process of increasing your sites ranking on a search engine is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Search Engines use an automated web browser, which follows every link it sees. This is known as a web crawler or a spider. The content of the page is then categorized to determine how it should be indexed. This information, called keywords, is extracted from titles, headings, meta tags, page text, image names and links. This information is stored in a database and used in future searches. When a user submits a query, the search engine looks at its database and displays the item that best matches that criteria, so if a keyword appears in more than one category the search engine is more likely to display it as a result. Many keywords are only viewed in the code but some are visible on the page.

Using a fictional site, let’s look at areas we can place keywords. The first two are in the head section of your website, which resides between the following code is the head section.

1. Title

The title of the page is one of the areas search engines index. This is a good place to use descriptive words that state what your business does and describe the content on the page.

<head><title>J is for Jewelry, diamond rings, necklaces and bracelets. </title></head>

An ineffective strategy is using a generic term not related to your site’s content.

<head><title>Home Page</title></head>

2. Meta Tags

Search engines also index the two types of meta tags: description and keyword.

Description: Effective description meta tags contain a sentence or two describing a webpage’s content using keywords. They’re short (under 250 characters) and place the most important info in the first 60 characters. (To count characters easily, copy and paste the text in MS Word, select Tools, then select Word Count.)

<head><meta name=”description” content=”J is for Jewelry. Engagement Rings. Wedding Rings. Your diamond ring, necklace and bracelet source” /></head>

Listing a keyword, like a competitor’s product, that you don’t sell in your meta tags is misleading. It’s considered black hat marketing and won’t help your ranking unless the competitor’s product is mentioned multiple times on your site. If you chose this SEO method and a customer finds your site because they believe you sell an item you don’t, they’ll be disappointed. Consumers don’t buy from an online merchant they don’t trust.

Keyword: Effective keyword meta tags list the content of your page and repeat keywords listed in the description and title tags.

<head><meta name=”description” content=”J is for Jewelry, engagement rings, wedding rings, diamond, diamond ring, diamond bracelet, diamond necklace” /></head>

Google no longer uses the keyword meta tag for site ranking but Yahoo does so it’s best to include it.

3. Header Tags H1, H2, H3

Search engines also index header tags and consider the words listed in the H1 tag to be the page title and H2 the subtitle. So again, include words that reflect the content of your page and repeat the keywords.

<h1>Engagement Rings</h1>

Also, many designers will create a separate CSS style for the title of a page instead of using header tags. This isn’t a good idea because search engines do not search through a site’s CSS style to determine important information. They expect it to be marked with the appropriate tags.

Header styles can and should be set up in your style sheets. Use the following in your .css doc to make the font bigger than the body copy, to make it bold and to increase the leading:

h1 { font-size: 130%; font-weight: bold; line-height: 140%;}

4. Link Title Tags

Title tags on links are another area indexed. Again repeat contents and keywords.

<a href=”http://www.” id=”engagement ring” title=”engagement ring” />

This is also a good place to include a marketing message since the title text will appear when a user mouses over an image.

<a href=”http://www.” id=”diamond ring” title=”View our unique diamond engagement rings” />

Also, including “View our unique engagement rings” gives value to the link and shows that the resulting page is relevant to searches for diamond or engagement rings. Avoid non-descriptive phrases like “Click Here.”

5. Image Alt Tags

Using an alt tag serves two purposes. First, it complies with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) standards and allows visually-impaired users to know what the content of the image is. Second, it places additional relevant text in your source code that the search engines can see when indexing your site:

<img src=”diamond-ring.jpg” alt=”diamond ring” id=”diamond ring” />

Remember, SEO is one of the least expensive and most cost effective forms of marketing. It makes a ton of sense to customize your titles, content and descriptions to describe your services and the content of the page. Remember, the more words the search engine matches with your page, the higher it will rank.

So, repeat, repeat, and repeat your page’s content in multiple areas in the code and in the page’s text to increase its search engine ranking.

by Christine Labate, Design Director

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