[Tutorial] Search Engine Traffic, SEO and Keyword Choice
Search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN have complex algorithms that decide what pages will come up in search results for a given keyword phrase. We can construct content pages will SEO ( search engine optimization ) in mind in order to rank high in searches. Leading to higher levels of Search Engine traffic.
Of course several variables are involved in SEO, but let’s talk about what’s important to cover.
Your website is most likely about a particular topic e.g golf swing, poodle manicures etc and so the first thing to do is determine which keywords best describe the content on your page. Try to think of phrases that are specific.
It’s important that Google’s crawler realizes that your website is about the keywords you have chosen. Google does a pretty good job of determining the topic of your site but there a few things you can do assist Google’s crawler to make sure it gets things right.
Let’s say We have a website called “All things Poodles”. Our keyword list would be short, only having one keyword” Poodles
Our website has 4 pages:
Once you have list of keywords you need to do a little research to find out who you are competing with for each keyword.
For the keyword poodle manicure We would do a search on Google and record how many pages are competing. This tells us how many pages have our keyword phrase with the words in any order.
Then We would do a phrase match search by searching on Google for “poodle manicure“. This tells us how mahy pages have exact phrase.
Then We would do a title search by searching on Google for allintitle:poodle manicure. This tells me how many pages have my keyword phrase in their title.
Then We would do a url search by searching on Google for allinurl:poodle manicure. This tells us how many pages have our keyword phrase in their url.
Note: To learn more about allintitle, allinurl and other useful operators: http://www.google.com/help/operators.html
We would do the same thing for the keyword phrases: poodle puppies and poodle breeders.
OPTIMIZING YOUR PAGE
Now that you have your list of keywords and know a little about your competition it’s time to optimize.
Put your main keywords that describe your site in the title tag on every page.
Home<title>Poodles | Poodles Home</title>
<title>Poodles | Poodle Manicures</title> and so on.
You want your most important keywords to appear in the title with as few other characters as possible.
DO NOT put your keyword in the title more than 2 or 3 times. Google sees this as keyword spamming and will rank your site lower.
On each page put your main keywords in an h1 tag.
On our Poodle Manicures page you would see:<h1>Poodle Manicures </h1>
Please note We would NOT target the keyword dog on our Poodle Manicures page because there are 420 million pages related to the word dog and the vast majority of people searching for dog are not looking for Poodle manicure.
There are 15.000 pages competing for poodle manicures and only 8 pages competing for “poodle manicure”.
H1 tags are reserved for top level headlines on a page. You should only use 1 or 2 top level headlines (h1 tags) on your page.
It’s also a good idea to use h2 and h3 tags where appropriate.
Adding an alt attribute to your image tag can help as well as having your keywords be in the file name. On our Poodle manicure page We would have:
<img src=”poodle-manicures.jpg” alt=”poodle manicures”/> .
We also like to put one of our keywords at the bottom of our page. This way crawlers find our important keywords at the top of our page and at very end of the page.
It helps to have your keyword phrase in your domain name and in the file name of your page. For our Poodle Manicures page the ideal url would be http://www.Poodles.com/PoodleManicures.html
It’s also imperative to embed your keyword phrase throughout your page at a rate of 1% to 2% of the words on your page (e.g if you’re writting a 500 word article, add your main keyword 5 to 10 times). This is called keyword density. Note: There’s no exact science on how many times you should use your main keywords. To get an idea of how often they should be used do a Google search for your keyword phrase and look at the keyword density for the top 10 pages.
Something to consider is LSI ( Latent semantic indexing). Google now rank pages based on words related to your main keywords and topic. LSI comes naturally, yet you should keep it in mind when thinking through word choice.
Here’s a tip. Take a look at your main keyword. Which words could you use in your content that will be closely related to that topic. Also consider using thesaurus.com to find synonyms for your main keyword.
How do We know which main keywords to use?
You can optimize your pages based on:
What people are searching for year round
What people are searching for right now
What people will be searching for in the coming weeks/months/season.
Want more? Check our SEO Category