Search Marketing Digest – Where To Put Your Strategic Keywords

Search Engine Land has a detailed history and analysis of the “infamous” META Keywords Tag, including which search engines still utilize it, proper creation and construction, and some best practice ideas and recommendations. I thought I would use that post as a jumping point for a commonly asked question related to search engine optimization:

Where should you place your strategic keywords on any given web page?

For new websites and web pages in general, here is a quick checklist for places that your strategic keywords should be seen, specific to an individual web page and website structure:

  • The HTML Title – The most important location for the strategic keywords of any given web page.
  • The Meta Description – Which can still be visible in search results, particularly if the description is written effectively and accurately.
  • The Page Heading – It can debated if you actually need “HTML Heading Tags” (<H1>, etc), but whatever text represents the main heading of the page, strategic keyword(s) should be present in that text. And remember, your page heading is just that, your page heading. If you accent everything, you’ve essentially accented nothing.
  • The Main Content of the Page – This is where it can get tricky, because semantic usage and keyword variation is also important. Just remember that it’s not necessary to keyword stuff all of your content for purposes of achieving search engine rankings; think about your users first.
  • The Specific Web Address – If possible and appropriate, particularly for search results and if the URL is actually linked (versus some other form of text). Dashes between words seem most appropriate.
  • Internal Links – Utilizing targeted keywords for internal linking purposes (within the body of content) is effective for establishing correlation between page content, in addition to general website navigational elements.
  • The Meta Keyword Tag – As long as you are using it appropriately, it certainly doesn’t hurt to incorporate this. But spend more time on Page Copy, Internal Linking and Inbound Link generation (a topic for another time) than agonizing over the effectiveness of the Meta Keyword Tag.

Note for Existing Sites Ranking Well:
If you’re site is already ranking (well) for the strategic keywords targeted, these guidelines are not meant to indicate that wholesale changes need to be made because one specific keyword component is amiss. Business considerations need to be evaluated and the competitive landscape analyzed before radically switching gears or investing in a technical enhancement that may only lead to limited improvements.

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