Keywords Rule

Posted on: April 6th, 2010

There are many different ways to get your website noticed. You can hand out business cards, advertise in newspapers, email every contact you have and spread the word by any means you can think of. When you have tried every option, the one that will still yield most results is getting your site listed and indexed by search engines. This means your site is available throughout the world, and not simply among the set of people you have emailed or reached through a particular newspaper. The only small remaining detail is to ensure the public find your website before the other 3.5 million similar sites listed in their query. To do this, you need to build your site with appropriate keywords woven into the fabric of every page.

What are keywords? When a user enters a query in a search engine, the words entered are known as keywords. They are the only way the search engine can find websites that are relevant to your needs, and so you need to focus on them as a key component of your website. The search engines will index the words on your website, and store them in a database as being associated with your site. When a user searches with a set of keywords, these are matched to those in the database, and related websites are listed as search results. It is therefore very important that you identify the keywords you want your website to be found under.

To identify keywords appropriate for your website, use all available options and get a consensus. Common sense is a good starting point. List the words and phrases that you would use if you were searching for your site content. Next, to get a more objective view ask friends and relatives what terms they would use, being careful not to lead them by including the terms in your question. A third option is to use some of the third-party online tools that will suggest appropriate keywords. Some of these are subscription site where you pay a monthly or annual fee for access to the information; however some are supported by advertising and are free to users. A fourth source of keyword suggestions is the set of search engines you are submitting your site to. They are providing more and more tools for webmasters, and you should use these to tailor and develop your website content where possible.

When you have identified the keywords that are relevant to your site content, they should be used at every appropriate opportunity within the site. It is very important that you don’t ‘stuff’ your pages with keywords, but use them in a natural way within the page text. Search engine will know if you are trying to trick them by abusing keywords, and you will do long-term damage to your site’s search ranking if you try to beat the system.

Keywords should also be used in the structure of your website where possible in addition to including them in page content. Folder names, file names, and image names should contain keywords. This means that each path followed is keyword-rich. Within the pages, hyperlinks, title tags, description tags, header tags and comments should include keywords. This process will leave the search engines in no doubt that your website is relevant to those words listed in a query when a match occurs.

The important underlying principle here is that keywords should be used within your website enthusiastically, but naturally. Over-use will cause problems, but consistent reference to the keywords throughout your website will give good results in search engine listings. Honest content and structure will pay more in the long run that the short term benefit of abusing the system.

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