Steps For Search Engine Optimization – Placing Keywords, Part I

Experts who deal in SEO (search engine optimization) are of the opinion that in order to rank well in SERPs’ (search engine result pages), each webpage of your site must include 2 to 3 keywords (rather keyphrases) spread ‘evenly’ over the page. This will enable search engines to understand the importance of those keywords vis-à-vis your webpage and list accordingly in SERPs’ when queried for those keywords.

The trick here is how you can ‘evenly’ spread your keywords within your page content without making it too obvious. After all, the purpose of your webpage must usually be to retain your visitor long enough by imparting certain information or knowledge instead of typical hard-selling of your product or service right away. It is to be acknowledged that viewers who come from search engines are more than likely looking for information rather than deciding on an immediate purchase. The focus therefore will be to ensure that your visitor stays back awhile, so that a sale may result soon.

That being so, it follows that your webpage should be easily readable, yet contain subtle ways to serve your ultimate aim of selling your product or service. This calls for expertise in writing content suitable for your webpage such that a viewer finds sufficient interest to stay tuned to your website, and as a follow-up action, contemplates acquiring your product or service that would serve his need.

Since search engines tend to value your webpage content in a certain manner, it is thus important to have clear idea about where in webpage you must include your chosen keywords. This is necessary so as to convey to search engines the overall importance of your webpage with regard to those keywords.

This article (Part-I) will deal on the aspect of strategic positioning of keywords in your webpage. In the next part (Part-II), I will attempt to give examples of what an ideal content writing should be like. I will also glance through in Part-II what SEO experts say ‘must-do’ steps for overall optimization of your webpage for the search engines.

What search engines want to see?

Well, I am not about to explain complex algorithms of search engines. That, in any case, is beyond the scope of this article. However, from my experience, I have often felt that search engines look at your webpage just as examiners do while correcting an examination paper. Just as examiners expect that the content of your paper must be relevant, to-the-point and well-narrated, so do search engines.

Let us proceed with an example. Let us assume that you are to write an essay on ‘Hurricane Katrina’ to be assimilated in a webpage. For simplicity, let us further assume that ‘Hurricane Katrina’ is a keyphrase you have chosen for your webpage. We will now go step-by-step on how to proceed in order to make your page-content ‘optimized’ for search engines.

The title

Considering that ‘Hurricane Katrina’ is the main topic of your webpage content (and incidentally your keyphrase too), you may select to have the title (that is, the ‘title’ tag) as ‘Hurricane Katrina creates havoc’, or perhaps ‘Hurricane Katrina brings life to halt’. You may like to be a little more specific with the title ‘Hurricane Katrina rips through New Orleans’. Note that in all these cases, the title is concise and makes the subject of your essay clear at the outset. The second point to note is that the keyphrase is positioned right at the beginning of the title.

Description or synopsis

The meta-description (that is, description meta-tag) of your webpage ought to come right after the title tag. In reality the meta-description is more like a brief statement about the content of your webpage, just as you would write a brief outline or a synopsis if you are to write an essay on the subject. Let the sentence ‘Hurricane Katrina takes everyone by surprise and leaves thousands homeless.’ be our meta-description for the webpage.

There are a few points to take note here. First, the meta-description conveys an intent similar to the title above. Second, we have broadened the subject of discussion. That is to say, the content of the webpage will now deal not only on the surprise-factor of the hurricane as it hit the coastlines, but also the damage it did in its wake. This is necessary because search engines are known to quote from description meta-tag sometimes, and so a little elaboration is always a help.

Third, the keyphrase ‘Hurricane Katrina’ is once again located in the beginning, so that search engines begin to recognize that this keyphrase is indeed important for the page-content. And lastly, it is better that the description ends in a full stop.

At this point, let us ponder awhile. One may argue that the meta-description may not necessarily be one grammatically correct complete sentence. For example, what about ‘Hurricane Katrina taking everyone by surprise, leaving thousands homeless.’, or for that matter, ‘Hurricane Katrina takes everyone by surprise. Thousands left homeless.’. I am inclined to believe that variations such as these are equally feasible, and should not come in the way of search engines’ taking due cognition of page-content.

The second portion of this article (Part-I) describes how keyphrases must be placed in body content, including headings, main topic, sub-topic, etc. for search engine optimization.