How to use keywords to improve your ranking in search engines
by Kathy Joyce
The importance of keywords
Keywords or key phrases you choose will determine how your site is positioned in the search engines. It is always better to have lots of pages each focusing on a small group of keywords. This will give them more relevance to each individual page.
For example if your site is about shoes you may have lots of different types of shoes.
Your index page should have a menu leading into each of the different categories of shoes.
You might have a page for sandals, one for platform shoes as well as stilettos, court shoes and flat heel shoes.
First you have to think like your customer. What would they type into a search engine if they wanted to find the products you are selling.
Use phrases as well as single words. Often someone looking for a product or service will type in several words. For example a customer may want to buy a shoe with stiletto heels. They may type in "stiletto heel shoe", "black stiletto" "stiletto heel","stiletto high heel" or "high heel shoe"
Start by thinking of as many keywords associated with your site as you can. To make it easier there is a free tool for this which can be found at http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
It will give you the number of times this word has been searched for in the last month. This will also give you a guide to the popularity of the keyword.
Try looking for similar sites to your own and viewing the source code. This will give you ideas for keywords that your competitors are using. Viewing the source code is easy, just right click the mouse somewhere on the page and click on view source.
A good idea is to open a file in wordpad or other text editor and call it "keywords" then if you find words or phrases relevant to your site copy and paste them into your file. You can then view them offline and even print the page out to study it. This can give you ideas for keywords you may not have thought of.
When you have made a list of keywords relevant to each page you will then need to check the supply and demand if you want an edge over your competitor.
You will already know the demand of each keyword the next thing you need to do is to take a sheet of paper or use a spreadsheet on the computer and make 3 columns naming them keyword, supply, and demand.
In the first column list the keywords that have the highest demand. Then in the supply column type how many times it has been searched for.
Lastly in http://www.Altavista.com or http://www.Google.com type in your keyword surrounded by quotation marks like this "stiletto shoes" and see how many sites come up. They will list the number of sites with that keyword in it.
Go through your list, and see how many have a large demand and lower supply. Of course the idea is to have as many large demand and low supply keywords as possible.
Optimise your site by creating theme based,keyword focused pages for each category of shoes or whatever it is that you are selling.
This will greatly increase your chances of getting a higher ranking in the search engines.
Just concentrate on a couple of keywords in each page.
The title meta tag
The title tag is THE most important part of your webpage. It must appeal to the search engines and also the visitor to your site. The title of your page is used as the link to your site by the search engines and is visible to the reader.
Use your most important keywords in the title. Make the title between 15-20 words in length.
The title must be compelling for people to want to click through to your site.
Don't ever make the mistake of leaving the title tag blank.
Not a good idea if you want an edge over your competition!!
Every page on your site must have a keyword focused title.
The description meta tag
The description tag is also very important and some search engines display it as a summary of your site. Use some important keywords here but don't repeat them more than 3 or 4 times as it could be seen as spamming.
This tag is not as important to search engines as it once was, but you should still use it to list your keywords.
The alt tag
This tag is used to describe images and is useful to the visually impaired.
If an image takes a long time to load the alt tag will appear first.
Add keywords to this tag as part of the description.
The main body of text
Place emphasis on your keywords in the first paragraph of the main text, and repeat them several times in the rest of the page. As each page is theme based the keywords will be relevant,and will appear naturally in the body of the text.
You will greatly increase your chances of getting your site in the top positions of search engines if you follow these ideas.
You must however regularly register all your pages with each of the main search engines to make sure the pages are still there as they can suddenly disappear, or drop down from a number 1 position to number 201!!
Normally about once a month is enough.
You can use a site submitter to make this a lot easier.
A good one that I use is http://selfpromotion.com or another one is http://www.submit-it.com
About The Author
Kathy is an artist and webdesigner for small businesses. She has designed sites for other artists to showcase their work, and has her own online business. Kathy has written several articles on promoting an online business. Visit her site at http://www.healthandbeautytowealth.co.uk.
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