|A frequent question asked is "Why do some people achieve a high|
search engine positioning and get plenty of traffic while others
do not? Simple. The people who have high search engine positions
in the major search engines selected keywords that many people
are searching with and placed those keywords in the body of
their content correctly. This is what is known as search engine
optimization or keyword optimization.
Search engine optimization will be one of the most important
investments you will make. Whether you decide to take on the
project yourself or hire a professional service, we highly
recommend search engine optimization before you submit to the
Keywords: Do's and Don'ts
Here are some tips on how to optimize your web pages and achieve
high search engine rankings for your web pages using keywords,
meta tags2 and effective copy writing. This article is best
suited for the webmaster or the author of the web site content.
It is usually the webmaster who is responsible for making sure
that pages are search engine ready. This article contains web
page code snippets (SHOWN IN THIS TYPEFACE) given as examples to
follow. Although this article is technical in nature, it is
vital to anyone who wants to achieve a high search engine
Use of Keywords
Keywords and keyword phrases must occur often and near the
beginning of the TITLE tag, the DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS meta
tags and the BODY5 of your web pages. The more frequent the
keywords appear and the nearer they appear to the beginning of
the tags and pages, the greater the chance of achieving high
search engine positioning.
The tags3 that are most important for page optimization are (in
the following order):
1. The TITLE tag
Example: Plumbing Supplies Company
This is the most important tag on your web page. It should begin
with the most important search phrase users will enter to find
your site. It is more important than the content and it is more
important than the description or keywords meta tags. Users
searching for "plumbing supplies² will stand a greater chance of
finding your site using the above title than if it were:
Plumbing Supply Company
2. The DESCRIPTION meta tag
Example: home and industry.²>
Use a plain English sentence of no more than 40 words for your
description. Again, the description should begin with the most
important keywords. Search engines will often use the contents
of this tag to display results of a search. If there is no
description meta tag then the search engine will attempt to
build one from the content at the top of the body of the page.
Words like "Back Next Products Support² won't mean anything to
users reading search results. Also do not use a list of keywords
as a description. Search engines will see this as an attempt to
achieve a high ranking and will probably penalize you and your
site may appear much lower on the list as a result.
3. The KEYWORDS meta tag
Example: plumbers supplies, plumbers pipes, valves, pipe wrenches²>
Although the keywords meta tag is important, most search engines
will derive keywords from the actual content of web pages.
Nevertheless, you should include the keywords meta tag in all
pages you want indexed. Do not "spam4² the search engines by
repeating keywords. If you do you will most likely be penalized
with a lower ranking or even banned altogether. Additionally,
only use keywords that appear in the actual content of the page.
If the search engines detect that you are trying to score a high
ranking by using keywords that have nothing to do with the
content of the page then you risk being penalized or banned.
4. ALT5 tags for images
Example: ALT=²Plumbing Supplies Logo²>
Although having a lesser importance than the above tags the
tag should also be used to achieve sufficient keyword
Keyword Density and Copy Writing
Keywords and keyword phrases must occur often and near the top
the body of your web pages to be indexed. The more frequent the
keywords appear and the nearer they appear to the beginning of
the page, the greater the chance of high search engine
placement. Effective use of keywords in the body of the page is
the second most important factor for high search engine
placement. As discussed above the tag is the most
The Home Page is The Most Important Page
The home page should contain the greatest concentration of
keywords. If a user searches for "plumbing supplies² make sure
that the phrase "plumbing supplies² appears on the home page.
Search engines will list in order of importance all the sites
having content related to the search phrase entered by the user.
If the phrase "plumbing supplies² appears in one of the pages of
your site, then the search engines will place a greater
importance on your site and it will stand a much greater chance
of getting a higher ranking if the phrase also appears on the
The goal of the webmaster is to discover the best keywords to
use in your content and meta tags. Try to figure out the search
words and phrases users would enter to find your site.
Don't Use an Image for the Body of Your Page
Since search engines use the actual content (words) of your page
as a basis for indexing, never use an image as the main content
of your page. Doing so will reduce your chances of high search
Use Search Phrases
Using the above tags as a guide, a user may type "plumbing
supplies² in a search engine. This is a search phrase because it
is more than one word. Most users use search phrases or keyword
combinations, not single words.
Do Not Use Hidden Text
Never attempt to hide text to achieve greater keyword density by
making it the same color as the background or use any similar
"trick² to fool the search engines. Doing so only risks your
site being banned from the search engines. Always be up front
and straightforward in your web page design. Never attempt to
hide anything from the search engines. These tricks usually
1 keywords The words users enter into search engines to find
web pages with content they are looking for.
2 meta tags Content in a web page that the search engines can
see but are not usually seen by the user when the page is viewed
on the Internet. It is common to include a meta tag with a list
of KEYWORDS to help the search engines properly categorize it.
Two other important meta tags are the TITLE and DESCRIPTION tags
described in this article.
3 tags Web pages are written in a format in which the text is
"tagged² with codes that the browser can read. These tags tell
the browser how to display the page.
4 spam The derogatory term for excessive and unwanted
communication on Internet lines derived from the canned meat
product with the same name. In this context it refers to the
repeated use of the same keywords in the meta tags to try to
gain an unfair advantage or to fool the search engines into
giving you a higher ranking. "Spamming² the search engines can
get you banned, so it is an unsafe practice.
5 alt tag This is a tag used on images. Although most Internet
users have systems that can display images, some cannot. The
purpose of the tag is to provide some text which these
users see in place of the image.
About the Author
Sue Doughty is the Marketing Director of Studio1 Design and
Hosting and has over 15 years experience in her field. Her
advice has helped many businesses achieve success on the
Internet. Visit Studio1 Design and Hosting on the Web at
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or phone toll-free
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