September 10, 2009

Where to put the keywords

I will now continue my SEO 101 guide with explaining where to put the keywords for a particular page.

Just as you arrange your ordinary word document that is longer than just a page, you construct an index so that all people reading your document will have an easy overview of what they are reading. On a website this index is called the sitemap. (Now some of you think… “Isn’t that the start page??” NO IDIOT… I will deal with the start page later… but keep in mind that you do NOT… I repeat… do NOT put all the links to all your content on your start page)

In the sitemap you should put links to all the pages of your website. As you want your reader, google and all other interested to know where they end up you use the “jam jar method” to lable your links and the pages where the people will end up.

Where to put the keywords - jam jar method

Jam Jar Method
Just as you don’t put “Sweet and sticky” on a jar of strawberry jam (because no one knows what’s in it) you don’t put a slogan or something catchy in a link to a page. You simply say what’s on the page or in the jar. As for the case of the Jam jar you would write “Strawberry Jam”, as for a web page explaining the recepie for strawberry jam, you would give it the name “Recepie – Strawberry Jam” or “Recepie for strawberry jam”.

Many people put catchy phrases in their links, or even worse, put “read more” in their links leading to pages. This method sucks as it doesn’t give the reader any notion on where he or she is going to end up.

On-Page keyword optimization
Once you are on the page there are some elements that search engines as well as people find more important than others.

The title
First of all it is the title of the page. This is what is seen as the link from Google. It is also what is seen in the field on the very top of your browser. The title is defined in the head meta text of the page. The tag you use to define it is <title>Your title</title>.

Important is to put the keyword you want the searcher to find your page with as early as possible in the title. People are impatient, and search engines give more value to what comes first rather than what comes later. Thus a good example for a Strawberry Jam title would be something like;

Strawberry Jam : Recepie on how to make Jam of strawberries

As you can see I have included two variations of your same keyword; “strawberry jam” and “jam of strawberries”. This is a good thing to think about. All searchers might not search for the same thing. Check in google keywordtool for where most of the searches are. Use those two variations with the highest search density in your title.

The Description
Secondly you should write your keyword in three different variations in your description text. This text is never visible for the user except for when they search in google. It is the text visible underneith the link they click from the search engine.

It doesn’t give you that much value, but it gives you clicks if the search matches one or several of your phrases in your description. Description is a meta text wich means that it defines the content of a document.

The headline
Third you need to put your keyword in your headline. I generally use the same phrase as I use for my title as my headline. The headline is defined by the h1 tag. <h1>your headline</h1>. There should only be one h1 tag in each document.

The sub-headline
On a page you can use between two and three sub-headlines defined as <h2></h2>. These are used to divide your content into graspable paragraphs. In your sub-headlines you should try to not use your keyword in all of them. You should rather use keywords that are semantically related to your main keyword for that page. You can find semantically related keywords by utilizing the google service “Google Sets“.

For strawberry jam there is a whole set of different combinations you can use from the result you get. “jam for your coffe or tea”, “jam on the sandwitch”, “recepies for other fruit jams” etc. Use your imagination.

In the paragraphs
You should try to use your main keyword in your paragraphs as well. Do not spam your content with your keyword, but use it wisely about one or two times per paragraph.

In your image names, titles and alt texts
Remember that you should use your keywords not only when writing visible stuff for the users. But you should also give your image files, their alt texts and their titles names with your keyword in it. If it doesn’t fall natural. Write the title of the page you are using the image for and then give it a specific image name. Remember that Google don’t care abot the 7th or 8th word in your alt text… so be brief in your description on what is actually on the image.

Related articles
A neat little feature is the “related articles” section that many blogs and other websites have started to use. As google likes when you know a lot about a specific area, they also like it when you show your users that there is more to read. If you have been consistent with putting the keywords in your titles then a related articles feature in the bottom or to the right of each content is a very neat way for you to make google and readers find content that you have previously written. If google finds it often and you optimized it the first time, then it will for sure rank better.

I will get into explaining LSI later, but for now let’s just settle with the fact that google likes it when you 1. show that you are an authority within a topic and 2. they like loads of internal links with keywords in anchor texts. (see what I just did… soooo easy when you are too lazy… just link to a resource explaining the god damn word.. I know.. if I would have my own glossary it would be better, but this suits me well right now… and co-citing your page with Wikipedia is never a bad thing.)

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