Copyright 2006 Mark Nenadic
As you likely know by now, there is a big difference between effective, quality website content, and search engine optimized (SEO) website content that will obtain the highest ranks in search engines and directories such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN. However, to apply SEO properly to your website, you first need to know which keywords to use. Once you have them, you also need to know if those keywords are working for you, or if you will need to tweak them to get better results. After all, a keyword is only as good as the money it makes for you.
The keyword itself is a certain word or phrase that someone would type into a search engine or web directory in order to find your website. The keyword you choose for any given page should describe that page in a way that a regular web surfer would search for it. The keyword should be a direct reflection of the content of that page. They should never contain any random or additional words that have nothing to do with you, your business, or your website. If they do contain these excess words, then you won’t obtain the maximum results from your SEO strategy.
Among the most widely accepted keyword strategies is that the number of keywords in a website should never exceed 21-22. There are sites out there that have well over six and seven hundred keywords, without any content to back those keywords up. Even if they did have content for every one of those keywords, there would be no point, since search engines will ignore any keyword over their limit of 22 words.
Keywords are each counted as one word. Key phrases, on the other hand, are also counted as one, no matter how many words make them up. For example, if you owned a computer company, a keyword could be “computers”. This would be counted as one word. However, you could also have a key phrase “discount computer company”, which would also be counted as one.
Even though key phrases are each counted as only one keyword, you should always keep them very short and straight to the point, without any excess words or puff.
To properly apply these keywords to your website, you first need to come up with a list of 21 or 22 keywords/key phrases that will describe your website content, such as the product or service you are selling. You then need to work them into your content, as well as into the site description coding and any additional information you submit to the search engines upon registration with them.
To identify the keywords, there are many different tools that you can use. You can pull them straight out of the air, have friends and colleagues brainstorm with you, or use one or two of many different softwares that are available for specifically that purpose. One of the most popular among these softwares is the Overture Keyword Suggestion Tool. You simply need to tell it what your site is about, and it will suggest a number of different potential keywords based on what has been searched for within the last past month.
By making sure that you’re using the right keywords, you’re much more likely to choose exactly the word or phrase that a web surfer might type when searching for what your site has to offer. This is the entire point of SEO. When done properly, you’ll increase the number of visitors to your site, and will therefore experience increased sales. Your website will be more visible, more find-able, and more successful, all by selecting the right wording. Though it may sound complex at first, once you get the hang of it, it does become much more routine. You must remember, though, that this is a time consuming process, and is something that you will need to maintain for the entire life of your website. If you don’t have the time or willingness to dedicate to your website, be certain to hire a professional to do it for you. It is definitely worth the extra few dollars that it will cost. The increased sales will pay for the SEO many times over.