Sean Voorhies

Where to use keywords for SEO (meta data, page copy and more)

Posted by: Sean Voorhies, Marketing Coordinator

Once you’ve set your keyword strategy, what do you do with all of those terms? Here’s your primer on putting keywords to work for website visibility.

Meta Data
Title, description and keyword tags (all part of your behind-the-scenes meta data) are valuable locations for keyword optimization. Place your most important keywords early in your tags rather than later. While each engine has different title and description character limits, it best to use the least common denominator to avoid having text cut off. Using the following guidelines for each tag can help make the most of your rankings across each engine:

Title Tag: This tag should be reflective of the entire theme of the page. Consistent formatting is also critical here. If using symbols in a title, “:: Juan Valdez Coffee Connection ::” for example, then be sure to use symbols in all titles. Limit your keyword tags to 60 characters.

Description Tag: To help turn searchers into visitors, include a call-to-action at the end of each of your description tags. This will show up on most search engine results pages right below the page title. The tag should be limited to 140 characters.

Keyword Tag: Not all engines index this tag – Yahoo & Ask do, while Google and Live Search do not. Limit keyword tags to 1,000 characters, or 45 key phrases or less. These terms should be relevant and match terms used on the page.

Content/Page Copy
Page copy should be written for users, not search engines – they are the one’s viewing, buying and converting. With that said, where possible, ensure your most targeted keywords are represented in the page copy, and that they revolve around the theme of the page. Since the engines crawl the site top to bottom, left to right, it is ideal to place the most important key phrases in the top of the page and less important terms further down. Header, bold and italics tags as well as bulleted items add emphasis to terms, but shouldn’t be overused. Key phrases should be optimized at a density level of between 5 and 10% per page.

Search engines identify images using alt tags – a small snippet of code that lies behind the image and identifies what the viewer is seeing. These tags are also referenced by blind viewers of web pages. For instance:

alt=”The milky way galaxy”

Alt tags are especially important for outbound linked images. The alt tag for linked images should identify the page being linked to while the tag for non-linked images should describe what the viewer is seeing.

Naming images with accurate, keyword-rich file names is also important for optimization. For example, “Maxwell House Columbian Dark Roast Coffee Close Up.jpg” is better than “IMG0001.jpg.” This helps identify both the content of the page and indexes the file for image searches.

Videos, like images, require accurate file naming. Keyword-laden video title, description and keyword tags also apply. For lengthy videos it is best to split them into smaller segments and optimize each according to its content and relevance to the page.  Whenever possible take advantage of the option to post the transcript of the video – this text provides prime real estate for the search engines to crawl, index and rank the page.

Anchor Text
Anchor text refers to the visible hyperlinked text on a page – search engines use the text as an important pointer to page relevance. For example, rather than linking to, think 90octane – Results Driven Search Engine Marketing & Lead Generation Agency.

Optimizing anchor text for internal site links enhances individual page relevancy, increasing page qualities and in turn search engine rank. Engines are also placing a bigger emphasis on inbound link quality – if you are considering a link building campaign, optimizing external links can also prove effective in boosting your search engine results.

Now that you know where to put your keywords, the fun really begins. Review Leslie’s entry on SEO metrics to gauge how well you’re doing with your optimization efforts.

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