Keyword Optimization Guide
Okay, you’ve done your keyword research. You know which words you’re going to target. But where are you going to plant your words so that your site will grow? The following will tell you the most fruitful places – approximately in order of importance.
In the Content of the Target Page – yes, this is a little obvious, but all obvious things should be mentioned at least once. Make sure that if any human being would see your page with no context, he would immediately be able to tell you what the topic is. In general, it’s not practical to promote more than 2 or 3 keywords per page, so choose wisely.
Title Tag – This is a biggie. Your keyword should be in the title tag of the page – and preferably at the beginning.
Description Tag – This tag is not for search engines, but for your potential visitors. If the exact keyword searched for appears in the description tag, Google will show the tag as the snippet in the search results. So use your keyword and make your description attractive and engaging – get those viewers to click! Another thing you might want to do to help your listing draw more clicks is to use semantic markup to have Google display your snippet with ratings, reviews, price info and more.
Anchor Text in Links – Get sites to link to you using that keyword – and use it yourself within your own site to point to that page.
Domain and URL Names – if possible, the domain name should contain the keyword for promotion. For example: www.cars.com. URLs should also contain the keyword, with the words separated by hyphens. (In the domain name, however, there should preferably be no hyphens.) That said, it’s not recommended to change an existing URL (and all the more so an existing domain) just for the sake of website promotion, because the search engines will see it as a different page/site and all the hard work you put into getting links and the like for the old page/site will vanish. That can be mostly taken care of by permanently redirecting the old URL(s) to the new ones, but it’s still a risk.
Image Alt Text – Put your keyword in the alt text of your images. In addition to enhancing usability, search engines read and take alt text into consideration.
Primary and Secondary Headers – put your keyword in headers labeled with the H1 and H2 tags.
File Names – if you have image or other files on your page, use the keyword in the filename instead of a generic “Picture123.jpg”.
Emphasis – the search engines are more likely to pay attention to emphasized words labeled with the B and STRONG tags (bold) or the I tag (italics).
Typos – Take advantage of common typos for leverage in the Google rankings. A user who searches for a keyword with an accidental typo (and this happens quite often) will see among the top results the page on which the typo is used as a keyword. Promotion of a page with a typo is likely to be relatively easy because there are not many competitors, however, don’t overdo this technique! Due to Google’s “do you mean” function, which suggests to searchers that they might have searched with a typo and provides them with an option to re-search for the corrected term, this technique has lost significant value.
One particularly bad planting technique to avoid: Overdoing it. Anywhere. You wouldn’t stick 30 apple seeds in the same hole in the ground, would you? So don’t stick tons of keywords in your title tag, use the keyword incessantly on the page, or have 100% link anchor text with your keyword. (Google appears to be more forgiving of higher percentages of exact match anchor text in some industries/countries – but make sure it really applies to your niche before you try it.)