Keywords are descriptive words that, when
broken up into phrases, are the single most powerful
element for positioning your site in search engines. To
get started, write down every single word that has to
do with your Web site (single being the operative
word, not phrases or a combination of words). Armed
with this list, make up as many keyword phrases as
possible. Keyword phrases are 3-5 word
combinations that describe your product or service. Be as
creative as possible! Why make keyword phrases? If you go
to a search engine to find, let's say "Laser Printer
Replacement Parts," you don't type in a single word
like "Printer" do you? By creating phrases you have a
better opportunity to get your site in front of those
looking for what you have. Your keyword phrase effectively covers "Laser Printer Parts," "Laser
Printers," "Printer Replacement Parts," and so on.
How Do Keywords Affect Positioning?
The term search engine is generic; not all search
engines are equal. Some are directories (which don't
really search, but sort), and some actually search
for pages that have been indexed in the databases
they draw from. When you submit your page to a
"true" search engine, you submit your page's URL
(Uniform Resource Locator, such as http://www.your site.com/index.html) and enter basic
information about you and your page. When you press the
Submit button, the URL is queued for
spidering. A spider is a program that actually visits the Web site
URL you submitted, and scours the page for
information (keywords), so it can determine the main theme
of the page. The spider returns to the search
engine server and determines the most important words
it found on the page (excluding common words like
a, the, and). These words are then indexed and the
page receives a number for each word. This number
is known as the keyword weight or keyword
prominence of a page. The keyword weight is the major factor
that determines the position of a page in a search.
Suppose you use the keyword phrase laser
printers and your keyword weight is 128. Your main
competitor has extensively keyworded his page and his
page scores 924. Guess who rates the higher
position? Your competition will; meanwhile your page is
listed in the middle of page 99 in the search. Will
anyone find your page? Probably not.
When you submit to a directory, right away you see a difference because it asks for much more
information about the page. Directory submissions are
received by a server and queued just like a
"true" search engine, but that is where the similarity
ends. The directory does not send out a spider to
collect information; the information is actually reviewed by
a person. Yes it's true, a real person reviews your
page/site and determines if your site a. deserves to
be listed, and b. if the content of the site is applicable
to the section it was submitted for. Search results
from a directory are often more relevant because sites
are rated for the content of what you see on the page,
not the keywords that are hidden from view. So, how
do you gain a better position than someone else?
Some rate the position by the <TITLE> tag, others list
by the <META NAME ="description">, and some
determine position by the company name.
Where Do Keywords Go on a Page?
You can slip keywords into a lot of places, but
the first and most important place is the content.
In other words, put your keywords in the part ya
read. It is essential that you use your main keywords
(keyword phrases) in the body of your page. If it's
not there, three out of four times you are wasting
your time. The next part involves a little knowledge
of HTML coding. If you don't do your own Web
pages, you may have a problem with this part. Talk to
your designer or Webmaster to see if they can assist you
in getting keywords in.
After you have your keyword phrases in your content, the next place you must put keywords is
between the <HEAD> tags. When someone loads
your page in a browser, the text in the <TITLE> tag
is what you see in the colored bar at the top. Next
after the Title is the <META NAME="description">
tag. The description is just as it impliesa description
of what people will find on the page. Capitalize on
your keyword phrases here and in the following
<META NAME="keyword"> tag too!
Use Alt Text
Another less obvious place to put in keywords is
in ALT attribute of the IMG (image) tag. ALT text
(for alternate text) is the descriptive text you see
while graphics are downloading. The ALT text not
only gives your visitors some information about
the graphic, it can also be used as a place for
additional keywords to help you get a better position in a
search engine index. Not all engines use ALT text, but
if adding keywords to your ALT text can help raise your position from page 6, to page 2 in three
major search engines, then don't you think it would
be worth your time to put these in?
One thing needs to be said about using ALT text this way in your Web pages. The ALT
keyword phrases need to be mainly the same ones you used
on the page. Let's say that your main keyword phrase
is "Used Chevrolet Parts." Then you should try to
put the phrase "Used Chevrolet Parts" on your
ALT text. The more times that phrase is used in the
Web page, the more prominent the association with
those keywords will be in the search engines. If you
use ALT text, don't over do it. Keep it to around
8-10 words. After you have added all your ALT text,
you should reregister all pages that you changed to
ensure you get your fair chance at a better position.
You are probably familiar with the term
spam. The term spamming doesn't just apply to e-mail. It
implies anything sent over and over. So, like the spammers who send the same junk e-mail over
and over, keyword spammers can get penalized by
the search engines. After reading about
keywording, some people load their Web pages up with the
same word 80-300 times and then try to register it
wondering weeks later why they don't even show up.
This technique of spamming a keyword not only
penalizes you, it can also blacklist you. The search
engine drops your entire domain from its database, never
to be heard from again. So, be careful when you
enter keywords; sometimes "less is more."
The Keyword "Balancing Act"
Keyword balance is a delicate matter. Too much
and you can get dumped from an engine for
spamming; too little and you stay at the bottom of the list. So
be careful. Also note that using every location
available for "loading" keywords on a page is a very
tedious and labor-intensive job. There really is an art
to keywording and it takes constant monitoring of
the search engines, not only for positioning, but also
for any changes the engines make that affect how
and where spiders read the keywords you've loaded
into the page.
This is how keywords for a web page look in an HTML editor.