The 5 Most Valuable Places for Keywords on Your Website

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If you want traffic from search engines, you know that you need to optimize your page for your target keywords. But where on the page should you place your keywords? Imagine your target keywords are seeds: will you throw them in the air and hope they grow wherever they fall, or will you place them precisely where they’ll get the most sunlight (and capture the most attention)? When you look at the big picture, popular search engines like Google have been so successful because they are able to determine the most relevant websites for the keywords queried, while penalizing sites using spammy tactics. This has led to a more satisfactory search experience for users, and a more challenging experience for web marketers and developers.

Forget The Keyword Tag and Keyword Stuffing

For example, the once-meaningful keyword meta tag has been relegated to the “obsolete” corner for its heavy abuse by SEOs hoping to gain an edge by keyword stuffing. The same can be said for description tags and pages bursting at the seams with repeated keywords. The goal of search engines is to deliver the most relevant content to their users, and that should be your goal as well. Rather than trying to trick search engines into ranking your site higher, which often works against your rankings, focus on delivering more appropriate keywords in well-placed areas of your site code. Here are five important areas to focus keywords on:

Title Tag

The title tag, which shows up as the title in search results and on the browser window, is the most important place to place your keywords. There are several ingredients that should go into a well-optimized title tag:
  • A title tag should be about 65-70 characters or less, so use each character well. Choose several keywords that correspond with the content on the page, but don’t overload the title with a nonsensical combination of words—remember, it still has to be appealing for a user to click on it in the search results.
  • Put your most important keyword(s) at the beginning of the title tag.
  • Customize the title tag on each page to help avoid duplicate content filters. Consider this an opportunity to get more keywords in—just make sure the title accurately corresponds with the content.

URL

Don’t overlook this fundamental element of each web page. While it helps users make sense of what they will find on the page, it does the same for search engine bots. Use the URL to include keywords from the page, making sure to keep it concise and readable. Users find links with readable, descriptive terms more trustworthy, so there’s no reason not to name your directory files and folders logically with keywords.
Note
Use caution (and the correct redirects) when changing the URLs of existing pages.

H1 Tag

SEOs have considered h1 important for years. With the advent of HTML5 and its new semantics, mass confusion has ensued about whether search engines will understand the new structure. Whereas before websites were generally discouraged from using multiple h1
tags, the new semantic markup encourages h1 tags at the head of multiple sections. As it turns out, search engines won’t be penalizing you for using multiple h1 tags, and apparently never have. Google engineer Matt Cutts said in a 2009 video, “Use (the h1 tag) where it makes sense and more sparingly, but you can have it multiple times.” That doesn’t mean the tag should be abused, however—there are still safeguards in place to penalize sites using spammy tactics, such as using h1 tags for large amounts of body text. To learn more about this topic, check out What Potential Impact Can HTML5 Have on SEO?

Body Text

Of course, it would only make sense that your body text should contain keywords. If your site is legitimate and you’re targeting the right audience, it should be easy to naturally weave keywords into the copy. But how many keywords are needed to affect SEO? SEOmoz recommends that writers aim for for 2-3 keywords on a typical page, and 4-5 on pages with more copy. If more keywords appear naturally as it is written, it won’t hurt anything, but don’t add more for the sake of SEO; anything above those limits won’t affect rankings much, if at all. In a nutshell, relevance and quality reign supreme over keyword density, so make sure the keywords flow well with the text and don’t sacrifice quality for more keywords.

Image Name and Alt Attribute

Images are sometimes the forgotten child of SEO, but they too can bring valuable search traffic—even some traffic that regular text can’t reach. How many times have you searched for an image and ended up on the website that hosts the image? People often search for images alone, so it’s worth your time to optimize yours with keywords. First, make sure the images are given logical, readable names—with keywords, if appropriate. For example, cupcake.jpg is better than img-00012.jpg. Next, don’t skimp on your alt tags; they are required for better usability in case your image can’t be seen, and they tell search engines what the image is. My advice is to write whatever you would want a user to know if the image didn’t load, ideally using some keywords. Finally, ensure the image is in the right context—this is perhaps the most important feature that search engines look for. In short, place the keyword-optimized image close to keyword-optimized paragraph and header tags, and you’re on your way to turning up in an image search. Resources:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Keyword Placement on Your Website

What is the importance of keyword placement in SEO?

Keyword placement plays a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO). It helps search engines understand what your content is about and rank it accordingly. Proper keyword placement can increase your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), driving more organic traffic to your website. It’s not just about quantity, but also the quality and relevance of your keywords that matter.

How can I effectively use keywords in my website’s URL?

Incorporating keywords into your website’s URL can significantly improve your SEO. Ensure the URL is not only keyword-rich but also descriptive and concise. Avoid using unnecessary words or characters. Remember, the URL should give a clear idea of the page’s content.

What is the role of keywords in meta descriptions?

Meta descriptions are brief summaries of your web pages that appear in search engine results. Including relevant keywords in your meta descriptions can help search engines understand your content better and improve your click-through rates. However, avoid keyword stuffing as it can lead to penalties from search engines.

How can I optimize my website’s images using keywords?

You can optimize your website’s images for SEO by including keywords in the image file name and the alt text. The alt text should accurately describe the image content. This not only helps search engines understand the image but also improves accessibility for users with visual impairments.

How should I use keywords in my website’s headings and subheadings?

Headings and subheadings are excellent places to include your keywords. They not only help search engines understand your content structure but also make your content easier to read for users. Ensure your keywords fit naturally into your headings and subheadings without disrupting the flow of your content.

What is the significance of keyword density in SEO?

Keyword density refers to the number of times a keyword appears on a web page compared to the total word count. While it’s important to include keywords in your content, overuse can lead to keyword stuffing, which can negatively impact your SEO. Aim for a natural and balanced use of keywords.

How can I use keywords in my website’s internal and external links?

Using keywords in your internal and external links can improve your SEO. Ensure the anchor text (the clickable text in a hyperlink) includes relevant keywords. However, the anchor text should still make sense to the reader and accurately represent the linked content.

Can I use keywords in my website’s footer?

Yes, you can use keywords in your website’s footer. However, it’s important to use them sparingly and naturally. The footer is typically used for navigation links, contact information, and legal information, so ensure any keywords used fit naturally within this context.

How can I use long-tail keywords effectively on my website?

Long-tail keywords are specific phrases that users are likely to use when they’re closer to making a purchase or finding the information they need. Incorporate these into your content naturally, focusing on areas like headings, subheadings, and meta descriptions.

How often should I review and update my website’s keywords?

SEO is a continuous process, and so is keyword optimization. Regularly review and update your keywords to ensure they remain relevant and effective. Use analytics tools to monitor keyword performance and make necessary adjustments.

Mandy BarringtonMandy Barrington
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Mandy Barrington is Lead Web Designer at US-based online marketing agency RYP Marketing, where she provides web design and content development for clients ranging from local businesses to international corporations.

SEO
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