Once you have identified your target search phrases the next step is to incorporate them to the content of your web pages. Ensure that important keywords have pages of content specifically dedicated to them. Be careful to ensure that the keywords are in appropriate context. 'Keyword stuffing', the practice of adding keywords to content without meaningful relevance, can result in penalisation by Google.
This section looks at how you can optimise your web pages to increase your chances of achieving good page rankings, for target keywords and phrases within the search engines.
Search engines rank your web page, for a keyword or phrase, based on the location of the keyword or phrase and the frequency the keyword or phrase appears in your page. Some locations are more important than others. Each of the key locations is outlined below, ranked in order of highest importance:
Theme your web pages
One of the best ways to optimise your web pages is to structure them into well defined themes. One of the best aspects of themes is that they help keep your website well organized and on-topic - something that can become quite difficult as your online presence evolves and grows. An appropriate theming structure will help you maintain a clear delineation between the different areas of your site, and allow you to target specific keywords and keyword variations to particular sections.
A themed website should follow a structure similar to this:
- First level: Buy Meat Online in New Zealand
- Second level: Buy Beef Online
- Third Level: Buy Beef T-Bone Steaks Online
The key is to forget about the search engines as much as possible and just write and create your site with the single purpose of reaching your target audience. Stay focused on this goal alone. When you are done, you can review it in the light of the guidelines below and tweak it as needed.
Content optimisation guidelines
- Incorporate the important key words and key phrases in the 'Heading 1', 'Heading 2' and 'Heading 3' formats.
- Optimise your meta data so that it includes your key words and key phrases.
- Include key words and key phrases in your internal links between pages whenever possible.
The most important place to locate your keywords or phrases is in your web page titles. The title is the text that appears in the title bar of the web browser.
The second most important place to locate your keywords and phrases is in the headings of your website content. Within any web page you can have different levels of headings (heading 1, 2, 3 and so on). ‘Heading 1’ is the most important, with sub-headings having less ‘importance’.
The main text is one of the key content areas of your web page. It is the key area where you can influence the frequency of a keyword or phrase on your web page.
Text that is inserted as a graphic on your web page cannot be ‘indexed’ by the search engines. However, graphics can include something called ‘alt’ text, which describes what the image is ‘about’, and this can be indexed. Make sure you use the ‘alt’ field to describe what each of your images is about.
Metadata is the information that is included on a web page that is invisible to the online user, but is visible to a search engine. Meta information is designed to explain to a search engine what a web page is about. There are a number of different types of Meta information that can be included in a web page. The two most important types are:
The Meta description in a web page describes in ‘plain English’ what the web page is about. The Meta description is very important, as some search engines will use this to describe your web page in the search results.
The Meta keywords in a web page outline the key words that best describe the content of your web page. The use of Meta keywords has been subject to abuse by many authors in a quest to obtain higher search engine rankings. Because of this, many search engines now disregard Meta keywords completely, so do not spend too much time on your Meta keywords selection.
Use Latent Semantic Indexing
When writing content for your website, remember that you’re writing for both humans and search engines. The key is to use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) for your content. LSI is a concept employed by search engines that lets them know that two phrases mean the same even when they do not have the exact order or string of words.
For example: Search engines understand that a page with the words “black shoes”, “running shoes”, and “shoes for jogging” means that your content is about shoes. Using LSI makes your copy natural-sounding and easy to read for your website visitors, while still ensuring that search engines know exactly what your content is about.
Have the right keyword density
Keyword density is the total number of times that your keywords appear on your content. Using the same or related keywords will help you rank higher and lets search engines know what your content is about. While search engines did not provide an exact number for how many times you should repeat keywords on your content, experts believe that the ideal keyword density is 1% or 2% of your entire content.
It is difficult to balance the needs of writing good sales copy versus the needs of writing copy that is optimised for the search engines. It is something that you will have to work out to achieve the best balance that you possibly can. That or hire one of our specialists to do this for you.
A careful balance
Look to write your copy so that your shortlist of keywords and phrases appear in the elements listed above as often as possible. Try different variations and measure the results.