Top 5 Keyword Commandments

Hi there, Mike Halloran here and in this post, we will go over why keywords are important and how you can use them to supercharge your website. In subsequent posts, I will go over how to find the best keywords and review top tools that can help you research and create keyword lists.

Why Are Keywords Important?

Keywords are the core parts of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing. I will be primarily focusing on SEO in this post.

In overall SEO, keywords don't carry the same power as inbound links, but they do have a significant role in your site page ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). SEOmoz (affiliate link-we like them!), a company that develops SEO software, believes that keywords make up 40% of onpage SEO. Keywords, which can be “behind the scenes” in meta tags, descriptions and in the actual content, are some of the major signals that tell search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo about the topic of your page.

Search engines love to give users relevant results (that's what keeps users coming back) and keywords are how you tell the search engines about your page. All of the major search engines are smart enough to know if the keywords you incorporate into your site or are bidding for have nothing to do with the search. When this happens, you will not rise up in the search engine rankings, or you will lose out on the keywords that you are bidding on.

Using Keywords On Your Web Site

There are some basic rules you want to follow when incorporating keywords into your site. Every page on your website should have a central theme or topic that revolves around one main keyword. From this main keyword, you can incorporate related sub keywords that link to other pages on your site.

When building your page, there are a few places you want to place your keywords to get the most SEO value out of them. It is extremely important to have your main keyword in the page URL, page Title Tag (what appears at the top of the browser and the SERP), the page description (appears on the SERP), page body, and link anchor texts. Do not forget link anchor text. If you are linking to another page on your site, make sure you have a keyword in the link anchor text, never put "read here" or something generic. These five places are the basic and most important places to utilize keywords.  

Not as crucial, but definitely beneficial is to utilize keywords in headers and menus. Allrecipe's chicken wing recipes page is a great example that shows how you can use keywords effectively. Type "chicken wing recipes" into any of the major search engines, and you will see a couple of ads and then a number of organic search results. Allrecipe's page is at or near the top for every search engine.

What you see on the SERP is the Title Tag and Description. When you get to the page, you will see that "Chicken Wings Recipes" is the theme of the page and they incorporate it into a number of places. The URL has "chicken-wings". The Title Tag (what appears at the top of the browser) is "Chicken Wing Recipes - Allrecipes.com". All of the menu links on the left side of the page concern different types of chicken wings that are related to the main keyword. It is easy to see why this page ranks high for chicken wings! You want to do the same with your site. If you combine good keyword usage with impressive content, link building, and solid site design you will see results over time!

In summary, check the pages on your site to make sure you are following these 5 top keyword commandments: 

Top 5 Keyword Commandments (Where thou must put your keywords):
  1. Page URL
  2. Title Tag
  3. Page Description
  4. Page Body
  5. Link Anchor Text
Keyword Sub Commandments (Where it is advised thou put your keywords):
  • Page Headers
  • Page Menus
  • Meta Tags

Stay tuned for my next posting where I will go over how to create a keyword list for your page.  Leave a comment below to ask a question or share your experience using keywords for better search engine optimization.