3rd Quarter 2004 - August
Designing for the Search Engines
We will now begin to discuss the various uses of keywords.
This month we’ll look at Page Titles and Content.
Page Titles appear in the top bar of the browser. They also often appear as the name of the site on search engine results and are used by the search engines to index and find the site.
Page titles have gained prominence in the last year or two for search engine ranking. Search engines look at your page titles to determine what the pages are about. It is therefore very important that your titles contain the keywords for that page and that those keywords start your titles.
Page titles like “Amazon Manufacturing” or “Manufacturing Services” are relatively useless as they do not contain specific keywords. While “manufacturing” may be a keyword, it is not specific enough to get you a high ranking on a search engine. Better titles would be “Widgets, Custom Manufactured Professional Widgets – Amazon Manufacturing” or “Custom Manufactured Widgets, Widget repair, Widget lessons – Amazon Manufacturing”. These will get you noticed more by the search engines.
Content is probably the most important factor in search engine optimization because you can use your keywords more times in the text of the site than anywhere else. According to search engine gurus, for best rankings there should be between 200 and 600words per page for the search engine to index. This text needs to be keyword rich – a keyword percentage of 3 to 5% is optimum. Less than that and you could go unnoticed. More than that and the search engines might flag the site as a spammer.
Your keyword(s) should appear in the first sentence of the site and if possible be the first word of the first sentence. Your keywords should be used, if possible, in your navigation, in the captions on photos and where ever else they can be logically included.
One important thing to remember though when making your content keyword rich – it still needs to read correctly for a real person. This is more easily accomplished using bullet points, each with the keyword in it, rather than trying to repeat the keyword several times in one or two paragraphs.
In our next issue we will discuss various methods to determine which keywords to optimize your site for.
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