How to use keywords and where to put them

Category : SEO April 24, 2013

Keywords and key phrases are one of the most important elements of SEO. They are words which you have carefully selected and integrated allowing your website to appear in search results when those words are searched. For example one of my key phrases is ‘graphic designer brighton’. I make sure that this key phrase appears in a number of places which I will go on to discuss below.

Be aware of keyword stuffing, this is when you use too many keywords in an unnatural way. Search engines such as Google will see this as spamming and will penalise your website.

1. Keywords in page titles

The page title is the text that typically appears above the browser’s address bar. It is one of the most important things to consider for key word related SEO and is also the first thing you see in a google search result. By putting your keyword first in your title before any other words you can potentially be ranked higher in a search result.

page title as seen on a browser

2. Written page content

The other highly important place to put your keywords is of course in your page’s copy. You should ideally get your keyword in the first sentence and then now and and again throughout the page. Try using variations of your keywords and phrases instead of the same ones all the time. If its a short page that you are writing 3-4 times is probably a good amount to mention your keyword. Bolding and italicising a keyword may improve your SEO very slightly. Including your keywords in a heading or sub heading as well as the paragraph text can also be slightly beneficial.

3. Keywords for images

Text on image files such as gifs pngs or jpegs can’t be read by search engines so this is why keywords should always be used within the image’s file name and much more importantly in the image’s alternative text description (alt tags). The search engine crawlers will take the information provided by the alt tags and will index and rank the page’s content as well as the individual images in image searches. As well as alt tags being an essential part of SEO they are also great for partially sighted or blind web users. Although initially invisible to a normal visitor, alt tags can usually be seen by hovering the cursor over an image for a second or two.

4. Key words in URLs

Although this is not as important as the other things mentioned so far, it will still help. Putting a couple of keywords in your url is better than none and also better than too many as this can have the opposite effect as it is looked upon as spamming. Keywords should ideally be separated by hyphens within the url for example

5. Meta descriptions

The meta description is a sentence or 2 of about 156 characters that describes your page. It appears under the page title in a search result. Although it doesn’t seem to have an affect on a website’s position in a search result it does however entice people to click on your website therefore increasing the click through rate. Your keywords may help entice people to click on your site on a search engine so why not use them in your meta description.

meta description and page title on a google search

6. Keywords in back links

Links that point back to your website from another website are very powerful for SEO. If those links incorporate a keyword within the link text then so much the better. So rather than just saying the domain name e.g. it would be better to say graphic designer brighton. Now if you did that on a number of quality websites then it is highly likely to improve a website’s ranking, especially for that keyword. Too many back links especially from obscure and random websites can cause google to penalise you and actually lower your position.