Key Phrase and Keyword Fundamentals

17 January, 2015 / by ocdadmin / In Google, Search Engines, SEO

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You can have the most gorgeous website on the planet, but if no one finds their way to your site, it may as well not be there. It’s vital that someone searching for your product or service is able to find you. A search starts with a key phrase being typed into a search engine. This article explains how and where to use key phrases on your web pages.

Targeting your key phrase

Choose the key phrase you want to target for your page carefully and target one key phrase for each page.

It’s well worth taking the time to research your key phrases using a tool such as Google Keyword Planner.

Ensure that the key phrase you choose is one that is used in a good number of searches, but balance that against the level of competition targeting that search term. Sometimes it makes sense to target a keyword with a lower search volume and less competition.

For instance, if you owned a shoe shop and decided to target the phrase ‘women’s shoes’ you will find that there are around 135,000 searches each month in the UK alone for that particular search term. However if you targeted ‘women’s jelly shoes’ you will find there are fewer searches – just 2,400 each month – but the competition is far lower, providing you with a more realistic opportunity to be found and get traffic.

Also, the more specific or niche your key phrase, the more qualified the enquiry is. Think about it. If someone is searching for ‘women’s jelly shoes’ rather than simply ‘women’s shoes’, it’s a fair assumption that the enquirer is looking to make a purchase.

If you need any help identifying high volume/low competition key phrases, we can provide you with a tailored keyword research report, which uses the Keyword Efficiency Index (KEI) to calculate the best key phrases to target.

Include your key phrase in the page title

The page title is hugely relevant to the page it refers to. The title is the lead element of a keyword-targeted page and your key phrase must feature within it. Search engines place great weight in the words contained within the page title.

The page title should ideally be between 40 and 55 characters in length.

Include your key phrase in the page meta description

Meta description tags don’t carry much of a weighting factor in determining search engine rankings but they do influence click-throughs when your page is featured in search engine returns. These short paragraphs present an opportunity to advertise content and informs potential customers as to whether your page contains the information they’re looking for.

The meta description should include the key phrase and provide a compelling description of the page content to encourage searchers to click and visit the page. The meta description must be relevant to the page and each page must have a markedly different meta description. The description should ideally be between 150-160 characters in length.

Include the key phrase in page headings and subheadings

Headings are coded as H1 to H6 tags. In html you will find headings coded in a similar way to this:

<h1>This is an example of a H1 tag</h1>

<h2>This is an example of a H2 tag</h2>

<h3>This is an example of a H3 tag</h3>

<h4>This is an example of a H4 tag</h4>

<h5>This is an example of a H5 tag</h5>

<h6>This is an example of a H6 tag</h6>

If you have a content managed site, headings will more than likely be shown in the text editor under a format button as Header 1, Header 2, Header 3.

Headings carry a great deal of weight with search engines as they are used for categorisation within a page.

Search engines weight headings heavily as they indicate the page’s main topics, so it’s essential that your key phrase is included in page headings.

Include the key phrase in the main body of page text

This sounds like an obvious one but you’d be surprised how many pages omit the target key phrase.

Include the key phrase in the first paragraph of the copy and towards the end of the page. Include the key phrase in the section in between in a natural way. Don’t overdo it! If you do, you’ll be guilty of keyword stuffing, search engines will pick this up and you’ll be punished!

The main copy of your page should ideally be around 400 words and be relevant to the subject.

Image alt attribute

Image alt attributes (also known as alt tags) are important pieces of information for screen readers, which read pages aloud for visually, impaired users. Please ensure that you use the alt attribute to provide a description of the image rather than as an opportunity to place your key phrase. I’m assuming your image will be relevant to the page subject, so you will still get some value from using the alt attribute responsibly.

These on-page SEO tips won’t necessarily get all your pages to the top of Google but they will certainly put you in a better position. Remember, a site is much more than the sum total of its pages and by using these simple measures, your site will present a better experience for an increased number of visitors to your site.

SEO is a very broad and multi-faceted subject. Using key phrases correctly is a small, though important part of your on-page optimisation. If you are interested in learning more or finding out how we can help you, please get in touch.