Search engine optimization (SEO) is about adding finely tuned keywords and phrases to your pages so that you can bring as many relevant visitors to your site as possible. Web site optimization (WSO) is the process of optimizing web sites for maximum speed, which ideally includes SEO as part of the optimization process. WSO and SEO are often used interchangeably, but they are different. WSO is an umbrella term that can optionally incorporate SEO, while SEO is devoted solely to raising search engine relevance to acquire relevant visitors. Now that we've got that straightened out, let's look at what we'll cover in this chapter.
To fully optimize a web site, you need to optimize its keywords. Although the focus of this book is on speed optimization, it's important that you optimize your keywords so that your audience can find your site. A lightning-fast web site won't succeed if no one can find it. This chapter summarizes keyword selection and placement techniques that you can use to maximize the search engine positioning of your site.
What better way than a real-world example? This chapter shows how I optimized the keyphrases for WebSiteOptimization.com. For more real-world examples of keyword optimization, see Chapter 16, "Case Studies: PopularMechanics.com and iProspect.com."
- Figure 15.1 - Overture.com's search term suggestion tool
How Search Engines Rank Sites
- Weight or Density
- Off-the-Page Criteria
Keyword Optimization Guidelines
- Determine your keyword phrases
- Sort by popularity
- Refine and combine keyword phrases
- Sorty by popularity again (repeat steps 2 and 3 as needed)
- Write a
title using your top two to three phrases
- Write a
description meta tag
- Write a
keywords meta tag
- Add keywords into key tags and attributes, and mix well
- Submit to search engines
- Watch the hits roll in
The purpose of search engine optimization is to make finding your site easy for users who are interested in your topic areas. By tagging your pages with the phrases that best match the overall theme of your site, you can ensure that users will find your site when searching for content like yours. Choose popular - but not too popular - phrases that best describe your site, and use them strategically within your pages. Studies have shown that a restrained approach works best with popular search engines like Google.
Here is a list of this chapter's highlights:
- Target multi-word phrases unless your keywords are unique.
- Gather external links on high-ranking sites like yours through tireless PR and compelling up-to-date content.
- Use word stemming and proximity grouping to maximize hits and minimize
- Find your optimum keywords through iteration, popularity, and WordTracker's
- Write a keyword-rich title tag. Put the top keyphrase up front.
- Use your optimum phrases in your title, h1 through h6, meta description, meta keywords, and body text, and link URLs, text, and title attributes.
- Search Engine Positioning (out of print, available used)
By Fredrick Marckini (Wordware Publishing, 2001). The definitive guide for SEO professionals.
- Search Engine Visibility
- By Shari Thurow (New Riders, 2002). Common sense spam-free SEO wisdom.
Sites and Tools
- Axandra.com "Google Ranking Study"
By Andre Voget and Johannes Selbach, Q2/2002. An empirical analysis of top 10 results on Google.com.
- Bruce Clay's SEO Tools
- Consultant Bruce Clay has some interesting search engine optimization and page analysis tools including keyword density, keyword tracking, link and keyword popularity, and a server host problem checker.
- Google Search Counts Tool
- Interactive tool uses Google's API to find search statistics for particular keyword phrases. Reports searches a month, max bid CPC, KEI, effective AdSense CPM, number of listings, and market value.
- Interactive Marketing Inc.
Helps companies increase sales by providing conversion rate optimization,
persuasive copywriting, and Internet publicity services.
- Overture.com's Keyphrase Suggestion Tool
- Shows popularity of desired phrase over past month.
WordTracker's Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) can help you identify the keyword phrases that are most likely to succeed. The KEI is the ratio of the number of times a term appears in the WordTracker database (its popularity)
versus the number of pages that target that phrase (the competition).