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Keyword Density, Prominence, Frequency and Placement

Keyword Marketing / Search Engine Tips



When someone goes to one of the search engines to find information, they enter keywords in the search line in hopes of finding a Web site "match" that contains information regarding the topic they were interested in.

Most of the time, people will further refine their search by entering in multiple search "strings" or keywords.

The way search engines determine the proper Web site "match", is dependant on the following factors:

  1. Keyword "weight" or density.
  2. Keyword prominence.
  3. Keyword frequency.
  4. Keyword placement.

As you can see, most of the criteria revolves around your keywords (aren't you glad you made that long list of keywords... I told you it would come in handy).

This doesn't have to do with the size of your keywords, but more so with the number of keywords appearing on your Web page when compared to the total number of actual words appearing on that same page.

For example, if our automotive site only has three words on a Web page and two of the words are the same (cars, trucks, cars), then the keyword weight of the page is high - it's "dense". Theoretically this page would get a good ranking if the search was for cars. (If there was only one word on the page, cars, that would receive the highest relevancy in keyword weight because it would be a perfect match.)

Granted, having just one word on a page isn't very appealing to the visitor and chances are they'll just hit the back button and leave.

One trick that works very well is to create smaller sub-pages, (sometimes called "Doorway or Bridge" pages) only about a paragraph long (100-150 words is fine), which emphasize a particular keyword. This technique keeps the overall number of words to a minimum, therefore increasing the "weight" or "density" of the keyword you are emphasizing.

First come, first served! Keyword prominence has to do with the placing of your keywords within your site's title and description. For example, did the title of your site start with a particular keyword or was that keyword the fourth or fifth word of the site's title.

For example, if doing a keyword search for "cars", which one of these two sites do you think would rank better?

Cars, Trucks, Vans and SUV's for Sale - Car tips and secrets for the new and used car buyer!
Trucks, Vans, SUV's and Cars for Sale - Discover how to buy any new car below whole sale blue book prices!

Well, if you guessed the first one then you got it right, but let me explain why. The first one will do better for two reasons. The first is that our keyword comes first in the title and description. Secondly, "cars" appears a total of three times in the first, but only twice in the second - it has better keyword "weight".

Take another look below:

Cars, Trucks, Vans and SUV's for Sale - Car tips and secrets for the new and used car buyer!
Trucks, Vans, SUV's and Cars for Sale - Discover how to buy any new car below whole sale blue book prices!

Okay, now you know why. Let's do one more example. Which of these two do you think would rank better for the keyword, "business"?

Business Tips and Secrets for Home Based Businesses - Discover how to start your own business on a shoestring budget!
Start a Home Based Business in 24 hours - Business success tips and tricks for all home based businesses and franchise businesses!

Did you pick the first one?... if you did, then you got it right. Allow me to explain why the first one will do better.

The second one has the keyword "business" a total of four times, while the first statement has it only three times. Since they both have almost the same amount of total words (19 and 21 respectively), the second wins in the keyword "weight" department.

But remember, the most important factor is your <title> and keyword "business" appears twice in the title - once at the beginning and once at the end. Hence it's more relevant and gets better keyword ranking. This leads us to factor number three:

The more times your keyword appears in your title, description and body text of your Web page, the better ranking due to keyword "weight" and relevancy.

You don't want to go overboard with frequency, however, since on some engines if you repeat a word too many times, you'll be penalized for "spamming" or keyword stuffing. In general though, repeat your keyword in the document as many times as you can get away with, and up to 2-4 times in your META tags.

Comment Tags

One trick to increase keyword frequency is to use <!-- comment tags --> in your HTML code. Comment tags are used by webmasters to make comments to themselves while designing a site regarding a Web page and/or HTML codes that they don't want viewed on the actual page.

For example, when writing your HTML codes for a particular page, you might make want to make a reminder note to yourself that you want to add or remove something on April 10, 2000. So, you would use comment tags like this:

  <!-- Don't forget to add the new information for the upcoming car show in April. -->  

Now, some search engines will take into account the use of comment tags... so let's take advantage of this. Near the very top of your page, insert your META keywords into your <!-- comment tags -->. Here's an example:

<TITLE>Car World</TITLE>
<META name="description" content="Everything you've ever wanted to know about cars, trucks, vans and automobiles.">
<META name="keywords" content="cars, trucks, vans, automobiles, suvs, honda, nissan, gm">

<!-- cars, trucks, vans, automobiles, suvs, honda, nissan, gm -->


Once again, DON'T spam! Simply repeat your keywords once or twice or else the search engines will penalize you.

The reason I said put the comment tags at the top of your page is because keywords at the beginning of a page get much more "weight" and "relevancy" than at the bottom of your page.

You can insert comment tags all over your page, but don't go overboard. The absolute most would be to put one at the top, middle and the end of your page.

WHERE your keywords are placed on a page is very important. You want to put most of your keywords at the top of your pages (first 100-150 words). That's why when creating Doorway pages, you will write one or two short paragraphs (all filled with keywords) to describe your product or service.

Now, let's move onto other important places to insert keywords.

Heading Tags

Most of the search engines score keywords and text found in heading tags much better than any other text found on your pages. This makes sense because usually the information found in headings and sub-headings have a specific theme related to them.

For example, the sub-head for this section is "Heading Tags"... And guess what, this section contains information relevant only to... heading tags.

So, to take advantage of this you need to insert some keywords in your <H1> to <H6> heading tags. Instead of changing the font sizes from a 12pt. to a 36pt., you simple add <H1> tags. Just remember that <H1> tag is a bigger font than a <H3> which is bigger than a <H5> and so on. Search engines also score <H1> better than a smaller font <H3>.

If we're trying to score well for keyword "nissan trucks", you would create your page like this:


<TITLE>Nissan Trucks</TITLE>
<META name="description" content="Nissan Trucks: Everything you've ever wanted to know about nissan trucks and accessories.">
<META name="keywords" content="nissan, trucks, nissan trucks">

<!-- nissan, trucks, nissan trucks -->

<H1>Nissan Trucks</H1>
<P>Write some information regarding nissan trucks.</P>


Well, there you have it. We have our keyword in the title, META tags, comment tags, body and now in the header tags. If you'd like, you can using header tags through out your page. Just make sure your page looks "normal" and don't use <H1> all the time.

Start with <H1>, throw in a <H2> and a <H3>, and finish up the bottom of the page with a <H4> or <H5>.

Link Text

On some engines, placing keywords in the link text, the part that is underlined and linked on the screen in a browser, can add more relevancy to those words. Just make sure the keyword is linked and it would be even better if the linked word was linked to another keyword page.

For example, using the above sample page this is what you could do:


<H1>Nissan Trucks</H1>
<P>Write some information regarding nissan trucks.</P>

For more information regarding nissan trucks, please choose one of the following pages<BR>

<A HREF="nissantrucks-accessories.htm">Nissan Truck Accessories</A><BR>
<A HREF="nissantrucks-financing.htm">Nissan Truck Financing</A><BR>


The above example emphases the keywords "nissan trucks", plus two other potential keyword phrases!

URL Keywords

One trick that rarely anybody uses is inserting keywords in your URL or site address. An example would be

ALT Tags

One last trick is to insert keywords in your ALT tags. For example:

         <img src="picture.gif" alt="put keywords here" WIDTH="120" HEIGHT="90">  

Web designers use ALT tags to describe the contents of a picture that hasn't finished loading or, to describe what picture you would be looking at if you are browsing the Web using a browser where you have opted to turn the graphics off.

A recent study showed that a surprising number of people, perhaps as high as 20%, still browse the Web with the graphics off because of slow connections or slow computers (when I'm doing research on a particular subject, I sometimes turn my graphics off just so I can increase my download speed.)!

One thing I'd like to point out is that if someone has their browser's graphics off, your page is going to look ridiculous with a dozen keywords stuffed inside ALT tags describing a picture of some sort. Use this trick, just don't go overboard with it.


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