Once you've researched your keywords, it's important that you place them in the right places. Search engines will place a different weight on keywords depending on where they are located and how they are used. Below are the top five places to put your keywords for optimal search engine placement. Suggestions are on a page-by-page basis.
The title tag appears at the very top of your browser window – just above where you type in website addresses.
The title tag is the ultimate indicator of what is on that page, and should definitely contain your primary keyword. Here are some tips:
- Place your primary keyword towards the front of your title tag if possible
- Keep your title tag short when possible
- Avoid words that don't help your search rankings
- Keep your title tag relevant and not spammy. If in doubt, always lean towards a more natural title tag
If you want to rank for the keyword 'Content Management', a title like 'How to Update Your Own Website' is not helpful. It doesn't contain your primary keyword anywhere. You could use 'Compass Web Publisher – the easiest Content Management Tool Available', and although it's an improvement, your keyword is at the end of the title tag and only makes up 2/9 = 22% of your title tag. You want to move the keyword earlier in the title tag if at all possible, and ensure it is not diluted by a lot of other words that aren't helping your search rankings.
The title tag goes between the < head > and < /head > tags in your site. If you are using the Compass CMS, you can type in your page title in the "Page Title" field shown below.
The Address to the Page (URL)
Next is the actual web address to the page you are optimizing. This appears just below the page title in your browser.
If you want to rank for 'Web Based Content Management System', you would probably want a url to that page that looked like 'www.compasswebpublisher.com/web-based-content-management-system' or similar. You can achieve this by setting the filename of the page to your keyword. If you are using Compass, type your desired address into the "Page URL" box (see screenshot from previous step). You can also achieve this by registering a domain that has your keyword(s) in it.
If you're not familiar with heading tags, check out your favorite word processor. You'll see a heading 1, heading 2...all the way down to a heading 6. Heading 1 is the largest, while each heading after that gets smaller and smaller. The heading emphasizes the content that follows – so search engines place heavy emphasis on the words found in heading tags. Because a heading 1 is larger than a heading 2, it holds more weight in the search engines.
You'll want to follow the same general rules for your headings as outlined in the title tag, but don't duplicate your title tag. Change it up slightly. Your primary keyword should be in your heading 1 tag – and you should typically only have one heading 1 tag per page. Heading 2 and 3 can be used for subtopics – and are great places to include your secondary keywords.
Heading tags are in the format < h1 > where the 1 can be either a 1 or 6 for the various types of headings. If you're using Compass, you can instead highlight the desired heading text and select a heading as shown below.
The content on your page should contain your keywords, related keywords, and synonyms if possible. Synonyms or related keywords are critical because search engines are able to recognize related sets of words.
Test: Try out Google Sets and enter in 'Human Resources' and 'Hiring' to generate a Large Set. It will return back words such as recruitment, training, workforce management, payroll software and more. A short set will give you fewer, but more relevant, words. If you were trying to rank for 'Seattle Human Resources', it would be best if you included some of these related words throughout your copy. Google Sets tells you exactly what other keywords Google considers to be related to your words. When it finds them on your page, especially in close proximity to your primary keyword, it realizes your page is highly relevant and you'll rank much better.
When you link to one of your pages, don't make the words 'click here' the actual link. Try something more relevant like: 'We offer Human Resource Consulting in the Seattle, WA area'. What's most important is the text that makes up the link, but also the words immediately surrounding the link (notice the Seattle, WA). That's because the words immediately surrounding the link put the link in context for the search engines. They place a high value on it.
To see just how powerful links are, try this. Go to Google and search for the term 'click here.' You'll notice the first link is for downloading Adobe Acrobat Reader.
That page on Adobe's site doesn't have the words 'click here' anywhere on it – but because so many sites say, 'If you need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here', Google will rank that page first for the search term. In this case, links from other websites are alone determining that this page is the most relevant to your search.
Links don't refer just to links within your site, but also other sites that link to you. The text found in links is a very critical but often overlooked part to a strong search engine optimization strategy.
Here's a link to a very good article with a more detailed list of places to place your search engine keywords with lots of screenshots. There are plenty of places to place your keywords – the five above are what I've found to be the most important.