Pelland Blog

Optimize Your Keywords Tags

April 6th, 2008

Every webmaster know that a properly entered keywords list in the META tags of a web page, particularly the Home page of a site, is a critical step in the SEO process. What not everybody knows is how to present the information within the tag, as well as how to insure that it is as complete as possible. The following are a few tips.

List your keywords in order of importance, all on a single line, separated by commas and including appropriate words and phrases from the following categories:

  • Industry-specific: Your product or service and major terms which describe or relate to that product or service. For a family campground, examples might include campground, camping, RV park, RV resort, camping resort, family campground, family camping, tenting, travel trailer, motorhome, fifth wheel, pop-up camper.
  • Geographical: Examples should include your city or town, nearby cities and towns, your county, your region, your state. For a campground, you might add topography to the list, with pertinent terms such as mountain, farm, lakefront, rural.
  • Nearby Destinations: If you have a business which attracts a drive-up clientele and you are down the road from one or more major attractions, ride on their coattails. The list should include all major attractions within a reasonable driving distance of your business.
  • Your Amenities: This should include all features and amenities which your business offers which may be decision-making factors. Examples for an online store or service business might include free installation, lifetime warranty, all natural, free shipping. Examples for a campground might include swimming pool, cabins, cabin rentals, pull-thru sites, 50-amp, miniature golf, mini golf, entertainment, horseshoes, bocce, bocci, bingo, etc.

In compiling your keywords listing, be sure to include alternate spellings (such as bocce and bocci) and common misspellings … even misspellings of your own business name. I often comment that consumers do not need to pass a spelling test in order to spend their money on your product or service. The bottom line is to make it easy for them to find you, whether or not they already know who you are, in an online search.

As I have already mentioned, it is important to list your keywords sequentially, with the most important terms coming first in the list. There is no limit to the total number of terms listed, but you should be careful to keep them pertinent to the content of your page, in order to avoid diluting the impact of your most important terms. It is also important that you do not engage in the practice (or even appear to be engaging in the practice) of keyword spamming. Use each word only once, do not use singular and plural variations of the same term (if the pluralization simply adds the letter “s”), and do not use the same word repeatedly as part of more than three keyword phrases (keywords made up of more than a single word).

Whatever terms are important enough to be included in your keywords list should also be incorporated, inasmuch as is practical, in your first paragraph of text on a page, any headline tags, ALT tags, the page description tag, and embedded links. I will write more on these subjects in upcoming posts.

One way of checking to be sure that you have not missed any important terms is to perform a quick search for the phrases that best describe your type of business to see which sites appear at the top of the organic search results on Google. You may also want to refer directly to the websites of your major competitors. Check the source code on each of those sites to see if there are any terms which are also appropriate to your website which you may have otherwise overlooked.

Finally, if your site is running Google Analytics, or any similar analytical software, keep a close monitor of the search terms that your current site visitors are using to find your site online. Be sure to include those same terms in your page’s keywords list. By doing so, you will help to maintain (or possibly improve) your site’s organic search engine ranking for those terms that are already proving effective at sending traffic to your site.

This post was written by Peter Pelland