Placing Keywords

SEO: URL, meta title and meta description

Exhibit 25.8   URL, meta title and meta description as they appear on Google’s SERP.

Keywords need to be weaved into the contents of webpages, especially in the page URL, title and description (Exhibit 25.8) as well as the body of the webpage (Exhibit 25.9).

Page Title (Meta Title)

The page title, also known as the meta title, contains information intended for the browser and is contained in the page’s title tag. Titles are accorded great importance by the search engines for ranking and should therefore contain the most important keywords. The order in which keywords appear within the title also influences the search results.

Although the cut-off for page titles varies depending on the device, typically, Google displays the first 50 to 60 characters (roughly 600 pixels) of the meta title. Platforms such as MOZ provide tools that may be used for previewing meta titles.

SEO: keywords weaved into title, description, headers and anchor tagse

Exhibit 25.9   HTML code snippet shows keywords weaved into the webpage. Important places such as title, description, headers and anchor tags, and the alt attribute are highlighted.

Description (Meta Description)

The description of the webpage (which is stored within the page’s meta-description tags) appears below the title, on the SERP. Should any of the words that users use in their query, appear in the title or the description, they are highlighted. Thus, by weaving keywords into the description, marketers can draw the users’ attention and increase the likelihood that they visit the page. However, unlike the title, the description is not used by the search engines for ranking purposes.

Whereas there is no official rule on length of the meta-description, Google typically limits them to roughly 155–160 characters. However, the cut-off varies depending on device as well as context.

Note that the meta-description does not always appear on SERP. Sometimes, instead of the meta-description, Google’s algorithms may use sentences or phrases from the webpage that better match the searched keywords.

URL and Domain Name

The URL (i.e., the address of the webpage) is another criterion used by Google for ranking pages. The same applies for the domain name, which appears in all URLs on the same website. This incidentally explains why keyword-rich domain names are being sold at premium prices. Using keywords in URLs can also make the URL text more meaningful, particularly when the URL serves as the anchor for inbound links to the webpage.

SEO: Layout of a webpage. Keyword placed in the body section are 
        weighted more heavily than those placed in the other sections.

Exhibit 25.10   Layout of a webpage. Keyword placed in the body section are weighted more heavily than those placed in the other sections.

Body, Headers, Anchors and Images

Because the body section usually contains the main content of the page, credence or weight of a keyword is higher when it appears in the body of a webpage, as opposed to other parts of the page such as menu, banner, footer or sidebars (Exhibit 25.10).

Headers (HTML tags < h1 >, < h2 >, < h3 >, etc.) that are keyword-rich improve the webpage’s ranking for those keywords (Exhibit 25.9). Keywords place between anchor tags (HTML tag < a >) can also improve the page’s ranking. Search engines consider the text used in links to be a strong indicator of the content on the linked page.

Because search engines cannot decipher images, it improves optimization if the website developer provides a description of the image for the search engine. HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the language used for creating webpages, provides an attribute called “alt” that may be used fot this purpose. Search engines use these descriptors for ranking images, as well as for page ranking.

Incidentally, the meta keyword tag which was once used to provide a list of keywords to search engines, is no longer considered by major search engines like Google. In fact, Google has explicitly stated that it ignores the meta keyword tag when ranking websites. It’s inclusion merely grants competitor’s easy access to the website’s keywords.

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