How Keywords Affect Your Rankings

How Keywords Affect Your Rankings

This article explains a few things about SEO, and if you’re interested, then this is worth reading, because you can never tell what you don’t know.We all want to know how keywords affect our rankings, but to find out we’ll need to do a little work. Many say keywords are the key to good search engine rankings, although they aren’t at all the only factor.

If you need a tool to help you decide on your keywords, try Overture’s Search Term Suggestion Tool – it allows you to test your keyword rankings by showing you statistics on recent searches for them. It’s a great tool when you have no clue which keyword you should choose, as it can give you a list of terms that were recently searched on.

Keyword Density.

Keyword density refers to the number of the keywords contained within your text relative to the amount of text there is. Preferred keyword density ratios vary between search engines, but you should generally try to keep them between two and eight percent (major search engines prefer the lower end). Keyword analysis tools can help to optimize a web page’s keyword density. These tools are good if you’re not sure of what you’re doing, as they’re very intuitive and explain things as you go.

Counting the Keywords.

Many SEO experts will tell you that the keyword density of your text isn’t a very important factor, and that you should be careful not to overdo it. So is there a limit? How many times should you use your keywords? SEO experts won’t be able to answer these questions for you, because no-one’s really sure of the answer. The best answer is that it changes regularly, and you can never be sure – you have to experiment to see what works for you.

Location of Keywords.

When testing the effects of keyword location, we found that pages with the keywords at the top and bottom of the page ranked higher on Google than pages with the keywords in the middle.

I trust that what you’ve read so far has been informative. The following section should go a long way toward clearing up any uncertainty that may remain.

Many other search engines also give keywords more or less weight based on their location, but keep in mind that each search engine’s algorithm is different. Here’s a list of how most search engines prioritize keyword positions, from most to least:

1. Domain name.

2. Page title.

3. Headings (i.e. H1, H2, etc.).

4. Body text (the first 2 to 3 KB usually counts more).

5. Meta tags (especially description).

6. Links (including keywords in the URL or link text of links to you).

7. Alt text (the ‘alt’ descriptions for your pictures).

Really, though, keyword density is one of those areas where you’ll have trouble on your hands if you try to second guess the search engines. Be cautious.

As your knowledge about SEO continues to grow, you will begin to see how SEO fits into the overall scheme of things. Knowing how something relates to the rest of the world is important too.
By John Hester

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