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The Basics of On-Page Keyword Optimization

October 12th, 2009 | | Basic SEO Tips, Nuts & Bolts of Optimization

If you are new to SEO, on-page keyword optimization can be intimidating. From keyword selection to meta data to content optimization, there are a lot of elements involved in optimizing the pages for keywords on your website. Starting from keyword selection, use this as a step-by-step guide to integrating keywords onto your webpage.

Step 1: Keyword Selection

Assuming you have completed keyword research and selected terms to target on your site, the first step to on-page optimization is keyword selection.

Each web page should be optimized to target 2-3 keywords or phrases.  These keywords need to be relevant to the content on your page. The keywords selected should also be similar in nature. For example, say you manage a bedding website and need to optimize the “Teen Bedding” main product page. Below are examples of do’s and don’t for keyword selection:

Do Don’t
Teen Bedding Teen bedding sets
Teen’s bedding Teenagers bedding
Cool teen bedding Cool teen bedding

The keywords selected in this step will be used across a single webpage. For example, the keywords listed in the first column will be used to optimize example.com/teen-bedding.

Don’t fall victim to keyword cannibalization. Once you assign keywords to a page, you should not use them for optimization keywords on another page. If you duplicate keywords in your optimizations, when multiple pages on your domain will be fighting against each other in the search queries. This does not mean you cannot use ‘teen bedding’ in the body content on other page, it just means you will not go through these outlined optimization steps for ‘teen bedding’ on a different page.

Step 2: Meta Data

Meta Title: A meta title can include up to 70 characters (with spaces). It should include at least one of the selected keywords for the page, plus your company name.  Below is a template to work off of:

<title>Descriptive Page Title | Company/Brand Name<title/>

For example, using our teen bedding example:

<title>Cool Teen Bedding For Less | The Bedding Store<title/>

This meta title uses two of my target keywords: teen bedding and cool teen bedding.

Meta Description: Your meta description should be 150-160 characters in length and acts as a brief description of what you will find on the page. As with the page title, every meta description should be completely unique. Include 2-3 of your targeted keywords in the meta description. For example:

<meta content= “Let your bedroom reflect your style with cool teen bedding. From funky to bold to modern, our teen’s bedding selection has something for everyone.” />

Meta Keywords: The meta keywords used to have weight in keyword rankings, but major search engines no longer recognize this tag. My recommendation, don’t bother with the meta keywords. You are just giving you research and strategy away to the competition.

Step 3: Headers

Optimizing your headers for keywords can also give your webpage an SEO boost. Optimize this on-page element by incorporating your highest priority keyword into the <h1> header tag. If you have a webpage with multiple headers, then incorporate your keywords in additional headers only when it makes sense.

Using too many <h1> tags can send up a red flag to Google, and your site could get penalized from putting too much emphasis on <h1> headers. To protect you site from penalties, any given web page should only have ONE <h1> header tag. If your page requires multiple headers, then use an <h2> tag for all subsequent headings.

Step 4: Body Copy

This part is simple, all of your keywords should be incorporated into the body copy. But there are some rules to go by:

  1. Try to incorporate your highest priority keyword into the first two sentences.
  2. Don’t ‘stuff’ keywords into the copy. Your keyword does not need to appear in every sentence. In fact, the search engines can tell if you have done this, and your site may be penalized.
  3. Only incorporate keywords when they can naturally work into the copy. Broken-English and bad grammar do not help your websites credibility or branding efforts. So if you can’t make a keyword work, then reconsider your targeting.

If you are having trouble writing copy that naturally incorporates your target terms, then you may want to reconsider the terms you are targeting on that page. Ask yourself if the key terms are really relevant to this page’s content. If the answer is no, then revisit your target keyword list. If the answer is yes, then try writing the copy first, and then revisit the content to incorporate keyword. I have always found it easier to integrate keywords on a website after the content is drafted.

There are a lot of other elements to consider when optimizing your site. From anchor text and internal linking to website structure to link building. However, a strong strategy and approach for keyword optimization will get you on the right track for a successful SEO campaign.

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  • http://filequake.com Mike

    You botched the tag. :P

  • http://filequake.com Mike

    the ending title tag… (WP removed the tag in my comment)

  • Tom Moullet

    Maybe I am a little slow, but it looks like you have the same keyword on both the ‘Do’ column and the ‘Don’t’ column.

  • http://www.adzmedia.co.uk Alain Attias

    Great article and by following these rules, you are surely on course for some great listing results in the search engine results pages. I do personally think that the Meta keywords section should still be optimised as some search engines still use it. It should contain 25 keywords which should all be in the copy of text on-page and start off with the main keywords being targeted in that page’s title tags and h1 headers.

    Also, sure the same keyword used in the Do’s/Don’t was an error. Not to worry though, we get the idea…

  • http://www.atlantarealestateinfo.com/ AtlantaRealEstate

    Tom – lol I saw that as well.

    Hey, this stuff is free!

    BTW, almost everything in this post could be debated. There are as many views on all this as there are SEO people. And give it a week and it will change again.

  • Anonymous

    As we all know that there are two types of SEO. One of On page and second one Off-page SEO. The both are the best of pillar to get the most fabulous traffic to on our site. The regarding contents of this post are truly looking just mind blowing about On-page keyword optimization. And this one is truly looking just extensive information post about it. Thanks for sharing some informative information about it.

  • http://www.dragonext.com/1-4-hdmi-to-hdmi-vga-rca-component-usb-dvi-hdmi-hdmi-cable-cables-cords-hdbaset-converter-adapter hdmi cable

    On-page optimization means optimize web content. Whenever i heard about onpage optimization those things comes to mind such as meta keywords, keyword dentisity, titles tag, image etc.

  • http://www.mgtdesign.co.uk SEO

    Smart shared points.I liked them all man.Quite excellent shared tips indeed.Thanks for sharing such with us.Keep sharing and updating as like this always.

  • directory submission service

    In my view on-page optimization is the important part of SEO. Through this we can create title,keyword, description and many more things for our site to get rank first in google. We can also place keyword for internal linking.