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Keywords and Meta Tags

Of course, using keywords in the content of your Web site is still one of the most important factors in determining your site's ranking within search engines. Keywords that you believe your customers will use to search for your site should be used as many times as possible in the front page of your Web site (default.htm, index.htm, and so on).

Generally, the more times the same keyword or phrase is found in your meta tags, in the title of your document, in headings, or at the beginning of paragraphs, the higher your site will rank within the search engines if the user types in that keyword or phrase (particularly if the word appears in both the plural and the singular, in upper case and lower case, and so on).

However, some of the search engines have clever ways of working out whether the keyword is repeated because it is very relevant to the context or whether it is repeated simply to get a higher ranking. Again, try to ensure that keywords contain capital letters, and try to use them as close to the beginning of paragraphs as possible. Keywords contained in meta tags are given slightly higher value by some spiders (although they are not used by others), so use as many meta tags as possible everywhere on your site. The most important meta tag is the Keywords meta tag:

<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Keyword1, Keyword2,....">

However, do not forget to use the meta tag named description also, in which you can repeat keywords in the description of your site, enhancing the chances of getting a higher ranking with search engines.

It is important to carefully determine which keywords or phrases your customers are using to find your site. Note that most searches submitted to search engines are two- or three-word phrases rather than one word, so try to include commonly used phrases in your Keywords tag.

Also, it should be noted that the more unusual the word or phrase is that the customer types to find you, the easier it will be for you to appear at the top of the ranking in the search engine (because there will be less competition for that phrase), so emphasize unusual words or phrases where possible. For example, Apogee Interactive, Inc., sells Storm Center software called StormCentral. Keywords such as storm and center are unlikely to put Apogee at the top of the search engine ranking, whereas phrases such as "Apogee Interactive" and "StormCentral" are likely to be far more effective. Brand and trade names of companies or products are typically good keywords to use because they tend to be fairly unique.

A good way to work out which keywords will be most effective is to use the tools within http://adwords.google.com. Usually, this site is used to create a sponsored ad that will appear when a search engine user uses certain keywords (and this is highly recommended as a very effective way of getting well-targeted sales leads to your Web site, if used correctly). However, I tend to use it simply to find out which keywords I should use in my Web sites, without ever buying a sponsored ad. One of the tools, the Keyword Suggestion Tool, it lists all pseudonyms or matching phrases for the keyword or phrase that you enter. It also lists expanded matches (plurals and related phrases). Overture has a similar tool at http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/, but the Google one is far superior. Another useful tool is available at http://www.Addurl.com, but, unfortunately, it is not free. Use the pseudonyms and phrases to help you add content to your pages that will increase the number of visitors you attract from search engines.

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