Maintaining and marketing a website can be a difficult task especially for those who are inexperienced or who have very little experience. SEO rules are constantly changing and even then, many SEO professionals disagree on the actual specifics required to optimize a website. This is in no small part due to the search engines themselves.
Major search engines like Google are constantly striving to ensure that sites at the top of their result pages offer invaluable information or service to their visitors. However, webmasters who are looking to make quick money while offering very little quality content are always finding new ways to beat the search engines at their own game. For this reason, search engines regularly change the methods they use to determine relevancy and importance of your site.
Evolving Search Engines
The first step you should take is to ensure that your website will do an effective job of turning visitors into money. The content needs to be optimized so that both search engine visitors and human visitors both deem it to be a useful website. Once upon a time, effective optimization entailed cramming content with as many keywords as possible and while this once generated good search engine results it invariably put visitors off. It is also now frowned upon and penalized as being spam by all of the major search engines.
The Evolution And Improvement Of Algorithms
Search engines use specific algorithms to determine the relevance of your website. The calculations from these algorithms determine where on the search engine result pages your website will appear. In order to keep the unscrupulous webmasters guessing and ensuring that results are always up to date, major search engines regularly update their algorithms.
The result of some of the most recent changes has seen the impetus move away from optimizing websites for search engines and instead the algorithms are now geared to promote websites that give true value to visitors. They're not only changing, they are evolving into more intelligent and accurate algorithms. While the use of keywords based around the relevant topic is still important, it is also important to ensure that visitors are your main priority.
Keyword optimization is now more heavily guarded. Those who include keywords too often will have their sites labeled as spam, whereas not enough instances of the appropriate keyword means you won't receive the desired results. However, the algorithms have become particularly smart and as well as the keywords you want to target you should include other relevant keywords. Including inflexions of keywords is one excellent way to ensure that your site is deemed to be relevant. Inflexions are slight changes to your keyword. For example, inflexions of the keyword "advertising" include advertise, advertised, advertisement, etc...
Weight is also given to keywords that are included in certain sections of a page. These sections include the title tag, meta tags (only relevant to smaller search engines now), header tags, image alt tags and formatting tags (e.g. keywords in bold or italicized) of your text. With image alt tags and hyperlink title tags it is important that you don't simply fill these with keywords because this will be ignored at best, and penalized at worst.
Natural Content Writing
One of the most effective ways to ensure that your site is keyword optimized properly is to write the content naturally first. Once you have done this, go through and ensure that any relevant keywords are included throughout the text. Only place them where they would appear naturally and remove them from anywhere where they appear awkward. Once you've written the content you should also check the remaining factors to ensure everything is ok.
SEO Keyword Checklist
Below is a keyword checklist to ensure that you have fully optimized your web pages to the current, generally accepted search engine algorithm rules.
URL: Get your primary keyword as close to the beginning of the URL as possible.
Title Tag: The title should be between 10 and 50 characters and include one or more keywords while still being descriptive.
Description Meta Tag: The description meta tag should be insightful and useful but it should also contain one or two of your more important keywords.
Keyword Meta Tag: It makes sense that you should include all of your keywords in the keyword meta tag. Do not include any words that don't appear in the body of your text.
Keyword Density: Your content should be made up of all of your keywords and other text. A total keyword density (all keywords) of around 15% to 20% is the maximum you should aim for and anything less than 5% is unlikely to yield good results.Density for a single keyword should be between 1% and 7%. 1% seems too low, and 7% a little too high. Wherever possible aim for approx 5% with the primary keyword and 3% with secondary and subsequent keywords.
Header Tags: (e.g. H1 and H2 tags) More weight is given to keywords that appear within H1 tags, then H2 tags and so on.
Text Formatting Fonts: (e.g. strong, bold and underline) This may not offer much weight in algorithms, but generally if you bold the first instance of your keywords and the last instance of your primary keyword you should see some positive results.
Beginning Of Text: The closer you can get your keywords to the beginning of your page content the better. Try to include your primary keyword within the first sentence or two and also within the last paragraph.
Key-Phrases As Whole Phrases: If you are targeting Internet Marketing as a key phrase then do not split the words up if possible. Some effect is noticed if the words are split, but much more benefit is received by including the phrase as a whole.
Alt Text: Include your keyword at least once in the Alt tag of any images. Ensure that the text is relevant to the image and gives some information.