Keywords, Meta tag descriptions and top ranking

by Gabriella on September 5, 2009

(Editor’s note: content updated for current SEO information)

Keywords, meta tag descriptions and top ranking – this optimization tutorial is what it’s all about. I am giving the love away… Can you feel it? Okay, then, let’s get down to work.

I’m sure you have wondered why some pages are ranking higher than others, right? Especially if you’re in this business. I’m also sure you’ve heard and seen 100 ways to get all your pages ranking well, and you’re still wondering why it’s not working for you or why you only see a minimal change in your traffic.

Well, you’re not alone. I’ve been there, seen that and done it. Read on. You’ll see what it takes and then wonder why you didn’t think about it. It’s so obvious it’ll make a grown man cry. Well, maybe not, but you will feel better.

Here are the 10 rules or commandments you should use to SEO your pages for keywords and meta tag descriptions:

Rule #1. Let’s say you already have your page created. Remember, this isn’t a tutorial to build your website. It’s a guide for SEO.

First off, the entire page you’re creating should determine the amount of content. For instance, a landing page (or sales page) should normally hold no more than 1500 – 2000 words. Here, you would describe the advantages of the service you’re providing along with how they are a solution to the consumer. Testimonials are a great additional feature, so place them appropriately. You could go as far as telling a story of how a client had “pain” in their sales effort and how it was solved by using your service. Don’t blabber – get to the point and make it interesting.

Your product page will be different that your sales page. This should be 500 – 700 words. On this page, what you’re trying to accomplish is selling your product. If your user gets to this page, you know they want specifics. The job is convincing the user that your product or service will take the” pain” away.

If you have an article page to match your product or service, don’t worry about length. People are coming to find out information, and now’s your chance to give it to them. Some may argue with this, saying that Internet users have a short attention span, but if the visitor has already looked at your product and is looking for more information, you want them to find it on your site. This way, they can order from you once they find out what they’re looking for.

Rule #2 The keyword your page is based on should match your page name. The search engines will match up your keywords with the page and give the page a higher relevancy spot.

For example: “copywriting”

Your URL and page name might read something like this copywriting.com/copywriters.php

Rule #3 Do not use more than 5 keywords on your page. More specifically, pick a main keyword and then use other keywords to support it. For instance, this page is about SEO; therefore, SEO is the main keyword. However, I might also use optimization, optimizers and search engine optimization as well. All the words are derivatives of the main keyword.

Rule #4 When writing your meta description, remember that users come first. You want to use your main keyword (at least) in the description, but only if it doesn’t compromise the overall read. This is your first handshake with the consumer, so write the description with this in mind.

Rule #5 Your meta description should be no more than 146 characters, counting the spaces. Not words – characters. If you want to write more, that’s fine, but make sure your main message is in those first characters. The rest may be cut off in the search engine listing.

Rule #6 When you are setting up your meta description, do it so it looks like a sentence. Search engines don’t read it like this, but people do. Keep it professional, with proper grammar and punctuation.

Rule #7 Read your content at least 3 times. Check spelling, grammar, placement and paragraph description. Once you’re confident with your page, proofread it again and focus on you keyword placement and repetition. You want your keywords placed in your content sparingly.

As well, read your content aloud. When a person reads their content silently, they may not catch spelling errors or may miss hiccups in the word flow.

Rule #8 Place your meta description in one line in your html code. Do NOT use a hard enter; let it naturally flow. Some search engines will miss the second line. I have seen it happen.

Rule #9 If you choose to put links in your page, try not to use more than 1 link per 100 words. The links can be close together, even right after one another, but keep the links down. For instance, if you have 500 words, use no more than 5 links. (This is only if the links are for SEO purposes, not if they are actually relevant to the page)

Rule #10 Use your primary keyword in the first and last paragraph of your page, as well as the header. The search engines will give more relevance to your page if they find your keywords at the beginning and the end of your page.

Extra Kudos for you –

Get a bookmark widget on your page. This makes it easier for your visitors to bookmark and save your site. In conclusion, use your keywords wisely. Content is king – keywords are just a bonus.

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