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mdshare
05-02-2008, 04:43 PM
Keyword and meta description tags

Keyword and description meta tags optimization tutorial for better search engine rankings. Have you ever wondered why some web pages get higher search engine rankings than others? Of course you have, if you are a web developer. You may have read or heard of a hundred ways to improve your page ranking and tried them all. Only to see dismal results and wonder what the heck went wrong.

Been there and done that. So I thought I would let you in on the secrets I use to get my pages to rank high in the search engines. Once you read these tricks you might think that is so obvious I should have thought of it.

Here are the 10 rules I use to search engine optimize a page for keywords and description meta tags.

1. First let's assume that you already know what the page is about and have already created it. This is not a tutorial on how to write web pages. Rather guidelines for search engine optimization using your meta keywords and description tags.

Depending on the type of page you are creating determines how many keywords you should use. For instance a sales letter is typically 2000 or more words. In that type of page you need to describe all the advantages of your product and why it is the right solution. You will want to get testimonials and place them in appropiate places. You may even want to tell a story relating to how well the product has performed. Don't over do the page or you will lose your prospect to boredom.

The product page (different from the sales letter) should be between 500 and 750 words. All you are trying to do here is sell a product. Visitors that make it to these pages probably already know what they are looking for and are only looking for specific information. Your job is to convince them that your product is the right one. Beyond that and there is more opportunity for your visitors to disagree with your pitch and move on.

The article page should be at least 1000 words and not more than 5000 words. Okay some might say that 5000 is too long and others have said that isn't 1000 words aren't enough words to describe what they have to say. Too long - some say that 500 words is good for an article page. So lets look at this: a person who can read 10 words a second will be through your page in 50 seconds. Not enough time for them to soak up your message. A person reading 3 words a second will take about 2-1/2 minutes. Plenty of time for your message to sink in.

The average reader can read somewhere around 6 words per second. Which would take them 83 seconds to read your 500 word article. Barely enough time to get your visitors comfortable. At 1000 words the avearge reader will read your page in roughly 3 minutes. At 6 words a second your reader needs around 3 minutes to read a 1000 word article. This plenty of time for the reader to make a decision to click on your most wanted response.

At over 2000 words the average reader will need 5-1/2 minutes to get through it. This is stretching the limit of time most visitors will spend reading one web page. At 5000 words the average reader takes over 13 minutes to read your page. This is well past the amount of time a visitor will need to decide to click on your most wanted response. If your article is really good most people will read all the way through it. If not they are off to the next website in a flash. If you have more than 2000 words you may want to consider breaking the article into 2 pages.

Okay, back to rule #1 use the right amount of words for a particular type of page. Not too many and not too few.

2. Primary meta keyword (the first one) must be an exact match with the file name of your page. This lets the search engines match up your keyword with your page and give your page higher relevancy. Here is an example from: Ocular Defense Formula (Pr2 and #2 in Google). The first keyword for this page is "Ocular Defense Formula." This seemingly obsure product gets 33,000+ search engine results in Google alone. So it is not that obscure after all. And makes for a good example.

3. Use only 5 keywords in your meta keywords tag. More than that and the search engines might think you are keyword spamming and won't list your page. The search engines rank your keywords in the order that they appear. This makes the first one the primary keyword and the second one a secondary keyword and so on. You should line your keywords up in the order of relevance to the page. Here is the meta keyword tag I used in this example.

"Ocular Defense Formula, Lutein, Bilberry, eye health, vision"

4. Use all of your keywords in your meta description, with the primary keyword as close to the front as possible. Definitely within the first 5 words of your description. The search engines don't read your description verbatim, but can find and match them with your keyword list. So try to use them all but don't repeat them if at all possible. Again if your meta description repeats your keywords too often the search engines might think you are keyword spamming and not list your page, so don't do it.

5. Meta description should be between 100 and 200 characters. It is important to get a solid description of your page. Less that 100 characters and the search engine may not find it relevant enough to list. More than 200 characters and the search engines may truncate it. Which looks unprofessional on your part. Truncated meta descriptions may leave searchers with the impression that your content will be too wordy and full of you know what. Too short a description and your visitors may think there is not enough information on your page and move on to the next result. So try to get your description just right, not too long and not too short. Here is the meta description for ODF.

"Ocular Defense Formula with Lutein, Bilberry and herbs to support eye health and protect your vision from aging and oxidation. Learn how to improve your visual acuity."

6. Line up your meta keywords up too resemble a sentence. Although search engines don't read your keywords as a sentence verbatim, it should reflect well what your page is all about. See the meta keyword tag above.

7. Proof read your content twice. You should always proof read your work before you post for a lot of good reasons like spelling, grammar, placement and paragraph distribution. Once your page looks great proof read it again with your focus on keyword placement and repitition. You want your keywords placed in your content sparingly. What? you say. Again over use of your keywords might result in the search engines thinking you are keyword spamming. That isn't to say you shouldn't have too few. My rule of thumb is 3 uses of a keyword for every 300 words. This lets the search engines know that there is a lot of supporting content for the keyword.

As you are proof reading you may discover that you have a much better keyword for your meta tag than what you originally thought. For instance in ODF I discovered that I had left out the keyword "vision". After proof reading my page I added that keyword to my list and used it a couple more times in the page.

8. Put your meta description all on one line in your html code. This will ensure that the search engines reads it all. I have noticed that some search engine results leave off the second line of a description. That may leave out some of your meta keywords if that happens.

9. Never use more than 3 words for your primary keyword (and file name). People rarely search for a keyword phrase over 3 words long. Too many words in a keyword phrase and the search engines may not find enough relevancy to list your page in the results. Two words in a keyword phrase (and file name) is ideal. For Ocular Defense Formula, I thought 2 words weren't enough to describe the page. "Ocular Defense" would have been too vague and misleading. I could have named the page something else and optimized for those keywords, but, ODF is a product page and optimizing for something like "Eye Health" would have been misleading and probably not get listed high in the search engines.

10. Use your primary keyword in the first and last paragraph of your page. The search engines will give more relevancy to your page if they find your keywords at the beginning and the end of your page. Also your primary keyword should appear in the first 90 characters of your content.

Bonus tip - Use your primary keyword as a text link in your page only once. Not twice but definitely once. If you don't want your visitors to leave your page make that link an "add to favorites" bookmark. On a product page this works great because you don't want to give your visitors the opportunity to go else where.

In summary use these tips to increase your search engine rankings. Optimizing your keyword and descriptions should improve the relevancy of your page and boost your search engine rankings. Notice how I used my primary keyword and description meta tags in this last paragraph.

By Tim Koen - web developer, http://www.best-website-tools.com