Now that we know which keywords to use for our site, we now need to learn what elements of page design and development can affect the site’s search engine placement.
a) The Title tag. Probably one of the most important tags overlooked by most developers is the title tag. The title tag carries significant weight in search engine optimization, and must include the specific keywords in which the current page is to be optimized for. A lot of developers use the same title for every page of their website, and this lazy practice is guaranteed to place your index rank at the bottom of search engines.
Ideally, it should contain a maximum of 3 keywords (also the maximum number of keywords in which to optimize a single page) and be less than 50 characters. Also, the title tag is the first to appear when a website is displayed in a search engine’s results, so placing the keywords there is obviously smart.
b) The Meta Keyword Tag. If the Title tag is the most overlooked, the Meta Keyword tag is probably the most overused. The tag is used to identify the keywords to associate with a website – and it is because of this that most sites put every conceivable keyword in their Meta Keyword tag. However, search engines today are a lot smarter today, and unless those keywords are actually used in the page content, they have no bearing at all – and most times will even harm your search engine rankings. This is generally known today as keyword spamming. In order to increase your site’s relevancy, do not use more than 3 keywords for a given page, and make sure to use those in your Meta Keyword tag.
c) The Meta Description Tag. This is the description that normally appears the below the main link when your site appears in a search engine’s results. It should contain a simple but compelling description of your page. It should also contain your keywords. Ideally, it should be less than 250 characters.
d) Heading Tags. Using Heading tags and incorporating your keywords into them improves your page’s relevance because when search engines scan your page content, they interpret headings as highlighting the topics of the content that follows. Using the <H1>, <H2>, <H3> tags each provide additional relevance to page content, in the same order of importance. Normally, you would just use the <H1> and <H2> tags.
e) Font Tags. Using bold or italic fonts to highlight some keywords may give you a very small boost in page relevancy. Be careful not to overuse it though, and make every keyword bold or italic. The content should still look natural.
f) Image Alt. Unknown to a lot of developers is the fact that using the Alt attribute of your images can actually help boost your keyword density. Be sure to use relevant keywords when describing your images using the Alt attribute.
3. Keyword Density
The hard part in writing content for search engine optimized content is maintaining keyword density. Keyword density is simply the total number of keywords occurrences divided by the total number of words. Creating keyword-rich text is somewhat of a challenge, because you would have to repeat keywords again and again, without sounding unnatural. The ideal keyword-density is 4-8%. However, if your competitors have a higher keyword density, you may have to increase yours.