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ION's Search Engine Optimization Training: Instructions for proper Keyword Density

SECTION SEVEN - Adjust your pages' text for proper Keyword Density

        If there is one single section out of our 12 section program that is the essence of Search Engine Optimization, this is it. The basic premise is that Search Engines are mainly interested in finding the page with the most relevant content in it to match each search, so the more times it finds the proper keywords in a block of text, the more highly that page will rank in the search results. Of course it's more complicated than that, but if your page doesn't qualify with an acceptable number of the searched keywords throughout its' text in the first place, the search engines won't care about your PageRank, incoming links, META Tags, number of submissions, or anything else... Keyword Density is what determines your pages' relevancy, not its' competitiveness. It is the qualifier.

        This placement can certainly be overdone, too. While each search engine has a slightly different ranking matrix for relativity to its' searched terms, there is a basic ratio for all search engines that is considered 'safe.' (Between 1 and 7 percent) This Density of keywords per text is something to shoot for, but not overshoot... Or the search engine will think you're trying to cheat it and disqualify you for that search. Therefore, when following the instructions below, it is important to seek a balance for each page of content between having too few keyword repetitions, and too many.

Terms you'll need to know for this step:
           Keyword Density            Keyword Density Analyzer

How to adjust your pages for optimal Keyword Density:

  1. Click on the following link to download our favorite free KDA tool, which is one of the many SEO tools inside WEB CEO's free version.

    Although Web CEO offers many free tools in this software suite, some that we may even refer to in other steps, for our purposes today, we are only going to talk about their optimization report function. It is the second option under the "Promote" menu, titled "Get optimization Advice."

  2. Once WEB CEO is set up and running, click the "Get Optimization Advice" button and enter your page's URL. (There is also a button to the right that allows you to run the report on local files instead of live ones.) Along with it, there are three blanks for keywords. Go ahead and enter your three top keyword phrases for the page as well. (If you want to do all five, it appears you'll have to run a second report on the other two. Sorry... Just the cost of freeware.)

    Check the small box for off-site factors if you want a more comprehensive report, which will be useful in the next two steps. (Submissions & Link Popularity) Click the "Start" button at the bottom to generate the report.

  3. The resulting report will tell you countless things to improve in your page text, many more than anyone could fully do. Simply implement all of the suggested changes that you can, and later you can come back and do more when your site is in heavy competition. It's just that simple. This tool has proven itself invaluable among SEO tools, even for those that aren't free! I can't say enough good about it, so just try to do what it says, as many changes as are practical, and you'll be way ahead of the game.

  4. Like any KDA, however, there are a couple of small but important page optimization matters I have noticed that it doesn't address in this report. It seems that none of them include all areas of page optimization. Perhaps the paid version does, but this report seems to leave the two following matters unnoticed, so you'll have to address these small concerns manually for each page:

    • HTML file names. It is well documented that naming the actual HTML file of your page itself is a big plus to the search engines. You can easily note that by looking up at your address bar right now and see the name of this file... "keyword_tip.html" is not only providing my eight-legged visitors some tasty spider food when they read the file name, but every time I linked to this file the name is there too!
    • IMAGE file names. The report mentioned the ALT text for images, but strangely enough left out the names of the image files themselves... Don't forget to name those files with keywords whenever you can. In fact, look at your file directory sometime and ask yourself if there is ANY file in your directory that you can't change into a keyword... Many webmasters do, as this is one area that you can't go overboard in as far as the spiders are concerned.

  5. Finally, use the two following online tools to validate your HTML code & links as well:

    • W3C HTML/XHTML Validation tool Don't be concerned about every last problem it finds, just get the major problems worked out.

    • Link Checker from W3C Don't miss any bad links! Spiders follow those things on and off your site, so keep them happy by not getting them lost!

    These two tools are mainly webmaster tools and aren't specifically for SEO purposes at all, but they do help. They make your page easier to be read and understood by the Search Engines, so that help alone makes them a worthwhile part of the process. They also help your site load faster because browsers have to spend less time interpreting errors. It's also worth mentioning the incredible benefit of having all of your links on the site working, which is the way the spiders get around in the first place. Bottom line? Sloppy coding makes it harder for your spiders to see what you want them to.

  6. If later you are still having any more problems with your page density and optimization, you can always try the other tools on our Keyword Density Tools Page.

Fitting this all into your SEO process

        Many people have asked me why I don't include this step in the instructions for creating site content itself. Although I do feel it would be a benefit to put this knowledge to work upfront in the writing process, the message is certainly more important. All too often webmasters who understand the concepts on this page will actually find it harder to write the actual content for a site because the limitations on what they are trying to say become too great while considering all of this. It's much better to write the content and revise later for things like density than to worry about density the whole time you're writing from scratch... You'll never say what actually needs to be said for the readers the latter way.

        Therefore we suggest that you have a site's full body of text complete before you start the page optimization process.

General placement rules to keep in mind

        Strategic positioning of your keywords in the text is definitely important. In a page of 200 words, for example, you should place your five keywords throughout it one to seven times each. (Twice that amount for the primary keyword) But since the spiders don't pay as much attention to the middle of a body of text as it does to the beginning and end of it, you should move them out of the middle, into the first couple sentences or paragraph, and into the last 3 sentences as well. Think of an hourglass shape, thin in the middle, widest at the top and bottom. That's what the spider sees, despite having 9 more eyes than we do.(Stupid arachnid...)

How NOT to spam your keywords

        Many people make the mistake of thinking that they can't include their keyword enough in their text and before they know it, they've spammed the engine and found their site penalized. Using your primary keyword 8-12 times in the text of a short document like 200 words is Ok. 20 times in 200 words, that is not. As long as you speak coherently, not repeating a word 10 times where it could only be used once or twice, you should be fine. In fact, using a keyword over and over will eventually make you sound like a poor writer, and at some point annoy your readers... So my advice is simply to never place any more than the number suggested in your Optimization Report, but the closer you get to that number for each keyword, the better.

Now what?

        If you haven't already been placing content out on your website yet, now is the time. (Assuming your graphics are ready, too.) After step 54, at the end of this section, your entire site is ready for the surfers and the spiders alike to start roaming your site! The sooner you post it, the better, so get it all online ASAP and we'll add the rest by the individual page, file, or change.

Now that you've finally finished with all of your page code, it's time to set up a Robots.txt file, which will tell your visiting spiders which pages you want them to index.
Click here to continue on to Section Eight.

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