Having touched upon the importance of linking in the last post, I am going to talk about keywords today. In order to improve your web pages’ rating and visibility in the eyes of Search Engines you have to not only link well but also use the right material in your links. Yes, we are talking about various properties of the link itself!
Structure of a link in your HTML
A link in your HTML page or blog post would look something like this.
< a href="http://www.dollarshower.com/" title="Blog Money" rel= "nofollow" > Blog Money < /a>
Of course there could be other properties for the link (anchor) tag but rel, title and the actual anchor text are of utmost importance to us in SEO.
As I mentioned in the last posts in this series, when the search engine spiders crawl your pages, they will try to ‘follow’ the links on those pages unless the rel property is set to ‘nofollow’. Now, these links open doors to new crawling opportunities and search engines somehow use the anchor text (Blog Money in the above example) to tag and remember the target pages. This simply means that, if you use anchor text carefully the target page is at the advantage of being tagged well. And if you pick the anchor text in a consistent way, that particular text becomes your keyword. For example, if I want my keyword as ‘Blog Money’ and if many links pointing back (backlinks) to DollarShower.com use that keyword in the anchor text, I am going to get a lot of weightage in the eyes of Search Engines and hence Search Results as well.
The above description does not mean that a keyword is something that appears in links alone. A keyword, in fact, is that special word (or words) that you use to distinguish your page or site from others – usually used for marketing, Search Engine Optimization, tagging and branding purposes, in order to get visibility with humans as well as search engines.
Keywords in links and their visual aspects
’Bolding’ of keywords is something that is supposed to hint the SE bots that these words are important. I am not sure how true it is, though it improves click-through rates as it catches the eyes of the reader. Another important property of the link is the title property that displays a tooltip like text while moving the mouse over the link. This does not have any SEO advantage as well but can make the reader curious and hence attract clicks.
Places where Keywords matter
We talked about keywords in links. However, if you are to optimize your pages for your special keywords you should learn to put them where it matters the most. To drive my point, please take a look at a typical search result page on Google and give special attention on how links appear.
The three main entries seen on each search result row are in fact the title of your HTML page, meta description in the header area and the URL. Needless to say all these three should have the presence of your keywords in order to get a good search ranking.
In addition to those three special areas through out your web page you should have enough repetition of that keyword (and its simple variations) so as to increase the keyword density of your page. Other relevant areas were your keywords should appear are:
- The ‘keywords’ meta tag in the header
- The very first sentence of your page content (after title)
- Relevant header tags H1, H2, H3…
- Three or four links on the page as possible – if you don’t have one, you can self link to the page
- Any image ‘alt’ property, especially when the image itself is a link
- Several times in the body text, preferably in bold
Basically keyword relevancy (with respect to links, for example) and the density of keywords, play a big role in getting your pages good search visibility. The other important aspect is backlinks to the page. We will talk more about this in the link building chapter.
The following free tool is helpful to check the keyword relevancy and keyword density of your pages.
(Fun Exercise: Analyze this post’s keyword density, relevance and tag properties using the above tool and suggest changes 😀 )
When you are on a page, in order to check whether a particular link on the page has ‘nofollow’ atribute, right click on the link, and select ‘Properties’ from the context menu. This will show a popup box that lists the link properties (Works on Firefox)
If you want to check which all links on a page is ‘nofollow’ in one shot, use the NoDoFollow Firefox add-on. This is an excellent tool to check your backlinks and outgoing links as well (Right click on the page and select NoDoFollow from the context menu to visually mark all links according to their Relation properties)
By now, I hope that you understood the importance of keywords in the context of linking as well as on-page relevance and density. I shall talk about link building technics and keyword optimization tricks soon. Until then, please provide your valuable feedback.