What are Keywords?

Keywords contained within a Web page are the most important element to achieving high search engine rankings. Keywords are by no means the only relevant factor in how search engines rank a Web page. Other factors also count. But the majority of SEO strategies involve a Webpage's keywords in one form or another. Therefore, it's fair to say that keywords are the most important element to achieving top search engine rankings. After all, if a page had no text at all, there is nothing for a search engine to index!

Perfect Keywords

You should create each Web page by concentrating on the following (in order of importance):

  1. one keyword or keyword phrase matching the page content
  2. and most frequently used by the target audience
  3. and has the least number of competing pages in the search engines.

Admittedly this is not easy and is not always possible. And how do you go about finding the one perfect keyword phrase that matches the page content, that is most frequently used by the target audience, and has the least number of competing pages in the search engines? OK, you may take a breath now. ;o)

Keyword Frequency

Keyword frequency refers to the number of times a keyword phrase appears within a page. The theory is that the more times a keyword/s appears within a Webpage, the more relevant the page is likely to be for someone searching those keywords. But do not abuse the system by repeating the same keywords over and over again.

Keyword Density

Keyword density is the ratio (percentage) of keywords contained within the total number of indexable words within a Web page. In general, I suggest using a keyword density ratio in the range of 2-8%. Personally worry about it too much about it.

Keyword Prominence

Keyword prominence is about improving the prominence of keywords by placing important keywords at the top of a Web page. Basically, the closer your important keywords are to the start of a page, a sentence, title or meta tag, the better.

Keyword Proximity

Keyword proximity refers to the closeness between two or more keywords. In general, the closer the keywords are, the better.

For example:

Internet keyword marketing and analysis tools

Internet keyword analysis and marketing tools

If someone searched for 'keyword marketing' a Web page containing the first sentence is likely to rank higher than the second, because the two keywords are closer together.

Word Stemming

Word stemming is a concept used by some search engines to return search results that include keywords that extend beyond what you searched for. For example, a search with the keyword 'optimize' might return results for, 'optimizes,' 'optimizer,' and 'optimizers'. In general, always try to use the longer version of a keyword, especially plurals.

Stop Words

Stop words are common words and characters ignored by most search engines.

For example:

a and are as at be for from he his I in is it of on that the they this to was

Ignoring stop words helps to reduce the amount of storage needed to index the billions of pages of data, and enhance the speed and relevancy of the search results. Only full-text search engines, such as AltaVista, index every single word on a Web page. As such, always try to use keywords instead of stop words as much as possible. Admittedly, it maybe a bit more difficult to read, but I think it is worth the sacrifice, in the cause of trying to achieve higher search engine rankings.

Keywords in Domain Names

Keywords in domain names can help to improve search engine rankings. Often you will see the top ranked domains consist of the keywords you searched for. This is why SEO experts generally recommend registering keyword rich domain names for search engine optimization campaigns.

Keywords Separated by Hyphens

You often find domain names with keywords separated by hyphens ranked in the top. I have yet to find conclusive proof that separating keywords in a domain name improves rankings. But I do suggest that you do use this format, just to be on the safe side. After all, you wouldn't want a search engine to index the wrong keywords.

For example, what are the keywords in this domain name, 'newshut.com?' Are they 'news' and 'hut,' or 'new' and 'shut?' You can see how a search engine can easily index different keywords from those you had in mind. If the domain name is, 'news-hut.com,' it would be clear to a search engine exactly what the keywords are.

Keywords in Directories & File Names

SEO experts recommend including keywords in the directory part of the web site address as well as file names. So not only is it a good idea to register keyword rich domain names, it is also a good idea to name directories and file names after the keywords you're targeting.


Table of Contents

  1. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
  2. What are meta tags?
  3. How do I optimize HTML Tags for SEO?
  4. What are keywords?
  5. What is link popularity?
  6. How do I submit to search engines?
  7. What are pay per click (PPC) search engines?
  8. What's the best SEO software?