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Keyword Considerations for Higher Search Rankings

by | Aug 6, 2015 | Search Engine Optimization

The search marketing industry has become highly competitive with businesses vying for top rankings in the search engine space. It has become imperative to optimize your site with targeted keywords, using the best image alt tags and implementing the correct h1-h2 for higher conversion rates & SEO success. There are some marketing pundits who have sounded the death knell on keywords but the fact is that the relationship between keywords and search ranking has merely become more ‘complicated’ because Google has changed the way it collects data about a site. There is a shift of focus from black hat practices like stuffing keywords in pages and links to techniques like keyword interpretation, use of long-tail keywords for search visibility. If you know more about onsite optimization considerations you can implement them to differentiate your website from others and improve search rankings.

Keyword Placement Matters More

Keywords are information bytes for search engines to analyze and figure out what your company actually does so the placement of your keywords is of far more importance than their frequency. Using genuine keywords always works better than stuffing it in the body copy multiple times, so if you are an IT company, posting something like “IT Services Company” in the title tag and the header is best.

Google analyzes your site by breaking it down into key areas of importance with Meta information and headers, H1 tag has a lot of page authority as it is the first visible thing to any user. The body copy takes secondary priority, and side bars and footers come last. The keywords should be actionable and informative so that Google knows what the content is about.

There should be relevant description for your company in the Meta data and header but you should resist from loading it with keywords or phrases to avoid being penalized. Descriptions are shown in search results so you should rather ensure that you make it attractive enough for the user to click through to the page.

Interpreting Keywords and Semantic Search

Google no longer scans your site for information by pulling out specific keyword phrases and pairing them with user queries, rather it makes sophisticated interpretation of the content and data on your site to draw conclusions about your site & business. According to Google up to 70% of searches are based on synonyms of keywords, so it no longer matters whether you put exact keyword phrases throughout your site. Even if you used variants or synonyms of the keyword you would be in the same category. For example if you had “auto repair experts” in one page and “car repair specialists” in another, you would still be visible in the same category. It is therefore better to organically optimize your site for a specific meaning not specific keyword and build content oriented towards users and not search engines. Using keywords too frequently in the content and site just to improve SERP placement may prove to be counterproductive.

Google is also using semantic search functionality to derive meaning from user searches too. It is not the keywords that matter as much as the meaning behind them. So even if your site does not have the exact keyword or phrase matching the user search, the semantic search feature is being used by Google to find the correct answer to any user query. If for instance someone searches for “cheap Italian food in Chicago” Google would interpret the meaning behind their query and search for cheap Italian restaurants near Chicago. A website would still show up in the search results even if it did not have those exact phrases in the site but instead had content reflecting that it was a relatively inexpensive Italian restaurant in and around Chicago.

Structure Matters

Structure has an enormous effect on your page authority in the SEO world. Your site should have an overall structure and be easy to navigate. The ranking improves if it is easier for users to find the information they are looking for quickly. Use appropriate title for your pages, make navigating easy with a header bar and ensure there is a crawlable sitemap. Stick to Google’s preferred structure of a header, body, sidebars and footer for all pages with fitting content for each section and interlink your internal pages to one another for easier scanning of each page accurately. You can add accurate keywords naturally to image titles and alt text for improved accessibility by users. Google gives value to images and videos so it is advisable to create a proper image and video sitemap for easier crawling and better search ranking. Try and add “internal search box” to help get new ideas for long tail keywords and landing pages by monitoring through Analytics the keywords being used by visitors.

Site Speed and Security

There is also site speed to consider besides the structural factors and content that can poorly affect your site’s authority. Sites that are slow to load and lag will rank lower than sites that load speedily. Clean up your cache, check your plugins, and make necessary modifications to improve your site speed. Site security should also be a priority with sites having SSL encryption getting a ranking boost.

Schema Markup Gets You Visibility

Google has some very specific markup formats for different category entries on your site like those found at Schema.org, for example events or places to help search engines better analyze and understand specific information on the site. This can help gain more visibility for your site by using these entries to display correct updated information in its Knowledge Graph and giving users improved search results. Schema markup improves the CTR of organic results by allowing the user to search directly into your website.

As is obvious, onsite optimization is far more than just using keywords so let Local Directive help you make the right choices for a rich user experience and see your business organically climb the rankings quickly.


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