How To Start An Internet Business – Meta Tags and Keyword Density

Okay, you have a domain name, layout and content. Now we get to a step that will go a long way to determining how the site will rank. Yes, we are going to focus on two infamous topics, meta tags and keyword density.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are html code blocks that “tell” a search engine what is on a particular site page. Meta tags are not visible on the pages of your site, but search engine robots focus on them. Three different meta tags should appear on each page of your site.

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The meta title essentially acts as the title of the page.

When you do a search on Google, the meta title is the first underlined text in each listing. The content of the meta title should include the keywords you want to push with the most important being listed first. Each word should be included no more than 2 times and the total word count should not exceed 13 words.

The meta description tag allows for an expansion of the meta title. Use short sentences to emphasize the who, what, why and where of your business. Make absolute sure that every keyword in your title also appears in your description.

One of the aggravating things about search engines is how they use meta descriptions. Most pick only certain sections of your description. When your link appears in the search results, the description may make little if any sense.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about it.

Historically, meta keywords were a very important factor in the ranking process. How times have changed. Google doesn’t even look at them, while MSN and Yahoo give them marginal value. You should still use them, if for no other reason then forcing you to focus on your keyword phrases when creating content.

Keyword Density

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Keyword density simply refers to how often keywords appear in a page as a percentage of the total text. A few years back, it was common practice to cram and hide keywords all over a page. You probably remember seeing pages with thousands of keywords listed at the very bottom. This no longer works and is considered spamming by search engines.

Much like the meaning of life, the best keyword density percentage is a hotly debated topic. Theories and opinions ranged from 1.5 to as high as 20 percent. We recently ran a test with a page that only had a keyword phrase on it, thus representing a 100% keyword density.

The only search engine that reacted was Yahoo, which listed it at number 1 for 25 days before dropping it. Notwithstanding this test, the simple fact is that nobody really knows the optimal density, except for programmers at the search engines. Rumor has it that they are permanently locked away in the Himalayas, so there isn’t much hope of getting any information from them.

Our experience is keyword density really doesn’t matter if you have flowing text on the page. The point of your site is to sell, so write copy that accomplishes that goal. Once you have completed the copy, modify it to make sure the important keywords appear at least once in the first paragraph. Do not force the keywords into sentences; just make sure they appear at least once.

We have clients with number 1 rankings on Google, Yahoo and MSN that have keyword densities ranging from .5 to 18.5 percent. Yes, these rankings are on keywords with lots of competition and traffic.

In Closing

In my opinion, meta tags and keyword density are mystified far too much. They are important factors, but the content on your pages is far more so. Be judicious with your content, pursue a targeted linking campaign and the rankings will follow.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.
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