<< by on February 20th, 2007
10. Too Many Keywords in the Meta Keywords Tag.
While not the most important tag for SEO purposes anymore, the meta keywords tag does offer some small benefit. Because the meta keywords tag is part of the total page content, adding keywords to this tag can help improve your overall keyword density on a page. HOWEVER, I typically find that many websites that employ a meta keywords tag make the mistake of stuffing this tag with all of the keywords for the site.
We recommend using only the keywords you are targeting on that individual page in this tag. By using just one keyword in this tag, you reduce the overall number of words on the page, giving you a better chance at a higher overall keyword density. So use just a few keywords appropriate and unique to your page. Which leads us to our next mistake…
9. Same Meta Keywords Tag on Every Page of the Website.
Often I find that website owners put the SAME meta keywords on every page of the website. Every page isn’t about the same content, is it? Use the keywords tag as a way to define the keyword for a given page instead.
I most often see this problem with content management systems (CMS). Often CMS systems may use one meta keywords tag and meta description tag on EVERY page. You should be able to edit each page, and if you can’t — make the request of your CMS vendor. It’s OK to have a default keywords tag if you don’t have a special tag for a page, but you definitely want the ability to change it for every page.
8. No Meta Description Tag.
Along the same lines as #10, I often find that web pages lack a meta description tag. This tag isn’t just important from a keyword density standpoint, but it also is the default description Google uses for your search engine ranked listing. So make it count! Create a description tag with a compelling marketing message — but not too over the top — one that entices the searcher to click on your Google listing.
7. Same Meta Description Tag on Every Page of the Website.
Along the same lines as #9, be sure to have a different meta description on each page of your website. Each page has a unique message, right? Make sure that comes across in your description tag.
Also, if you use a CMS system, you may find that you are defaulted to the same description tag on every page. Request a change in your CMS from the vendor — you need the ability to change each page as needed.
Like other page elements, words contained in links appear to be important to the search engine content algorithm. Use links in content when appropriate. I’ve also found that when two identical pages were tested, one with links in the body copy itself actually improved website stickiness over a page without links within the body copy.
I don’t think the filename has a very strong impact on SEO, but it can have some. So it doesn’t hurt to name your pages after the keyword for that page. If the page is about running shoes, why not name it “running-shoes.html”. As for using hyphens or underscores between words in the filename as shown in my example, I think either is fine, but I recommend using something between the words to make them more readable.
4. Body Content
Throughout the body content, include your keyword, in its exact form, when possible, but don’t be redundant. There’s more value to having the full keyword (ex. online survey software) than having just a part of the term (ex. online survey) or the same words in a different order (ex. software to create an online survey).
3. Boldness Only Applied via the External Style Sheet.
CSS is great to use, but many search engine robots that index your website cannot read styles contained in an external style sheet. So apply bold tags, when possible, on the page itself. I believe that the content algorithms of the engines give more weight to keywords in bold on a page, assuming that they are very important to the page.
2. Use of <span> Tags Instead of H Tags for Page Headlines and Subheads.
Nothing aggravates me more than bad use of CSS. Often I find that many webmasters use the <span> tag instead of <h1> to denote a headline — simply because an external style sheet is being used. PLEASE use the <h1> tag instead for headlines and assign the styles for the tag (font, size, etc.) in your external style sheet. Search engines have no idea what <span class=”headline”> means, but they do understand that the <h1> tag is a very important tag, denoting a headline. I believe that the engine content algorithms give more weight to keywords appearing in that tag. So use them!
1. Same Title Tag on Every Page of Website.
ARGH! In addition to keyword density, Google sees a Title as a very important part of your page. Keywords housed in this tag appear to be important words to the overall meaning of the page — and, I believe, have heavier weight in Google’s content algorithm. Google also uses the Title tag as the “link” in your search engine rank listing, so make the Title tag memorable and compelling.