There is a lot of stuff written about doing your keyword research and writing quality content, but not much about where you need to place your keywords. So what are the factors you need to know to get better search engine rankings?
Basically, there are several kinds of search engine ranking factors that control how high your site rises in the SERPs. They can be called as internal and external factors. (Factors listed below follow in a relatively precise order of weight with the search engines.)
Internal ranking factors
Internal (or on-page, on-site) factors are the ones that you can change on your website. On-page factors are:
- page titles
- body text
- anchor text
- headings (<h1>, etc)
- page (site) URL
- emphasized/italicized text
- external link anchor text
There may be additional onsite ranking factors, such as alt and title attribute, etc., but it is doubtful they play a significant role in positioning your pages. At any rate, it should be wise to use alt and title attributes for your visitors, while simply keeping your main keywords in mind.
External ranking factors
External (or off-page, off-site) factors are the one that are outside of your website. Some factors can be controlled, such as anchor text (the link text) on some of the links, pointing to your site, but most of them can not be controlled or are static, such as website topic. Off-page factors include:
- anchor text
- weight of an incoming link
- relevance of a linking page to your page (site)
- link position on a linking page (in context or not)
- age of your page and site
- whether a site you link to uses unethical optimization tactics
- your hosting server IP (helps to target local audience)
- your domain TLD (country specific domain extensions help for local language targeting)
- age of a linking page and site
- age of a link
- amount of traffic to the page from Google
- time spent on the page when clicked from Google
As with onpage factors, there may be factors, which exist, but are still less relevant than those listed above. Though they may be important for those seeking the extra edge, it is worthwhile spending your time and money on website content, usability and accessibility than chasing a blue bird.
While it is helpful to position your keywords when they can help the search engines rank your site, you still need to think of your visitors as well. A thorough keyword research will help you to use the words your customers use when thinking about your product. Positioning the keywords in key page areas (title, subheadings, body text) will help them understand what the page is about.
Ideally, a page should be about a single topic. This will allow you to write a nice piece of information about a single thing, which will have all the necessary information. The article will be focused on one theme as well, which will help the visitors and the search engines understand what the focus of the page is on.
In a way, you simply need to remember your main keywords and place them in site copy naturally. This will keep your text optimized both for your customers and the search engines.