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by Stephen Logan on 22nd February 2011
[PLEASE NOTE: It's only fair that I re-direct those who are actually looking for Search Engine Optimisation in Southampton to our SEO Services page. The title of this post should become evident as you read on - hopefully - but I wholeheartedly apologise for any visitors who have been mislead by my SEO subterfuge.]
There are good and bad ways to shoehorn keywords into a web page. This blog, and its inexplicable usage of ‘SEO Southampton’, is undoubtedly the latter. However, it does serve as a solid example of how you can achieve search engine rankings by following a simple formula.
First of all, give your keyword the prominence it deserves. That means mentioning it in the title and early on in the body copy (preferably more naturally than I’ve managed here). In this case the term we’re going after is “SEO Southampton”.
With 1,760 other sites already targeting this phrase, it’s not the easiest to gain a ranking for, but certainly not the hardest either. Whilst keywords alone won’t necessarily guarantee you the position you want, a healthy link building campaign will certainly help for instance, it’s important that you get these key on-site issues sorted before worrying about external matters.
So what do you do, write SEO Southampton 100 times and keep your fingers crossed? Certainly not. You shouldn’t be optimising like it’s 1999. The search engine algorithm is a complex and temperamental beast, if you prod it too much, it’s not likely to be best pleased.
Fundamentally content is on your website to inform, engage and persuade visitors. If you start lumping keywords in wherever possible, it will ruin your flow and undermine your primary intent. Worse still, it’s unlikely to bring any additional benefit.
As a result, keywords need to be used strategically, not continuously. First and foremost, your primary term has to appear within the title of the page. This is an obvious focal point for any spider indexing a site. However, it is equally important that it appears within the URL string. The domain itself can be pivotal in achieving competitive rankings; however, it’s not always feasible to find a domain that matches your primary key term, let alone subsidiary phrases. The next best thing therefore is to add it in to the URL – dynamically or otherwise.
So rather than having an entirely random series of characters after your domain name, for example http://www.yoursite.co.uk/randomfoldername/23719382/2871, have something a little more optimised – like so http://www.yoursite.co.uk/services/SEO-Southampton. Simple, informative and potentially highly effective.
Don’t be afraid to occasionally highlight your keywords within the body content either. Not only will this help them stand out to human visitors, but search engines will be fully clued up about what terms you’re going after too. So drop in the odd SEO Southampton and see what that does for you.
Your content can be as lengthy as you choose, although bear in mind that huge chunks of endless text can lose the interest of even the hardiest visitor. So if you’re going for maximum optimisation and length, don’t forget to break it up a little. 200 words is a safe minimum though. This should be enough to provide the context needed to a search engine. Equally, whilst you shouldn’t be overly concerned about keyword density, try not to exceed 3% or, at the absolute most, 5%.
Natural content should be your aim. Whilst this blog post has rather haphazardly squeezed in ‘SEO Southampton’ wherever possible, you can do this far better by building context and even synonyms around your key term. Another typical case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ I’m afraid.
Building context is remarkably straightforward though and certainly won’t detract from your content as a whole. For instance, throughout this post I have used phrases such as Optimisation, Search Engine Optimisation, SEO, Meta and so forth. All of this ties back in to ‘SEO Southampton’. I could also add references to Hampshire and even ‘Saints’ if I were to go even further, but essentially this is done to assist the narrative flow as well as develop context for indexing purposes.
On-page site optimisation takes on a number of forms far beyond the written words that visitors see. Elements such as your Meta description, Meta title, Alt tags and sub-headings (H2, H3 etc.) all have a bearing – no matter how minimal – on a site’s optimisation. Even if you are inclined to question their individual effectiveness, these minor factors can group together to help achieve your common goal.
The Meta title just needs to replicate your page title. The description should sell the page and click to search engine visitors and shouldn’t simply be eyed as opportunity to spam Google. Alt tags should be descriptive, but again, can be optimised. Sub headings break up a page nicely and also carry a little weight too, so if you can squeeze in the keyword (naturally) feel free to do so. It’s that simple.
When you do start a little external optimisation, assuming you are going after a money page on your site rather than a blog post, you will still have to keep your keywords in mind. A few links through with optimised anchor text can help bring strength and relevance to a page. Working alongside all of your on-page efforts, this should help you achieve the ranking you’re chasing.
As for SEO Southampton, only time will tell if this post gets a ranking. As a page or domain ages it achieves a certain authority, therefore with a little linking and good fortune, it could sit happily on page one of Google in the future. That said, it may not.
I will be keeping a close eye on this page’s performance for a follow up post in the not too distant future. Therefore we will hopefully be able to give you a living example of how you can optimise any page to achieve strong rankings; with results and evidence to back up this evidence from SEO Southampton as well as in-depth look at particular features. Fingers crossed anyway.