• July 25, 2009
  • Tips

In the last installment, I covered basic search tactics – how people type what they want to find. In a nutshell, more specific search terms yields more specific results. Your job is to match those specific terms on your site. And preferably in the order people type them in.


Moving on, here’s the hierarchy of word arrangements you can have on your site, in order of impact.

  1. having a user’s search terms in the same order that they put them in gives you top results
  2. having the words still next to each other but in a different order
  3. having all of the words but with non-search words in between them
  4. having all of the words but with lots of non-search words in between them
  5. having some of the words
  6. having none of the words

You see that order is important, as is having the actual words. The most important point you need to know about this: search engines try to match a user’s word or phrase with the words or phrases in your site. The closer the match, the better you’ll place in the search results.

Selecting Keywords

To get those words, brainstorm, check your competition and check online tools such as Google’s Keyword Tool. This will give you suggested, related keywords and phrases from which you can expand your list of terms as well as find the order of the words people most commonly use.

Meta Tags – Title

Everyone’s heard of them by now. They represent the hidden text on websites that help search engines find out what your site is about. The one that most powerfully affects your search results is the title meta tag. The reason being it’s the one that humans can read because it appears in the title bar of your web page. This is also the text that appears in search engines as the first line in the search results.

Meta Tags – Keywords

The keywords meta tag isn’t visible to the naked eye. Web programmers know that and can put anything they want in that space to exploit search engines. Of course, the search engines know that loophole too and, to protect their mission of only providing relevant results, often disregard the keywords. It’s a nice self-policing system that keeps people honest about what is on their website. Bottom line: make sure that the meta tags contain words that reflect the content on your website.

Meta Tags – Description

The description meta tag is useful as a summary that displays in search results, below the first line. The value of this area is higher than the keywords for two reasons – if there are words in your description that match words in the body of your page, search engines know it’s truthful and will likely publish it on their search results page. And once it’s published, the words that match a user’s search phrase are highlighted in a bold font, giving the user immediate gratification that they found a site with the exact words they were looking for. That practically guarantees a click through. And that’s what we’re trying to achieve for you.