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6.4 Optimizing Content for Key Phrases

Learning Objective

  1. Understand the importance of optimizing content for key phrases.

Once keywords and phrases are selected, we need to ensure that the site contains content to target those key phrases. We must ensure that the content is properly structured and that it sends signals of relevance. Content is the most important part of your Web site. We must create relevant, targeted content aiming at our selected key phrases. Content already has several roles to play on your site:

  • It provides information to visitors.
  • It must engage them.
  • It must convince them to do what you want.

Now it must also send signals of relevance to search engines. You need to use the keywords on the content page in a way that search engines will pick up and users will understand.

Each Web page should be optimized for two to three key phrases: the primary key phrase, the secondary key phrase, and the tertiary key phrase. A page can be optimized for up to five key phrases, but it is better to have more niche pages than fewer unfocused pages. Here are some guidelines:

  • Title tagUse the key phrase in the title and as close to the beginning as possible.. Use the key phrase in the title and as close to the beginning as possible.
  • H1 header tag. Use the key phrase in the header tagHeading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are standard elements used to define headings and subheadings on a Web page. The number indicates the importance, so H1 tags are viewed by the spiders as being more important that the H3 tags. Using targeted key phrases in your H tags is essential for effective SEO. and as much as possible in the other H tags.
  • Body content. Use the key phrase at least three times, or more if there is a lot of content and it makes sense. Aim for about 350 words of content, but don’t overdo it! That could look like spam to the search engines.
  • Bold. Use tags around the keyword at least once.
  • Alt tag for an image. Use the key phrase at least once to describe an image on the page.
  • URL (uniform resource locator). Use a URL rewrite so that it appears in the URL of the page.
  • Meta description. Use it at least once in the meta description of the page. It should entice users to click through to your site from the search engine results page (SERP).
  • Meta tags. Use the keywords in the meta tagsMeta tags are there to tell the spiders exactly what the Web pages are about. It’s important that your meta tags are optimized for the targeted key phrases. Meta tags are made up of meta titles, descriptions, and keywords. to provide context to the search engines.
  • Linked anchor text to another page. Don’t use it when linking to another page on your site. The anchor textThe visible, clickable text in a link. describes the page being linked to, and so could dilute the relevance of the page you are linking from.
  • Domain name. If possible, use the key phrase in your domain nameThe name of a Web site that distinguishes it from other systems on the World Wide Web., although favor usability or memorable domain names.

Optimizing Images

Images should also be optimized with the relevant keywords. Search engines cannot see images, so rely on the way that an image is described to determine what the image is about. Screen readers also read out the image descriptions, which can help visually impaired readers to make sense of a Web site. Lastly, images are sometimes also shown on the SERPs, and of course one can also search images using most of the major search engines.

Figure 6.2 Page Targeting Using the Phrase “Handmade Bags”

Just as an image can help emphasize the content on a page, it can also help search engines in ranking pages, provided the image is labeled correctly.

Here are some ways to optimize images with key phrases for search engine optimization (SEO):

  • Use descriptive filenames.
  • Use specific alt tags and title attributes for the images.
  • Meta information can be supplied in the image file. Make sure this information is relevant.
  • Use descriptive captions, and keep relevant copy close to the relevant image.
  • Make sure the header tags and images are relevant to each other.

SEO is both a science and an art. Focusing on writing quality content while sticking to a few guidelines when it comes to tags and URLs is the best way to ensure results. Remember, you want search engines to rank you highly for your content, but you also want to ensure that the content is a pleasure to read.

Adding fresh content that carries brand values regularly to your site will also encourage the search engines to crawl your site more frequently.

Use your Web site and its pages to establish and reinforce themes. Information can always be arranged in some kind of hierarchical structure. Just as a single page can have a heading and then get broken down into subheadings, a large Web site can have main themes that get broken down into subthemes. Search engines will see these themes and recognize that your Web site contains rich content.

Key Takeaways

  • Content is the most important part of your site. Content needs to target key phrases. Content must be properly structured and relevant.
  • Content must also be relevant to search engines.
  • Each Web page should be optimized for two to three key phrases. There are guidelines for this.
  • Images should also be optimized with relevant keywords.


  1. Review Web sites of your favorite brands. Can you identify a few examples where content has been optimized, as indicated in this section?