Tweak, by all means, but don’t go overboard

If you thought things were starting to get a little complicated yesterday, we can actually tweak things to make them even more effective.

For example, I’ve said that you need to get your key search phrase into the page title. However, it’s believed that the closer to the start of the title, the more effective it will be. So to rank well for “fast blue widgets”, a title of “Fast blue widgets launched as part of new 2010 widget range” will carry more weight for the “fast blue widgets” search than “New 2010 widget range includes fast blue widgets”. And there are many more aspects. Insider Programme members are always welcome to ask me for advice on this.

How many times do you need to get that key search phrase into the main text of the page? Opinions vary, but please ignore people who get worked up about things like “keyword density”. Try to get the phrase in two or three times, perhaps one or two more if your page runs to more than 500 words.

And so it goes on for every one of the seven places you need to include your key search phrase. If you can learn the “rules” and bear them in mind when writing pages, that’s great, but don’t get too hung up on them. Why? Because all of this “on-page search engine optimisation” can only get your page so far. It’s actually only considered to form about 20% of the overall score used in ranking a page. Equally important factors include the “trust” of the whole domain, the number and quality of the links to that particular page, and the “anchor text” of those links. You can spend hours on crafting a page to be spot-on for a specific search phrase, but you’d get at least as much benefit from a couple of great external links. And if you’re in a competitive area, you must have both.

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