Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on December 21st, 2009

Three Ways to Misuse Keywords on Your Website

Search engine optimization (SEO) has a fairly steep learning curve, mostly due to the fact that the industry (and Google) is constantly evolving. The rules of SEO have changed since search emerged in the 90’s, as any advice from this era is no longer effective for today’s Web 2.0 world.

There are plenty of SEO sharks, gurus, ninjas, Jedis, and wizards out there that have been at SEO for years and would love to tell you how the experts do it. Some of them do know what they’re talking about. But more than would care to admit are telling you a) old advice that is no longer applicable, b) don’t really know what they are talking about, or c) using ‘black hat’ SEO technique for instant results, but are breaking the laws of Google to get you there. This will only destroy your rankings in the end.

One of the most important aspects of SEO campaigns is keyword research. You want to target certain keywords in order to gain rankings and get found by potential credit card-wielding customers. There are certain techniques you use keywords for when implementing on-page SEO that will tremendously affect your rankings. If you misuse them due to some bad advice, you will be hurting your chances severely. Here are three ways you can misuse your keywords that hurt your rankings more than they help.

1. Keywords in Meta-Tags

Back in the 90’s, it was common for SEO practitioners to advice people to insert relevant keywords and phrases into the meta-tags for each page. There is nothing wrong with adding keywords into the meta-tag field, but stuffing your keywords over and over again into it is a major faux pas.

In fact, because of this constant abuse of the meta-tag field, Google no longer even looks at the meta-keywords to determine your site’s ranking. This doesn’t mean you don’t place a keywords in the meta-tag for your own organizational and managerial purposes, it just means that it won’t help you jump up the SERPs.

2. Keywords in Page Titles

Businesses not only want to rank for their homepage, but for specific pages as well. In SEO, you can also target certain pages with certain keywords from your campaign. One of the most effective areas of a webpage that you can get ranking ‘juice’ for your efforts is in the page title. Focus your primary keyword or phrase that you are targeting for that page and use it in the actual Page Title, the article title, and throughout the content. IF you don’t, you are not maximizing that page’s potential, and selling yourself short on traffic.

3. Keywords in the URL

The other most effective on-page area for keywords is the web address, or URL. This address tells the search engines what your webpage is all about. Using your primary keyword in the URL helps target your page for that keyword. If you are running a Drupal site, the SEO Checklist Module not only maximizes your Drupal website’s presence on all the major search engines, it helps you change dynamic URLs into optimized, URL-ranking machines!

Search engine optimization is a necessary process for any business looking to make money online, and should start the minute you begin building the website. SEO needs to be built into the foundation of a website, not as an afterthought a few days from launch. These tips focused on on-page keyword tips and how to get your website communicating efficiently with the search engines.

Do you have any on-page keyword SEO tips that I may have left out? Leave a comment below.