How to Maintain Keyword Consistency

Posted on Thursday, 21 February 2013 by

Keyword consistency means having the keywords or sets of keywords that you want to rank for in searches spread over all the elements of a particular web page.  This should not be confused with keyword density. Keyword density means the number of times a keyword is featured in the website content and this practice is no longer a deciding factor in improving the search ranking of your website. Keyword consistency, on the other hand, is a logical consideration for ranking high in search results, given that the keywords chosen for a particular web page indicate the category or topic of the page, and this is what search engines are looking for.

Using your keywords consistently will help search engine crawlers index and return the site in search results for that particular topic or keyword.  Although search engines may still understand some web page content without keyword consistency (due to the sophisticated indexing algorithms developed in recent years), keeping your keywords consistent will assist the search engines in understanding exactly what each page covers.

You must first decide what keywords will feature on your web page. Use these free keyword research tools to list out your keywords. Then, use them consistently by placing them in all of the following areas:

Meta Title:

The Meta Title tag content must be unique for every web page. This is the content of the website that appears when you open your web page in a new tab. It is also the title that appears in search results. Including your target keyword in this portion of your website works well for both search engine crawlers and your website visitors. It helps them understand your website’s relevance to the keyword they searched.

Below are examples of a Meta title appearing both in search results and a new browser tab.  Notice that it includes their target keyword.  This web page has been optimized for the keyword sterling silver rings:

Search Result Showing Keyword in the Title

Search Result Showing Keyword in the Meta Title

Keyword in Meta Title Visible on a Browser Tab

Keyword in Meta Title Visible on a Browser Tab

There is no limit to the number of keywords you can include in the Meta title, as long as it makes sense to readers. An ideal Meta title must contain 60 to 70 characters. Make sure your main keyword is placed toward the start of the content so that it is clearly visible in search results. This increases the click through rate of your web page’s search snippet.

Meta Description:

The Meta description tag is as important as the Meta title tag. It is the expanded version of the title tag. You must include your main keyword in your description. Take a look at how the same web site shown above has included the keyword sterling silver ring in their Meta description:

Meta Description in Search Result Includes Keyword

Meta Description in Search Result Includes Keyword

Unlike the title tag, the Meta description content is not visible on the web page. It is only visible in the search snippet. The Meta description is available for search engine crawlers in the back end code. Featuring your main keyword in both the title and description directs search engines to consider your web page as relevant to that particular keyword.

Meta descriptions must ideally contain from 150 to 160 characters, but there is no length limitation. Make sure you insert the keyword at the start of the description so that it is visible to site visitors coming in through organic search results.

Header Tag:

Generally web page content has headings and sub-headings that segregate portions of content systematically. Look at the sample screenshot below of a website displaying headings and sub-headings.

Keyword in Heading and Sub-Heading in Website Content

Keyword in Heading and Sub-Heading in Website Content

Usually headings will contain target keywords and they must be in the header tags that range from h1 to h6. If your heading does not yet contain a keyword, make it a point to enter the main keyword included in your page’s metadata. This keyword must be highly relevant to the content of the page as it is visible to the page visitors.

Do not use identical content in your h1 tag and Meta title. Each must be unique and relevant.

Below is a screenshot of the back end of this page that applies h1 and h2 tags to the heading and sub-heading content.

Keywords in h1 and h2 Tags

Keywords in h1 and h2 Tags

Website Body:

Your website body contains the longest content in a web page and hence you can be generous in including your main keyword and other target keywords within it. However, there is a thin line between keyword stuffing and keyword consistency in the body of your website content. There is no specific percentage suggesting the ideal frequency of keywords in your content. The trick is to keep the keywords relevant to the rest of the text and in a format that is easy to read. For instance, look at the two examples below:

Example 1

We have a variety of sterling silver ring collections from the best retailers in the industry, featured collectively on our website. These rings have passed various quality tests and are of a supreme quality metal. Our rates are the cheapest on the market, so if you find cheaper sterling silver rings that match the exact specifications of the rings found on our website, we will gladly return your money.

Example 2

We have a variety of sterling silver ring collections from the best retailers in the industry, featured collectively on our website that sells sterling silver rings. These sterling silver rings have passed various quality tests and are of supreme quality sterling silver metal. Our rates are the cheapest on the market, so if you find cheaper sterling silver rings that match the exact specifications of the sterling silver rings found on our website, we will gladly return your money.

In example 1, keywords are placed where they are necessary, whereas in example 2, the keywords are deliberately stuffed into the content, which makes it look like the content was written solely for SEO purposes. You must follow the format in example 1 and keep your content as natural and relevant as possible to human readers, while also including your main keywords where they make sense.

Image Alt Tags:

We have discussed image alt tags in detail in one of our past blog posts. Just remember to keep your keywords consistent in the image alt tags, the same as you do throughout the web page. Adding keywords to your site’s images improves the chances of them appearing in Google image search, which is yet another channel to bring in web visitors to your site. The text included in the image alt tags is not visible on the website but is in the back end code for search engine crawlers. However, sometimes when browsers fail to load images at the front end of the website, these image alt tags that contain your main keyword will appear instead. Hence, it is important to keep this text in a readable format and not simply stuff keywords into it. It is ideal to insert one important keyword in image alt tags, as they must not contain more than five to six words.

Anchor Text:

Keywords in anchor text may have been one of the most important factors to improve your page’s search engine rankings in years past, but the practice has been misused a lot and websites have been penalized for the over use of exact match anchor texts. This occurred when Google released the Penguin update last year to target web spam. Many pages built links with other web pages that contained exact match anchor texts or keywords. However, this must not stop you from using some keywords in your anchor texts.

Out of all the anchor texts in a page, up to 50 percent can contain your target keywords. These keywords are the ones you have used in all the elements of the web page we have discussed, to maintain keyword consistency. Search engine crawlers understand links coming in and out of your web page (that contain the same consistent keywords) as popularity votes for your page concerning that keyword, and thus return your page in search results for it.

The rest of the anchor texts on your web page can contain branded keywords, for example, Zales sterling rings or generic words like read more and click here.

URL:

A few months ago URLs would have been at the top of this list concerning consistent keyword placement. URLs that were made up of keywords ranked on the first page of Google searches 99 percent of the time. However, because this practice has been abused a lot lately, Google warns webmasters against exact match domains. URLs with keywords that lead to pages not related to the keyword (done solely for SEO) will not rank well in searches. This means you can only have your main keyword in your URL if the web page content is relevant to the keyword and the keyword is consistent throughout the page. So, learn how to clean your URLs  and include your keywords in inner page URLs.

Here is a diagram summarizing all of the places your keyword should be inserted:

A Diagrammatic Representation of Keyword Consistency

A Diagrammatic Representation of Keyword Consistency