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SEVEN TIPS WHEN WORKING WITH KEYWORDS TO GET A LOCAL LISTING

By David Dimas
Posted Friday, October 22, 2004

Want to get a top listing for your local Internet webpage? Here are seven changes that you can implement today that can make a big difference on your search engine rankings. Some of you may have the working knowledge to make these HTML changes, others of you may need a little help. These tips will help make your website search engine friendly.

I live in Ventura County in Southern California. I've spent many hours looking at hundreds of local websites for Real Estate, Chiropractic, and Dentist clients. It is very important for them to show up on search engines for local search terms. I'm going to use my local Chiropractor listings as examples in this HTML tutorial. I looked up websites using Keywords like, "Chiropractor in Ventura County," "Chiropractor in Thousand Oaks," and "Chiropractor offices in Ventura County." I want you to know that with a few minor adjustments to your HTML you can gain a distinctive advantage over other local websites that could mean more business to you in the coming months. Who isn't interested in some new business in today's economy?

Let's examine what top ranked Chiropractor sites are doing to gain Keyword relevancy on search engines. You can look at your competition's HTML tags by going to your browser of choice, clicking "View" in the upper left hand corner of your browser (Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator), and then scrolling down to the word "Source". It will open another browser window with the HTML language for you to look at.

1. USE YOUR KEYWORDS IN YOUR TITLE TAG

Several search engines use Keywords in the Title tag as part of the their algorithms. Algorithms are rules that search engines use to calculate a ranking of a website. Each engine uses different algorithms. Using a Title tag like;

John Q. Smith Chiropractor

is wasted text unless you think that people are going to be using the name (John Q. Smith) as search term. If you want to attract visitors who are looking for Chiropractor in Ventura County" you may want to use the Keyword phrase, "Chiropractor in Ventura County" in your Title tag.

Here is how you may want to put Keywords in your Title tag.

Chiropractor in Ventura County, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake California, Chiropractor office in Ventura County.

It doesn't matter what order you place the tags in the HEAD area, although some experts recommended that you include the TITLE tag first on the page, before listing any other tags.

2. USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR META TAGS

There's a continuing debate about whether to separate each Keyword in the Meta tag by a comma, or to group related words (i.e, phrases) by commas, or to list all the words in one long string separating each word only by a spaces.

Which method is better? The most common method is separating each word or phrase by a comma. However, many experts contend that the search engines ignore the commas. Their thought is that by eliminating them, you can include more words in the tag. My position is that it won't likely affect your rankings either way.

Caution: Be careful not to repeat the same Keyword more than two or three times in the Meta tag. NEVER repeat the same word twice in a row or you may trigger a search engine's "spam filter." Never include Keywords that do not apply to the content of your page.

Here's what your Meta tag may look like for "Chiropractor in Ventura County".

3. USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR META DESCRIPTION TAGS

Each engine that supports the Meta description tag will shrink it down to 150 to 350 characters depending on the engine. Therefore, include the best portion of your description in the first 150 characters, but go ahead and add additional text to fill it out to about 350 characters.

Here's what your Meta Description tag may look like for "Chiropractor in Ventura County".

4. USE KEYWORDS IN THE BODY OF YOUR TEXT

Many engines look at your first paragraph for Keyword relevance. By carefully wording the text in your first paragraph, you can add to your Keyword relevancy. My suggestion is not to use your Keywords more than five times on any page in the body of your text.

Here is an example of using Keywords in the body of your text. Keywords = " Chiropractor in Ventura County."

When you're looking to purchase Chiropractor in Ventura County you want someone who is an expert in buying and selling Chiropractor in Ventura County. We are here to help. Located in the Thousand Oaks/ Westlake Village area in Ventura County. Our Chiropractor office is here to focus on you and your personal needs.

Some engines will also check the last paragraph of the body of your text. One local Chiropractor uses this text at the bottom of his homepage to gain added Keyword relevancy for his website.

"ABC Chiropractic proudly serves the following areas of Ventura County: Conejo Valley, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Lake Sherwood, Moorpark, Newbury Park, North Ranch, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village."

TIP: Pages heavy with text in a small font size may not get listed. Avoid using font size lower than 2 as the dominant size for your body copy.

5. USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR IMAGE/ALT TAGS

Some engines will actually look at your Image and Alta tags as part of their Algorithms. On way to take advantage of this is by renaming your Image and Alt tags with your Keywords.

Here is an example.

You have an image named, "image1.jpg"

Change the name to "chiropractor1.jpg" or "venturacounty.jpg"

Here is an example of how your Image tag may look in HTML.

An Alt tag is the text that pops up when you move your mouse over a Hyperlink and some text is displayed in your browser as the mouse rolls over the link.

Example: "Find more information about Chiropractors in Ventura County, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village California."

Here is an example of how your Alt tag may look in HTML.

6. USE KEYWORDS IN YOUR HYPERLINKS

Some engines will actually look at the words in your Hyperlinks for added relevancy. If you have several pages on your website, consider renaming them with your Keywords. One local top ranking Realtor uses this technique to gain a top ranking on Google.

Each of the Hyperlinks on the home page are packed with Keywords and Keyword phrases. Here are several examples for John Q. Smith of ABC Realty:

TESTIMONIALS: For John Q. Smith of ABC Realty from satisfied home buyers and home sellers in Ventura County, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village.

WELCOME: From John Q. Smith of ABC Realty in Ventura County, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village.

Featured homes in Ventura County, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village. Take a look at Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Moorpark, California homes for sale.

ABOUT: John Q. Smith from ABC Realty serving Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Ventura County. Get to know all about your real estate and relocation professional in Ventura County California.

These are just a few examples of clever ways that you can add Keywords to your Hyperlinks to gain extra Keyword relevancy for your website. Consider adding some links about your local city with hyperlinks that use your Keywords, such as;

Learn all about Ventura County, Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village.

Information and hot links about Ventura County.

My favorite places to visit in Ventura County.

School information for Ventura County, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village.

Suggestions_ feature local businesses, landmarks, points of interest.

Be creative. Make your links stand out so people will want to click them. The more time they spend on your site, the better chance at gaining a new client.

7. USE H1 TAGS TO BOOST RELEVANCY.

Some search engines will give words found in your "H1" tag a boost in relevancy. The H1 tag is used to specify page or topic headings. In most browsers H1 is an oversized font that looks out of place on a page.

Here is a smart way that you can gain keyword relevancy both ways by using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). With CSS, you can specify that the browser display the H1 tag or other tags on your page anyway you please. By using CSS you can get both a boost in relevancy and get better control of your webpage's appearance with this easy step.

In the area of the page, put the following STYLE lines:

H1 {font-family: arial,helvetica; font-size: 12pt; color: black}

This will force all H1 tags on the page to use a 12 pt Arial or Helvetica font in black text. This will also allow you to adjust the point size or font to whatever size may look best on your webpage.

Using this CSS tag, you can now use the H1 tag on all your pages to gain extra relevancy Keyword relevancy without sacrificing the look of your pages. Many experts agree that a majority of the engines give more weight to Keywords that appear within H1 heading tags. Try it, you'll be amazed at the results.

A QUICK CLOSING COMMENT.

This past summer I spent some time with my family at the Palm Desert Marriot Resort. While playing in the pool with my kids, I noticed that several people kept asking me what I do for a living. After some conversation, I realized that the Hotel was host to Mike Ferry Real Estate Trainer. The number one question I was asked that day was, "How can I get my site to show up on search engines for my local area?" By following the above advice you can help your website's ranking on many search engines.

All of this information will make a difference in the way your website is indexed on search engines that are Keyword driven. I would love to get you started with making these changes. If you need any help, you can e-mail me at david@webpositionadvisor.com

A couple of hours with me may mean a couple of new patients to you. You will need a slightly different strategy on some of the other Search Directories.

About the Author
David Dimas is an off-site Internet manager in Ventura County, California. He is a widely read author of Internet Tutorials. His website contains 30 tutorials on Search Engines, Internet Advertising, E-zines, Press Releases, and other "How To," tutorials on Internet marketing. He is also an approved instructor at USCB Extension in Santa Barbara, California for Internet Advertising 101 and Search Engine 101.