Key words are what people give a search engine to find what they are looking for on the web. You can define your key words before you even start your website.

Say there are a lot of competing web pages mentioning your product – how should a search engine put these pages in order of relevance to a search?

Say some pages contained the word once, and some contained the word ten times, and some contained the word between two and nine times.

If all other factors (e.g. number of links from other web pages) were equal, search engines would list those pages containing the word ten times first, followed by those with the word nine times, then eight times, etc., and then those pages containing the word only once listed last.

Let us build up a list of search words for one product. Take tents for an example.

What words describe it?
Here are four words – tent, marquee, marquise, bivouac.

What are its uses?
Camping equipment, holidays, vacations, parties, functions, weddings.

What material is it made from?
Canvas, etc.

What is your brand name?
People may have heard of your brand and may look for it by name. Let us say it is brand name is “Dingo.”

Where is it available?
Some products you may sell worldwide, but possible delivery costs could be limiting. People may search for the product in their own area first. In that case your state, your nearest city, and your suburb are required key words. Say your area is Penrith. Your customers may search for Penrith, Sydney, NSW or Australia, particularly if they live outside the city or suburb.

Key Words so far are 24:
Tent, tents, marquee, marquees, marquise, bivouac, camping equipment, holiday, holidays, vacation, vacations, party, parties, function, functions, wedding, weddings, canvas, Dingo, Penrith, Sydney, NSW, Australia. (Include singular and plural, where possible.)

Where should these appear on your web page?

  • Title tag
    This is the most important tag which displays at the very top of your browser. Use every key word here. But words here need to be seen also on the web page.
  • Keywords tag
    This is now largely ignored by search engines.
  • Description tag
    Same as above.
  • Heading tags
    Instead of “Welcome to Dingo Inc.” say “Dingo Tents and Marquees”
  • Links to inside pages
    Instead of “Products” say “Tents” and “Marquees”
    Instead of “About Us” say “About Dingo Tents”
  • Body text
    This is where you can be creative. Mix the key words into phrases and sentences. See how many ways there are to describe the products, their use, and where they are.

Examples of Key Words embedded in text:
Pole tents, frame tents, canvas tents, vinyl tents, play tents, event tents, party tents, wedding tents, camping tents, stall tents, large tents, small tents, tent accessories are all at Dingo Tents. Holiday under canvas with a Dingo tent or marquee. Dingo has camping equipment for your next vacation. Dingo tents and marquees are in all sizes. See inside for tent sizes. A large Dingo marquee ensures nothing will dampen your wedding, party, or outside function. Dingo tents and marquees are near you if you live in Penrith or Sydney, NSW Australia. Dingo tents can be delivered anywhere in NSW, Australia.

See how in just the hundred words above it is possible to mention tent(s) twenty times. Provided the key words are embedded in a lot of text, and not repetitive, like “tents, tents, tents,” they will count for you. When the text of the whole page with contact details, etc., is considered the proportion of key words to total words will be lower and acceptable. The font can be small but is not allowed to be invisible. Search engines have formulas for discerning where text is the same color as its background.

Search for competing websites and see how many key words they have fitted into their home page. Then try for more key words on your page.

Do all this before you start your own website. We are often asked to redesign someone else`s website, after they realize their work of art is not appreciated by search engines. Start out to be friendly to search engines.

These articles were first published on and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.