Body Text—Header Tags and Page Copy

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The body text of a Web page consists of all the visible text between the body and </body> tag, such as headings and the page copy encased in paragraphs. Along with page titles, body text is the next important area on which to focus your search engine optimization efforts. Body text is where you want to spend the bulk of your time.

Headings—Header Tags</H1>

Use your HTML header tags effectively to indicate the subject and content of a particular page. Most people use them only as a method of creating large fonts. Some search engines, including Google, use the content included within the header text in their relevancy scoring. The H1 tag is the most important, followed by H2. Include your most important keywords in your header tags. If you can, work a couple of H2 tags into your page and get the keyword phrase you’ve assigned to that page within the header tag. Some developers use a larger font instead of H1 and H2 tags; the search engines give the points only if the keyword phrase is between the <H1> tag and the </H1> tag.

Page Copy

You want to ensure that the keyword you have assigned to a specific page appears as close to the beginning of that page as possible, and certainly within the first 200 characters. The higher up on a page, the greater the keyword prominence. Search engines tend to lend more weight to page content above the fold. The fold is where your browser window ends and where vertical scrolling begins, if necessary.

The assigned keyword should appear at the beginning of the text on the page, in the middle, and again at the end. You want to build a theme on your page, and to do so you have to spread your keywords throughout the page, not just focus on the first paragraph.

Always have a descriptive paragraph at the top of your Web page that describes what can be found on the page for your target market and for the major search engines. Search engines use this as their source for a site description and keywords on your site. Be sure to use the most important keywords first, preferably within the first two or three sentences. This is enormously important. Make sure that the keywords you use flow naturally within the content of the
opening paragraph and relate to the content and purpose of your site. You don’t want the search engines to think you’re trying to cram in words where they don’t fit.

Keyword density is the number of times a keyword, or keyword phrase, is used on a Web page, divided by the total number of words on that particular page. Your keyword density should be between 3 percent and 8 percent. If your
keyword density is below 3 percent, it is not there often enough to count. If your keyword density is above 8 percent, it may appear as if you are attempting to manipulate the search engines.

The search engines can’t read text embedded in your graphics for content. Very often I see a site that has the company name used only in a graphic logo. If someone were to do a search on the company name, they may not earn enough
points to score on the first page of results.

As a final note, before you submit your site, be sure the content on the page you are submitting is complete. Some of the major search engines will ignore your submission if you have an “under construction” or similar sign on your page.


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