Keywords in HTML

How to Use Keywords in Your HTML

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What Are HTML Keywords

Keywords in HTML are words you are targeting on a web page. They are typically short phrases that represent what the page is about. They are also, hopefully, the words that someone might type into a search engine and find your page.

In general, HTML keywords are found whether you intend them to be there or not. Keywords are just text like any other text, and when a search engine views your page, it looks at the text and attempts to make a decision regarding what the page is about based on the text it sees.

Meta Data in HTML

The most common use of the term “keywords” in HTML is as meta data. This is typically thought of as the meta keywords tag and is written in HTML like this:

<meta name="keywords" content="keywords,html keywords,meta keywords,keyword data" />

Most search engines don't use the keywords meta tag because it can be manipulated so easily by the web page writer. In other words, many page writers used to put random keywords into the keywords tag, in the hopes that the page would be optimized for those (probably more popular) phrases.

Description: A More Important HTML Meta Tag Than Keywords

If you are going to include meta data on your web pages, ignore the keywords tag and instead use the meta description tag. This is meta data that nearly all search engine use to describe your web page in their indexes. That extra information could mean the difference from a customer clicking on your site for information or on someone else's.

HTML Keywords and Search Engines

Instead of relying on the keywords meta tag, think about keywords in the actual content of your web page. These are the terms that the search engines will use to evaluate what the page is about, and thus where it should appear in their search results. First write content that is useful, and then focus on search engine optimization to optimize that content for the keywords you are focusing on for that page.

How to Choose HTML Keywords

When you are choosing the keyword phrase for a web page, you should first focus on just one phrase per web page. It is not a good idea to try to optimize one web page for many different things, as this could confuse not only the search engines  but more importantly your readers.

One strategy that may seem counterintuitive but works well for many sites: Choose “long-tail” keywords. These are the keywords that don't receive huge amounts of search traffic. Because they aren't as popular with searchers, they aren't as competitive, and it's possible to rank higher in a search for them. This gets your site noticed and you gain credibility. As your site gains credibility, it will start ranking higher for the popular terms.

HTML Keyword Generators and Other Keywords Tools

Another way to determine the keywords in your HTML is to use a keyword generator. Many online tools will analyze your web page content and tell you how many times various phrases are used on your page. These are typically called keyword density analyzers. Check out keyword density tools recommended by others online.