Why am I not ranking for my keyword(s)?

The keyword meta tag isn’t read by Google anymore,  but I like to use it to remind me what I am optimizing a particular page for. ( Each page should be optimized independently, with no duplication within the site.)  Google has a bot (Googlebot) that crawls your site and decides, based on your content, what each page on your site is about.  Here are some quick and easy tips for determining if you and Google are seeing eye to eye about the topic of your page.
First, find out what Googlebot is seeing when it goes to your page.  How?  It’s called a spider simulator. Or,  you can always use the “view source” option in your browser.  If most of your content is unreadable, that is your first problem to fix. If you have a decent amount of readable text and links, then move on to the next step, keyword density.

Keyword density analyzers are easily found on the net – use them.  If your site is about frogs and you only have the word frog in your page once, yet you put in the date before each of six frog-blog entries, that’s a problem.  You have successfully optimized for the word “June” or what ever month and the number “2007” or what ever year it is because those are the recurring words in your page. Get it? Although there are many other points to look at on this subject, I will just quickly outline the most common errors that I have come across:

  1. Yes, use bold, emphasis, underline, etc., but use them for what they are meant for. i.e. Don’t use bold to make a second header stand out, header tags are for that.  Don’t use obnoxiously large or brightly colored text just ‘because’.
  2. Having your keyword density high is good, but too much of a good thing is bad, as far as Google is concerned. So don’t artificially stuff your site with keywords. Yes, Google knows the text color/background color trick.
  3. Make sure your navigational links are in a text-version somewhere on each page.
  4. For  Flash sites,  check out this to see what search engines are getting from your site.

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