How To Give Your Keywords Prominence

Keyword prominence is an important factor in search engine optimisation, but how much is under your control and how much is under the web-developers control?

Search engines judge a page by keyword frequency, proximity and prominence. So logic says you should place a keyword as close to the top left hand corner of the screen as possible. On a well laid out web-page this should place it close to the <body> tag, but this may not always be the case.

Keyword Prominence Mistakes

CSS (Cascaded Style Sheets) are used by most professional web-developers to lay out sites, with most of the pages sharing similar collimated structures. CSS allows a web-developer to position columns against the right or left hand side of the screen (float:left; float:right;). This means that within the code, a screen may read either from left to right or unfortunately from right to left. In short; especially if you are using a CMS; the proximity of text to the <body> tag is often out of your control. Structuring webpages for SEO is a subject that is overlooked by a large proportion of web-developers. Luckily, at Vertical Marketing, we have the experience to approach things correctly from the outset.

A common negetive factor; that can effect have a huge negative effect on keyword prominence is Drop Down Menu’s. From an SEO point of view these are a nightmare. The more links and drop downs on a page, the further key words and key-phrases are pushed down the code.
One customer asked why their current site didn’t rank well for certain phrases. After just 5 seconds, it was quick to see they had nearly 250 hidden links within a massive menu structure, yet there were less than 100 words visible on the page. Also above the drop down menu was an animated Flash Banner and a search box with embedded javascript. Although at a glance the key-phrase appeared close to the top left of the screen, within the code it was 5 screens worth of code down.
In the good old days, search engines directed most traffic to a website’s homepage. As search engine algorythms have evolved more and more traffic is directed straight to pages that have content relevant to a user’s search phrase. 

For the majority of B2B companies, the home page will always be number one within analytics. Ideally, this should not be the case, but why is it so?

The sad answer is, many of them have more money to spend. This often means, someone has requested fancy rotating banners, lots of java-scripted functions and drop down menus. Keyword prominence has been completed forgotten, mis-understood or ignored.

Keyword Prominence Tips

  • Place you opening paragraph as close to the <body> tag as possible.
  • Emphasis keywords
  • Keywords should be visible on screen without scrolling

Some search engines now reportedly use ‘Heat Maps’. The human brain naturally processes information better that is closer to the top central portion of the screen. Therefore, this area is treated as ‘hot’. Off screen, small footer text, is treated as ‘cold’.

Keyword Prominence Conclusions

Keyword prominence is one of the most important factors there is in on-page optimisation. How close a keyword or key-phrase is to the beginning of a webpage indicates to search engines how important the author considers it to be.

The more complicated the code on a page, the less prominate a keyword or phrase will appear. With all these scripts, banners and menus, a search engine will consider the visible words to have come in last place and therefore totally un-important. Remember, often the most clicked on link on many pages is the pause button on those annoying banners.

Have you ever asked why forum sites seem to be dominated many search engine result pages (SERPs), with the top 10 containing several printer-friendly, text only versions? The reason is, forum sites often have very simple page structures; just one column, a tiny header with just a home page link, followed by solid text and pictures. The printer-friendly versions have even less embedded code; making them perfect for a search engines algorythms. KISS! (keep it simple stupid).