The most important element of your website, both for the visitor and the search engine, is the content on your web pages. Remember, we are in the Information Age, and people searching on the Internet want information. Search engines cannot index your site by keywords if those keywords are not in the text on your web pages.
Although the rules of relevancy are closely guarded secrets and are different for each search service, we can write our own rule of thumb by analyzing the results we get with various search services.
Run the query for example “collectible salt and pepper shakers” that we ran in the page title activity on three major search services. Use http://www.google.com, http://www.altavista.com, and http://www.lycos.com. Go down the page of search results past any results that are referred to as sponsored links or sponsored matches. These are paid placement positions and they could be fairly expensive for a small business. Click on the first search result under web pages or that has no special designation. These are the search engine results, the free placement you may get if your page is optimized for the search engine.
On your Internet Explorer browser menu, choose Edit – Find (on this page) and type in salt and pepper shaker. Start at the top of the page and search down. Count how many times the phrase is used on the page. Repeat this process for the word collectible, and repeat the process for several more search results in the same search engine. Then, run the same query with the other two search services. See if any of the same pages show up in the other search engines.
Although relevancy results will vary, it is most likely that the phrase salt and pepper shaker is found at least 3 times and possibly found more than a dozen times. The term collectible is not found as many times but it is found on every search result. Most of the results will have one or both of the search phrases or terms in the page title.
In this example we may find search results that have up to 15 or 20 references to salt and pepper shakers. Notice that those pages are typically product pages, probably an online store with many sets of shakers for sale. However, some pages may have many references to salt and pepper shakers within the parenthetical text.Try the same example for other search keywords relevant to your business. Note that single, common keywords are likely to have many pages of sponsored links, which are paid inclusion or paid positioning. Some services will have 3 to 5 sponsored links at the top of each page of results followed by the web pages, or unpaid positions.