The Do’s

Use Keywords within <title> Tag

The <title> tab is perhaps the most important place to have a keyword. The reason being, any text within the <title> tag shows up in search results as your page title. Keep your title short (7 words maximum) and use your keyword towards the beginning.

Use Keywords within URL

Keywords within your URL (shayhowe.com/seo-keyword-dos-donts/) are an added bonus. Repeat keywords from your URL in your document text for reinforcement. If at all possible use dashes (-) to break up words within your URL over underscores (_).

Low Keyword Density within Text

You do not want to repeat your keywords over and over however you also do not want them to be so subtle that they are easily missed. A good density for main keywords is 3-7% and around 1-2% for minor keywords. Any keyword density over 10% is suspicious and will be considered stuffing rather than naturally written text.

Keywords within Anchor Text

Keywords within inbound anchor text links can dramatically boost your results. This is because not only are you receiving a link from an outside source, but you are receiving a link from an outside source directly related to your keywords.

Keywords within Headings (<h1>, <h2>, etc.)

Headings are a great place for keywords with an added value. Make sure that your heading is relevant to the text following it as well.

Keywords within the Beginning of a Page

Search engine spiders work from the top down. Finding your keywords at the beginning can act as a much needed push.

Keywords within alt Attributes

Search engine spiders are not able to read images however they can read alt attributes within images. Placing keywords within your alt attributes will help spiders recognize valued content.

Keywords within Metatags

Keywords within metatags are not nearly as important as they used to be, especially for Google. However they are easy to install and done so properly can not harm you.

Keyword Proximity

Keep your keywords next to each other, specifically for long tail keyword phrases, without any words in-between them. If you are targeting “search engine optimization” and use “search engine” in the first paragraph and “optimization” in the second paragraph you will not benefit as much as having the phrase “search engine optimization” altogether.

Keyword Phrases

As mentioned in under keyword proximity, build keyword phrases on top of targeting specific keywords. For example, if your keywords include “design” and “services” combine them to create the keyword phrase “design services”. This gives you added value keywords and increases the chances of you matching exact keywords.

Secondary Keywords

Build pages to target secondary keywords to obtain better-targeted traffic. For example, on top of targeting “web design” also target “Arizona web design”. This is an easier keyword phrase to target and will provide better-targeted traffic.

Keyword Stemming

Keyword stemming, using a variety of the same word (design, designs, designed) is not extremely important but at the same time it will not hurt either. Typically search engines recognize the root of the word and thus consider all of the stems from the word as related material.

Synonyms

It is not a bad idea to optimize for the synonym of a keyword, on top of the main keyword itself, to pick up some possible traffic. The benefits may not be substantial but every visitor counts.

The Don'ts

Keyword Mistypes

Using common misspellings will allow you to pick up more keywords however you run the risk of looking incompetent. I would advise that if you are going to go after keyword misspellings only do so within the meta tags.

Keyword Dilution

Targeting too many keywords on one page will dilute and draw away from the main keywords you want to pick up. Best practice is to leave off the unrelated keywords and focus on the best performance of the major keywords.

Keyword Stuffing

Using the same keyword(s) repeatedly, making up over 10% of your overall content, looks very suspicious. Search engines will pick up on this and can potentially ban you from their search results.