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Keyword Proximity is a Measure of Word Order and Closeness
Adnann Ahmedd - August 12, 2008

The keyword factors play a part in the portion of the Google algorithm determining page relevancy. Google looks at the following keyword factors and assigns a relevancy score for each page of your site. The factors are listed in approximate order of importance; however, like all factors in the Google algorithm, this is subject to change.

Google looks at individual words that make up phrases. The closer all words in a keyword phrase are together, and in the correct order, the better. Obviously, exact matches score the best. As an example, say someone does a search on "hotels in Italy". Google will assign a higher score if your page contains "hotels in Italy" than if it contains "cheap hotels in Italy". For the latter, all three words are contained on the page, so the page would receive some score, but since this is an inexact match (there are words in between "Italy" and "hotel"), the page score would be lower than for the exact match of cheap accommodation in Italy.

Keyword placement is a SEO metric measure where on the page keywords are located. Google looks for keywords in the page title, in headings, in body text, in links, in image ALT text, in drop-down boxes, in file names, and in domain names. Keyword prominence is a measure of how early or high up on a page the keywords are found. Having keywords in the first heading and in the first paragraph (first 20 words or so) on a page are best.

Keyword density is also known as keyword weight, and is related to the number of times a keyword is used on a page divided by the total number of words on the page. There is some confusion over keyword density. Part of this stems from the fact that different software programs look at different parts of the page and calculate this differently. There doesn't seem to be an ideal density value for Google - from 6 - 20% is good. Just don't spam. In other words, don't fill your pages up needlessly with your keywords - not only will customers think your site is amateurish, but Google may penalize you.

It is not clear however whether Google measures keyword density per page, across the entire site - or both, in their ranking algorithm. There is one place on a web page where your keywords MUST be present, and that is in the page title, which is everything between the TITLE tags in the HEAD section of a page. The page title (not to be confused with the heading for a page) is what is displayed in the title bar of your browser window, and is also what is displayed when you bookmark a page or add it to your browser favorites.

Correct use of keywords in the title of every page of your website is extremely important to Google - particularly for the home page. If you do nothing else to optimize your site, remember to do this! Also note that the "Keywords" META tag is ignored by Google. Concentrate your efforts on the title for each page, making sure they contain the best keywords for the content of each page. The title shouldn't consist of much more than about 9 words or 60 characters, with your keywords used at the very beginning of the title. Since Google is looking for relevant keywords in the title, this means you should NOT include your company name in the title unless your company name is so well known as to be a keyword in it's own right with instant name recognition - like Disney, Nike, or Yahoo. If you must include your company name in the title, put it at the end.

Using the right search engine optimization technique (SEO) is crucial for online success.


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