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Step 1: Devise Keywords

Keywords—words or phrases that people may type into a search engine's query box to find pages like yours—are crucial to SEO. Search engines rank text by using the keywords they find embedded in the HTML code of each page, as well as by the keywords sprinkled throughout the actual content of the page.

The keywords you come up with will appear in the metatags of your pages and on the actual webpage itself.  

Here are some things to remember when composing your keywords.

  • Look at the actual content of your webpage and pick out key words or phrases on it.
  • Brainstorm. Ask other people what words they would type into Google to find your page. 
  • Look at other sites similar to your own to see what keywords they are using. You can do this by going to their page in Internet Explorer, clicking on View, and then clicking on Source. When the HTML code appears on your screen, look for the metatag at the top labeled "keywords." (But don’t copy another site's keywords directly; that is plagiarism.)
  • Make your keywords specific. The word “injuries,” for instance, is too vague; if users wre to search on it, they'd get hundreds of listings. “Injury research” or “injury policy”or “injury prevention” is more specific.
  • A keyword can be one word or a short phrase—whatever combination of words you think users might type into a search engine's query box.
  • It's OK to use abbreviations and shorten --“JHSPH,” “Bloomberg School” etc. We're looking to duplicate what users are actually going to be typing into a search engine's query box.
  • Start surveying your users —“What did you type into the search engine to find us?”
  • Specialized databases such as Word Tracker ( can help you find the most heavily searched phrases relating to your site. 




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