John Mueller on keyword placement on a page

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Google’s John Mueller answered a question about the placement of the keywords so that Google understands what the page is about. The context of the question was that of a person wondering how to communicate to Google the meaning of a 20,000 word article.

Will focusing on keywords at the end of the article be enough?

The person who asked the question asked a long question about the Googlebot display window and the placement of “targeted keywords”.

The core of the question posed mainly concerned the placement of the keywords in the webpage and that is what John Mueller answered.

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This is the question:

“I have a page with a lot of content, say 20,000 words… and my target keyword is at the bottom of the page.

What impact will this have on the ranking?

Long articles and classification

It can be difficult to rank long articles, especially for competitive keyword phrases.

A long article can introduce several sub-topics, the different sections of the site being so different from the main topic that they could constitute an individual article.

The person asking the question has a good reason for asking about the keywords on a long web page.

It’s not an easy thing to try to rank for a key phrase using an extraordinarily long web page.

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Where to put the focus keyword so that Google understands the page

John Mueller’s response was to list several important parts of a web page where the keywords could better communicate the topic of the web page.

Mueller did not explicitly recommend using every HTML element to hammer out the keyword phrase.

It just seemed to list all the places that could be useful to communicate the topic of a web page.

Make up your own mind, though.

Here’s how John Mueller answered the question:

“So… I would recommend that if there’s something you want to tell us on your page, to make it as visible as possible.

So don’t just mention this in a nutshell at the bottom of your article, but rather:

  • use it in your titles
  • use it in your titles
  • use it in your subtitles
  • use it in image captions

All of these things, to make it as clear as possible to users and to Google when they come to your page that this page is about this topic.

So that’s kind of the direction I would take there. I wouldn’t care if Google can get the word number 20,000 or not.

Because if you talk about the word 20,000 and say that is the most important keyword for my page, then you are already doing things wrong.

How Google can understand what a page is about

Mueller ended his answer using the example of a site visitor able to understand what a page is about as a way to understand whether a web page is clear or not.

Response from Mueller:

“You really have to make sure that the (type of) information that tells us what this page is about is as obvious as possible so that when users go there they say yes, I got to the right page, I’ll read it.” what this page has to tell me.

Think like a site visitor

Mueller’s advice on using the different elements of the web page to communicate a page’s topic is good advice. However, if your focus keywords don’t really match the paragraphs and images they describe, it could indicate that the webpage may not be relevant to the focus keyword after all.

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Second, conceptualizing SEO questions in terms of a site visitor’s reaction to a page is a useful way to explore the answers.

When in doubt, don’t ask how Google might understand or react to a page, but instead try to see it as a user, as this is often how Google understands the page.

If a user can find an answer on the page, Google should be able to understand that the page also contains the answer.

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Mueller says where to put the keywords on a page

Watch Google’s John Mueller answer the question at around 5:15 minutes:

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