Optimizing Web-Sites for High Search Engine Ranking Part 2 - Essential Elements of Web-Site Optimization

Crux of search engine optimization (SEO) process is to look at a web-site from the viewpoint of a search engine robot and make necessary changes in its structure and content so that relevance count of concerned web-page becomes high for given keywords.

The big question - how does a search robot measures relevance ? Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer as search engines not only keep exact search algorithm as closely guarded secret but also make frequent changes in the algorithm to outguess SEO experts. Besides, there are clear differences in approach among various search engines on measurement of relevance.

Nevertheless, there are general guidelines that can help a skilled SEO Expert to place a web-site at reasonably high rank. However, any claim of guaranteed top rank placement should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Relevance Measurement

We know high rank in search engine depends upon high relevance. Now, what does relevance depend upon ?

There is a huge body of literature and expert opinions on this topic - sufficient to confuse any newcomer. However, there is general agreement among SEO experts on importance of following two major points:
  1. Placement of right keywords at strategic areas

  2. Link popularity and theme

In this article, we shall concentrate on keyword placement only, leaving link popularity for a future issue of Faida.

Keyword Placement

Search engine robots measure relevance of a web-page by breaking it into few strategic areas and then look for presence of given keywords in these areas. The keywords found are given weights based on their frequency and prominence.

Some of the strategic places in a web-page are:
  • Header Area

    • Title tag

    • Meta Description tag

    • Meta Keywords tag

  • Body Area

    • Visible Text

    • Headings

    • Link Text

    • Alt Text

  • Footer Area

    • presence of Keywords towards the bottom

Keyword Measures

After selecting strategic areas within web-page for chosen keywords, next task is to determine following measures for each keyword:
  • Frequency

  • Prominence

  • Weight

In the optimization process - one needs to tune these measures suitably for achieving good ranking.


Frequency is a measure of extent of use or how often a keyword appears in a particular area or whole web-page. For example let us examine following title :
<title>Submersible Pumps - Directory of Pump Manufacturers in Haryana </title>
The Keyword 'Submersible Pump' appears only once in the title tag area - so its frequency is 1 and frequency of keyword 'Pump' is 2 for obvious reason.


Prominence is a measure of relative importance of a keyword within a given tag area and its calculation is based on how close to the start of a tag the keyword appears. <title>Submersible Pumps - Directory of Pump Manufacturers in Haryana </title> For example, in above example - the keyword 'Submersible Pump' has a prominence of 100% in title tag.

Generally speaking, closer a keyword appears towards the beginning of any page element (Title, Meta Description, Meta Keywords, visible text, ALT area etc.) better is its relevance count in the web-page.


Keyword weight is a percentage of appearance of a given keyword in a tag area in comparison to all words in that tag area or whole web-page.

So, the weight of keyword submersible pump will be calculated as follows:

No of words in keyword 'submersible pump' = 2
Total no of words in title tag (including keyword) = 8

Weight of the keyword 'Submersible Pump' within title tag =

(2/8) * 100 = 25%

It may be argued that higher the weight of a particular keyword in a page, the higher the search engine ranking of the page for that keyword. However, repeating a keyword too often to increase its weight is considered unethical by search engines. Such act to confuse a search engine robot is called 'spam' and concerned web-site may get penalized for spamming.


Optimization of web-site for search engines requires that you select right keywords for your web-site, place them strategically across your web-pages and then tune-up various keyword-related measures suitably. Once web-pages are optimized - next task is to submit them to major search engines.

Happy and Productive Surfing

Dr. Amit K Chatterjee

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Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 6, Issue 19 ; December 30' 2005

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at amit@infobanc.com )

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