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How Google analyzes the top keywords on your website

Google recently filed a patent application that deals with the keywords that Google finds on your web pages.

Google's new patent filing describes a way for website owners to view the top phrases that Google assigned to their website. The patent shows that Google finds the most important keywords on a website with a phrase-based indexing system and it describes a method that could allow website owners to add additional related keywords.

How does Google find the top keywords of your website?

All major search engines index web pages based on the individual words that they find on the page. If certain words and phrases appear together on the same page, search engines assign a topic that is related to these words to the page.

For example, the words "Paris" and "Hilton" are associated with a woman instead of a city and a hotel, the words "Tiger" and "Woods" are associated with golf.

Google's patent application indicates that Google might plan to tell you what they believe are the top keywords for your website and let you suggest changes to these phrases.

How can Google find the relation between words?

Google has billions of web pages in its index. If Google finds that many web pages contain both the word "Paris" and the word "Hilton" then Google might assume that these keywords are related. The other words on these pages could give Google a hint that this special word combination is about a woman.

Words that frequently appear very close to each other could get a tighter connection. Google has a lot of algorithms that allow them to calculate the relation between different words.

What does this mean for your website?

Google does not allow you to suggest your keywords through a form yet. That means that you must use other methods to tell Google for which keywords you want to be listed on Google's result pages. That's why search engine optimization is so important.

Here are some things that you can do to show search engines that your site is relevant to a special topic:

Use a meaningful site architecture
Use a logical system to organize your website content. Create content sections that deal with different parts of your main topic and make sure that everything that is related to your topic is mentioned on your web pages.

Make sure that your web pages are put in the right categories on your website and that it's easy to find the different categories.

Create web pages that use different relevant search terms
If you want to get high rankings for the keyword "shoes" then it's not enough to mention the keyword "shoes" on your website.

You must also use related keywords such as "sneakers", "boots", "sandals", "footwear", etc. to show Google that your website is relevant to the general topic.

Find out why other pages rank higher than yours
If you ever asked yourself why another page has been ranked higher than yours although you perfectly optimized your pages for your search terms then you should analyze the inbound links of the top ranked pages.

The number and the authority of inbound links are important. However, it's also important that the links come from semantically and topically related pages.

Don't focus on a single keyword when optimizing your pages. Modern search engine algorithms require you to create a website that has been optimized for many different but related search terms.

Optimize different pages of your website for different but related keywords to get the best possible rankings in Google and other important search engines.

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March 2009 search engine articles