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Also, what has your experience been with themes. I have seen sites that deliberately have about 100 hidden pages especially for the purpose of creating a theme. The themes on my sites are usually around 10-20 pages.
I wouldn't worry about 100's of hidden pages, If you can work your keywords in throughout your site, you shouldn't have too many problems establishing a theme.
Eloquent, descriptive title, lots of good content revolving around a theme (with keywords repeated often,) H1 or H2 (both if possible), consistent theme, relevant incoming and outgoing links (some to authority hubs), keywords in alt tags...and ??????????????????
What Brett said about variety in page sizes applies to the overall optimization as well.
Although a theme is established by the content of every page on the site. That same theme is seen differently depending on which page your looking at it from (ie - each page gets its own theme score).
So to answer your question the only thing that I try to do on every page is use the selected keyword(s) in the body text at least once. I try to mix up everything else (ie - keyword weight in the body text, heading tags, metas, etc...). I think this gives you a much better chance of AV finding something that they like. (And it also keeps you away from any spam filters).
lets say you have 5 key words/phrases (for ease of this reply we will call them k1, k2, k3, k4, k5)
- rank them in order of importance to building the theme: k1, k2, k3,k4, k5
Here's how I would set up the keyword metas:
page1 - k1 k2 k1 k3 k1 k4 k5 - focus k1
page2 - k1 k2 k3 k2 k4 k2 k5 - focus k2
page3 - k1 k3 k2 k3 k4 k3 k5 - focus k3
page4 - k1 k4 k2 k4 k3 k4 k5 - focus k4
and so on without using commas and keeping the repitition to 3 intsances of the focus word/phrase.
As for the title tag I would start it with the focus word and then the other words in order of focus for that page. Title tag would also be kept to 64 to 70 characters as well.
Description would once again start with focus word and include others as well. Focus word should show up twice. Keep to a couple sentences (200 characters).
Body of page is where it gets a little tougher. Focus word up to 8%-10% as close to the top of the page as possible without compromising writing style and flow. Distribute other words 2%-3% throughout the content as well. Number of words is not a real issue here. I've seen pages with 1500 words rank nicely. The only key here is to keep you keywords/phrases closer to the top to feed the spiders that may not read the whole thing.
Also, don't forget text links using keywords to the other pages of the site. In this case the link to the page focused on k3 would use k3 in the link text.
The natural tendency is to want to replicate accross the board whatever is working...However, I'm realizing that this is a bad idea because what is working today will DEFINITELY not be working tommorrow (or in the near future)...So it is necessary to be prepared for this by having sites with different elements and ingredietns...This way, WHEN the algo changes, some of the other index pages that have different elements will have a chance of ranking well. Thanks for the reality check, Seth and Brett!
In the meantime, is this a relatively complete list of "ingredients" to keep in mind when optimizing pages? Any other suggestions?
Eloquent, descriptive title, lots of good content revolving around a theme (with keywords repeated often,) H1 or H2 with keyword at the top of the page(both if possible), consistent theme, relevant incoming and outgoing links (some to authority hubs), keywords in alt tags, keyword as first word in title tag, keyword bolded near the top of the page, keyword italicized near the top of the page, keyword sprinkled throughout your paragraphs, and keyword in a link bolded. Also keyword in the description tag.