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Well, first let me congratulate everyone who participates here on building what has to be the finest webmaster community on the Internet. 'Je ne rien' when it comes to being a webmaster, but thanks to the discussions here my learning curve has improved immensely-- and I really want to thank everyone for that.
My question centers around optimizing for keywords. Simply put, is it possible to optimize efficiently for keywords that aren't directly related, but aren't completely unrelated either? For example (and this has nothing to do with my site), could a body attain decent rankings for the terms 'gardening' and 'cooking' on the same site?
The problem stems from the fact that I don't know if it's the keyword density for a particular page that's paramount, or that keyword's density throughout the entire site. In my earlier example you might have half the site devoted to gardening, and half to cooking, and while each section may by optimized to the gills your site's keyword density would be only half of what you'd find in a site dedicated to only one of those activities.
Thanks for reading,
Of course you can optimise for multiple keywords...
I would say though it is always beneficial if all keywords (pages) are of the same subject, i.e. a site on gardening. But, as long as your site has structured links internally (with correct anchor text), and lots of well written, balanced copy (don't worry too much about density), keywords in the right areas on the right pages (tags), and your site is linked to from authoritative sites - then you'll do good!
Remember it's just about organising ytour site so it is thematic and then knowing where to place the keywords.
Comprendez?! Mucho goodio!
You can have multiple subjects on a site and google will index each page accordingly. But to rank well, you need on theme links in (internal or external).
As for density, the single page may theoretically rank well in up to 10 - 20 different keywords, as density above 10% for each keyword may cause over-optimisation penalty, though exact value is difficult to say, and density below 5% can't be considered high.
But of course, recommended number of keywords per page is about 3-5. Try to stuff more of them in title tag, without affecting its language style, and without exceeding 65 characters of length.
The other hand, page sometimes need no density to rank well, I have seen pages ranking in top 10 just because of one outbound link to page with great content and keyword phrase in anchor text. In not ultra-competitive keyword, though.
Question for wizard: Is it a good idea to have outbound links to sites that don't reciprocate? Or does it even matter? The party line, of course, is that having a bunch of non reciprocating outbound links screws up your PR, which in turn screws up your chances of ever acheiving decent SE results. But I've always wondered if that isn't the whole story.
The party line, of course, is that having a bunch of non reciprocating outbound links screws up your PR, which in turn screws up your chances of ever acheiving decent SE results.
Speaking directly to your question of non-reciprocating links - here's my story. About 18 months ago I took my one page of recip links and turned it into a mini-directory. I created some categories that did not have any links, so to help those pages I searched out some authority sites for that category and placed them on the page. I didn't even ask for a recip, just placed outbound links so my visitors would have something to look at besides a blank page. Guess what? One of those pages has turned up in the top 10 for 10's of millions of returned pages for a particular search phrase. There is not a single recip on that page. I would call that decent serps. That page is not the only one that has had good results, just the best of the bunch.
Build your site, and your pages, for your visitors! The serps will follow.
In a sense this answers your original question too. The page in my directory that I referenced is 100% not on topic for my regular widgets. It's a category in a directory. Totally irrelevant to anything I normally do. But it IS optimized for the keyword(s) for the directory category.
Welcome to WebmasterWorld!
level 1 pages
growing things in your garden to cook
cooking things from your garden
barbecue - the real garden cook
level 2 pages
gardening herbs and spices
cooking vegetables from your garden
how to barbecue things you grew in your garden
how to grow carrots
how to cook carrots
There is a link on the home page that points to the directory, and in the site map as well. But those links only point to the first page of the directory. Pages within the directory are obviously interlinked where appropriate.
The home page of the site does not reinforce any themes or categories in the directory.