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Anyway, what I'm wondering is - after reading some materials on it and browsing this board some, what's my best bet as far as optimizing keywords goes? I'm thinking about making a list of 20-30 main keywords we'd like to rank on and putting them throughout the text on the site (obviously keeping it relevant). Right now we seem to be kind of scattered, so I was thinking that was the best bet. Maybe use at least 5 words once or twice on any given page?
The site also has a nice linking system with the intent to make 'related links' sections on the bottom of each page - waste of time if there are already a main and side navigation? We have our side navigation set up in terms of the services we provide, a bottom and top "main" navigation, as well as a rather in depth site map and no broken links.
Not looking to do overkill here so looking to draw a line in the sand and could use some help doing so :)
There are several ways to find these KW phrases.
1. Use the automated tools that are available. Check out the charter of this forum, and you'll find links to a few good, free tools.
2. Check out your competitors. What phrases are they optimizing for?
3. As you're already planning on, use your own knowledge of your industry.
4. Take a look at your logs. It's the best way to get a feel for what people are searching for and how.
As far as optimizing your site, pay special attention to your the title element, and your anchor text (link text). Those are the two most important factors of on page optimization.