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Search Engine Optimization - Keywords and other meta tags
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Question:I've built a clean web site but it doesn't get ranked in Google very well. In fact, for certain keywords other web sites are ranked higher even though we provide better content for these keywords.
Answer:I did an analysis running a dozen of queries on Google to see how your site ranked and looked at the companies that were ranked #1 (when you were ranked ~ #25).
Traditional reasoning would tell you that you need to add more keywords to your pages. Some tools and web sites will recommend that your keywords should be 1000 characters long. It certainly doesn't hurt to have keywords as long as they are relevant to the content.
Traditional reasoning would also examine your site's other meta tags (in particular the description tag) and find that many of your documents don't have it.
However, in the above mentioned test with 12 queries, most of the time the #1 web site did not have any keywords at all and the description was very short at best (or missing!)
The conclusion is that at least with Google the importance of keywords and meta tags in general is diminishing and the number of pages that link to you is more important. The #1 ranked competition in one case was www.eastman.com - a company that surely gets mentioned in very many articles. According to Alexa, 201 sites link to eastman.com. Compare that to only 20 external sites linking to your site.
If you are not sure what keywords to use or you need more keywords, you may want to try automated tools. Wordtracker is an excellent keyword tool.