What does it do?
Determine whether a website makes appropriate use of keywords: including them in content and emphasising them using appropriate technologies.
Why is it important?
One of the most crucial elements of Search Engine Optimisation is ensuring the website uses appropriate quality content with good use of titles, headings, links and other emphasis based around the desirable keywords. This test can determine whether this is being done, and suggest what sections if any require improvement.
How is it measured?
Sitebeam creates a list of possible keywords for the site, based on the products, services and locations specified for the website. You can review these under Site Settings > Test configuration.
Each page in the website is analysed to see whether it contains any of these keywords. Matching keywords are then ranked on the Summary screen in descending order.
What is “Emphasis”?
Emphasis is our measure of how well emphasised a given keyword is to search engines. For example, placing a keyword in the Title of page, or in Headings means that keyword is more strongly emphasised than the same text in say a page’s footer.
The emphasis measure accounts for the position of text (higher in a page is better), what tags it is placed inside, the order and proximity of the words (e.g. when matching “web design London”, an exact match is slightly preferable to “web design in London” or “London, where we offer web design”).
Are similar words tested?
No. Sitebeam only checks for exact matches to words, and doesn’t understand plurals or similar forms (e.g. “shop” won’t also match “shopping”. Therefore you should consider providing variations in your keywords to accommodate for this.
Automatically detecting similar words is extremely difficult (as we run tests in every conceivable language) but is something we are working on in the future.
- The plain text of the page is examined. Alternative text and other ‘invisibe’ text is included.
- Each potential keyword list is searched for, and ranked.
- Words do not have to be in order to match, but the closer they are to the original order the higher they rank. For example, a search for “web design” would match “We design for the web”, but not as highly as “We do web design”. If words a very far apart (e.g. in separate paragraphs) they rank very poorly in comparison.
- Matches inside Headings and the page Title are ranked higher.
- The combination of these factors is the “Emphasis” measure, shown beside each keyword. A high Emphasis usually means the keyword appears frequently, prominently, and in a similar order.
If you don’t specify keywords to test for, this test returns no score. You can specify keywords when you create a website, or by viewing an existing report, and going to Site Settings > Test configuration and filling in the list of Keywords.
How to improve this score
- Ensure the list of keywords under Site Settings is appropriate. See Choosing keywords.
- Ensure your content is representative of what you are aiming for with your keywords. If you wish to score highly for a given keyword, your site should at least mention it. The more competitive and important the keyword, the more often it should be used, and the more heavily it should be emphasised. See also the Headings test, Search results test and Links test.
How to use this test effectively
This test is invaluable for Search Engine Optimisation. If you have a poor score, you should review the findings in depth and implement the recommendations (see How to improve this score). Once you have a reasonable score, check this test regularly as you update content, to ensure it is improving over time (new content should be better optimised for search engines, not worse).