SEO & Web Best Practices
Victoria Kuhn
by Victoria Kuhn
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Tag Cloud and Search Engine Optimization

07/07/2010
Tag Cloud and Search Engine Optimization

Recently, one of our clients asked us to help them learn the intricacies of organic search. Whew, this is a tall order, generally, and especially when a compressed timeframe is added to the mix. While we generally don’t share our secrets, we offered an SEO 101-type of training series to this VIP client's key staff including several best practice tools, and a Dirigo favorite, the text cloud. So what is a text cloud or tag cloud? Why don't you Google the term and see what you find. And when you come across www.tagcrowd.com check it out.

Basically a text cloud measures the density of single words (not phrases) on a webpage or within a document (see the Gray Matter text cloud on the right hand navigation). It illustrates a visual picture of unique words in varying font sizes. Small connector or modifying words like a, an, the, this, and that are not included in the output by text cloud algorithms.

Now back to SEO 101. As you think about organic search and its component parts (i.e. title and metadata and its relationship to the URL name and a Web site’s user interface/navigation tools), consider text clouding as a quick and dirty way to visualize keyword density. Take your existing Web page content or proposed new content and text cloud the first 400 or so words (i.e. this is the rough number of words that carries the most weight and relevance when the search engines review a page). To earn SEO juice from search engines, seek alignment of your title tag, metadata, and the result of the text cloud (it’s a tad bit more complicated then what we’ve noted but this is a good start).

Why don't you check out your competitors, particularly those that rank highly (or poorly) when searching Google on relevant business terms? Create a text cloud for one of the pages (the first 400 words), view the metadata in the source code from that page, and review for convergence. Now you have greater insight into what your competitors are doing well (or maybe not so well).

If all of this makes you feel a little like James (or Jane) Bond, you are! Live vicariously and check out your competitors in this legal form of competitive intelligence. And at the same time, invest in your title and metadata to build SEO juice and your perspective and current customers will be closer to finding your website. Oh, and that client ... well, after the training they decided to purchase Dirigo services to help them build their organic search juice because search engine optimization is a science to do well and takes a fair bit of experience, patience, and determination.

If you want to learn more about organic search and how Dirigo can help your organization, ring or email us: 207-358-2990 or vkuhn@dirigodev.com. Cheerio!

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