Excerpts from my latest article at Practical eCommerce: “SEO Keywords: ‘Red Roses’ vs. ‘Roses Red’.”

Contrary to Shakespeare’s assertion of roses, a keyword by any other name would not smell – or rank – as sweet. Search engines are code-driven, logic-based pieces of software and hardware that know and do what they’re programmed to do: rank data gathered from crawling web sites according to specific algorithms against searchers’ queries. Those algorithms based on keyword relevance prefer exact matches between keywords and search queries. As a result, a site attempting to drive sales on the phrase “red roses” will not rank as sweet if it uses the phrase “roses red” across its pages.

Search engines are picky, and consequently so is search engine optimization. Small details matter. If two web pages look the same, the typical human will assume they are the same page. But if those two pages have different URLs thanks to tracking parameters, they are not the same page to a search engine. If a bad URL renders an error page the typical human will understand that that page can’t be found. But if the error page serves up a 200 OK server header status instead of a 404 File Not Found status, search engines assume that the URL is not bad at all and hold on to it like a dog to a bone. This is really picky stuff bordering on annoying for most marketers. However just as using the exact keyword matters, all of these picky elements matter in the world of SEO.

Read the article in full at Practical eCommerce »

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