One of the very first steps toward optimizing your website for killer search engine rankings is choosing the right keywords. But it’s easy to get carried away and start “keyword stuffing” – and that’s a big no-no.

Many beginners think that to get a site ranked in the search engines, it’s necessary to include all their target keywords in their home page copy and META tags. This is far from true. By trying to include all your key search phrases on your home page, not only will your copy sound clumsy, your META tags will look spammy as well. This is the opposite of optimization.

Instead, focus your home page on 2-3 slightly broader keywords that describe your website on a higher level. Then optimize your articles and product pages for more-specific terms. For instance, if you run a site about pets, try optimizing your home page for keywords like “pet advice” or “online pet help.” Save your “dog,” “cat,” and “blue-fronted Amazon” keywords for pages about those specific topics.

[Ed. Note: You can get more little-known secrets to staying on the search engines’ good side at ETR’s 5 Days in July Internet Business Building Conference.

And keep reading ETR for more search engine optimization Dos and Don’ts from Alexis Siemon, ETR’s Search Engine Marketing Specialist.]

After graduating from Florida State University in 1997, Alexis got started in the golden age of the Internet marketing industry working agency-side where she performed everything from search engine optimization (SEO) to web analytics to media buying for several clients. She then took her expertise client-side managing SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) efforts, as well as other print and interactive marketing initiatives for companies in the financial and software industries.