Search engines read words. This simple sentence is so important we’re going to repeat it. Search engines read words. Another way to say this is page content is very important in getting a high search engine ranking.

No matter how it is said, it means that if you want to come up high on the search results you need to have words on your pages.

According to search engine gurus, for best rankings there should be between 200 and 600 words per page for the search engine to index. This text needs to contain your keywords/phrases. That’s just common sense. But that doesn’t mean just putting your keywords down at the bottom a hundred times. That will get your site flagged as a spammer. You need to work your keywords naturally into the content so they are visible for the search engines and easily read and understood by the reader.

It is important to note here that search engines only read the text content of a website. Words displayed in graphics or as part of a flash presentation cannot be seen by the search engines. While these do display your message to a person visiting your site they are invisible to search engines. Using graphics to display words not only prevents search engines from reading your site, it also effectively blocks your content from being read by “reading” programs used by the visually impaired and from people who have images turned off.

Only the text content of a website can be seen and indexed by the search engines.

Only the text content of a website can be seen and indexed by the search engines.

This sounds easy. You just use your keywords a lot when writing your content. But remember that when you’re making your content keyword rich, it still needs to read correctly for a real person.

Here are some ways to make your pages a quick, easy and interesting read, while also making them search engine friendly:

  • Your keywords/phrases should be used in the first sentence of the page, as the first words if possible.
  • Use at least 200 words per page.
  • Don’t try and use all your keywords on one page. It is smarter to optimize each page of the site for one or two words and spread the keywords over different pages.
  • Use your keywords/phrases as a natural part of your content. Just be sure you use them.
  • Use keywords in your bullet items when you’re making your point. This is not only good for the search engines, readers often scan the bullet points first before reading the rest of the content.
  • Highlight (bold) keywords in sentences where applicable
  • Use keywords in your hypertext links
  • Keywords should also be used in the page title (Read our post on Page Titles)


Search engines read words. Keywords are what bring those visitors to the website. Good writing and useful information are what makes a site “sticky” (holds the visitor’s attention). Good writing using keywords will not only bring visitors to your site but keep them there as well.

In the next post we will discuss how to use keywords to make your images work for you in increasing your search engine visibility.