First of all, Google and most other search engines do NOT look at the META keyword tag. Many people say not to bother with it, but I use the META keyword tag and I place my keyword phrases in it. Here’s why. I use this tag to help me remember what keyword phrases I am optimizing the page for. You’ll find this to be a big help later when you have a lot of pages and have forgotten what keyword phrases you were trying to optimize the page for in the first place.
For the META description tag, keep your most important keyword phrase near the beginning of the sentence and make this tag a full sentence.
Do NOT use bold or italic keyword phrases in the first sentence on the page, but DO use your most important keyword phrase in the first sentence, but not the first word.
By all means, use your keyword phrases in your headings, (H1, H2 and H3).
Start putting keyword phrases in bold in the second paragraph.
Put your keywords or keyword phrases in italics a few times AFTER the first usage of the keyword. Never let the first usage of your keyword phrases be in Italics.
Use keywords in ALT tags.
It’s very important to get other sites to use your most important keyword phase for your page in any inbound links. Of course, you are not in control of how other sites link to you, but work hard to get them to use your keyword phrase. Most sites will link to your home page, so give them the most important keyword phrase you are optimizing your home page for.
When you are linking from any page back to your home page, use your most important keyword phrase in the link. When your home page is linking to any other page, use the keyword phrase in that link that the other page is being optimized for.
Don’t plan on getting much (if any) help by putting keywords or keyword phrases in your left Nav panel. Google likes keywords in full sentences. Putting the sentence in a paragraph is even better. By the way, a sentence according to Google is three or more words starting with a capital letter and ending with a period or other punctuation. Stop words such as:
“I,” “a,” “the,” and “of” do NOT count as one of your three words.
Follow these rules and your Web site will make a big jump in its relevancy for your keyword phrases. Following these rules will NOT boost your PageRank.
To be #1 or even in the top 10 on the search engines your relevance for a given keyword phrase is much more important than your PageRank.
For example, you could have a PageRank of 10 and still not show up in the top 100 sites when someone is searching for “peanut butter sandwiches” unless of course, your page is optimized for (and has a high relevance for) the phrase “peanut butter sandwiches.”
One final point: Use your keyword phrase in an H1, H2 or H3 headline followed by a keyword-rich paragraph and then repeat this with another H1, H2 or H3 headline and another keyword-rich paragraph. And of course repeat this again.
Use this format in addition following the 10 rules above and you will have a page with a high relevance for your keyword phrases.
Don’t try to optimize a page for more that two or three keyword phrases and always optimize for keyword phrases and NOT keywords. After all, the keyword is included within the keyword phrase. Most people don’t search for just one word any more anyway.