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I make valid (X)HTML documents that are also semantically correct. I try to use all tags as they were intended and this has yielded good results as far as my placement in Google and other search engines.

What I've been doing for the last few years is using Google Adsense as a sort of barometer to ascertain how well Google understands my content. Normally, I place one Google ad at the bottom of the page and wait for it to change. If the ad reflects the topic of my site and the text on any given page, I assume that I've done my job well and just remove the ad.

I'm wondering, does anyone else use this strategy .. and has it also worked for you? I realize that my ranking depends on many factors, but making sure the crawler could understand my pages seemed like the first battle to win.

Am I just throwing salt over my shoulder by doing this?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

My experience of Adsense ads is that they can change quite a bit over a course of time, also, sometimes there's simply not good ads to match the content certain page, or, Google will latch onto a certain word on a page and there's so many ads on that topic it ignores what the page is really about.

I think a better barometer to do the same thing would be to search for the page, then choose what pops up when you look for related pages.

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A better strategy might be to enter your web page URL into Google's Keyword Tool. It will generate keyword data based on your page's content. The keywords are meant to be used for AdWords, but it'll give you a good idea of what Google thinks your page is about. As a bonus, you can also use it to target the most used keyword phrases when you're creating new content.

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