Our search person at work insists that a Web page can only be optimized for one target keyword. He says that if you try to optimize for more than one, the page loses keyword density and won’t rank as well. He was saying that if we had 3 keywords, we should create 3 pages to catch all searches.
What do you think works better, or would be more efficient?
It is very possible to optimize a page for only 1 keyword/phrase, but not always practical. I generally aim for 3 or 4.
Most web sites have hundreds of keywords and phrases they are targeting but not the ability (or content!) to create a page for each one. Pages that are focused on a single keyword can often look spammy or lack quality if the content is too thin, particularly if a keyword is repeated too often.
Also, the home page of a site is usually the most important in terms of ranking potential, link popularity and Google PageRank. Just optimizing the home page for a single keyword or phrase is a waste of valuable keyword real estate!
When it comes to targeting multiple keywords, I always recommend choosing keywords/phrases that are closely related, use variations or perhaps word stemming, for example:
24 kt yellow gold
yellow gold chains
So you could easily target these 3 individual terms with the single sentence:
“We sell the finest quality 24 kt yellow gold chains imported from Italy”
Therefore targeting them a few times on a single page would be a breeze. But each case is different in SEO and you should weigh up all the options before deciding on a way forward.
A lot will depend on the competitiveness of your keywords, how many other pages are optimized for the same keyword/s, how many links point to the page, the content on your page and the amount of text used (impacting your keyword density).