There’s a ton of information out on the web on how to optimize a web site. Unfortunately, 99.9% of websites still lack any optimization. I don’t classify myself as an SEO expert, though I believe I have a thorough understanding of the elements involved in ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for search engines.
When my friends ask for advice, I give them the basics:
- Register your site with Google Webmasters to ensure it’s being indexed and doesn’t have issues. This will point out enhancements you should do – like utilizing sitemaps and robots files.
- Research key phrases that searchers utilize to look for products and services that you provide. One example is a friend who runs a text messaging company… but lacked the term mobile marketing in his site’s content. This isn’t an exception – it’s pretty common!
- Understanding where to utilize keywords… from the domain name, URL or post slug, page title, h1 tag, subheadings, bolded text, etc. as well as ensuring keywords are used multiple times within the content.
- Recognizing that strong keyword-rich links back to your site will dramatically increase the ranking of your site for those keywords. A great backlink strategy can simply be participating in conversations and comments across other industry blogs.
Perhaps the most important element is simply writing great content and writing it often. You can’t win a raffle if you don’t buy a ticket. The same goes for search engines – you can’t rank for a search engine result if you don’t have any content that’s relevant to the search. Buy more tickets and your chances of being found dramatically increase. That math is pretty simple.
Some industries and keywords are so competitive that it does require a lot of investment – in expertise, time, content and backlinking strategies. If you want more in-depth tinkering, I’d recommend joining SEOmoz.
At minimum, read through SEOmoz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors to fully understand the impact that simple page elements can have on your search engine ranking. There are more SEO articles there as well!