A simple and inexpensive way to start your search engine optimization (SEO) off right would be by concentrating on on-page optimization for “organic” search rankings. These techniques will best prepare your website for search engine spiders to index your content.
Unique Page Titles
Write a unique title for each page of your website. Each title should include no more than 10 keywords pertaining to that page’s content. You can use commas or hyphens to separate words and ignore the filler. This should go between your <TITLE> tags in your HTML code.
Page headings are recognized by search engines as reflecting your page content and should contain important keywords describing each page. Try to avoid using images as section headers and focus on text content that is keyword-rich. Utilize the HTML heading tag hierarchy (<h1>,<h2>,<h3>…) to give your page key headings.
Image Alternative Text
Increase your website’s accessibility and help search engines decipher the content of your images by making sure your images utilize the ALT=”” attribute. Make sure each image has a descriptive keyword or phrase. This also helps to index your site for popular services such as Google Image Search.
Hyperlink Keywords and Titles
Drop all those links that say “click here” and replace them with more useful keywords and phrases. For example, “Click here for free coupons” is much better served as “Get free coupons for groceries.” This technique will clue-in search engines as to the important content that you are linking to. Additionally, you can add the TITLE=”” attribute to each anchor tag (hyperlink) with another keyword or phrase similar to the image alt text method.
A sitemap file will give search engines a great map of your website’s priority content and hierarchy. A few free tools are available to help you create an XML sitemap file which you can directly submit to all major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. Otherwise, simply place your “sitemap.xml” file in your website’s root directory.
Now it’s time to get the word out about your website and promote your services. Thousands of people are searching for businesses and products online and your goal is to get your website noticed for as little cost as possible. Tapping into the highly active and traffic-rich web communities, such as social networking and sharing websites, can drastically increase your website visitors.
Social communities are taking over the web with tremendously active international networks of potential visitors and buyers. Blogs, bookmarking sites, forums and communities offer several ways to advertise, personalize, tag and categorize your content so it is accessible to millions or viewers. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Reddit are all big names that you should take the time to explore. Make the effort to listen, comment and contribute all the while creating more links and “buzz” for your business. You also have the option of giving your visitors the chance to share your website content among these communities without ever having to leave your website with tools such as AddThis.
Keep your website content fresh! Give your visitors a reason to return often as well as share your website with others. Integrate a blog or create one using popular services such as WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr. If you don’t want to create your own, consider writing or editing articles for another popular blog. Show your expertise by sharing tips, reviews, tutorials and more.
Promote your Media
Transform your website content into additional mediums and increase your visitors and accessibility. Video tutorials and audio reviews are both examples of content that is searched thousands of times each day on networks like YouTube. It is also possible to optimize your content and increase your rank among searches on these types of websites.
Submit to Directories
Directories are simply categorized listings for websites that can help get you additional traffic. There are several free directories to which you can submit your website as well as respected and paid business directories like Yahoo! Directory, About.com and Business.com.
Ask business partners, clients and vendors to post your website link on other reputable websites and benefit from the additional traffic and rankings boost. Major search engines consider the number of incoming links to your website as an important factor in relevance and quality. Find other websites in your “niche” and send a request to the owner or webmaster for a reciprocal link, but make sure to express the benefits of your trade for each party. Remember that links from trusted and quality websites (see Google’s PageRank) are worth more than your average link and can help boost your own website’s rankings.