Search Engine Optimization (SEO), one component of search engine marketing (SEM), is the process of fortifying a website so it is more likely to appear in a high position when users conduct a search with keywords related to the website's offerings.
Here are a few basic SEO tricks:
1. Find out how well you rank online. You can do this at Alexa.com, which will tell you what position your website holds against all others. The goal will be to make that number lower.
It may be helpful to download the Google Toolbar, which gives you the "PageRank" score for websites. Pages are scored on a scale of 1 to 10. The goal will be to make this number higher on your website.
You can also check the Google PageRank Checker, which provides Google PR, visitor figures and numbers on related links.
2. Submit your site to search engines. Do it personally; avoid "submission services" or software. You only need to do it once. Here is Google's submission page.
3. Place relevant keywords in the title tag so search spiders will know what your page is about. The title tag is the text that appears at the top of the browser when a webpage loads. MarketingVOX's title tag is "MarketingVOX - The voice of online marketing."
Avoid stuffing the title tag with too many keywords, or making it too long. A good rule of thumb: ensure title tag text also appears in the body of the page.
4. Use your archives. When you update your site, link back to relevant stories from the past, using equally relevant anchor text. Don't go overboard; the trick is to give users more information, not overwhelm them with hyperlinks.
Anchor text — the hyperlinked words that point to another page — are a way of telling search engines that page is about those words. The more relevant words point to a page, the more likely that page is to appear in search results when users run a query with those terms.
5. Cultivate relationships with quality websites in your industry. When well-ranked websites link to you (with hopefully relevant anchor text!), this tells spiders your page is important to users seeking information about your area of expertise.
6. Avoid relationships with link farms, people who offer to pay for links to their websites, or other sites that you don't want associated with your own. Google conducts occasional sweeps and penalizes destinations of ill repute by tanking their ranking.
7. Use alt tags on images to "tell" search engine spiders what the images are. This will help them index your pictures and better serve readers with text-only web browsers.
8. Got a big site? Build a site map. A site map can help spiders crawl pages more quickly. The fewer clicks necessary to get to a page on your website, the better. Small site? Use a nav bar.
9. Occasionally embolden useful terms on a page. Once or twice is fine; too much bold can irritate readers. Worse still, it might look to Google like keyword abuse.
The best sites for users, and consequently for search engines, are full of oft-updated, useful information about a given service, product, topic or discipline. Avoid cutting corners or exploring "black-hat" SEO options, which could result in lower rankings over time or even a site ban from search engines.
Updating often, making content readable and easy to find, and developing productive online relationships are enough to improve destination relevance significantly over time.
Tips were inspired in part by SEO Writer, Ezau and Search Engine Land.