While there are 5 major search engines, it behooves one to concentrate on pleasing the more demanding Google first. If you adhere to Google's guidelines you will be more than qualified for good placement in the other major search engines. 62% of the nation uses Google as their primary search engine. Of the 137 billion estimated total searches performed in the U.S. last year, 85 billion were done on Google, followed by a distant second with Bing, Yahoo, MSN, ASK and AOL. Information provided by CrunchBase.
Discover Where You Stand
First thing you need to do when developing an SEO plan is to find out where you currently stand in the search engines. Full Blown Studio suggests that you keep an eye on your page rank with tools like Alexa and the Google toolbar. It's also important to check your referrer log regularly to track where your visitors are coming from and the search terms they're using to find your site. Both businesses and individuals are employing SEO to manage their reputations on search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO best practices are designed to improve your visibility, your image, and your profits.
You should be conscious of placing appropriate keywords throughout every aspect of your site: your titles, content, URLs, and image names. Think about your keywords as search terms — how would someone looking for information on this topic search for it? The title tag and headline are the two most important locations to place keywords.
WARNING: Putting an excess amount of keywords on your site will get you blacklisted. Search engine spiders are programmed to ignore sites guilty of "keyword-stuffing." Be strategic in your keyword use. You want to come across as the foremost, preeminent place to look for this subject matter.
Link Back to Yourself
There is no more basic strategy for SEO than the integration of internal links back to your site -- it is an easy way to boost traffic to individual pages. You should make it standard practice to link back to your archives frequently when creating new content. Full Blown Studio advises that you also make the anchor text search-engine-friendly. The more relevant the keywords are that link to your page, the more likely that page is to appear in search results when users search for those keywords.
Create a Sitemap
Adding a site map — a page listing and linking to all the other pages on your site — makes it easier for spiders (and visitors) to find pages on your site. There are 2 different types of sitemaps. One is a visual sitemap with clickable links to your pages, like a table of contents in the front of a book. The other is solely for search engines — this sitemap is generally written in XML programming language.
Search Friendly URLs
There is a small benefit to making your URLs more friendly by naming them with concise keywords. For instance, it's easy to understand what you might find at 'www.westcoasttire.com/tires/pirelli'. There's no clue what you might find at 'www.westcoasttire.com/news.cfm?id=2'. However it's been proven that even the second URL scheme is readable and indexed by search engines without fail based on the content found on the page.
Avoid Flash Content
Flash might look pretty, but it does nothing for your SEO. According to the Search Engine Journal, "Frames, Flash and AJAX all share a common problem â€“ you can't link to a single page... Don't use Frames at all and use Flash and AJAX sparingly for best SEO results. Search engines can't read inside Flash content (or Images for that matter) so all they see is a big blank spot on your page. If you absolutely MUST have Flash on your website, place text and navigation links below the fold. Images can have ALT tags which tell search engines what the image is depicting (see below).
Spiders can only search text, not text within images — which is why you need to make the words associated with your images as descriptive as possible. Start by adding an "ALT" tag which allows you to include a keyword-rich description for every image on your site. The visible text around your images is valuable for SEO. Full Blown Studio advises adding captions to all your pictures and being descriptive with the text in immediate physical proximity to your images.
Your content needs to rotate — keep it fresh by updating your content regularly. We can't emphasize this enough — it is crucial for increasing traffic. 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. One way to ensure that your site continues to gain fresh content on a regular basis is to integrate a blog. Dedicate a minimum of 30 minutes a week to blog about something. A blog is an excellent way to reach out to your clients, create more opportunities for internal and external linking, while giving your site a more personal voice.
A blog is just one element of social media distribution, an important SEO strategy according to SEO Consult. You should be distributing links to fresh content on your site across appropriate social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Whether displayed on your company's account, or recommended, re-tweeted, and re-distributed by someone else, this strategy exponentially muliplies the number of opportunities where visitors can find your website.
An easy way to direct more traffic to your site is by developing relationships with other sites. Full Blown Studio suggests that you personally ask the webmasters of well-respected sites if they'll include a reciprocal link to your site on theirs. Be sure to return the favor — create a page dedicated to link sharing. Make certain that your link partner has a good reputation. We warn against getting involved with a "link farm" whose bad SEO habits could bring you down.