A-R of Search Engine Optimisation
a) - Focus on keyphrases of 2 or 3 words rather than a single keyword as it is practically impossible to optimise your website for one word such as 'business,' plus the fact that even if you do manage to be found you are receiving untargetted customers who are probably looking for a completely different 'business.' So be specific, focus on for example, what you do and where you do it, i.e. south yorkshire artist.
b) - Identify the phrases your customers use when they are searching for your products and services. Wordtracker is a useful tool for discovering popular keyphrases. Ask everyday people too. Include variations of these words, such as plural versions and different combinations. There will be many competitors for the most popular keyphrases so it may be harder to get to the top of the search engines. Alternatively aim at the second or third most popular terms and make a niche for yourself.
c) - Optimise different pages for different keyphrases. Allocate no more than 5 or 6 keyphrases to each page. The search engines are aiming to identify the meaning of the page content, and pages with a narrow focus will rank better than those with a wider range of topics. You need to put the chosen keyphrase in the page content as well as in the meta tags and title. Header tags are particularly useful. The title is extremely important, do not waste it by typing 'Home' 'Page 2' or leaving 'Untitled.' Describe the services you offer instead but keep it to less than 80 characters. Try and put the most important phrases 1st in each element of the page ie: top paragraph, header, title, meta tags where possible.
d) - Submit your website to all the free search engines available, then wait a month or 2. Don't keep resubmitting your website as you may get banned altogether, be patient. And don't waste money on 1000s of surplus search engines, stick to the main ones that don't cost a penny ie: Google, MSN, AOL, Lycos, Alta Vista, Hotbot, Yahoo.
e) - Design a site map for your website, listing every page to help search engine spiders index your entire website. Ensure that even if your site is flash based, or entirely image based, that there are plenty of textual links to navigate the site.
f) - Keep adding more content or articles to your website because it improves your importance in the search engines. Think about giving some away some free advice. Try and build web pages that people will find useful and interesting. The content should be keyword rich if possible without being excessively repetitive.
g) - Go to http://validator.w3.org to discover whether your website is W3C compliant (Accessible and browser compatible). Correct any errors and fill in any blank alt tags to aid those with disabilities / poor eye sight. (Use the key words in different combinations in any image ‘ALT’ tags?) Netmechanic.com can tell you whether your website is compatible in every version of a browser, whether your HTML is formatted correctly. Click on 'Free sample.'
h) - Some search engines regard links to your site as important, find out how many people are linking to you at linkpopularity.com. Request relevant link exchanges with sites based on your subject matter and submit your site to online directories to improve your google (PR) page ranking. Check your website regularly for dead links and remove them.
i) - See who's visiting your website via a tracker on your website, it can provide vital information ie: google analytics - Extreme do one of the best free one. Search engines notice if your site is changing and will revisit it more often if it sees new content. An updated website will rank more highly than a static one.
j) - Post signature links to your site on relevant forums. Use links that describe the content of the link (your keyphrases) rather than ' click here' or your company name. Generate reciprocal links with other websites that are of a similar nature, preferably with high (PR) page ranking. Try and include keyphrases that make sense in inbound links, this is particularly powerful.
k) - Also consider pay-per-click such as Google Adwords. It works immediately, whereas optimisation will certainly take several weeks and possibly months to have any effect. Pay-per-click allows you to 'fill in the gaps' because you simply cannot optimise a site for every keyphrase. Monitor your campaign carefully as it can be expensive.
l) - Targetted vs Blanket: If you have a large list of keyphrases, your pages will be found with a broad spectrum of results but they're less likely to be at the top (blanket strategy). If you use a limited number, it increases the density of those few keyphrases and puts them higher up the list (targetted strategy).
m) Add s's - most people search for the plural and the singular is already included.
n) Keyword Density: It doesn't matter how many times keywords appear in the document, only the % (ie: if you just had 3 words 'artist south yorkshire', it has 100% density of the keywords requested)
o) Order of Importance: Title, Page content keyword density, Meta tags
p) Think about restricting your description to 150 characters so it fits on search engine pages. Make it appealing to humans. You can use different descriptions for different pages. Try and include the most important keyphrases for each page if possible.
q) Using web addresses, folder and file names: Try and put keyphrases in urls where possible (a dash is read by robots as a space)
r) Some of these tasks such as link building etc will need to be completed on a weekly / monthly basis, as search engine optimisation is an ongoing process.