Creating unique good quality content will make or break your website. Make sure that your content is on topic, targeted at your niche keywords and you will be on for a winner.
Links let the search engines know how popular a page is, if a page has lots of links to it the search engines will see that there is useful content on this page which people are liking so will rank this higher in the search results. But as links are important it is the quality of links over quantity of links. 1 link for a big major website holds more weight that than 20 links from smaller more less known websites.
Page rank is not everything lower level page ranks can achieve higher in the search results than higher page ranks it depends on keyword matches.
Content freshness adds relevancy to your website, fresh content means new content. Plus creating fresh content also adds more avenues for your website to be picked up by the search engines.
Never, ever, ever use Click Here in your links, always add keywords in your links anchor text. This includes both internal and external links to your website. Search engines use anchor text on links as a good indication of the topic of the page you are linking to.
There is too many websites and too much competition out on the web to focus on single keywords. If you are selling cars you can't just focus your keywords on selling cars you need to focus on the phrase people will search for. So try putting your location in the keyword phrase, this is done by anywhere on your site you have the words selling cars put selling cars in London or even better For Sale BMW Series 3 in London. Having this a number of places on your webpage will show the search engine that this page is focused on selling a certain product in a certain location. This will give you a much higher chance in ranking on the first page on the search engines.
Always make sure that all your images have alt tags. This is because search engines can't read the contents of the image and use the alt tag to understand what is in the image, so this is a good opportunity to add some focused keywords to your page.
The canonicalization tag will tell the search engines that this content is duplicated in another location and to use the URL in the canonicalization tag as the main source of the content. This is normally used on the index page to treat the http://www.domain.com the same as http://domain.com.
Check your internal links to your home page make sure you use a consistent link don't have http://www.domain.com and http://www.domain.com/index.html just use one, I recommend just sticking to http://www.domain.com.
Your page extensions doesn't matter...it doesn't make any difference to your search engine ranking position if you use .html, .aspx or .php, there is no point having it you might as well get rid of it.
Don't use images where you can use text. For example on your navigation bar, yes use images as a background if you have to but any text you put in an image, try taking that out and use CSS to add text to your website.
Search Engines like fresh content and fresh pages, the best way to have this in place is for your website to have a blog and keep it updated regularly. Updating your blog will add new pages to your site which will increase the entry points to your site. Updating a blog will also tell the search engines that this page is new fresh content. For blogs I recommend installing wordpress as its free and gives you massive amount of flexibility for your website.
If you think you understand how search engines work so you think you know some tricks to rank highly like putting keywords everywhere...it won't work. You can not out smart the algorithm, they have been around for a long time and know all the tricks. In your content try to use natural language if you are talking about a subject you will natural add the targeted keywords. Search engines use keyword density as a good indication for keyword spam. If they see a keyword percentage too high you will be penalised for it.
Using software that blocks your domain ownership from everyone could alert the search engines that you are a spammer.
Linking out will encourage others to link to you.
SEO is not a one hit wonder, you can't just do a few title tags changes, add a few keywords and hope everything will work out ok. SEO changes everyday you need to keep at it, adding more quality content. Use your blog...get new posts on your website and try to post at least 3 times a week but don't let the quality drop. If you can't create 3 quality posts a week then do less don't post because to get more pages out, only post quality.
Posting XML sitemaps to the search engines will let the search engines know that these pages are here and they will add your pages to the queue to be crawled. Make sure this is updated at least once a month so they are made aware of your newest pages.
If you can get a link on big websites such as digg or stumbleupon your pages will get crawled quickier. This is because search engines crawl these website more often than smaller websites. Search engines will see your link and follow through to your website and then will crawl your website. But these social media sites know this is a trick some website owners use so don't spam these websites with your links. The best thing to do is try to get your visitors to post your links.
Use the header tags correctly, these show the search engines the order of importance of headlines on your page. Obviously h1 being most important to h6 least important. Try to put your targeted keyword phrase in these headers.
More important then header tags is the page title tag this is the text that will be displayed on the search engine results, try to direct this at your keyword phrase.
If you notice a page is performing well in the search engine don't duplicate the content. Search engine will see this is duplicate content and will penalise you for it.
Don't try to put too much content on the page no more than 2000 words this will weaken your targeted keywords and you will do better to split this up and put it on multiple pages.
Use the robots.txt to stop the search engine from crawling and indexing pages you don't want indexed such as admin pages.
There are many other things you can do to improve your Search Engine Ranking but the tips above will help your website.
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