You've probably seen the online articles and Twitter tweets about improving SEO performance, but what does it REALLY mean beyond the acronym of Search Engine Optimization?
It's improving the visibility of your website through a natural, organic process that doesn't cost money, but be assured, it WILL cost time.
Marketing is an ongoing process and you'll never be able to do enough of it. Therefore, unless you have unlimited funds to spend on buying top search engine placement, you'll need to spend some time improving your site's rankings and page algorithm. When people search for a term, they aren't going to click on hundreds of pages until your site pops up in the listing. This is why you want your site to come up as high as possible in the rankings, hopefully the first page or the first few pages.
However, don't get too caught up in "rankings" since it is only one algorithm used to upload pages to key search words. If you have enough "quality" backlinks linking key search terms to your page or site, it's possible for your site to beat a higher ranking site on that particular key search term. You need to consider the top search words and phrases people will use to find your site. Incorporate them into your html, your blog posts, headers, tags, etc.
Here are a few techniques to improve your site's rankings and algorithm:
1) Cross Linking - This is linking pages within the same website or blog. Examples of this would be creating a sitemap, a resource center of links to previous articles, archives, top visited posts, etc.
2) Multiply Incoming Links - You want to get as many "quality" sites linking to your website/blog as possible. This is sometimes called Deep Linking. It tells the search engines that you have a lot of worthwhile content. Ways to improve this are offering guest posts to other blogs, uploading your archived articles to other ezines and allowing your articles to be reposted by other bloggers as long as they use your byline and link back to your page.
3) Write Good Content - Make sure blog posts and/or articles contain frequently searched keywords and phrases, but don't overdo it to the point that you get your site banned by the search engines. Just make sure each page contains your key search terms for that page at least twice.
4) Update Content Often - This lures the search engines back to your site to crawl over your content and re-index it. It also builds traffic. This is another reason why it would be better to blog at least 3 times per week.
5) Multiple Domains - Search engines only list one page per domain, therefore, if you have several topics that are strong enough to support their own site, go for it. Examples of this are ministries, author sites, homeschooling pages, and side businesses. I own two author domains, www.jenniferhudsontaylor.com and www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com. Also, I own a few more business domains. They all link into each other.
6) Strategize Anchor Links - It may be tempting to anchor as many links as possible to your url, but to the search engines it may look like automation and could result in getting your site banned from search engines. Therefore, use your url, but also link to various pages on your site. Include links to your individual book page, speaker page, bio, and archived articles where appropriate.
7) Use Text Links - Even where you've used an image to link to another page or site, be sure to include a text link above the image as well. Spiders and webcrawler search engines pick up text links first, so list them above the image, not below.
8) Use Frames & Flash Sparingly - So many people have switched to using frames and flash to develop their sites, but they don't allow links to individual pages. It's all or nothing.
9) Truth About Paid Links - Unless the paid link is embedded in the body text and not obvious sponsored links, it does nothing to improve your SEO. It only provides a few clicks to your site. So if you pay for a link, be sure to place it on a quality site and have realistic expectations.
10) SEO is Daily - Be aware that the landscape for search engines changes daily, therefore, you must expect to work on your SEO daily. At least keep it in mind for each blog post and each time you update your site/blog.