1. Commit yourself to the process. SEO isn’t a one-time event. Search engine algorithms change regularly, and because it changes regularly that means that the tactics that worked the previous year, may not work this year. You have to be completely committed to the process and it requires a long term outlook.
2. Be patient. The key part of SEO is about being patient and not expecting results straight away. Results can take months to see especially if you are new to doing business online or if you are pretty small company.
3. Ask a lot of questions when hiring an SEO company. If you are planning on hiring an SEO company, then you will need to do your own research about the company. There may be risks so it is a key question you have to be asking. You will need to ask about the tactics and the specifics that the company is using before you make any decisions.
4. Become a student of SEO. If you are planning on becoming a student of SEO then you need to know the right places to get the information you need. There are plenty of great web resources (like Search Engine Land) and several terrific books you can read.
5. Have web analytics in place at the start. Web analytics tracks what is working well and not so well. It is very important and a very useful thing to have. You should have clearly defined goals for your SEO efforts, and that is why web analytics is a great thing to make sure you achieve the goals that you want.
6. Build a great web site. After you have built your website, you really want to make sure it is at its best. You have to be honest with yourself and think can this be improved? And if you think it can then you need to do it.
7. Include a site map page. If you have a large site or a very complicated navigation system, then including site maps can help you find all of your important pages on your site. To be safe, I would keep each one to less than 100 links, 75 would be the max.
8. Do keyword research at the start of the project? Keyword Discovery and word tracker are both free keyword research sites, if you are not on a budget then these 2 sites have a more upgraded version which costs. These are good websites to use to see which keywords are being used the most and give you an incentive to which keywords you should use. The numbers that the site shows is not important; it is the relative volume of one keyword to another. Another free program which is available is Google AdWords keyword tool but this doesn’t show the exact number.
9. Open up a PPC account. A really good way to get an accurate search volume for your keywords is by opening up a PPC account. Also if you are looking for instant visibility or quicker results then a PPC account is definitely worth the investment.
10. Use a unique and relevant title and Meta description on every page. It is the page title that is the most important on-page SEO factor. It is rare for a primary term to be ranked highly if that word is not in the page title. The Meta description will not help with your ranking, it will just appear as the text snippet below your listing. So your Meta description should contain some of your relevant keywords, so that it would encourage the searchers to click on your listing.
11. Create great, unique content. For anybody that is creating a website, this is important. If there are 50 other retailers selling the exactly the same widget as you and they have all kept the standard description, then this is a great opportunity to stand out from the other sellers, because you can write out your own description and make it more appealing. If you refer back to number 9, then that can help you with what keywords would be good to put in your description. Also having great content is a good way to get inbound links.
12. Use your keywords as anchor text when linking internally. You can take your keywords and use them as anchor text. Anchor text is helpful because it tells you what the link is about. If you had “click here” then it wouldn’t really tell you much about the link and do nothing for your search engine visibility.
13. Build links intelligently. Begin with foundational links like trusted directories. (Yahoo and DMOZ are often cited as examples, but don’t waste time worrying about DMOZ submission. Submit it and forget it.) Seek links from authority sites in your industry. If local search matters to you (more on that coming up), seek links from trusted sites in your geographic area — the Chamber of Commerce, local business directories, etc. Analyze the inbound links to your competitors to find links you can acquire, too. Create great content on a consistent basis and use social media to build awareness and links. (A blog is great for this; see below.)
14. Use press releases wisely. To get a great source of exposure is a good way to get links from trusted media websites. An effective link tactic is by distributing releases online which could lead to exposure in news search sites. Using the press is a good tactic but only involve the media if there is some important to be told.
15. Start a blog and participate with other related blogs. Another great way to get exposure is to create your own blog, and join in with other people’s discussions that relate to a company like yours. By doing this more people are likely to read your blog, check out your website and for you to acquire new links.
16. Use social media marketing wisely. If your business is more pictures then text, then joining a site such as Flickr is a good way to post your pictures on there, If your business is more on the text side, then going on sites like yahoo and Quora is a better place to let people know how educated you are about the type of business you are running. Making use of the social networking sites is also another good idea on how to expose your website. I recommend that if you are going to be using social networking sites then you should post regularly, but not too regularly because you will seem too pushy and annoy lots of people.
17. Take advantage of local search opportunities. By taking advantage of your local search opportunities means that you can list your site in local/social on sites like Google local and yell.com. You can optimize your site by making your address and phone number stand out. Also try to encourage people to leave a review of your business on other sites. Whenever possible submit your site to the free local listings services that the major search engines offer.
18. Take advantage of the tools the search engines give you. When signing up to search engine sites, take a look at the tools, because if you do you can learn more how many inbound links that the tools are aware off, and it will show you how the site see’s your site.
19. Diversify your traffic sources. Google may bring you 70% of your traffic today, but what if the next big algorithm update hits you hard? What if your Google visibility goes away tomorrow? Newsletters and other subscriber-based content can help you hold on to traffic/customers no matter what the search engines do. In fact, many of the DOs on this list—creating great content, starting a blog, using social media and local search, etc.—will help you grow an audience of loyal prospects and customers that may help you survive the whims of search engines.