Getting your website to be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendly can be difficult, if you are new to it. Hopefully, these tips and tricks can help guide you in the right direction!
SEO Website Prep
The first step is to make sure your site is SEO ready. Here are some tips to know:
Keywords: Obviously this is the big one. The best way to find the most appropriate keywords is to go to Google.com and sign up for their AdWords program. You don't have to pay and they have a cool Keyword Tool which allows you to see the search volume for keywords you are interested in using. This will help you use the keywords that are the most popular. Keep the keywords between 200 to 250 characters & use a keyword density between 2% to 7%. The keyword density is simply the number of keywords divided by the number of total characters.
Title: The title on the index page should be between 10 to 150 characters long. The title should be short & accurately describe what the website is about and include 3 or 4 keywords.
META Tags: The two main META tags in your index page should be "Description" & "Keywords". The keywords that I have described above should be in the "Keywords" section. The "Description" should be broader than the title, but you still don't want to overdue it. Keep it between 1 & 2 sentences long and include a couple keywords, in this, as well.
Completeness: Search engines hate broken links. Make sure every link is connected properly.
Updates: Make sure to update your website fairly often. Search Engines don't like outdated pages.
Submit To The Main 3: While there is some debate whether or not you need to submit to search engines, it's best to submit them to the big 3 (Google, Yahoo & MSN), in order to get the ball rolling. Most search engines (including the big 3) have "spiders" that "crawl" the internet daily for web pages. It can take up to 12 weeks for sites to get fully indexed once you start submitting your site around.
The SEO Work
Once your site is complete and SEO ready, you now must do the actual SEO work. In a nutshell, you've got to get your link out there to as many sites as possible. Here are some tips to help you with that process:
First and foremost, try to stay away from sites who say they will submit to thousands of directories. Most directories have a way to prevent automated submissions and must be handled manually in each case. If you do decide to try one of these sites, make sure they are manually submitting to each directory. Go to Google and type in keywords like "free directory submission" or "directory list" to find directory sites. Make sure to find the proper category in each directory, because relevance plays a big role. Use the keywords, description & titles from your website when submitting.
Only sign up for free submissions and NEVER use reciprocal links. Directories will sometimes tell you that your link will be accepted faster if you do a reciprocal link, meaning you take their link and put it on your site. This is bad because 1) too many links to outside sites will bring you down on the search engines & 2) if the links are not relevant to your site, this can bring you down as well. Even if free submissions can take months, it'll be worth it in the end.
Start a spreadsheet, and with each submission, make sure to put the URL of the website it was submitted to, date submitted, the category submitted to & the current status. Use this to go back to the sites to check on the status. Some sites will notify you when your link has been accepted, and some will not. If it has been longer than the time they said they would review it, go ahead and submit it again.
While this practice doesn't have the same effect as it used to, it can be helpful. If you find sites relevant to your site, ask them if they would like to exchange links (putting their link on your page in exchange for having your link on their page.) Try to target websites with page ranks of 3 or above. You can easily find sites on the internet in order to find a website's page rank. Some may want you to have a page rank above a certain point as well, so it may be best to come back to them as soon as your rank goes up.
Press Releases & Articles
There are tons of free sites that allow you to submit your press releases and articles. Doing PR & articles will scatter your link through MANY websites who use RSS feeds. Submit to as many free sites as you can.
Always Use a "Live" Link
The most important thing is that anywhere you go or any site you go to, to submit your site using a live link. www.website.com won't get picked up in search engines. Always use a live link with the "a href" tag that visitors can click on. These are the links search engines are looking for.
That about wraps it up. This will help build your pagerank up in the beginning. Over time, more & more visitors will visit the site, and even if they don't know they are contributing, when they go on a message board, etc. and use your link, it's helping your SEO! While I have given the steps to get you started, SEO is a process that should never stop. There is always going to be fierce competition, so you should never let up, even if you are receiving outside help from your visitors.