Getting top ranks on Google can only be achieved by following all of the principals and guidelines contained in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This constantly updated publication available for free from Google provides any serious website marketer with all of the basic dos and don’ts for optimizing your web site for ranking highly for your targeted keywords.

Before listing some specific tips, let’s first consider some of the basic truths about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

It is expensive – you cannot expect to rank highly for competitive keywords without understanding that you will not likely be able to do this yourself. SEO involves many disciplines and processes that no single individual is likely to master and manage with any degree of expertise or efficiency. It is necessary to carefully investigate and interview top SEO Companies who can demonstrate results both for their own website and for the websites for existing / renewing clients. Even if you decide to do SEO in-house, it will still be expensive.
It takes time – SEO requires patience. The websites that appear on page 1 are not there by accident. They have been doing the right things. You have to do the right things and you will need to do them for the rest of your days on the internet to achieve top rankings and stay there. The competition is huge for keywords / phrases that are in demand (high search volume).
So what are the right things?

Keyword Research

This is the cornerstone of any internet marketing strategy. Text is the source of virtually all searches of course so the keywords / phrases that are actually entered by real people need to be studied and understood. You cannot afford to make a mistake here because it will only negatively affect your SEO efforts. You need to know what your target audience is typing… and I assure you that you don’t know them all.

Onsite Optimization

As the name implies this involves all of the on-page elements that a search engine crawler is interested in. It is important that the information be presented to the crawler the way the search engines want it. This involves:

a) Unique, highly relevant, keyword rich Page Titles and Descriptions

b) Properly implemented Page Titles and Meta Information.

c) W3 Validation

d) Use of Alt Tags for image descriptions

e) Dynamic sitemaps

f) Constant additions of new content (articles, press releases, videos, podcasts, etc)

g) Inter-linking of content within the site

h) Dozens of more elements.

Offsite Optimization

This is ultimately the most important element of SEO because this always involves the promotion of your content towards the generation of highly relevant, naturally occurring Backlinks. Backlinks are one way links originating from someone’s website pointing directly to specific content on your website. Backlinks are the most important factor Google uses to differentiate and ultimately rank based upon relevance. The basic reasoning is this… backlinks represent a vote by someone else in favor of your website. If the backlinks originate from sites with strong Google PageRank or strength, the greater the quality of the Backlink. So, quality AND quantity are important towards generating backlinks.