As more and more marketing functions move to the web, businesses are at least starting to understand the requirements of ranking for keywords relevant to the business. Most however still don't understand how Google and other search engines determine who gets top placements. The guidelines here will at least put you in position to achieve higher search engine ranks.
For businesses that want to wade into this arena, here are some guidelines that might save you the cost associated with website optimization. Bear in mind that there's no free ride here. Expect to put some time in this effort if you really want to see results.
Consider this a short lesson in "on-page" SEO, things that you can do to your website to improve search engine visibility. This list should be applied to EACH PAGE of your site. (You should measure your results by tracking site rank and monitor your traffic with Google Analytics)
For all pages on your website, you should:
1. Pick a primary keyword phrase that you want the page to rank for (a keyword phrase can be one or more words).
2. Pick a couple of secondary keyword phrases related to the main keyword phrase.
3. Put the primary keyword phrase at the beginning of the list of keywords in your metatags.
4. Include the secondary keyword phrases also in the keyword metatag list.
5. Use the primary keyword phrase in the description metatag. (try to also include the secondary keywords in the description) Don't load in keyword phrases that you won't be discussing on the page in either the keyword or description metatags. (It doesn't help).
6. Put the primary keyword phrase in the url (if you can). Use underscores to separate words.
7. Put the primary keyword phrase in the Title of the page (this is a biggie!)
8. Use the primary keyword between H1 Header tags in the content area.
9. I usually recommend the content follow a five paragraph essay broken up with graphics etc. Open the page introducing the main keyword phrase and mention the secondary keywords in context (1st paragraph). Each paragraph after this should discuss a secondary keyword and relate it back to the primary keyword. You can highlight sub-paragraphs with H2 or H3 Header tags using the secondary keyword terms to make them stand out. The closing paragraph summarizes the importance of the primary keyword as it relates to secondary keywords (again using those terms in context).
10. Put keywords in alt-text of the images. Use images to break up the text and enhance the content.
Keep the images relevant. Note: Secondary keywords could become primary keywords for sub-pages. In that way, your site is a never-ending work in progress.
NEXT STEP: When you've shored up the content of your site, you should then take a look at your internal linking. Use keyword loaded hyperlinks. For example, if you have an inner page about wedding flowers and find occasion to call attention to that page, hyperlink the words "wedding flowers" to that page. The point being: the words that you use in the hyperlink define what Google thinks the target page is about. Same goes for your home page. Instead of "Home", you should link "Keyword Phrase" (whatever that keyword phrase is) to the home page. One way to do this: Imagine creating an index to your site that enumerates the keywords that you want to rank for and links those keywords to appropriate pages within the site (for example). You can get creative but again keep your link text focused on the keywords that you want to show up for in the search engines. Include a "mini" index of keyword links on a page linking the reader to related pages of content. You can see that this will make it easier for the site visitor to find related information AND it will also send the search engine spiders in a frenzy (in a good way).
NEXT STEP: That pretty much covers all you can do for your site. Next, pay attention to the in-bound links you have coming to your site. The same rule above applies to those links as well. So first, approach your existing link partners whom you already have inbound links with and ask to redefine the links that they have. You should provide the code to them if they don't know how to do it. Use keyword defined hyperlinks instead of just linking the URL. If you redefined all the links that you had TO your site with your primary keyword phrase instead of your URL, you very likely will see a significant bump in your rank relative to that keyword phrase.
I think once you get this far, you should be seeing significant improvements in your rank. The key to SEO beyond this is finding ways to generate inbound links of this nature.