Search Engine Optimization is often talked about in terms of 'onsite' and 'offsite' SEO. As the name should imply, onsite refers to optimization done actually on your website and offsite refers to all the work you have to do without touching the site – i.e. Link building.
Out of the two, it's usually most important to focus your time on offsite work because building links is the best thing you can do to increase your rankings, but that's not to say you can ignore onsite optimization altogether.
There are three key areas you need to focus on for onsite optimization:
l URL format
Yes, I know there are many other things you can look at like alt tags for images, sitemaps, internal linking structure etc. But if you just wanted to cover the most important aspects then this is it. The title is obviously extremely important, as is the description because this is like your little advertisement that will appear in the rankings, it's got to appeal to the searches as well as be optimized for the search engines.
The URL format too can play a big role. With many sites now using dynamically generated pages (that is, the file doesn't exist, it's virtual) the filename often becomes a line of code that contains no relevant data. Using URL rewriting we can turn the URL into something more search engine friendly to include our targeted keywords. URL rewriting could cover an entire article by itself so I will look to cover it more in-depth in a later article.
Once you have covered the onsite basics, you need to look to the off page optimization because link building really is the most important part. Now optimization here is a little bit misleading, it is only the process of building links to your site.
However, not all links are created equal. You must ensure that the anchor text (the part of the text that is 'clickable') contains your keywords. If you simply create a link back to your website which says “Click Here”, you are essentially telling the search engines that your site is relevant for that keyword!
Now before you go full steam ahead and use only your keyword in every link you get, consider from a search engine point of view if it's natural to get 100 links all with the same words as the anchor text – probably not! So mix things up, use your main keyword 50% of the time, secondary keywords around 30% of the time and other words like 'click here', 'visit us' or 'more information' the rest of the time.
I have personally seen websites be deindexed when people basically create link spam by using the same keyword over and over again, so be careful!