Google 'always has' and 'always will' want to recommend the best, most interesting and up to date sites in each subject area. It measures hundreds of different parameters to evaluate the best sites and always checks that it is not being tricked.
Website optimisers try to work out the way Google calculates the best sites and then make sure there sites conform. Spammers always push each factor way past the limit so that within months Google has to change its calculations again to stop the spammers getting to the top instead of the genuine site. This has continued for many years and with each new factor and counter measure the benefits of optimization for poor quality sites becomes worthless. The more that website optimizers follow the same techniques the less effect they are and the days when you could trick the search engines have long gone.
All of the search engines are exceptionally clever and these days you really must have a good site that people want to visit if you want to get to the top. Google can measure traffic so in theory even if you carry out no optimisation but get millions of visitors then Google will probably rank you above everyone else. In practice you need to do both.
Common sense is always a good start. There is a massive amount of money to be made from optimisation but if you want to attack the wealthy words or phrases then prepare to devote a lot a lot of time, effort and money to the fight.
However if you don't expect to make your fortune then there is definitely real money to be made, particularly if you can attack local markets with searches for local suppliers. Remember that there are also thousands of different phrases out there all of which can bring you real sales. So you don't have the profile to compete with biggest sites you don't have to give up.
A growing approach these days is to say forget optimisation and just make a great site that people want to visit. That is true but you won't get a great site without the following key elements:-
This is just common sense and search engines follow the same sort of rules that any normal marketing network does. The techniques are a little different so we will expand on the major factors in he following paragraphs.
To build a good site you have to use a good CMS (content management system). Traditional WYSIWYG editor designed sites struggle to provide the speed and flexibility required to make and interesting, content rich site.
Whether you are a web developer or copywriter the fundamental approach these days must be content managed. If you can't build large sites quickly and change the content as often as you like then don't even bother to read any further.
We recommend Pure SEO CMS because of its speed, lightweight code and excellent page structure.
Just like when you read a report Google learns what a web page is about from the words in the titles and headings. You must therefore structure your page with a title (meta and h1) and headings using the standard h1 and h2, h3 tags etc. The most important keywords must be placed in these headings although you must not just fill them with spam.
Pure SEO CMS automatically creates pages with this optimized structure but be careful with some of the larger CMS packages which are still quite poor.
Make sure the meta title tag is different on each page. By default Pure SEO CMS uses the page title but you can change this to the ref tag if your page titles aren't appropriate.
Keyword density is a measure of how many keywords you place in your article, too few and Google will not identify the page subject, too many (over 5 say) and Google will downgrade you for spamming.
You MUST have keywords in your site but these days Google is more interested in whether the site appeals to others which it measures by numbers of visitors and the time they stay. Therefore it's better to make an interesting site than spoil the content with too much emphasis on keyword placement.
Also when you look at the visitors it's often not the main keywords that bring all of the traffic. A large number of longer, more specific keyword phrases can bring far higher numbers with more accurate and specific interest in your site.
One measure of how popular a site is is the number of other sites that link to, or recommend it. These sites should also cover the same subject as your own site and you should avoid 2 way link exchange programs as Google can identify these and will ignor or downgrade them.
Check competitors sites by typing 'link:www.theirsite.com' into Google. The sites that link to them may also link to you.
A few good quality, specific links are alwasy better than lots of poor quality link (good links come from busy sites). Use the Google page rank toolbar and Alexa.com etc to get an idea of the how powerful each site is.
Talk to people you know in your industry or develop promotions and strategies that encourage them to link their sites to yours. Where possible make sure the text in the link that points to your site contains your main keywords, or at least the text around the link does.
You should submit your site to all the relevant directories. Avoid automatic submission programs as these can do far more damage that good but seek out good directories within your market area. These days you may need to pay for the better ones but there are probably still some good free ones as well.
You do not need to submit to search engines, they search and find you.
Create a signature pointing to your site and participate in lots of discussion forums. These not only link to your site but will also generate real visitors, particularly if they like your contributions.
You'll need to find discussion forums that are related to your industry but just search for Google for 'my industry discussion forums' etc.
Write and publish articles or blogs related to your website. There are lots of article websites that will publish these for you and deliver addtional traffic and worthwhile inbound links.
Facebook or myspace communities can bring good traffic as will ecademy or digg etc. There are a growing number of community based sites so concentrate on the ones most appropriate to your market.
Sign up and use stumbleupon, del.icio.us etc. Bookmark this site using this toolbar and add your own from www.addthis.com
Perhaps add us to technorati to see how it works
Create an RSS news feed and distribute it using feedburner.com
Another reason for using a good CMS package is that they will automatically create RSS feeds from your website content, saving considerable time.
For example Pure SEO CMS has templates to export you website content to an RSS feed or a newsletter.
Every site is different so you must research and understand your own site compared to its competitors. each of the above will have different effects depending on how your site works and what market it's in.
Always keep monitoring the keywords that people type in and how your site compares to others. You should keep adding to or updating your site to keep the visitor's interest and show Google it's not dead.
Research how you site is doing using www.google.com/analytics
For comparing and monitoring your site's performance in the search engines we recommend WEB CEO