Before any search engine optimization (SEO) work is performed, it is critical to first conduct keyword research and analysis. Identifying relevant and attainable keywords is vital for any SEO campaign. Focus on keywords that will direct targeted visitors to your site, and donít concentrate on keywords that do not represent what your site is offering.

The second part of keyword research is competitive analysis. Focusing your SEO work on highly competitive keywords can be virtually useless, especially for new sites.

On-Site Optimization

Because search engines "crawl" your website when determining its relevancy to keywords, website elements are important for search engine ranking. On-site details such as title tags, meta descriptions, keyword density and URLís can have significant influence on search engine ranking. Targeted keywords should be placed in the title tags, meta descriptions and URLís of your site. Additionally, the body text on the home page and on internal pages should reflect the title tag and meta descriptions in a relevant manor. Avoid duplicate content and assign different title tags and meta descriptions to each page.

When developing page text, you should also consider keyword density. There are many tools that can help you analyze the competitionís on-site layout; however, if you simply observe the pages of top ranking sites, you can get a pretty good idea yourself.

Link Building

Increasing the number of incoming links to your website is one of the best tactics for improving search engine ranking. Depending on the competition, the number of links needed to boost ranking varies. Like on-site optimization, looking at the competition is a good way to determine how many incoming links you should aim for. Developing a link goal is fairly simple; attaining links, however, can be very difficult.

There are several ways to acquire incoming links including article writing, forum posts, blog comments and press releases. Writing articles for submission sites , easy and effective way to gain incoming links and improve keyword ranking.

Similarly, forum posts and blog comments should be limited to sites that are highly relevant to your keywords and that have a decent page rank. For any new product launches or company events, press releases are an excellent opportunity for increasing inbound links as well.

On-site optimization and link building are just two of several search engine marketing strategies. Professional search engine optimization firms and consultants consider many more components than those briefly summarized above, but having a basic understanding of the structure behind search engine ranking is important for any professional involved in the online community.