1. Determine your goals for your website. How will you drive traffic to your website? Plan for this up front, while developing your website. If search engines are important to you, then proceed to step 2.
2. Allocate a budget to online marketing and search engines. It’s as important as what you spend for designing and hosting your website. The budget you set will instruct these further steps you should take:
3. Optimize your website during design to perform well in search engines. Make sure it contains the correct density of keywords important in searches.
4. Make a commitment to keep your content fresh. Augment content as frequently as practicable, because search engines reward rich content.
5. Devote resources (your time or the money to hire others) to actively work on search engine placement. Monitor your ranking weekly or monthly in the major search engines for key search terms; this can be done manually or you can utilize automated software to produce a monthly or weekly ranking report. Even if you plan to focus on free “organic” rankings, plan to set up Pay-Per-Click accounts at Google and Yahoo. All companies that want traffic from search engines should consider PPC a basic cost, as essential as paying your monthly hosting bill. The budget can be as little as $20 a month … or much more, depending upon how aggressive you want to be.
6. Promote links to your website from your trading partners, in directories, through reciprocal links and discrete paid placements. “Link popularity” is highly important to search engine rankings. Monitor who links to you, and also who links to your competitors. Get as many links coming into your website as possible. Use viral marketing strategies, like posts or links from forums, bulletin boards, social websites like myspace and more.
7. Install a good statistics package. And review it frequently so you know what is happening with your website. Statistics will tell you if you are successful in getting people to your website. If you are having success in traffic but realizing few sales, that means you need to work on your “conversion” of website visitors by improving your products or improving the functionality and usability of your website..
8. Periodically measure progress in ranking and make adjustments to keywords and content as part of a regular maintenance program – at least monthly.
9. Submit your site URL to as many free sites as possible. Self-promote yourself by writing articles, placing ads on bulletin boards, e-zines, group sites etc.