Alright, I have not been on this forum a long time but like most of you I am building my business. I am 20 years old and started a web design/advertising/SEOcompany. I have been rather successful as of late, and at the game for about 7 years now (started very young). SEO can be a daunting task but no one is going to spoon feed it to you, so I thought I'd give a post about the basics so people will stop asking "How do I get my site on to the top of google" (or something similar). (NJ SEO)

Magic SEO Techniques:
I've talked to experts, I've talked to amateurs, I've tried 100's of different methods. I have a few domains that are set up just to test SEO methods. In the end remember one thing THERE IS NO MAGIC METHOD. There are tons of different strategies that work, some better than others. Don't think there is some specific way to catapult you to the top, and ANYONE WHO PROMISES YOU THEY CAN is a complete LIAR/SCAMMER.

How to get started: (You are not building a site yet)
The first step to becoming successful in the game is coming up with a unique idea or market. You can't win competing for a market or idea that has flooded the market already. You need to differentiate yourself and you need to be special. Once you find that special area or idea, you need to do KEYWORD RESEARCH.

Keyword Research:
There are many tools out there to help you, my favorite is: Keyword Analysis Tool - Market Samurai but also google adwords has a free keyword tool. So lets use a Protein Supplement for weight lifters as an example. I want to sell a protein shake to be used after workouts. So I went to google Adwords Keyword Tool, and types in protein & protein shake… I found out
  • Protein: 11,100,000 search and low competition (.26)
  • Protein Shake: 450,000 search and medium competition (.43)
One thing to look at though is “protein” may have a low competition but it’s 11,100,000 searchs are going to make it a relatively hard place to compete in. So I google also provides similar keywords and I found one “post workout protein” 18,100 searchs and low competition (.05). So that is the keyword I am going to go for. IT IS MORE COMPLEX than this but this is a simplified way to look at it.

Building A Site:
When building your site now that you know your keyword/keywords you are going to want to place them on each page a few times (depending on how much content is on the page) also making them bolded or strong (html). I would put it at a ration of 1-2 times per 500 words on the page. You are also going to want to maybe put menu items that might be a keyword and aliases as keywords (ie. If you use pictures make sure your alt text is part of your keywords.
Again this is a simplified way to do it, but it’s the start of how your website should be developed.

Back-Links: Okay with backlinks you can do this manually or via a program, a lot of people who use programs are BlackHat SEO’ers but blackhatting isn’t always a bad thing if you do it responsibly. How ever you choose to do it, get quality back links with good anchor text. Try and get backlinks on home pages, directories, blogs, really anywhere you can find them, quality over quantity. Use Web2.0’s to help you build up your backlinks, create a blog on a major site and write a 500 word article on it once a week with a few backlinks to your major site. A list of good web2’s can be found here: TargetHut

Important Tools: As always you need a good toolset to be successful, aside from keyword research tools, make sure you use google analytics (to monitor traffic sources, types of traffic, etc) Google Webmasters (to see if google is having trouble crawling your page, etc). Here is a list of some other things:
I recommend the SEOmoz toolbar as a big help.

Google Necessities : Google likes to see a few things when you are building your site, backlinking, and other things. Make sure you have a proper sitemap.xml, robots.txt, unique content, quality back links, links to other sites (you linking to other people), page load time (this is getting bigger and bigger), and a few other things I’m about to go over.

Social Web: Using social websites like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Reddit, etc can be a big help. Use social bookmarks (Digg/Reddit etc) to submit your articles to. Use facebook/twitter to help promote your content, it seems google is now placing more weight on these social aspects than ever before. Next it seems the google +1 services is having a rather large impact as well I recommend using it and telling all your friends to hop on as well.

Time: The age of your domain plays a HUGE roll into how your site is ranked the older the domain the better. This is a factor that you cannot control and something you also need to watch out for. If you go ahead and decide to do some blackhat techniques that gather large amounts of backlinks, Google will see how old your domain is and notice how many backlinks you are getting and throw up redflags. It may not lead to deindexing you but it will land you in the sandbox for a few months time.

Lastly: There is no clear and cut way to make your site #1, its about being patient, trying new things, never giving up, and most of all having a unique/quality site. Please feel free to ask me any questions!