As a freelance writer in a chaotic industry, I always receive emails from people on how to optimize their writing for the leading search engines. Being a guy like me, I never worried about this procedure. Now I see why SEO is such a valuable skill that blends art with science.

Here is a compilation of the fundamental ideas a business should focus on if they want to increase their website ranking in search engine results:

Linkitty. link. link.
Linking to other sites from your site via keywords is the best way to get your overall ranking closer to first page. It even helps to have the sites you’re talking about to link back. A perfect way to go about doing this is to give something away for free or provide time-saving information. Persuade users to reply and pass on the word about your site. Establish relationships with bloggers and the media, and make sure they know who you are and what you do. The more reputable the site is that writes about or links back to your site, the better. Don’t depend on the played out: “Click here.” It doesn’t work anymore.

Think in keywords
The goal is to use about 20 keywords that you incorporate into the overall content of your site. They’re words or phrases that people would search for in Bing/Google/Yahoo. Try to imagine yourself in the customer’s mind to get a better on how they would find you.

Sharpen your meta tags
Try to use keywords in your mission statement. Most search engines will display it under the links in the search results.

Namedrop all the time
Use keywords throughout the foundation of your site. SEO kings suggest two keywords for every sentence. Others are more fanatical about it – highly customizing each page. (Fewer words = fewer keywords.) It is grueling to keep the language as close to natural flow of speech, but you have to do what must be done (or outsource the work to a professional).

H1 tags
Once more, think carefully and strategically about your keywords. They will get prioritized by the leading search engines, so be witty. Typically, you only need about one H1 tag for each page.

Visually speaking
Combine your words with images. Your images should have a keyword-abundant title and keyword-loaded content.

Hyphenate your URLs
This is the best keyword placement. Add hyphenated keywords after the main URL to describe what that page sells or provides.

Give a good indexing
The words or phrases that appear at the top of your browser window should precisely explain the current page. Never put your product or service at the beginning. Search engines usually look at the first three words and makes a judgment call on what that page offers. Make it count.

Evaluate your ranking
Stay on top of your keyword ranking. Think about switching them up to generate even more traffic to your site. Tweaking your keywords and content will definitely move you up from the rest of the crowd. You probably have to add more search terms in the overall mix of things.

All of these tips should get you going in the right direction. SEO will never happen overnight, it is a long-term process, and results may not appear until months later. If anything, these tips will fine tune what your business does and how to properly clarify it. The payoff is a tremendous amount of traffic that gets your name out there. Best wishes!