It is definitely tough out there in cyberspace. Your website has to compete with many others for attention. So how do you ensure that the right people find their way to your site? One of the most effective, and least costly, is to optimize your website to take advantage of search terms. For example, if you are a provider of leased line services in the UK and someone types "leased line costs" in their search window, you want to be among the first few entries when the search results appear. If you are buried at the bottom of page one, or even worse, on page two or later, that prospect will never know you existed.

To find out where you stand, put yourself in the shoes of someone who is researching the type of product or service you provide and start typing in search terms to find your PageRank. There are automated tools to help you find your search rank for specific terms but the point really hits home when you type in the terms one by one. This is especially true when your competitor ranks high on page one and you are nowhere to be found. To make sure you don’t miss any important keywords, use one of the free tools such as the Google Adwords Keyword Tool or WordTracker to determine what keywords people search on in a particular category. If you score low on visibility, this may be due to limitations in your website architecture or design. If so, either correct those deficiencies or if necessary, rebuild the site in a manner that makes things easy to find for search engine robots (also known as spiders or crawlers).

These robots travel throughout the web to collect information on the text contained at each website. They first look at things like titles and meta tags, and then move on to body text. A lot of the stuff that makes your website cool, such as Flash, frames, image menus, etc., actually impedes the robot’s search. Robots like simple architectures and they are partial to text links. Just as with pay per click, there is a lot involved in search engine optimization, and some of it is technical, so you should read a book or two on the subject. Here are some additional ideas on how to get a better position in the search engine rankings.

Make sure search engines can properly index your website. Sign up for Google and Bing’s free webmaster tools to verify that there are no key issues with your website affecting search engines. Focus on content. Even great SEO tips will not help you if your content is poor or not relevant to your target audience. Add new content on a regular basis. Search engines don’t like stale sites and, for that matter, neither do prospects.

Social media helps your website’s visibility enormously, especially if you deliver your social content in a steady stream of relevant content. Start a blog. In addition to all the other good reasons to start a blog, it also helps your site to become more visible. Search engines love blogs because they are constantly being replenished with fresh content. Include an automated site map. The site map makes it much easier for the search robots to find all the information on your website. Plus, an automated site map for search engines will help changes show up in search results more quickly. Submit the first sitemap to Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Create a relevant title name and meta description for each page of your website. Use the desired search term in the title name. This really helps your rankings. Add Schema.org Rich Snippets to your content, particularly your blog content. Have you ever wondered why some search results include a photo of the author, a rating, or other information that make it stand out? Rich snippets provide additional details about a webpage to search engines, resulting in more traffic.

Include many links to your website and make sure that some of these links go to content within the site, not just to the home page. This way your site is assigned a higher value because it appears to be content-rich. Be generous with linking to other high-quality websites. This will increase the likelihood of them linking to you. If you use image links in your navigation bar, also include text links, and put the text links before the image links. Otherwise, the robots will ignore them. Do not overstuff your pages with keywords. Search engines prefer natural language text and if the keywords appear too often, this counts against you. Think of repurposing the content you have on the website. For example, are there white papers that you can turn into web pages, or press releases that can take on the look of blog postings? Analyze the original keyword choices every six months.

Searchers type in new keywords and some current terms fall out of favor. Take a look at you Google or Bing webmaster tools to find out what search terms result in the most organic clicks to your website. You might be surprised to discover which keywords are working.