I've gotten a few questions from a number of companies recently that basically ask "What is the shortest thing I can read that will help me get started on search engine optimization?". Here is my response for how to optimize one page of your website very quickly. Repeat for other pages as desired. I have also included links to a bunch of other materials after the article if you want to learn more.
1) Find keywords. Pick a list of words relevant to your business. Think about which words are most likely to get people to do what you want them to do (convert into leads) and focus on those words. Then pick one word (or phrase) to use on one page of your site. For more detailed info, read: Detailed Internet Marketing Keyword Tips or 4 Helpful Tools for Identifying the Right Keywords.
2) Put keywords in the page title. The page title is one of the most important things that Google and other search engines evaluate to determine what is on a web page. Put your keyword or phrase in the title, keep it short. For more detailed info, read Why a Web Page By Any Other Title Would Not Rank As Well.
3) Put keywords in the page URL. Google and other search engines also use the text of the URL of the page to determine the content of the web page. You should use your keyword or phrase in the URL of the web page - either the folder/directory structure or the HTML file / page name itself.
4) Put keywords in meta data. While the page meta data (page description and keywords) are not nearly as important as they used to be, they still count. Take advantage of them by putting your keyword or phrase there. The description should be readable by a person and make sense and the keyword meta data should focus on your keyword or phrase - do not make it long, less is more. For more detailed info, read Understanding the Magic of Meta-Data.
5) Put keywords in your H1 text. The H1 text is usually the title of an article or some larger bold text at the top of your page. Google and the smaller search engines can see this and they put extra importance on the words in the H1 text. Make sure your keyword or phrase is there.
6) Use keywords in the page content. Putting the keyword in your page content also signals to search engines that the page is actually about the keyword and should show up in search results. I have heard from "experts" that you should use your keyword anywhere from 4-6 times to 10-12 times. My advice is to just write naturally.
7) Monitor your rank. Give the search engines some time to do their thing (a couple days) and then keep checking your rank to see what happened and track your progress.
[End of article "Shortest Tutorial Ever on SEO"]
Okay... now for those of you who want to be more advanced, here are some other resources and suggestions.
• Build links to your website. The number and quality of links to your website are quite important to Google and other search engines for your rank on different terms. Read this article to understand the importance of links to your website: Link Building for SEO / Internet Marketing and read this article for more details on why to link to others: No Website is an Island - How and Why to Link to Others
• Read our "How To" guide. We published this article a while back about Improving your Organic Position on Google, it is still relevant and worth reading for more detailed info.
• Know (and increase) your Page Rank. Google uses your Page Rank as a measure of how "important" your website is on the Internet. Having a higher Page Rank means you have a better shot at being one of the top results for search terms. For more details, read this article about The Importance of Google Page Rank.
• Avoid common pitfalls. Sometimes you're just doing something wrong. There are a number of practices on the web that can actually limit your success with search engines dramatically. Here are some of the reasons Why You're Not Getting Enough Respect from Search Engines.
• Grade your website. Use Website Grader (free tool) to evaluate the marketing effectiveness of your website. It gives tips on what you can change on your site to improve your website's marketing effectiveness.