First, let's start with the basics of on page search engine optimization. You need to make sure that the keywords you are targeting are correct. For instance, if you're selling custom embroidered scarves, we would not want to target just the word "scarf" or "scarves", these words will have too much competition and will be virtually impossible to rank highly for. Instead, target your keywords. Appropriate keyword phrases may be "custom scarves", "embroidered scarf" and the many variations thereof. Almost always you will find dozens or even hundreds of appropriate, highly targeted phrases for whatever you're selling.
For further refinement of your keyword list, I recommend using tools at Nichebot.com and Wordtracker.com. Both are excellent and will help you find additional keywords to target that will bring traffic to your site but are also realistic.
Once we have a keyword list, we need to add these keywords to your site. The most important places to add keywords are to your body text, in natural language, not keywords stuffed in randomly, and to the title of your pages. The page title is extremely important to all the search engines, it should contain your company name and also a couple of your most important keyword phrases. However, other places you can add keywords are to the alternate text of images (one short phrase only), anchor text (this is the text that appears in your links) and meta-tags. Meta-tags have much less importance than they used to, but some search engines do still read them. You can also add keywords to any page names if you are adding new pages, so if you are adding a new product line, maybe customized aprons, then the page file name can be "customized-aprons.htm". Add keywords to every page of your site, but do not stuff them in randomly. Also, the main page of your site is the most important page, make sure you have added your most important keyword phrases to this page in the page title and body text. There is much more to on page search engine optimization, but these are the basics and should be sufficient for most websites.
Next, we begin promotion. Many people think that submitting to thousands of search engines should be the first step. Wrong! There are not thousands of search engines and the only ones that matter are the ones you've heard of, like Google, MSN and Yahoo. There's not even a need to submit to these search engines anyway, it's best to let them find your site via a link. And so we begin the second and probably most important part of search engine optimization, which is link building. The key to link building is not quantity of links, but quality of links. You want links to your site from other websites that have a good reputation and are highly targeted to your content. So, if your site sells vintage postcards, then appropriate links you should be concerned about getting should be from antique and collectible directories, other antique and collectible stores (not direct competitors though), antique and collectible forums and ephemera related sites. You can get some idea of the quality of a link by looking at the Google Pagerank. The higher the Pagerank, the better the link, usually.
Here are the best ways to get links:
Write Articles! You do not have to be an author to write a good, informative article. Write an article from 400 – 700 words and distribute it to the largest article directories like Goarticles.com, EzineArticles.com and Articlecity.com. They will post your article to their site and make it available to the millions of website owners, ezine editors, bloggers and other publishers for use in their publications. When your article is used, your bio must be included, and of course, you added a link to your site in your bio, right? This results in dozens, even hundreds or sometimes thousands of totally free and often related, one way, incoming links to your site. The search engines love them!
Submit To Directories! There are hundreds of directories out there that will give you a link for free. Find a list at Info.vilesilencer.com along with information on how best to submit to these directories for maximum effectiveness. If you do have some promotion budget, consider paying for listing on the major directories like Yahoo Directory, Business.com or any niche directories that do not offer free submissions. These are considered very high quality links to search engines.
There are many other ways to build your links, from posting on niche forums and community sites, to blogging, to exchanging links, to press releases and more. Link building should be an ongoing process. Take it slow and steady and focus on gaining the highest quality links possible instead of the greatest number possible. Search engines love HIGH QUALITY links to your site and this is absolutely the key to getting more visitors.