If you are new to online marketing then you are probably interested in learning the process involved so that you can take a “hands on” role in your marketing efforts. This is a good approach and can actually help your campaign, as opposed to just expecting an SEO company to perform a miracle. So, let’s start with 5 essentials that are needed for getting searched and indexed by major search sites, and improving SERPs.

1. Prepare your site for SEO.

This means creating a sitemap of all your pages, as well as linking your internal pages together through text links. There are also auto-ping services that let search sites know when new content is available. While pinging is basically preparing a special HTML code for the sitemap page, the good news is that there are CMS program plug-ins that can make the process easier.

2. Create Social Networking Links

Social networking is the best thing to happen to small business, since localized and social networking profile pages (i.e. Google Places, Yelp, Facebook, etc.) are actually considered quality links. These are links that people actually see and interact with, as opposed to dead web pages that are rarely visited.

3. Create External Links

It’s relatively easy to create an external link but you should be focusing on quality links. These links are typically guest blogs and magazine articles, as opposed to link exchanges, blog posts and even some low quality article directory posts. The key is the content, which should feature quality writing as well as anchor text that is coherent and related to the site content.

4. Optimize Your Pages

Pay close attention to pages, META descriptions, tags, and headings, ensuring that your selected keywords (related to your business and targeted audience) are repeated enough to be noticed, but not enough to be penalized for “over optimization.” By today’s standards, 1-3 times per 400-word article is more than enough.

5. Reach out to the local market.

While many national websites are feeling the wrath of Google Penguin and Panda algorithm changes, local sites are actually getting more traffic and higher rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). There is an algorithm update called Google Venice that actually matches localized searches with local businesses.

After these introductory steps, it’s really an issue of how thoroughly you research keywords, speak to your audience, and keep up the schedule. There is no doubt that search engines are hungry for new information, so the more you produce, the better. Obviously, not every company can produce new content every day. However, you need to find a balance between constant content and quality content. Once a month, or once a week, is ideal, depending on how often your customers want new information.