In the world of search engine optimization, or SEO, there are two key components to getting your site top rankings - on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
Both can have a large impact on your rankings, and both need to be properly managed, especially if you're targeting competitive keywords.
Let's take a look at on page SEO.
Basically this encompasses everything you need to do to optimize your own website - all of these factors are directly under your own control and don't require another party for action.
Basic aspects of on-page SEO focus on the code structure of your site, which tags you use, the content within your site, the directory structure, and the page names of your site.
The crucial keys to on-page SEO are: having a properly formatted Meta Title Tag, making sure each page has 1 H1 tag containing the main keyword that page is targeting, and if at all possible, the name of the page should also be the same as the H1 tag.
Additionally, the more text you can place within each page the better.
I generally recommend a minimum of 300 words of unique text per page on your site.
This isn't always possible, but it will play a large role in getting search engines to visit your site and keep more pages in their index.
The second key aspect of SEO is off-page SEO, or link building.
This is basically how many other websites out there are linking to you, and what is the authority of those sites.
When you're starting out on a new SEO campaign, you'll want to try to get as many sites to link to you as possible.
There are a variety of ways to do this.
The first - there are many free places to submit articles, directory listings, RSS feeds, or bookmarks containing a link back to your site.
These are basically "free" links that anyone can build, and although they are the easiest to get, they carry the least amount of weight with search engines.
The second variety is getting other websites to link back to you.
You can accomplish this by writing great content that other webmasters will naturally link to, running a promotion, or just asking other people with related websites for links.
These links take a lot of work to develop, but if properly place, a little can go a long way!