How can I increase my search engine ranking?

Below are some Basics:

Free Listings:
Popular Search Engines such as Google list their non-advertised results based on many factors. However, the most powerful is popularity. So to be close to the top you need to be the most popular web site based on the keywords that the visitor entered for their search.

So how can you become the most popular Web Site on the non-advertised results? Here are the most popular methods:
  1. The most effective thing you can do is get your web address listed (as a link) on as many different web sites as you can. Google counts these 3rd party links as a "vote" towards your popularity. To make it even more complicated the weight of the vote is based on the popularity and type of web site that contains your link.

    For example if a site such as contains a link to your web site then it will carry a lot more weight than your best friends personal web page. On the same note you don't want to advertise your Bed and Breakfast with Microsoft. A Bed and Breakfast likely has nothing to do with computer technology and it may go against you, or at the very least confuse your ranking. Search engines are very smart, they know about "context" and they know if your link is an advertisement or if you are being praised within a paragraph.

    The more genuinely you are linked by popular and similar sites, the better.

    So what is the secret to getting your link out there without spending a fortune to buy your way in? The two most popular methods are link-sharing and writing articles.

    The premise is straight forward: Partner with another web site and each of you agrees to post each others links. But keep in mind that the popularity of the other site will affect your rank.

    Writing Articles:
    This method has proven itself time and time again and is probably the best single trick we can offer: Get your name out there by writing articles that other web sites can publish for you. This is the same premise that is used on Radio and Television with guest "experts". The expert offers their knowledge for a shout-out or "plug" to their business. The internet works the same way. So search for a popular web site or portal site that is related to your web site and write articles for them. In return for your knowledge you will get a link. If your article is really good then more people will find your site.

    Finding a site to write for is key. Some examples are obvious....if you are a Bed and Breakfast then you might consider writing articles for travel sites. You just need to get creative and do some research.
  2. Your ranking is also directly based on how many people actually visit your site from Google. To put plainly, if nobody is clicking on your site then you aren't that popular! One way to increase popularity is to provide content that people want to see. Free stuff always helps! Try and offer something for your visitors to do or download. Examples include... a Newsletter, free downloadable books, online tools, free tickets etc.

    Think about why you visit sites and why. Then think about why visitors would want to visit your site. Again, you can only be at the top the list if people want to visit your site.
  3. You need to customize your web site content so that it is optimized for search engines and the keywords that your visitors will be searching for. This is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The tips and tricks for SEO are large enough for many books and beyond the scope of this article.

Advertised Listings:
The other method is to pay to be at the top of the advertised listing. Advertised ranking is based on a bidding system. Everytime a visitor clicks on your link you pay a small fee (from a few cents to a few dollars). The more you are willing to "pay-per-click" the higher your rank, or position on the advertised list.