There are a huge number of posters here with real experience in the field of SEO. Many have sites and individual pages that consistently show up on the first page of search results across all search engines.
Reading these posts and applying the lessons learned has hepled me get similar results and I thought I would sumarize a few things that have stuck to my second remaining brain cell. please correct me if I am leading anyone astray!
I think that if you do these things, you will see your pages creeping up in search results. It has helped me and I am watching my pages go from absolute obscurity to places where they can actually be found.
- Don't worry too much about the toolbar "pagerank" that Google assigns any page. Where you are actually showing up in a search is more indicative of your SEO efforts.
- Give your SEO efforts some time! Making changes today and expecting to be on page one tomorrow usually isn't gonna happen. I am giving my efforts at least two weeks to show progress before thinking of new changes.
- Write text for every page! Write well and for your targeted audience. Ensure the text you write makes sense, is readable, and above all else something the reader will want to read all the way through.
- Focus on just a few keywords for any one page. Though the major search engines will crawl a site, it is the individual pages that most often show in a search result.
- Optimize every page. Keep your site theme consistent but ensure that every page that shows up takes SEO into account.
- META description and keywords do not figure highly in search results for the major engines BUT do not discard them or discount them totally. Write a good description as if it is an advertisement for the page. Use the keyword tag but don't overload it.
- Use the "alt" attribute everywhere it makes sense to do so. Keep it short and descriptive using your keywords or key phrases where possible. This is especially important for sites that make heavy use of images.
- Make somewhat frequent chages to your content. These do not need to be major changes and should always enhance the original content of the page you are changing. Doing this will "entice" the search engines to crawl your site more frequently.
- Avoid huge URL's that don't describe the page if possible. Many "dynamic" sites place variables into the URL. This can have a negative effect on your SERP. If possible, configure your scripts to use descriptive URL's. Using .htaccess can help greatly in this but if you use hosting that won't allow you to have your own .htaccess file you may have some programming to do.