Good SEO Isn't Just About Your Own Site
Often, when web design clients undertake a search engine optimization project, they learn just enough to know that they want to optimize all of the tags, page titles, images, etc. on their small business websites. There's nothing wrong with that, and in fact it's a great way to increase your search profile.
But at the same time, a lot of the most important SEO work takes place away from your pages. Here are two examples of what we mean:
To improve your rankings, building incoming links to your site is a must. Google, Yahoo, and Bing all place a lot of weight on the number of other sites that point towards yours, since it's a solid indication of how important other people think your content is. You can improve your rankings without incoming links, but it's a lot more difficult.
You can learn a lot by studying your competitors. The blueprint for improving your site search ranking might be right in front of you. Learn to study competitor’s pages, finding out what sort of content and keywords they are emphasizing, where their links are coming from, what page titles they're using, and so on. Sometimes, this information can give you a jump start on your own efforts – or at least inspire you to think about some different directions.
Good SEO almost always begins on your own site, but that doesn't mean it should end there.