Search engines are the best way to get free targeted visitors to your website. A top ranking on Google can literally mean millions of dollars for highly searched terms. A top rank on MSN or Yahoo can also bring substantial money your way.

Getting to the top of the major search engines is somewhat difficult for the really big terms. But somebody else did it and so can you.

All over this site I recommend building a large interlinked website. Hundreds of pages all linking to and from each other. Each page optimized for a specific search term and containing good content and some well placed Adsense ads and a few affiliate links.

The best way to get at least some good rankings is to put up 500 well optimized pages. To help you, here are some tips about the basics of search engine marketing by optimization.

Getting the Basics Right

META Tags

The most basic of optimization principles are META tags. You can find a lot information all over the place about the mystical META tags. The reality is that most search engines now place very little weight in them.

The only tip you really need about these tags is this: USE META TAGS FOR THEIR INTENDED PURPOSE. Use them to accurately identify the true content of your pages.

These are the things you need to focus on.

Title – The most important of the META tags because its what everyone sees. The title should contain the keyphrase for the page first, then follow it up with a related search term or two. It should make sense to the reader so they want to click it.

Keywords – Many people suggest that you cram several varieties of your key phrase into the keyword section. What you should do is go to the Yahoo Search Marketing tool and type in the main two word key phrase you are targeting.

Cut and paste the list to a document on your desktop for easy access. Go down the list of the top 50 related searches and write down each word that appears other than the main key phrase This is called your related search keyword list.

You will probably come out with about 30 words or so. These, along with the keyphrase, are your keywords. Use them in the META tag and make sure they all appear somewhere in your template so they are on every single page.

Description – Write 50 or so words to accurately describe your sites content. Try to say it in a way that makes the reader want to click the link. You should use the key phrase only once or twice and as many of the words from the keywords list you made as you can fit in while still making sense.

Other than that, folks, the whole issue of META tags has been discussed to the point of further discussion being pointless and time wasting. There are no secret tricks that will take your site to the top by tomorrow afternoon, but my keyword tip should help you get better across the board rankings on the next cycle after you do it. You know what to do with the META tags, so just do it if you haven’t already.

META tags are not to be used to try to trick the search engines. Get your rankings the old fashioned way and earn them.

ALT Tags

All of your images should contain an ALT Tag. These tags are just a few words you can use to describe your picture. The main purpose of these tags was to give those who have their graphics turned off can get an idea of what was there.

In the real world, people load their key phrase into the tags. Sometimes repeatedly.

I suggest you stay away from the key phrase with ALT tags and use words from your related search keyword list.

A Few Final Tips

These basics are the foundation on which you will build your rankings. Don’t take them lightly. And while you are brushing the up, here are some other basics you might want to consider.

Remember, search engine marketing is successful only if you do a bunch of small things right. Even if you don’t do them all right, if you do enough of them correctly your rankings will soar.

Try these other little things that can help lead you to big results.

1) Use headings properly and at their default size.

2) BOLD type your main target phrase one time on the page.

3) Always use text links with the full path, ie., http://www.moneymakingmonkey.com/SEO

4) Include the main keyphrase in your domain name.

5) Keep your copyright date current.

That should give you plenty to do, but the benefits will be worth the effort.