It is common knowledge that the best and cheapest way to get traffic to your website is to have a good ranking with the search engines. Ideally, you want to be listed on the first search page of all the engines as potential customers rarely go beyond that.
The first warning sign that your site is not properly optimized will be that you have a poor search engine ranking or none at all when you type in keywords relating to your site. While there are many services that promise you high search engine rankings there are a few obvious warning signs that your website is poorly optimized to look out for yourself.
Is your website registered with the search engines? If not, do so immediately. Google, Yahoo and MSN are the main ones but consider registering with others as well. Have a close look at the content of your website. Ask yourself if the look and content of the site is attractive to visitors. Make sure that the website looks good and that all content is interesting and readable.
Have you thought carefully about who your customers are and what words are they likely to type in when searching for the product or service you have on offer? Perhaps the biggest warning sign of bad search engine optimization is the poor use of keywords.
You should research which are the most commonly used keywords and work them into the content of your website, as well as in the title and the meta data. Also try working them into the links on your website, instead of having redundant link text such as 'Click here for more'.
The content of your website should also have a good sprinkling of keywords, no less than 2%. Try to work these into your content naturally and do not sacrifice quality for the sake of a few extra keywords.
Do you have backlinks to your site? If not, you should start work on creating these immediately. Submitting articles relating to your product or service to article directories can be a great way of doing this. Your articles can be published for free but will contain a backlink to your site, thus boosting your popularity among search engines.
Finally, keep your website up to date. Not only will visitors to your site appreciate the extra effort, search engines track how often websites are updated. So keep it fresh.