First of all, I want to insist that this article is aimed at site owners since sometimes site owners and webmasters are different. For example, a realtor has a real estate website. But, she is just a newbie on the Internet and she leans on the webmaster (from hosting provider, for example) in her website's SEO campaign. In fact, that webmaster couldn't understand real estate industry deeply like her and he has many other sites to manage. So the SEO campaign wouldn't get the expected result. In most cases, the site owners will play an important role in the success of SEO campaign. However, HTML language, search engines, link popularity, PageRank seem so strange to them at first. Thus, the purpose of this article is providing the amateur site owners with some basic but effective tools and knowledge in Search Engine Optimization. This will help site owners collaborate better with webmasters or SEO firms to boost their websites' position in Search Engines.
1. Search Engines - You are a site owner and you yourself should be familiar with search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN Search to search for your competitors' sites to see how they are promoting themselves in the marketplace, evaluate the keywords, check your sites' link popularity (number of links to your sites) and link saturation (number of pages on your sites have been indexed). These search engine syntaxes aren't academic as you've imagined and you don't need to care about the complicated algorithms behind them. For example, to check whether your sites are indexed, just type site:your_site_domain in search engines. Remember that your_site_url and your_site_domain are not the same. Site domain does not include http:// while site URL must have (ex: http:// your_site_domain/ your_page.htm is a URL of your site).
Suppose the SEO firm, in their optimization report, would ask the site owners to exchange links with other relevant sites to improve the link popularity. The problem is: where can I find the other sites? Don't worry, search engines can help you. Site owners can learn from their competitors about which sites they've exchanged links with by checking their link popularity.
In short, if you want search engines to help bring in business, you should make friends with them first. Search engines are always useful friends (although not easy to control!).
2. HTML basic syntax and HTML editor - Site owners don't have to master HTML language to re-design their pages. That is not their job. But basic syntaxes are always necessary. They should know to locate where the <head> block in an html page to insert new auto-generated Meta-tags. I've mentioned auto-generated Meta-tags because site owners don't need to code the Meta-tags either. With the keyword Meta-tags Generator, they can find on search engines thousands of websites welcoming them to use their tool. Besides, the html link syntax is also worthy to remember: Look at this simple code <a href="your_site_url_1">your descriptive text</a> which you send to other site owners for link exchange. Your website has many pages for exchanging links so it's important to know link code to change your_site_url_1 to other pages and your descriptive text respectively. In addition, with the knowledge of html syntax, you can open your pages and insert the links on your own and stop calling the webmasters all the time for modifying pages with links. Today, html editors such as FrontPage, DreamWeaver highly simplify this task in the similar way as you are working in MS Word. Just select the position in Design view (in FrontPage) and paste the link code in the Code view at the cursor.
3. Google toolbar - Google Toolbar is a useful tool for web surfers and even more useful to site owners to check PageRank. PageRank is a Google's grade (from 0 to 10) to evaluate the page's popularity on the net. With the high pageranks, they don't guarantee the high positions of the pages in Google's search results but they can tell us many things. PageRank encourages site owners in the long process of SEO. The little green color on the bar looks like the fruits in the tree of our efforts and we are motivated to dig more in SEO. In addition, PageRank helps site owners to find the appropriate sites to exchange links with. Seek for the sites with the same level (pagerank) to foresee the success of a link exchange request. To install Google toolbar to the browsers (e.g.: Internet Explorer, Firefox), just start by typing Google toolbar in search engines and follow the first result.
In this article, I've provided the site owners with some basic but effective tools to come along their SEO campaigns. They include but not limit to search engines, HTML editor, and Google toolbar. Besides, there are others such as FTP tool, Google sitemap, Link Directory software... The important thing to amateur site owners is forgetting your main career and get your hands wet with these tools. Webmaster and SEO firm can't do everything for you. Learning SEO tools today will never be too late and wasted.