Given that the major engines tend to change how they rank a site almost daily,
there is almost no way to stay on top of "all " that they may require.
And they all seem to require something different. you can't please them all.
So what's to do to improve rank ?
A few basic ideas that have worked for me.
Quality of links:
The web used to operate on the idea of reciprocity. However, thanks to some shady types who started up link farms and other such scams, the engines no longer consider just the sheer number of links pointing to your site, but also their quality. Meaning a link from Joes bar and grill, when your a Hat seller is Not gonna help you a bit. Want good rank? Have links from meaningful sites that have some relationship to you.
Incoming links VS reciprocal links:
The best rank goes to sites with more incoming links VS reciprocal links. The best way to get one way links is to have rich content to where others want to send people to view it. A one way link is like a Vote for your site, which is how the engines see it. But first they have to know your out there in order to make that vote. Which brings us back to...
Listing with directories and search engines:
Never mind the scams out there that promise to list you with 1000 or so engines. They might ,but if you think this will boost the sites rating automatically, forget it. Most of these mass submitters bury you along with a million other people. No one will ever see them, and you just set yourself up to be buried in spam from every source imaginable. It's not a pretty sight believe me, and the worst part is, you have not helped your ranking a bit, if anything you might have made it worse.
Placement with the engines takes time ,effort and creativity on your part. I have spent years at it and its paid off.. I currently hold first page rank due to such personal efforts. It's an effort you have to keep doing and expanding. Think of all the site submissions as advertising, as that is exactly what you are doing. The listing with the engines and special directories is your ad on the web that points to your door.
So take the time to place your own site with the engines by hand. Write up a good summary in many different forms. I have at least a half a dozen for all my sites. And use everyone of them, as its Not one summary fits all. You have to sell the site to your audience. The write up blurb tailor made for a given engine, is one way to do it
Paid VS Free sites:
If at all possible, have a paid site. Why ? Ad banners. They are the first thing on the page most often, so will be read first by the engine. Meaning you are upping the rating for a link NOT to your page. Unless an ad banner makes YOU money directly, you don't want it taking up that first impression space or any space. The only exception being a reciprocal link where there is a trade of value for value.
Choose Link partners well:
Be picky on who you link to: If some site comes along and offers to link with you, and they have no relationship to you at all Example: A gambling site wants to hook to an art site.. Yeah right....like these two are related ?.... My advice, Decline such offers, unless its somewhere you would " want " to send your viewers.
As unfortunately, such an offer, often means you have a good rank, they know it, and they want to pull theirs up by being associated with you. Which it would, However, at the same time it would drag yours down ,if it happens to be an irrelevant link, so they gain, you lose.
Limit the amount of links on a page:
Since the advent of the link farms, any page that has too many links on it gets considered a link farm, this means FFAs, your link page etc. So break them up into smaller pages as the spider will assume Farm, if it sees a whole mess of them in one place. It will not assume that it's just because your popular.:) The spider has a limited " intellect " it only knows what its been told. It's told, if a page has more than X number of links on it, it's a link farm and will rate the site low for it.
So to sum up.. if you want good ranking, never mind the hype. Having good content others want to associate with, combined with diligent effort to list the site and advertise it well, will assure your rating no matter how often they change the rules :)
May this serve you well