The Question: How Can Anyone Stay on top of the Search Engines when they keep changing their systems of ranking? The Short Answer: Stop betting on just one horse and spread your risk around. The Long Answer: 1- Approach the Search Engines with a strategy that caters to them. I don't just mean get lots of links and use your keywords in the right places.
I'm saying that most people try to build towards gaining one major keyword position, and if they lose that spot in an update, their sales and traffic come tumbling down. Instead of pinning your hopes to one keyword ranking, target a number of visitors, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Find the places where search engines need your listings to make their databases better and they'll be happy to rank your site.
2- Make all the different parts of your overall traffic strategy beneficial to your search engine strategy. For example, even though I knew naming a site with the keywords you want in it is out of vogue, that doesn't mean I can't still optimize my site for that area. I keep my keywords in mind when I write articles, create press releases, start new sites, start new companies? always. I also keep linking in mind in every single point of strategy for a new company. With corporate sites, it's not as easy to get links, or to do link trades. On the other hand, no matter what kind of site you have you can fall back on article marketing and directories.
3- Never stop building your site or your links. Obviously this is easier if you blog. But if you don't, you can still keep adding new pages to your site. And who says you can't have an RSS feed of your updates, whether you're blogging or not? For basic, steady link growth, I usually say to submit at least an article a week, and a press release each month. You usually get higher quality links in a faster, more semi-automated way than simply pursuing link trades.
And of course, start out your link pursuit with some of the lesser directories. I started out with a list of about 600 directories - not just for business but for ezines, podcasts, rss feeds, blogging, general web directories, etc. And I started a specialized directory of my own at that time, with the request that those who submitted link back to me as well. Starting a useful resource is a great way to get links. Why should you follow my advice? Because I've kept hundreds of first page rankings - not just for easy terms - for three years on Google, Yahoo and MSN simultaneously.
That's not so much to brag as it is to say that experience is a good teacher.
Tinu is a website promotion specialist who writes a daily free traffic column. Go to http://www.freetraffictip.com to learn more about all aspects of traffic generation, including blogging, article marketing and get late-breaking search engine news.