Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a topic I could spend days discussing, but I will try and keep to the finer points for now.
First lets define SEO. When having your web site designed you look at all the fun parts. You pick the colors, images, sounds, videos. You decide how much white space to add here how much to remove there, and in the end you hopefully have a great web site. However, all of these things only matter to the people who use your web site. Search engines are not people. Web developers have to think of search engines right from the time they start working on the site.
SEO starts by knowing how a search engine works. As I have said a search engine is not a person, it is a computer program. One of the first things I do is submit a site to all major search engines so they know how to find it. After they find it I have to make sure they can read it. What a search engine reads of a web site is the underlying HTML that the site is build with. So, I make sure the HTML is clean, meaningful, and well formatted. I also provide the search engines a site map so that they know the parts of the site I think are important for them to read.
Another thing to keep in mind is how people think when they want to find your site with a search engine. Are they typing in your name, your company, one of your products, or even what you do? They might come of with some very crazy things to put in when they look for your site. Search engines can be helped to figure out which of these keywords to associate with your site by including a list embedded in your site. But, keep in mind that, if you include too many keywords they might think you are trying to game the system.
Linking to other web sites that support yours and have them link back to your site. Having relevant referrals allows the search engine to better place your site if people are not sure what to search for to find you.
Web developers have a saying, "Content is King." That is because, the most important thing is content. This is a part that is equally important for both search engines and people who view your site. I don't mean you need to over do it and add tons and tons of content. Just make sure you have what users expect you to have. Keep the content current and up to date.
Another thing to remember is that, SEO is not done when a user finds you site. After a user finds your site the search engine will pay attention if the user returns to the search engine and keeps searching. They look at the time the user may have spent on your site, the keywords they used, and even what they typed in next. SEO is an ever evolving process, but chances are if your web site was designed with SEO in mind and the content is engaging and current you will have no problem.