Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the term used for setting up your website so that it can be easily discovered through search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing (Microsoft). Discovering a website through a search engine is the result of a 'cold' search since the person performing the search has no prior knowledge of the existence of your website.
A website can be 'optimized' for certain words and phrases (known as 'search terms') so that it will be awarded a high ranking by the search engines and there are various methods by which a search engine determines the ranking of any given website. There are many articles that provide in-depth analysis of the search ranking criteria applied by different search engines. The subject of Search Engine Optimization is quite complex and the purpose of this report is to provide a simple set of guidelines that should achieve very good results.
Analysis of web searching practices indicate that:
The quality of your website is an important factor in cold searching. Someone who has come across your website via a cold search will be far more likely to assess your business based on the quality of your website since they have little else to go on. It seems fairly obvious that a poor website may render a high search engine ranking pretty useless in this case. Note. If your business has been recommended by a third party then the potential customer will not necessarily be deterred by the quality of your website - recommendations and referrals are NOT cold searches.
The process of considering SEO issues has the added bonus of being able to assess your website through the eyes of the potential customer, and this is a valuable insight for those creating their own website. One of the biggest problems with DIY websites is the natural tendency to design the website based on our own preferences rather than the needs of potential customers. As an analogy, you may prefer to have pink and green spotted walls in your bedroom, however if you owned a hotel then would you decorate your guest rooms in the same way?
As you read through the recommendations you will gain an understanding of how you should construct your website to support your business objectives.