If you are confused about terms like "search engine optimization" or having a "search engine friendly" site, then listen up! I am here to help.
Depending on how long you have had, or considered having, a website online, you have heard terms thrown around like the above or even worse, acronyms! SEO comes to mind.
Really there is not that much to fear even if you have no idea right now what is really meant by having a search engine friendly site.
Here is what search engines like to have in their results when people type in keywords:
1. A site with lots of content.
2. A site with UNIQUE content (Original - meaning you wrote it or you paid someone to write it for you.)
3. Sites that are well organized link-wise (meaning simple navigation from the main page of your site to every other page of your site.)
4. Sites that have links pointing to them from other popular, relevant sites. (sites that are similar in content to yours but that are not in direct competition with yours in content)
5. Sites that change regularly (not static but always growing with new content on a regular basis)
7. Tightly themed sites. It is easier for an engine to rank your site properly (where you want it to be) if you are not all over the map in content.
Exception: Portal sites or directories. But this is an item for another article all together
What About The Complicated Stuff?
There really isn't anything complicated about what the search engines want. But if you have stumbled into a search engine forum you were likely blown away with comments and tips that were completely over your head.
There is a difference between basic, standard optimization and the stuff they talk about in those forums. While visting SEO forums is good to keep up on new things as you go along, many people get confused and the forums are the breeding grounds for confusion when you are a beginner.
Try to learn advanced SEO from noted experts in the field rather than taking anything in chats or forums as gospel. A lot more people THINK they know what they are doing than actually do.
Remember that anything someone is willing to give away for free which, if it works, could be worth tens of thousands of dollars in high rankings resulting in high sales, is probably something that is old hat and not effective anymore.
But for now, you have a lot of work to do on the basics. The advanced stuff can come later. Relative to the advanced SEO, getting the basics right is the most powerful move you can make because you are going from zero to moving up in rankings by, many times, tens of thousands of spaces in a relatively short time.
Advanced SEO focuses on moving your site from high rankings slightly higher rankings.
Your content is the most important thing about a website. It must be friendly to the search engines meaning no special java script or other stuff. Just good old fashioned HTML. You will do fine with PHP, SHTML, and other things, but for the purpose of this article, HTML is the way most people construct their sites.
You should use a good density of your main keyword phrase for each page of your site within the content. If you are going after a high ranking for the phrase "dog leashes" you need to have that phrase in the title of the page and throughout the content.
Programs that are great for analyzing your site and giving feedback on how to improve your rankings don't come any more highly recommended that Internet Business Promoter from Axandra.
More Info: http://www.Axandra.com/go.to/jdh358
Nice thing about the software above is that it teaches you search engine optimization while it works on your site. So having it is like having a course on optimization while your site is altered for the best placement in the search engines at the same time.
The main recommendation I have for people starting to deal with optimizing their sites for the engines is to take things one at a time and get the basics down before you start messing with advanced strategies.
And when you start down that road, information you pay for is usually more accurate and more valuable than hanging around in forums. High rankings are worth a LOT of money and people don't work hard to become experts just to give that information away.
Good luck and get to work!
Jack Humphrey is the CEO of http://WebFoxMedia.com, an online marketing consulting firm that focuses on publicity, traffic generation and website development for small to large companies.