Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a subject that everyone is aware of, but not many people know the technical issues of.  SEO is really more of an art than a science.  There are several companies out there who claim to get you on the first page of the search engines.  What these companies won't tell you is that they will only get your site into the top page for 3 key terms.  Now if your trying to run a site who's key term is Brittney Spears, and a company claims to be able to get you there, good luck. However if your like the rest of the businesses out there that want people to find you for a variety of reasons, there there is on substitute for good content.

There are definitly things to be aware of when trying to create a SEO friendly site. 
  • For one, the site should be XHTML compliant:
    • Make sure your web content is easy to index.
  • Sites should be updated often:
    • Search engines love to index new pages.
  • Make sure you have a site map
    • Make sure that the spiders can find all of your pages
    • Google has released a site map standard.  If you use this, then Google will love to crawl your site to test out their standard.
    • Yes I know at the moment I'm guilty of breaking this rule, but the CMS is new, and I haven't had a change to build in a site map
  • Make link text descriptive.
One of the interesting things about search engines is that you cannot force them to visit your site.  Just submitting your link to the search engines is no way to get your site crawled.  Instead, you have to coax the search engines to crawl your site by adding links to your site on other sites already indexed by the search engines.  This is actually not all that hard.  In almost every discussion forum out there, you can provide a bio of yourself including your web site.  Just adding a link there will get the spiders to your site sooner or later.

This is one of those times when it is really nice to have existing sites that you control already indexed by the search engines.  When launching a new site, you can provide links to your new site on all of your existing sites.  This will get the spiders to your site fast.  This site only took 1 day to initially get crawled by MSN and Yahoo!, and just 3 days till Google did a deep crawl of the site.   I haven't even had a chance to add content to all the pages yet.