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What we've learned so far: We need to make a website more than just user-friendly, but also search engine-friendly by using keywords properly throughout our site, and thorough keyword research is very important.
And now for most important bit, namely link popularity. A search engine such as Google (the biggest and therefore most important search engine in world) places an incredible amount of importance on how many sites link to yours (reciprocal linking), quality of those sites as well as way in which they link to your site. In other words, it is very important to exchange links with other sites with similar content to yours. That is, you put a clickable link to their site on your site, and they do same for you. It is also important that they link to your site with correct phrase in link text (the text that you click on to follow link). If you want to optimize your site for keyword "clothes hangers" but others link to you with keyword "baby diapers" in link text, search engines will once again incorrectly assume that your site is about baby diapers instead. As far as quality of other sites linking to yours (your link partners) is concerned, this is a vast and complicated topic that we'll have to cover on its own.
There are actually many other factors that also determine your website's rankings in search engines, but these are basic ones. I hope this helps you somewhat (yes, I know it's complicated and daunting), but if I only succeeded in confusing you more, then don't worry - there are many search engine optimization specialists out there. And yes, you'll find that best ones are normally at top of search engine results pages! And if they are worth money you pay them, you should see an exponential return on investment within first year. It might also be advisable to have them monitor your web site's search engine rankings on an ongoing basis so that goose doesn't suddenly for some reason stop laying those golden eggs!
* This article was originally published on http://www.ajcconsulting.co.za/content/search_engine.asp
Chris van der Walt is a freelance writer of self-help articles for all kinds of subjects. He has a passion for Jesus Christ, beach volleyball (http://www.savolley.com), computers and the internet. He is also owner of AJC Consulting - Premium Affordable Web Design Services (http://www.ajcconsulting.co.za).