Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are techniques to make your web pages come up higher in search engine (e.g. google lists)
Search engines used to rely things like the meta tags "keywords", title, description in the header of web pages to index on synonyms related to the topic, but web page authors started abusing this to put all kinds of keywords not related to their topic to get more hits, so many of the search engines de-emphasize them now.
Most search engine algorithms now include link popularity, which started with Google's PageRank that ranked individual pages based on the number and importance of pages linked to them. You can't do much about this other than get your friends to link to your pages.
Google is constantly changing their algorithm for ranking and nobody knows what it is.
There are many companies and consultants which you can hire to optimize your web site. Some useful techniques:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at Google's Webmasters/Site owners Help
SEO Best Practices for Web Site Design at pandia.com
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) at about.com
14 SEO copywriting tips | SEO content creation advice
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