What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

As Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide aptly puts it - “Search engine optimization is about putting your site's best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines”.

How to Optimize?

There is lot of material available on the Internet on this subject but this is a skill best learnt from the Search giants themselves. You can refer to the Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide and  Guidelines for successful indexing in Bing Webmaster Center. These guides contain best practices and guidelines to follow for the webpage contents, sites and troubleshooting information.

Given below is a set of useful links for Top 3 search engines:

Search Engine Webmaster Tool Blog
Bing Webmaster Center Search Blog, Webmaster Blog
Google Webmaster Tools Google Blog
Yahoo! Site Explorer Search Blog

How to Optimize a SharePoint website?

When optimizing a SharePoint all the SEO techniques and best practices mentioned in above guides apply. So, “What to do” is very clear in this case. What you need to learn is the “How to do it” part. You can start with the MSDN article given below:

How to Optimize SharePoint Server 2007 Web Content Management Sites for Search Engines - Learn techniques to create Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Web content management (WCM) sites that are optimized for search engines, and what to avoid to help improve search ratings.

Other useful links (in no particular order) ….

Just keep in mind that the SEO requirements should not be an afterthought and so, should be collected and clarified when you start on the website development project. These requirements would in turn provide you inputs for the design and development phases.

I hope this article provides you a good start.