I wish I had a dollar for every time I've been asked this question.
People seem to be under the illusion that as soon as their website goes live they are going to be found in the search engines. Sorry to burst your bubble guys.
The search engines will find you “eventually” but it’s not instantaneous. You can go online and register your website with the various search engines but it will still take a few days to a couple of weeks for them to find you and do the first cataloguing of your new site and please don’t expect to be on the first page of Google after a couple of weeks. Unless, of course, you’re an online phenomenon such as Susan Boyle we need to take steps to get your website ranking up. The better your ranking the better your position in the various search engines.
The various search engines send out their web bots to go through your website with a checklist. The more “ticks” you have the better your ranking. You can also get strikes against you which mean your ranking goes down.
So what will get you ticks and what will get you strikes? Well it’s like anything in life. The more effort you put in the better your results are going to be.
Some of the things that will improve your ranking…
Meta tags on each and every page, but at the very least on the home page
Inbound or backlines – you want as many of these as you can organise. Links from other websites back to your own. A good place to start is to list your website in online directories.
Content – keep it current and keep it coming. The more content your website has the better your ranking will be. Keep your website info current and up to date.
Keywords & Key phrases – use words and phrases in your website that you think people might use to find you online
Making your website search engine friendly is called SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.