Search Engine Marketing
As part of your overall Internet marketing strategy, it is important to devote resources to search engine marketing. This component of your marketing mix has become increasingly critical due to the importance that search engines and directories play in how prospects access information. Search engines have the advantage of driving highly qualified traffic due to the self-selection process initiated by the searcher in choosing their search query. Research shows that there are more than 8 hundred million people in the world have the habit to access Internet. 86% of them tend to locate information via search engines. In addition, research shows that most people will only look at 2 to 3 pages of search results, so your ranking among the results is becoming increasingly important.
When developing your search engine strategy you need to understand how search engines work, how they are different from directories, and how to maximize their effectiveness in making sure that your business gets as much exposure as your budget allows. Search Engines populate their databases for search results through robotic software programs that crawl the web looking for content to index. This crawling requires that the software find text-based machine-readable content to index and categorize a site. The content accessed is from the meta tags (title, description, keywords, alt image tags), filenames and content on pages throughout your site. Spiders tend to look at the root directory, 1st level files and occasionally will spider your site to 2nd level content.
To determine a site’s meta tags, right click your mouse and select View Source. If your site has not been developed with search engines in mind, you could have difficulty in having your content properly indexed. Search engines also determine relative rankings of results based on certain algorithms that include factors like link popularity, site traffic, site content, etc. When search engines first evolved, they were based on a “free” business model, where conceptually all sites had an equal chance of being indexed and displayed in search results if their developers optimized with some basic steps. While the basic steps are still an important part of your search engine marketing strategy, they no longer are enough. This is due to the fact that many search engines (and dot bombs) found that it wasn’t just about capturing eyeballs, but was also about making money. This has led search engines to modify their business models to capitalize on all possible sources of revenue generated by their traffic and/or technology. Traffic was seen as a logical source for advertising revenues and technology was felt to be transferable for use at other sites requiring robust search engines. To date, most search engines have not elected to go towards a subscription-based model where searchers get charged for accessing information. These new business models require that site developers work even more closely with marketing strategists to ensure that the most effective business decisions are made.
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