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Internet Marketing and SEO

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The Early days of the Internet:

In the early days of the internet some businesses built company websites simply as a brochure to give an online presentation of their business and the services or products it had to offer.
It wasn’t considered essential to have a website to generate business as their clients had always come from traditional offline sources such as advertising in local and national printed media, Yellow Pages and local promotional methods such as flyers etc.

Today having an online presence has become far more important as more and more potential customers search the internet for goods and services there has been a massive shift away from traditional offline advertising to online advertising methods.

The 21st. Century Internet:

These days for businesses simply having an online presence is not enough, although the internet has been a great leveler allowing the man in the street to have a website that looks like a $million without costing $million the problem is with over 20 Billion web pages indexed by Google the only way potential clients can find any particular online business is by using the search engines such as Google.

The Search Engines:

Google has become the number 1 search engine, this is solely down to Google giving users searching the internet the SERP’s (search engine results pages) that they want and moving out the millions of irrelevant pages that are are of little use to lower down in the SERP’s.
However Google does not do all this simply out of generosity as it earns very well from the paid ads in their SERPs, this was about $ 24 billion in 2009 so Google has a vested interest in continuing to give good SERPs and building up a good retirement fund.
For businesses this is where SEO (search engine optimisation) comes in, this is how the content on a website is optimised for the search engines to find and return to users of the internet in SERP’s.

Search Engine Optimisation:

Search engines such as Google search the internet with robots that index all the content they find to use in the SERP’s. These robots look for words in the headers and correspondingly in the paragraph text to match them, such as a page about dogs would have several references to dogs in the headers and the  paragraph text, this would then be indexed by Google under dogs to be used in SERP’s for the search term Dogs.
If there was no reference to dogs in the page then it would not be indexed under dogs, this is an extremely simplified explanation as there are a lot more factors involved such as how the website is ranked the number of links coming into the website, whether it is unique content, how long the website has been online etc.
As a rule of thumb if it is good honest content and not put together just to try and fool the search engines to get high up in the SERP’s it will be well indexed, if it is junk and not of use to users of the internet it will be found out and put lower down or even completely removed from the SERP’s
Search Engine Optimisation is where the content on a web page is put together in such a way that it will make sense and be useful to both the Search Engines and the visitors to the web site, this involves many things including finding terms (keywords) that may be used in internet searches, then using these terms (keywords) in the headers and paragraph text on web pages.

White Hat versus Black Hat methods:

There are 2 kinds of marketing methods used on the internet, first there is “White hat” where all the acceptable practices for the search engines are followed.
Secondly “Black hat“  where deceptive methods are used to drive traffic to a web site.
Black Hat methods include Spam, buying irrelevant links back to a website and routing users to pages they didn’t request, although Black hat methods may pay off in the short term they are less than useless in the medium to long term as in time the search engines find them out and end up black listing the website.
Gray hat” is a term used for practices that although not specifically deceptive are not completely honest in their motives and may well end up giving negative value to a website.
For any reputable online business using “White hat” methods is the only way to build quality targeted traffic to their website that will stay and also come back in the future.
In a nutshell simply give the visitors to your site the kind of content they are looking for and don’t try to trick them.

Other Methods of getting Visitors:

There are many other ways of getting visitors to a website, these can be divided into two categories Online and Offline methods.

Online methods include SEO and Social Media such as Facebook and Twitter also linking from other sites such as placing articles into article sites or videos uploaded to YouTube and Press releases placed on relevant websites and linked back.

Offline methods are where a business promotes itself using traditional methods such as adverts placed in papers and magazines that also includes the website address, all the methods in fact that businesses used before the Internet such as promotional items such as pens key-rings etc. except that now the info on these items includes the company website address.
The website address should also be on any advertising that the company uses such as vehicles, clothing, business cards and flyers, the company logo and any other signs that they may use to promote their business.