There is a considerable sized body of practitioners of SEO who see search engines as just another
visitor to a site, and try to make the site as accessible to those visitors as to any other who
would come to the pages. They often see the white hat/black hat dichotomy mentioned above as a
false dilemma. The focus of their work is not primarily to rank the highest for certain terms in
search engines, but rather to help site owners fulfill the business objectives of their sites.
Indeed, ranking well for a few terms among the many possibilities does not guarantee more sales.
A successful Internet marketing campaign may drive organic search results to pages, but it also
may involve the use of paid advertising on search engines and other pages, building high quality
web pages to engage and persuade, addressing
technical issues that may keep search engines from crawling and indexing those sites, setting
up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure their successes, and making sites
accessible and usable.
SEOs may work in-house for an organization, or as consultants, and search engine optimization may
be only part of their daily functions. Often their education of how search engines function comes
from interacting and discussing the topics on forums, through blogs, at popular conferences and
seminars, and by experimentation on their own sites. There are few college courses that cover
online marketing from an ecommerce perspective that can keep up with the changes that the web
sees on a daily basis.
SEO, as a marketing strategy, can often generate a good return. However, as the search engines
are not paid for the traffic they send from organic search, the algorithms used can and do
change, there are no guarantees of success, either in the short or long term. Due to this lack of
guarantees and certainty, SEO is often compared to traditional Public Relations (PR), with
PPC advertising closer to traditional advertising. Increased visitors is analogous to increased
foot traffic in retail advertising. Increased traffic may be detrimental to success if the site
is not prepared to handle the traffic or visitors are generally dissatisfied with what they find.
In either case increased traffic does not guarantee increased sales or success.
While endeavoring to meet the guidelines posted by search engines can help build a solid
foundation for success on the web, such efforts are only a start. SEO is potentially more
effective when combined with a larger marketing campaign strategy. Despite SEO potential to
respond to the latest changes in market trends, SEO alone is reactively following market
trends instead of pro-actively leading market trends. Many see search engine marketing as a
larger umbrella under which search engine optimization fits, but it’s possible that many who
focused primarily on SEO in the past are incorporating more and more marketing ideas into their
efforts, including public relations strategy and implementation, online display media buying, web
site transition SEO, web trends data analysis, HTML E-mail campaigns, and business blog
consulting making SEO firms more like an ad agency.
In addition, whilst SEO can be considered a marketing tactic unto itself, it’s often considered
(in the view of industry experts) to be a single part of a greater whole.
Marketing through other methods, such as viral, pay-per-click, new media marketing and other
related means is by no means irrelevant, and indeed, can be crucial to maintaining a strong
search engine rank. The part of SEO that simply insures content relevancy and
attracts inbound link activity may be enhanced through broad target marketing methods such as
print, broadcast and out-of-home advertising as well
Internet marketing is a component of electronic
commerce. Internet marketing can include information management, public relations, customer
service, and sales. Electronic commerce and Internet marketing have become popular as Internet
access is becoming more widely available and used. Well over one third of consumers who have
Internet access in their homes report using the Internet to make purchases.
Internet marketing is associated with several business models. The main models include
business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). B2B consists of companies doing
business with each other, whereas B2C involves selling directly to the end consumer (see Malala,
2003) When Internet marketing first began, the B2C model was first to emerge. B2B transactions
were more complex and came about later. A third, less common business model is peer-to-peer
(P2P), where individuals exchange goods between themselves. An example of P2P is Kazaa, which is
built upon individuals sharing files.
Internet marketing can also be seen in various formats. One version is name-your-price (e.g.
Priceline.com). With this format, customers are able to state what price range they wish to spend
and then select from items at that price range. With find-the-best-price websites (e.g.
Hotwire.com), Internet users can search for the lowest prices on items. A final format is online
auctions (e.g. Ebay.com) where buyers bid on listed items.
Some of the benefits associated with Internet
marketing include the availability of information. Consumers can log onto the Internet and
learn about products, as well as purchase them, at any hour. Companies that use Internet
marketing can also save money because of a reduced need for a sales force. Overall, Internet
marketing can help expand from a local market to both national and international marketplaces.
And, in a way, it levels the playing field for big and small players. Unlike traditional
marketing media (like print, radio and TV), entry into the realm of Internet marketing can be a
lot less expensive.
Furthermore, since exposure, response and overall efficacy of digital media is much easier to
track than that of traditional “offline” media, Internet marketing offers a greater sense of
accountability for advertisers.