Stop Tracking the Illusive "Magic Bullet"
It seems like everyone is beating the drum for one Internet
marketing method or another. And in the process they create
plenty of hype and conflicting messages.
Website owners are left to wonder whom to believe when it
comes to impressing the search engines. Which approach can
deliver the "magic bullet" they've been promised? Is it time
to jump to the next "sure thing," that will entice both
search spiders and web surfers?
The primary methods promoted to attract search engines and
Web traffic aren't new:
- Links and reciprocal links
- Pay-per-click (PPC)
- Search engine optimization (SEO) in all its variations
- Blogs and forums
- Writing and posting articles or press releases
- Paid placement with ads and banners
But each of them shares a common limitation. At its best,
each is only part of the answer. An answer that won't hold
still long enough to get nailed down - before the next "must
The Internet is Maturing, and so are Search Engines
In recent years, the capabilities and sophistication of the
search engines have exploded. Public use and expectations
have grown to match it. The public's reliance on the
Internet as a reliable source expands ever faster. Recent
studies found the Web to be the most trusted source of
information for making major purchase decisions, second only
to spouses for finding referrals.
A Harris Interactive consumer survey (2004) reports that 73%
of adults are now online - 156 million users. That's up from
69% eight months before. Most Internet users (80%) expect
that they'll find reliable, detailed facts online (Pew
Internet and American Life Project). So they go online first
when they need information. And they have confidence in what
they're able to find.
Now more than ever, access to that gigantic pool of
information-hungry Internet users depends on a website's
relationship to the search engines. Is it possible for
people to find it? The stakes are high.
Integration of Methods is the "Next Big Thing"
Refined keyword and page optimization are the standard
anymore. SEO has morphed into Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
The key difference is integration. SEO method aren't seen as
separate solutions, but as parts of a multi-pronged
endeavor. Success now depends on how well they all dovetail.
That's a fundamental shift from the lurching "do this...,
now that..., now that... approaches, which have
characterized the on-line norm. And anyone who's still
playing by that game plan will be left behind.
Be suspicious of any SEO strategy that's wedded to a single
method - no matter what impressive statistics they cite. And
when the search engines "burp," (as they surely will now and
then) a site's visibility can be lost. A diversified
approach to links and search engines reduces vulnerability.
Achieving that requires shifting focus to a bigger, more
My Experience with Reciprocal Linking
As a person who has been in SEM for years (and fine-tuned
hundreds of websites) I've gotten good at spotting trends as
they develop. And I've seen too many "can't lose" methods
No question that linking is important for search engine
placement. There are effective and targeted ways to acquire
incoming links that don't require a link exchange. However,
I saw some problems with the way many reciprocal links are
pursued. My concerns led me to write an article, Reciprocal
Linking is Dead,
back when most insiders were proclaiming it to be the way to
go. (Fresh articles about why you should develop reciprocal
links appear daily.)
An integrated search engine marketing strategy is vital for
your website's visibility and survival. Resist the
shortsightedness of putting too much reliance on what
everyone is recommending.
Beat the Pack by a Country Mile
If you're ready for the "Next Big Thing," stop chasing the
flavor of the month. The trend is toward building an
integrated strategy where all the options mesh. Achieve all
the added benefits that come with integrating every method
your website employs. Now that's a next thing with staying