Internet Marketing Strategy

So, what’s your Internet marketing strategy?

Many people think that they just need to submit their web site links to search engines and that’s where their online marketing plan ends. While this is a good first step, don’t just let one process be your only effort.

First off, if your a site owner that uses a service to submit your links to thousands of search engines, stop.. just plain stop. Some might argue with me that any eyeball is good for marketing, but I am here to tell you that you only need to focus ( for natural search listings ) on Google, Yahoo, and MSN. You may also add in a few more specific engines like Findlaw.com for legal business, and maybe some niche directories.. but mainly everybody is using one of the three main search engines. I might even throw in ASK.com for good measure.

Years ago, doing more than submitting your link to the search engines was a waste, but now that search engines like Google have offered a numerous amount of services based around their search results, you have many ways of promoting your site with just one engine.

MSN is still a ‘newcomer’ in my eyes when it comes to search.. they really don’t have a large database and their paid service is still in beta as of this writing, so submitting a link to them for inclusion to their database is really about all you can do when it concerns MSN. They do have a local search service that you should be aware of and get involved with at:

http://local.live.com/

Yahoo on the other hand has a submission service for links, but also has the Overture paid search program, a paid business directory, and a little known sitemaps program like Google sitemaps located at:

http://submit.search.yahoo.com/free/request

Yahoo also owns the social bookmarking service del.icio.us, which is also a great way to share your favorite bookmarks with others. Your business, or any site you are promoting, should be in your bookmarks list anyway… so go ahead and share that link with others.

Yahoo also has a local search submission as well, which is great to target local customers at:

http://listings.local.yahoo.com/

Google is the biggest player when it comes to programs to get involved in for search results inclusion. A quick rundown would be:

1. Google itself
2. https://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/login
3. http://local.google.com/
4. Froogle and Google Base ( now the same )
5. Adwords
6. Google Directory
7. Google Blog Search
8. Google Mobile

Besides making sure you include all these services into your web marketing campaign, you should also look at if your site conforms to standards set forth by the W3C. Making sure your site displays properly in all web browsers and can be indexed correctly should be a very high priority on your list. If a customer visits your site using a browser like Safari, they might not be able to see it correctly, costing you a possible sale or conversion. It has been rumored also that several engines give points to those sites that properly validate to these standards. Validate your HTML or XHTML, along with your CSS stylesheets here:

http://validator.w3.org/check/referer

http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/

Email marketing is just plan smart. The best ROI I ever had with online marketing has always been with email. Start an email marketing campaign that actively collects new email address and uses stored email address to send out newsletters about products and services you may offer. You can buy lists from online marketing sites, or start collecting your own. Either way, you can use email to connect with prior clients to get some exposure when you need it. I recommend a PHP based script for this called PHPList.

RSS feeds have become all the rage with many online surfers. I have even found the search engines love them as well. RSS is a form of XML that allows anyone interested, to keep up with new news you might want to provide them. Think of it as email, without the hassles of email.. like spam, lost email, or bounced email. With RSS feeds you can keep clients informed of new products, news, or anything else you may want. Check with sites like Feedburner on how to set up a RSS feed for your site.

Site map pages are a great way to get surfers to the correct page quickly. Nothing is worse than a surfer that can not navigate your site to find the information they need quickly. It is also great for letting search engines find all your content in one place.

Robots.txt files are by far the biggest thing I find lacking on websites. I went through this discussion on another post on this site located here:

http://www.marketingop.us/2006/06/09/robots-txt/

Directories like DMOZ and About.com, along with specialized and smaller directories don’t get the attention they deserve mostly. People still actively use directories and they can be a great source of targeted traffic. I love local directories and even yellow pages type of directories for targeted local traffic, find my post about them here:

http://www.marketingop.us/2006/05/27/local-search-2/

If you have a product or service to sell you can’t pass up speciality sites like Craigslist or eBay. I shouldn’t have to explain why you should be in eBay or Craigslist unless you have been in a coma for several years, check out a post I did about selling products online here:

http://www.marketingop.us/2006/06/02/post-online/

Trading links or buy advertising off of another site is a great way to get exposure. Google and Yahoo both have a service available for this, as well as Kanoodle and Lycos. Here’s a great tool to find the best, most relevant sites for a given keyword or phrase in this post here:

http://www.marketingop.us/2006/05/27/link-tool/

Having a blog is also a good idea, even if you own a corporate style website. Web surfers love to read what your up to and it gives clients a good idea of who you really are. Blogs also can help you get a jump start on having RSS feeds and into many of the advertisement programs I mentioned above like Sitemaps, Blog search engines, and Google Base. I recommend WordPress as a blogging tool ( they also have a hosted service ) and specific plugins for WordPress like:

http://www.marketingop.us/2006/06/06/seo-plugin/

You don’t have to be a master of everything Internet marketing related to get great results, but you do have to work at it. The information above should help you get a good jump start on your competitors, unless of course they are reading this post as well!


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