Internet Marketing Without a Big-Picture Strategy Dances in Circles

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  have" appears.

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 awebsite'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  inclusive picture.

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 fade.

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  short sightedness 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  power.  

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