What is Internet Marketing?
Internet (or online or web) marketing broadly refers to the marketing of companies, brands, products or services using the Internet. The rapid and dynamic growth of the Internet has created tremendous global marketing opportunities for businesses to reach new customers and communicate with them in ways they couldn’t before. Regardless of the industry, many companies have realized its potential and importance, and are now looking at web marketing as a vital part of their overall marketing mix.
Internet marketing can scale many areas, and can include such things like Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Online Reputation Management (ORM), and E-mail Marketing. This article will focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Link Building.
Search Engine Optimization and Link Building
Search engine optimization is one of the most crucial components of Internet marketing, especially for growing small businesses. What good is having a beautiful website if your customers and stakeholders cannot find you in search engines? The goal of SEO is to increase the volume of targeted traffic to a website through search engines. A good SEO strategy involves two basic elements: optimizing the website content and link building. They are both equally important, however in this article we will discuss link building.
Link building often begins once a website is completed, and once its web content has been optimized. In a nutshell, optimizing web content involves having a website with a search engine friendly architecture and structure (a good web developer would know how to do this), with content that is strategically written with SEO in mind (a good copywriter would know how to do this). Your next step is the off page activity referred to as ‘link building’. You can think of link building as a popularity contest. The goal is to find as many quality, relevant websites to point to your website. The more you get, the more link popular your site becomes. And generally, the more popular your site becomes, the more search engines begin to notice it. In fact, Google has their own 10-point ranking system (also known as PageRank) of websites based on links. All websites start from 0 on the scale, and a site with many people linking to it, such as Facebook, would be a 10. Here is a link to a free tool which allows you to lookup any website’s Google PageRank: http://www.page-rank-lookup.com
There are many different ways to build links. There are countless numbers of directory and search engines sites for businesses, web, press releases, articles, blogs, and videos. And there are also social sites which include social networking (Twitter.com) and bookmarking sites (Digg.com), and blogs. The more content you have to share on such sites, the better it is for your SEO campaign.
Submissions to directories can often take some time (depending on the directory). In general with most directories, there are three ways to get links: free submission, paid submission, or reciprocal links or link exchanges (ie. I’ll link to you if you link to me). Link building through social channels can occur much faster because you can actually manage the content and submit it yourself.
Link Building Best Practices
Link building has several obvious advantages. As mentioned above, it is a way to increase the volume and also the quality of traffic coming to a website. Moreover, it helps by increasing the visibility of a website by putting it in front of more sets of eyes, with more people being able to find a website through more web channels.
There are some general best practice rules to link building though. One of them is avoiding building links to irrelevant websites. For instance, if you are in the furniture business, do not submit your link to a health website directory. Another good rule is to be aware of the PageRank of the site you are submitting your website to. Websites with higher PageRanks can give you more link popularity than websites with lower PageRanks. In the end, you can think of it all as being a popularity contest, in which the traditional rules of a popularity contest still apply.