At Last - A Plain English Guide to Internet Marketing

by : Gordon Goodfellow

Have you ever been horrified and intimidated at the convoluted, jargon-reliant information about Internet marketing available on the Net?

Often it results in many companies becoming confused and therefore reluctant to put into practice what would be a valuable and simple business resource when understood and applied correctly.

Market Research consultant for Inteltab, Gordon Goodfellow, who is also an English literature graduate, decided it was time for a change. Part of this desire to make Internet marketing more accessible may be due to his past experience as a teacher.

'I was sick of all the gobbledegook that surrounds the Internet, even today,' he explains.

'Marketing on the Net isn't rocket science and should not be presented as such. Everyone should have access to it. That's the beauty of it.'

Having spent four years researching and assessing the best way of getting an effective message across on the Internet, he began to design a basic introduction to Internet marketing. The result of this hard work is Applied Web Marketing. AWM is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to marketing on the Internet, covering everything from domain names to e-commerce and merchant accounts, and written in plain English. This is designed for the small business user and the home business user who does not want to spend a fortune on outside 'experts'.

The key to most of Internet marketing is search engine optimisation. The key to good search engine optimisation is keyword research. In other words, knowing which keywords or search terms people are using to find what they’re looking for on the Internet. If keyword research is done properly then there is no doubt that you will get highly targeted visitors to your website. This is obviously the professional way of going about things. It is the antithesis to the 'spam' approach (unsolicited commercial emails) which achieves extremely poor results and simply annoys anyone unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end.

But which search engine should you optimise for? The search engine of choice at the moment is Google. There are two good reasons for this. Firstly, Google is the most popular search engine on the Internet today. It is known for the quality and relevance of its search results, and so people trust it. Secondly, over the last couple of years Google has joined alliances with other search engines and directories. AOL and Netscape share Google’s search findings, so you’ll have similar search results on the AOL and Netscape databases. Other lesser databases also rely on Google, so that if you are well represented on Google, then you’ll be well represented on over sixty per cent of Internet search facilities.

Yahoo, the world's most popular directory, has since launched its own search engine, which makes it now a main competitor to Google (in the past Yahoo took its own results from Google's database). You can still submit your site to Yahoo for free, but expect a listing to take several weeks.For a more immediate effect you may wish to explore Yahoo's alliance with Pay Per Click engine Overture.

Microsoft is also said to be developing its own search engine as part of its MSN sphere of influence. Expect this to be a major player as well.

You should also obtain a listing on the Open Directory Project ( which is not much known about but very well respected in the search engine optimisation industry. The Open Directory does not use the normal search engine 'spiders' or robot searchers; instead it uses over thirty thousand volunteer human editors who are ostensibly experts in their own fields. The theory behind this is that it ensures relevancy, accuracy and quality of all listings. A listing in DMOZ will therefore ensure a listing on Google and probably earn you an enhanced ranking there. Then all the others, like Yahoo, AOL, Netscape, MSN and the rest are bound to follow.

Optimisation is everything. The Applied Web Marketing website itself has the number one position on Google out of 1.47 million search results for the search term 'applied web marketing'.

After optimisation is the submission process. Perceived wisdom of the moment says it is best to submit manually. Manual submissions to dozens of search engines and directories can be very time-consuming, however. There are some good automated and semi-automated software packages available out there to do the submissions for you. But for the major players do find the time for manual submissions. Some search engines, for example Alta Vista, make it impossible for automated submission by software programs, because of individualised text codes that must be entered by hand at the start of the submission process, so you have to submit to Alta Vista manually as well. But that just takes about three minutes.

Don’t bother with ads that say that they can 'blast your web site to 500,000 search engines'. There aren’t that many search engines; there’s only a few hundred in total, and only about a dozen of any major importance. You’ll just pay your money and be very disappointed. Most of these so-called search engines are link farms, FFA or free-for-all sites, which nobody every looks at, and which are responsible chiefly for sending out spam. If you link to such web sites you risk being penalised by the bona fide search engines.

The next thing to have lots of is patience. A listing on Google should probably appear within a couple of weeks if you have optimised your pages roperly. Incidentally, if you have multiple pages on your web site, as is mostly the case, it is important only to submit the index or home page, and let Google’s spider 'Googlebot' to find and index the other pages itself using the links that you should have set up on your site.

The Applied Web Marketing guide has useful links to many resources, lots of them completely free, and to the submission pages of the major search engines and directories, making it a perfect site to begin your journey into the world of Internet marketing.