In the world of Internet Marketing, and Web site promotion,
nothing changes faster than the parameters that rule good Search
Engine rankings and placement.
This has led to a developed new science in the last few years,
SEM (Search Engine Marketing). This new science, SEM, has been a
boon to both Web Masters and the merchants that maintain Web
sites as a way to increase exposure and revenue for their
products and/or services.
SEM has become a much sought after entity, with SEM specialists,
who focus on optimization of a site, routinely adding linking
campaign management to their overall repertoire of services.
This has resulted in a large influx of Web sites focusing on
linking campaigns and reciprocal linking as it has been
established that good, solid reciprocal linking campaigns
increased traffic and visitors to a site exponentially.
However, like with everything else online, the idea of SEM and
linking campaigns has spread like "wildfire", with sites seeking
links seemingly endlessly. This has led to what can only be
termed, "linking explosions", with many sites posting links to
everything and anything in an effort to increase their Search
Engine rankings and placements.
The actual attainment of effective linking campaigns, is a work
oriented, tedious undertaking, with literally months spent
developing a good campaign. While a good linking campaign does
increase rankings overall, with the Search Engines, the question
remains, "does it increase sales"? After all, consumers are the
ingredient that facilitates the sale of a product/service in the
long run, not the rankings or placement of a site. Questions
about whether linking campaigns increase revenue for a site are
coming into play now.
Recent data (courtesy: WebSideStory) has shown that consumers,
now more than ever, are arriving at Web sites via "search
features", not by direction to a Web site via another Web site
link. The use of "search features" to arrive at a site has
increased by almost six percent in the past year. In addition,
direct navigation by visitors to a Web site, has also increased
from a year ago, by almost ten percent. In direct contrast, Web
link "arrivals" of visitors has dropped in the past year, by a
somewhat staggering, twenty percent!
The World Wide Web quite obviously has now become more
utilitarian to consumers, and linking campaigns, as a result,
may become more ineffective as time goes on. Linking campaigns,
by their very nature, promote "browsing" and time-consuming
"visiting" of many sites, before the product/item/service, is
found by the consumer. As the Web progresses and consumers
become increasingly discerning in their overall approach to the
Web, they are now going right to the source, more often, via
"search features" and direct navigation.
Accordingly, then, the "digging around" on other sites, has
diminished over the past twelve months, and in all likelihood,
will continue as a trend well into the future, hampering the
effectiveness of linking campaigns overall. This trend reflects
an international shift towards this method of finding
information on the Web, and is not localized whatsoever,
crossing many demographic and geographic barriers.
It's really difficult to effectively pinpoint the cause in this
shift for consumers. However, the sheer magnitude of the linking
campaign craze that is so prominent now, may account, at least
in part, for the shift in the attitudes of consumers. Because of
the popularity of linking campaigns as a method of increasing
rankings and placement, attaining "quality" links (those with a
Page Rank of 5 or higher) has become more difficult for Web
masters. In addition, the sheer volume of linking requests to
pages with a high ranking, has also increased, to the point
where higher ranked Web sites are inundated daily with linking
requests, interfering with their ability to attend to their own
Web masters have now oftentimes taken to using any links
whatsoever, as long as the links added have the appropriate Page
Rank. Little thought seems to be given at times, to the theme of
a links page or the relevance of links that have been added,
leaving visitors to some sites confused and frustrated. This
will in all probability lead consumers to turn to the Search
Engines and direct navigation even more in the future, not less.
This could have dire consequences for many Web sites down the
road, as those at the bottom of search listings could
conceivably be forced out of business.
There are methods however that can aid in the retention of top
rankings and listings with the Search Engines, in and above
linking campaigns. These methods would also hold greater appeal
for consumers in general, as they would add quality to a Web
site, as well as content, something that will add "longevity of
appeal" to a Web site:
1. The writing of good, content oriented copy which imparts
value to a Web site. Good copy has always been utilized to
establish good overall traffic and conversion patterns. Even
Search Engines seem to understand this and routinely rank Web
sites with good pertinent content, higher than other Web sites.
2. The placement of ads on high traffic sites. Just one good ad,
placed on another Web site with good overall traffic, will
significantly increase rankings and placement by the Search
3. The submitting of a Web site to all possible, pertinent
directories. Directories were always a good method of increasing
rankings and placement, and they still, to this day, are a good
4. The optimization of all other aspects of a Web site, from the
meta-tags to the design. Meta-tag optimization, like directory
listings, continues to be a good overall optimization technique.
The design of a Web site can also enhance rankings and
placement, as the site needs to be "readable" to the Search
Engines, and some flash and other enhancements, can prevent
"readability", thus hampering rankings and placement.
5. The enhancement of traffic by offline marketing campaigns.
This is one facet of Web site traffic management that many
individuals neglect, but that can successfully increase rankings
6. The use of PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns. While these can be
expensive, if care is not given to the bidding, they can also
enhance traffic to a Web site, as "traffic begets more traffic",
establishing a ranking pattern for the Search Engines.
7. The addition of keywords that are relevant to a site,
throughout the copy, the title, and the meta-tags and any other
text, such as articles and reports. Keywords are the "guides"
that the Search Engines use to find a site and rank it. The
addition of good relevant keywords always enhances rankings and
Linking campaigns, as you can see, while having their overall
place in effective rankings and placement within the Search
Engines, are not the "be all and end all" of optimization or
rankings. Many various fundamentally sound methods of
optimization still exist, and should be utilized in any
well-rounded Search Engine Marketing campaign.
About the author:
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of
http://www.home-based-business-opportunities.com - A website
dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources for starting a
home based business. He is also the owner of the
http://www.work-at-home-forum.com - an online community of folks
who work at home.