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Ecommerce Advertising Vs Website Optimization

Nov 1, 2007
One of the biggest propaganda campaigns on the Internet is that 'advertising is dead, long live optimization.' Thousands of ecommerce business owners and Internet Marketers are chanting the mantra like thousands of football fans chanting for their favorite team after a victory. It will take many months, maybe years, for the excitement to wane, the fanfare to fade, and people to start rethinking the wisdom of following a trend without analyzing the validity of the claims.

It is easy to believe the hype. One by one the Giants are falling. Many of the companies falling are Ad reliant companies which are not receiving enough revenue from ads to stay in business. At first glance, you would believe this means that advertising is failing. However, before making a snap decision, take a look at the companies that are surviving, www.suite101.com, www.lifetips.com, www.about.com. There are also the ad reliant 'social networking' groups like www.myspace.com, www.squidoo.com, www.youtube.com etc.

The deathmarch has been analyzed from all angles, by everyone from newspaper editorials to news anchors to SEO pundits and Marketing gurus. No one has the answers. No one has any solutions - or do they? Obviously the sites listed above have figured something out. In some aspects, it is nothing more than the 'square peg in a round hole' syndrome.

First is the conclusion that no one pays attention to ads. This is true only for people with no experience in the advertising world. Magazines are 75% advertising. Television is also one-third advertising. Radio is predominantly advertising, despite the fact that report after report states that it is not a cost effective method of advertising.

Second no one, not even the big search engines, can pinpoint how people behave on line. Every year to sixteen months the rules change as everyone scrambles to understand the consumer groups. The problem with the web is that the gurus attended university and learned their marketing techniques before the Internet took off, which in itself, is a misstatement because not even one quarter of the modern world owns a computer.

This is not uncommon:

Not more than 10 per cent of the population will take up television permanently. Raymond Postgate, 1935

The problem did not start today, but a decade ago. Advertising worked via commercials in television and images in magazines that those devices would work on the web. Now, ten years later, the industry has been forced to stop and let the consumers tell them what they want. And, what they want is interactivity.

Search engine optimization gave way to social networking, to niche marketing, and now? Those sites who are surviving know the answer. They are balancing SEO and advertising, not in combination, but in a symbiotic relationship.

Optimization for the web means building good content and inbound links. Optimization for advertising means building a page with only one purpose in mind - to lead people to the ad. This is seen in all profitable sites like the giant www.about.com and independent sites like www.getfreecontent.com.

These sites do not ad advertising to their sidebars and banner exchanges. Instead, the ads 'are' the content. The articles have embedded links that lead to more pages which, have no other purpose than to pre-sell the consumer.

The second element found in these sites is that they all solve problems for the reader. These sites are either social, online education, or entertaining. All the focus is on the visitor, not the product, not the sale, not the web community. And if there is a 'secret to success' it lies in the simple truth that the Internet is the first advertising medium that focuses on the consumer and not the conglomerates.
About the Author
Mark Walters is a third generation entrepreneur and author. He offers free training and investing videos designed to speed you towards financial independence at http://www.CashFlowInstitute.com
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