Chapter 1 – Search Engines

Except from Online Marketing terms exposed:


Understanding Search Engines

Chapter Contents

  • Using Search Engines for results
  • Why Search Engines are important
  • Types of search optimization
  • Pay-per-Click Search Optimization
  • Organic Search Engine Optimization
  • Comparing Pay-per-Click to Organic Search

Before the Internet, the main method of advertising consisted of newspaper, magazine, television, or radio advertisements. Because of the high costs of other media, small businesses used magazine advertisements to get inquiries and to make sales. Magazine advertisements required ads to be placed in publications several months in advance of their scheduled publication dates and the ads often didn’t change for four to six months. If a particular ad failed to generate traffic, it usually took four months for the advertiser to realize it. The selling cycle was also long because it took at least a month to two months to receive inquiries from potential customers who had seen ads in magazines.

These inquiries were often from students or individuals who just wanted information and knew very little about the product or services being offered. Other inquiries just wanted to obtain literature and many were from other companies who were seeking information about their competitors. The inquiries which were generated from magazine ads were

delivered to the advertiser via the United Post Office, the old way to mail information, in the form of “bingo card” leads; they acquired that name because prospects would check off numbers on postcards inside magazines to indicate what aspect of the product or service they were interested in. The “bingo card” leads then arrived at the advertiser’s location about two weeks later. The “bingo cards” needed qualification with regard to valid phone numbers, street addresses, and zip codes before any contact could be made with the prospect.  From the time a prospect filled out a “bingo card” to the time the company received and qualified the leads and began the sales process, three to six weeks could have passed. Prospects were lost strictly because of this long lead time.

Using Search Engines for Results

Online marketing has become popular because it can be cost effective and produces almost instantaneous results. Now, individuals search on the Internet using search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, and others and get results in a matter of seconds. They can look for products and service offerings 24/7 and qualify themselves as valuable prospects all by using a search engine.

Search engines are websites that gather information about websites, web pages, and documents.  They use technology to crawl through websites to obtain information about specific topics and then store that information in their databases (index). The majority of traffic to websites originates from the major search engines. Popular search engines include Google, Yahoo, and MSN. If a website cannot be found by the search engines, it has no opportunity to have its content indexed. This can be devastating to the online marketer because if a website’s data is not in a search engine’s database, that website will not be displayed in the results of a query and potential prospects will not be directed to that website.

Why Search Engines are Important

Building a website, an online storefront that is open 24/7, is the first step in creating traffic and making sales. Next is the understanding of how search engines deliver results. The third step is optimizing a website so that search engine can deliver maximum results.

What exactly does a search engine do? They actually do three things.

1.  Index web pages and make a copy of web pages. Search engines store all the HTML content on a web page in their database.

2. Retrieve all the matching documents relevant for what is searched.

3. Rank web page content. This consists of the process of a search engine looking at documents retrieved for a search query and places them in relevant order according to its algorithm.

Everyone knows search engines are the way that things are found and research is done on the Internet. How search engines work and what a website needs to obtain maximum traffic and sales are often misunderstood.  Specifically, new online marketers are often confused about how the search engines produce results for their product offerings or services.  In basic terms, search engines look for relevancy – how marketers’ products or services relate to what the search engines have stored internally under major categories. In order for visitors to find a particular website, search engines display results that have been previously stored in their databases. The keywords that describe the categories of products or services with high positions generate the most amount of traffic, while lower positions generate some or no traffic. Using online marketing, search engines can be made to deliver the maximum quality traffic to a website.