Website marketing, minus the search engine

The following was a comment I made on the article, “Marketing Your Website Without Search Engines

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I can remember the time when search engines didn’t exist. The WWW was such a mysterious place back then; all you had to do was type whatever-crazy-concept-comes-to-mind.com or i-wonder-if-this-kind-of-site-exist.net, and you were there. It was a guessing-game of discovering what could be out there.

Now with the intrigue and nostalgia of the Web gone within two blinks of an eye, we stopped falling in love with the concept of a Website and began falling in love with its information (at least if it’s good and useful), and search engines became our ultimate gateways to finding the most detailed information.

The early days of Internet marketing mostly involved calculated measures, strategic planning, resource integration, diligent teamwork, and the spending of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to create the greatest two-word marketing message of all time on the World Wide Web… “click here.” Now, search engines have become necessities, and Google, the master of search-engine puppets, pulling the strings of almost everyone running for every SEO tricks, ticks, and tacks — especially yours truly. Let’s not forget the soaring number of marketing firms solely performing SEO, from zero to 60 in only half a sneeze.

It reminds me of a comment I made on the blog of Graham Jones, Internet Psychologist, reflecting the very views of this article: “In my opinion, I believe one of the main causes of the craze toward SEO for many Internet businesses is the near-effortless marketing potential that search engines could provide. Having your website displayed at the top of the list on major search engines, generating thousands of daily [quality] visits, would be a sit-back-and-kick-your-heels-up-as-you-grab-a-cold-one dream come true (granted if the keywords used to display your website are at a high trend).”

Since 2004, when the puppet master’s string caught me, I studied the concept of Search Engine Optimization, researched keyword popularity and trends, and applied those techniques to my music site, which went from 1,500 to 37,000 monthly unique visits within a few months. I continued to use the most applicable optimizations until I could go no further.

I quickly began to realize that SEO can only go but so far, and then you’ll have to use other means of generating an audience. Keywords represent the target market of your Website, and your Website can only pertain but to so many related topics and issues. Currently my music site receives over 90% of its traffic from search engines on just a few keywords related to what it covers.

On one hand, it’s great, almost the “sit-back-and-kick-your-heels-up-as-you-grab-a-cold-one” kind of traffic. On the other hand, this could also be like building a home dead-center on a fault line, and you’ll never know when the next earthquake will hit.

This has encouraged me to very soon go back to how I first started to promoted my site–direct e-mail to target prospects. I admit that I missed that direct connection. The feeling you get corresponding with only one person just to visit your site, a rather tedious task that once accomplished, makes you feel like you scale mountains. It also encourage me to look at search engines as only “one of many avenues.”

This overall makes me realize the ultimate truth: build your business through marketing. This helped me went from the almost “sit-back-and-kick-your-heels-up-as-you-grab-a-cold-one” SEOer to going back to the marketing basics of research, analysis, market segmentation and targeting, product differentiation, communication, valuation, and the cream-of-the-cream–developing the exchange relationship. I feel going beyond the use of search engines to generating exposure will be the next great Internet marketing challenge. Guess how I found this site? (Hint: No query strings required.)

I can only hope to create another great marketing message beyond “click here.”