There are basically two different approaches to online marketing. First one is the ‘organic route’, i.e. efforts are made to enhance the ranking of a website in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The rankings of the site are highly important for the site to be visible for the visitors arriving at the site are directly proportional to the rank it enjoys. This in turn, enhances opportunities for business. Enhancing the ranking of a website is done using various methods and this approach to online marketing is called as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO approach. The second approach is something similar to conventional advertising except for the fact that these advertisements are displayed on SERPs. And, every time a user clicks on these ads, the sponsoring companies pay the advertiser. This approach is called as Pay Per Click or PPC advertising. There are a few more approaches to online marketing other than these two; for e.g. providing links to the website through other resources like directories, forums and websites of other companies etc.
There are businesses that have relied more on PPC advertising than on specific SEO approaches. This has been particularly true with small businesses. But now, with bigger players entering the arena, it’s gradually becoming unviable for small businesses to carry on with their PPC campaigns, as margins are getting sleeker by the day. PPC management hence becomes a serious issue. PPC is basically keyword-based advertising; but it’s not as simple as preparing the content and posting it just once. Strategies are to be drawn and executed on a continuous basis, keeping lots of factors in mind, to make the campaign successful. But, as far as small businesses are concerned, PPC ads are losing steam and a switch-over to SEO approach seems imminent, unless PPC management is done excellently.
SEO has its own set of challenges, though. Search engines assign rankings to websites based on the algorithms used in them. And, they don’t let out those algorithms into the public domain, as they’ve to maintain secrecy of trade. So, webmasters/SEO Masters have to rely only on their experience (and patience of course, to study through trial and error basis) to incorporate SEO techniques in any given website. They are required to follow a set of guidelines issued by search engine operators all the time. But, the pressures of trade force them to deviate from those guidelines and there comes a point when search engine operators have to crack down on websites, which haven’t adhered to those guidelines. They do it by updating their algorithm. Google undertook its crackdown campaign using Penguin Update in its algorithm recently (April 2012). Scores of websites have witnessed shocking drops in rankings after this change. And, it’s neither the first time nor the last time that such things are encountered.
Businesses have to constantly keep reinventing their online marketing strategies, to remain afloat. There seems to be no respite from challenges, no matter whether they’re carrying out their marketing campaigns ethically or unethically.
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