Internet Marketing

Considering the age of other media technologies like radio and television, the Internet has only been a part of our lives for a short time. It's fascinating to consider how integral web use has become compared to how short a time it's been here. According to Internet World Stats, the total number of Internet users worldwide has grown from roughly 361 million in 2000 to well over two billion today. That's a 480% increase in just a decade. Considering the sheer size of this potential audience it's no wonder so many companies are increasingly focusing their promotional efforts on Internet marketing..

What is Internet Marketing?

Internet Marketing is the practice of using online sources to promote products and services. This is also known as "online marketing" and "web marketing". Once a niche market, companies are now dedicating more of their advertising resources to this segment as the Internet has grown in scope and use. The two major types of Internet marketing are Search Engine Marketing or Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing.

Search Engine Marketing

The point of search engine marketing is to increase a site's visibility in search engines with the goal of becoming the number one link returned in a given search. Chitka, a data analytics company, scrutinized click-thorough data and determined that 35% of all web search traffic goes to the top-listed search result. They confirmed that this percentage dropped off very quickly, with sites ranked two through five garnering less hits combined than the top site. Businesses who want to promote online see the value of achieving that number one spot and the methods they use to get there are known as Search Engine Optimization or "SEO".

Search Engine Optimization is the practice of designing a site that will gain a higher ranking from various search engines' grading mechanisms. A ranking system like Google's PageRank, for example, assigns value to keywords and quality backlinks to grade a page's relevance. Google alters PageRank frequently to prevent abuse, but analytics firm Search Engine Watch reported that at last check, Google weighted keywords at nearly 25% of the value and backlinks at 40%. A site must walk a fine line between an adequate number of keyword mentions and "keyword spamming" and also must have content relevant enough for other sites to link to it to attain a high PageRank rating.

Social Media Marketing

Search engines aren't the only source for a massive audience anymore. The average Internet user now spends one out of every six minutes online on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and more. Facebook alone boasts nearly 800 million users globally, 400 million of whom log in daily. Twitter has 200 million users and it goes on from there. It's no wonder that so many companies are now focusing their Internet marketing dollars on social media marketing. Facebook alone has a bigger potential audience than television and the ever-shrinking terrestrial radio. We won't even mention newspapers. TV viewers seem to have migrated to Youtube, with three billion videos clicked per day. That's a great audience for a company's message.

Once a dial-up distraction, the Internet has become central to the lives of billions of people worldwide. For companies looking to sell products, that's a borderless potential audience of trillions of dollars. An increasing number of businesses are recognizing the power of Internet marketing. These companies are using SEO techniques to ensure their site appears on as many screens as possible while at the same time using social media marketing techniques to make friends they can turn into customers. As the Internet has made the world smaller by bringing us all in touch, Internet marketing has helped companies grow their customer base exponentially.