Back in the late 1990s, many internet marketing companies focussed only on the search engines. There is no denying that the search engines do bring results and hence traffic to a website, but there is life beyond the search engines too!

The exceptional, and hence very busy, companies realised that there was far more to marketing than the search engines, and delivered broad and effective campaigns to their clients, using a variety of different strategies and plenty of metrics to assess results. It has taken almost a decade for the industry to catch up that search engines are not the be all and end all of internet marketing, and that the terms “SEO” and “SEM” are just part of the mix.

However, most website owners are still stuck in the ‘old school’ way of thinking, believing that, having built a website, all that is required is to be number one on the search engines and that is the end of the game plan. This level of thinking has far too frequently been backed up by SEO companies who could see a fast buck in optimising a website and ranking it, often for completely obscure terms, to satisfy the customer without educating either the customer or themselves in the finer points of internet marketing.

Invariably, once ranked on the search engines, the customer discovers that little has changed in the way of traffic, enquiries, sales, brand recognition, and so on, and seeks further assistance to increase the results from all aspects of the website marketing, and generate a return on investment. This can become something of a bottomless pit into which to thrown money, particularly if the company being employed to achieve the aims required is only really expert in SEO.

SEO and SEM are just one strategy to deploy in a marketing campaign, and many of the great IM companies take a holistic view to promoting a website, company or product set. Not only do they seek to generate valuable and unique content for the client (or advise on how to do this), but they employ a range of strategies and processes in order to deliver consistent, high quality traffic to a website, and increase the number of conversions from each action to maximise the potential results.

When seeking out a website promotion company, you should look for companies which offer that breadth of thinking. The services they will offer should include:

Email Marketing
Forum and blog marketing
Pay Per Click campaigns
Landing Pages
Conversion tracking and metrics
Ebooks and article marketing services
Press release distribution
Optimised content creation
Social networking and bookmarking
Video and audio content and promotion
As well as the good old on and offpage optimisation required to get the search engine rankings.

For every company looking to promote online, there will be a different mix of strategies which will yield the best results, depending on product, brand, target audience and more. It is only by understanding your company and the needs of your potential customers that a suitable internet marketing campaign can be designed, tested and deployed.

Just optimising a few pages for some keywords and phrases has never been sufficient to bring appropriate results, but many in the search engine industry have managed to get away with doing just that, and little more, for over a decade. Now, with the rise of social networks, and the move away from static to dynamic content, virals, and the rise in popularity of video and audio have meant that any company with too narrow a focus when considering marketing tactics can only achieve so much.

Whether you employ an internet marketing company, or train in-house staff to deliver your website promotion, be wary of any specific focus on the terms SEO and SEM. The implication that these are the only methods which will yield results, or the fact that whoever is using them may be unaware of all that is required to deliver an effective online promotion campaign should be fair warning that the person or company using them is still adopting an outmoded way of thinking.

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.