How Small Businesses Can Advertise Online With Search Engines

    February 4, 2004

All businesses require marketing and the most important aspect of marketing for any business on the Internet is through the search engines. Search engines produce approximately eighty percent of all traffic to a web site. Because of this fact, marketing through the search engines has to be a priority for all businesses. Small businesses typically do not have the marketing or advertising budgets required to compete with businesses with larger budgets.

Before a business can be promoted through the search engines, the business must have a web site. Typically because many business owners do not understand the complexities of the World Wide Web and the Internet, business owners seek to find the least expensive option to get a web site developed. That single step actually costs the small business owner more than they realize.

Business owners tend to think that a web site with a lot of graphics produces more sales. Unfortunately, that is not the case and actually deters customers from shopping. The most important information that can be provided through a web site is the content. If the business owner realizes this factor, the business owner will realize that just like a high-priced storefront in a mall, a web site represents their business to the world and the budget expended should represent that fact.

Once the web site is completed and published, the web site must be promoted through the search engines. Many people will say that it is important to be listed through the Open Directory Project ( or else the site will not be indexed by all search engines. This fact is no longer the case and should be ignored.

Getting listed in the Open Directory Project can be beneficial, however it has come to many people’s awareness that the Open Directory Project has either found itself overwhelmed by the onslaught of submissions or they no longer care about helping people promote their web sites. So, the astute Search Engine Marketer realizes this factor and understands other ways to get sites listed in the search engines.

The most successful way to get indexed in the search engines is to have at least one site pointing to the business’ web site. That was the main reason for using the Open Directory Project. Previously the Open Directory Project was utilized by other search sites to provide search results to visitors performing searches. During the past two years search sites have ceased using the Open Directory Project’s results altogether or uses them to a very small degree.

As more search engines build their own spiders to crawl the World Wide Web, it is becoming extremely important to realize that a well-developed web site should be a requirement for all businesses. A well-developed web site is not a web site designed with a series of superfluous graphics of meaningless value. A well-developed web site starts with a marketing plan that takes into consideration the points required by the search engines.

Once the web site is indexed by the search engines, it is imperative to determine the placement of the web site in the search results. At this point a baseline performance can be determined and a search engine optimization and placement campaign can begin. An astute developer that follows the marketing concepts realizes that the content must be written in such a manner as to perform well with all the search engines. Upon knowing the baseline performance the business owner can hire an astute search engine optimization company that follows the proper ethics of search engine optimization as expected by the various search engines.

Once the web site is optimized for best performance the placements within the search engine results must be monitored, improved and maintained. This aspect of marketing, just like any other marketing campaign, is one that must be monitored for performance and adjusted as needed. The return on investment can be monitored by reviewing the web site’s statistics and understanding the search patterns visitor use to reach the web site.

It has been highly noted that sites with poor placement tend to utilize Pay-per-Click advertising campaigns to reach the masses. Pay-per-Click advertising campaigns can be the most costly avenue of marketing ever created on the World Wide Web. Total costs could be eight dollars or more per click. If the business owner has a limited budget that budget can be exhausted in an extremely short period of time.

However, a successful Pay-per-Click campaign can be achieved by utilizing the lower costing, less used keyword searches. This may limit the number of visitors to the site, but it definitely helps in get the most traffic available for the marketing budget. The small business owner could manage the Pay-per-Click campaigns themselves or they could pay an additional price per click to a search engine marketing firm to manage the campaigns. Or, the business owner could pay a flat fee for this management task.

Another format exist called Cost-per-Click which eliminates the bidding process and allows businesses to subscribe to an appropriate category and pay a specified cost per click. This can conceivably assist the small business owner depending upon the service provider. The service providers of these services can be categorized as classified advertising ( or shopping malls (Yahoo Shopping). Of the two it is conceivable that Yahoo Shopping could provide the largest amount of traffic.

Business web sites that utilize online e-commerce solutions end up needing the services of search engine optimization firms. Until recently the elements available were creating doorway pages into a site that list the services or items and are optimized for best performance in the search engines. That skill is no longer required because e-commerce solutions have evolved and can now provide the services required to promote a business’ products and services better.

One of those e-commerce solutions is the Apple Pie Shopping Cart which uses a Windows-like administrative interface which leads the site owner through a step-by-step process of filling in the blanks. Each page has a unique page title, Meta keywords, and Meta descriptions. Unlike other systems the site owner does not have to know HTML.

Because of the features of this e-commerce system marketing on the World Wide Web has become easier. A small business can promote their products on a product or category basis and compete with the providers of those items or services. This will eventually help make searching much easier and improve customer satisfaction.

The process of searching for providers of a desired product has resulted in frustrated customers. Imagine searching through the search engines to find a product and spending an hour during the search engine process. Then finding that every site that said they had the product didn’t have the product. Through the system provided by the Apple Pie Shopping Cart, when an item is indexed that item would typically show up higher on the search results. Once the searcher is on the page with the product, the purchaser would expectedly be more susceptible to purchasing the item.

By combining a well-developed e-commerce solution that provides search engine friendly pages, search engine optimization, Pay-per-Click, and Cost-per-Click campaigns a small business can succeed. It is however, not a requirement to have all the elements running at one time, but is important to utilize at least a search engine friendly e-commerce solution like Apple Pie Shopping Cart (, search engine optimization, and Cost-per-Click campaigns.

Lee Roberts President/CEO of Rose Rock Design, Inc. and owner/developer of the Apple
Pie Shopping Cart
the search engine friendly shopping cart.