Is search engine optimization necessary?

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The simple answer is no - submission to the search engine is not necessary. Most search engines today (especially Google) crawl and index pages by following links. According to this logic, a single link from any page already indexed will identify your page to the engine. Then, if that page links to other pages on your site, they will also be indexed... and so on.

For this reason, inbound linking is very important. In fact, acquiring back-links may be the most important part of SEO. In theory, a website owner should not have to "search" or "hunt" for links. If the content presented is interesting, useful and/or important, there is a natural tendency for users to link to information. This is the basis of Google's PageRank algorithm.

With all due respect, submitting your site to search engines can't hurt. Plus, it only involves about 5 minutes of extra work assuming you only submit to the big boys. And once is enough.... you don't need to submit your site more than once. It doesn't help or crawl your site any faster or more often.

It should be noted that submitting your site to Google, Yahoo, MSN, and many others costs nothing. Many SEO companies claim that you have to pay to be indexed. This is not the case and I would stay away from these companies. They are money hungry and are not looking out for your best interests.

Would you consider going on a cross-country vacation without bringing a map? It's hard enough to find your way around some places with a map. How hard would it be if you attempted this adventure without one? Yet that's exactly what people do every day in the online world. They've tried to start their own online business without a roadmap to success. Then, after months or years of wandering around online, they give up in frustration and give up. They walk away saying the Internet isn't working for them. The reason it didn't work is because they didn't pick up a map and follow it!

You don't have to get lost in the online mix. Below, I'll give you ten steps to help you chart your course and get you on the right track. This isn't all you need to know by any stretch of the imagination, but it will give you a foundation to build on.

Consider it your stepping stone to Internet marketing profits.

1. Choose a target market

The biggest mistake most people make when starting a business is picking a product and then trying to find people who want to buy it. If that's the direction you start your journey, then you're going in the opposite direction of your destination. Smart businesses operate from a different concept. They first choose a market, then a product that people are looking for. In other words, instead of trying to find prospects to sell their product, they find targeted prospects and then ask them what they want to buy.

Don't even consider starting a business until you know exactly where you're going to get your leads from. Think about your target customers first. Then you can find a product for those people. Would you rather have 1,000 hits a day on your site from a general audience OR 10 hits a day from people desperate and willing to pay any price to buy your products? If you are smart, you will choose the people who are ready to buy!

2. Product development

Next, you need to develop a product or service for that market. Don't just jump on the affiliate program bandwagon when you get to this stage. There are three main ways to sell a product online:

a. You create your own exclusive product.

This is the best opportunity you have. If you develop your own product, you can choose its price, sell reprint rights to others, set up an affiliate program, etc. Don't tell me you can't do this. Tens of thousands of innovative entrepreneurs have used their own information products to launch their careers. You can do it.

Throughout your life, I'm sure you've learned something that you can share in a How-To product. Maybe you know someone else who has the right knowledge for a How-To product and you could offer to help them create a product if you share the rights. Don't jump at the chance and say it's impossible.

b. You purchase the rights to a product or your JV for an offline product.

You can buy the rights to successful products for 500 $ to 20,000 $. If someone else has created a product that you know your target market is interested in, offer them a large upfront fee for the rights to that product. That way, you can get your own product and never have to pay a penny in royalties. You can also research the magazines that your target market reads and look for products that people are selling. Then call them and ask for exclusive Internet rights to their product for a certain percentage of the profits or upfront fee.

c. You join an affiliate program.

If you are just starting out online, this can be a good choice. You have to keep in mind though that it doesn't offer quite the profit potential that creating your own product or obtaining the rights to one does. When choosing an affiliate program, make sure that it is something that your target market cannot be without. They absolutely must have it. Also pay close attention to the benefits you get from each sale.

If you only earn 5 % in commissions on book sales of 10 $, you will only earn 50 cents per customer. You would need 2,000 customers to produce 1,000 $ in profits. You can't make money like that online! Look for higher priced products and higher commissions....especially commissions in the 25 % range or higher.

3. Create a USP

Create a unique selling position for your product or service. Too many businesses are just trying to be me - too many online businesses. You can't be like everyone else and expect to make a profit in a global economy. It's too easy for your customers to go to some other guy's website to order.

You need to create uniqueness for your product or offering. What can you offer that no one else can? Can you offer better warranties, better customer service, more technical support, faster delivery or lower prices? Think of something that will set you apart from all your online competitors and detail what it is.

4. Choose a domain name and a hosting service

The next step is to choose a domain name that describes your business, USP and offering. Try to make them as brief and descriptive as possible about your business. Avoid using dashes or misspellings of your product. Both of these things will cause people to leave out part of your domain if they type it in. Someone else will get the free traffic you worked hard to get.

For hosting, I personally chose to use Virtualis because they have the fastest customer service and support in the industry. Try them out. They will respond within an hour... anytime, 24 hours a day. No other company I've been with has ever been this close!

5. Develop a customer-friendly site

The next step in the process is to develop your website and put it online for the world to see. If you plan to own a full-time Internet business, I recommend that you learn how to design the site yourself using one of the dozens of programs that are readily available at any software store.

You will save so much money if you can do the work yourself on the one set up as your site grows. If your main business is offline and you are only adding a side income, then you may want to consider having a professional do your site for you.

When designing your site, always keep the customer in mind. Provide order forms for online credit card orders. Make all links easy to understand. Try to keep your site simple. Think like a customer, not the business owner.

Your customers are not nearly as interested in your business as you are. Make sure you put the benefits of your site and your USP right on top of the site. More than half of Internet users never get past the first screen full of information. So you need to give them the information they need as quickly as possible. The rules for any type of business are Benefits, Advantages and more Benefits.

6. Offer a Freebie

One of the major keys to building traffic and sales on your site is to always offer some type of freebie as a pull factor. For example, I offer dozens of free reports, weather reports, news and more. My biggest pull factor over the past 8 months has been the two free e-books we offer on our site to people who subscribe to this newsletter.

You need to find a giveaway, no matter what type of business you're in. Create a free report and distribute it. Add a bulletin board or other type of CGI program to your site. Give away a free demo of your software. Create something you can give away for free on your site to attract visitors.

7. launch your own opt-in list

Almost every full-time Internet marketer I know has developed their own Opt-in email list of some type. For most, it's a weekly newsletter they send out via email. For others, it may be a daily tip. Others may simply have a list to which they send important updates.

No matter what you choose to do, the odds are in your favor if you focus on building a list of loyal subscribers. It is very rare that customers will buy from you the first time they visit your site. Most of them will sign up for your list, stay for a few weeks or months, and then buy from you. They need to get to know you before they want to spend their money with you.

I've found that the most effective leads come from offline advertising. For example, you could buy ads in a popular target magazine for your business. You could also buy a postcard in one of the card games. Start a co-op and get 10 other people to advertise with you and run your own ads for free. Offline leads that come to your site often turn out to contain a much higher percentage of buyers than any of the online advertising methods.
Once you've put together our 10 steps, you have a basic map for creating your own Internet success story. You wouldn't consider going on a trip without a map. So don't try to go it alone online without a map.
Terry Dean's brand new Fr-e eBook, "10 Quick and Easy Ways to Increase Profits from Any Website Overnight!" Reveals more proven time-tested Internet marketing secrets than 99% paid products available...showing you step-by-step how to increase your traffic, lower your expenses, and drive your profits through the roof

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