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Lessons Learnt

  • • Do not send e-mails to consumers without knowing and understanding their needs. Otherwise, you will be treated as a spammer.
  • • Understand spam filter algorithms in order to prevent being trapped by your favorite consumers’ spam filter.

Findability Many consumers start their shopping process by searching for what they need in the markets with the help of external or internal information sources. Search engines are one of the major external sources through which consumers find what they need on the Internet. The action starts on the consumer side in search-engine marketing (SEM), unlike e-mail marketing, where the action orientation is from the company. In a general search process consumers try to find the best information about products or services among the millions of websites on the Internet with the help of search engines. A company’s’ findability in the digital world should be higher than alternatives so that the consumer can easily access and connect to the company website. This drives consumer traffic to the website, which can generate more exposure and ultimately sales.

Search engines use both simple and complex algorithms to rank the available websites in a list that best fits a consumer’s keyword search. Many search engines determine their ranking by calculating the frequency of keywords on the websites, how many websites are linked to them, how many times the websites are visited, the website’s use of metatags, and so on, to find the most appropriate range of websites that may match the consumer’s search needs (this is also known as organic search or organic SEM). Alternatively, a company can pay search engines extra money to get their website found, or ranked higher in search-engine results (known as paid search or paid SEM). In either case a company needs to understand the algorithms behind search engine optimization (SEO) to generate a value for every dollar paid to search engines or for every adjustment they make to boost their website’s findability.

On the other hand, although many websites use the rules and guidelines appropriately to optimize their rankings by applying these organic or paid SEO methods, some other sites might break some of these algorithmic rules and abuse the SEO process, using shortcut techniques (e.g., link hijacking, link farming, etc.) in order to be unfairly noticed.19 Such methods (termed “black-hat SEO”) can negatively impact the ranking of the websites that have fairly earned their rankings in the search-engine results.

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