Shortcut URL: http://t.conquent.com/WD00
The big thing for a few years has been Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. The idea is that you can get the right words and phrases on your web site so when you type in "Deck Chairs" you shoot right to the top of the list.
It's a very subjective art form, but there are things you can do, and some people are quite willing to take as much money as you can throw at them to move the deck chairs around so your web page may surface in the roiling sea of search terms.
You can tell I'm not a fan of that industry. My feeling has always been, yes, get your content to make sense, make sure you use words people might actually be looking for, but then, put together a marketing plan and drive traffic to your site by buying some advertising. You can even buy "adwords" on Google that means if you type in "Deck Chairs" your web site comes up in a box above all the regular search results, and you beat the poor SEO suckers to the punch.
Only now there's a new problem. Adword Optimization... Yeah...
Say you buy the phrase "deck chairs" and pay 35 cents a click. Then someone else buys "deck chairs" at the same price. Google has to decide which "deck chairs" link is more relevant for what I'm searching for -- Google will look for other context clues to know if I want Adirondack chairs or a book about the Titanic.
Not only that, Google will also look at your website to see if it has "cred" -- if you're just reselling the same deck chairs that the other guy actually builds, and the other guy has good reviews for his website, his site may boot your site off the results completely. Even when you pay, you may not be relevant (which is something you really might want to discuss with your therapist, not your SEO specialist).
In other words (pun intended), getting heard over the cacophony of other merchants yelling and waving their trinkets in the faces of passers-by is getting harder. Tools to make you louder aren't helping.
Credibility. Authenticity. Honesty... the words that marketers are ruining, are still the words that you have to live by. And you can't optimize your credibility, you can just work hard at it.
I think I'll try a SPAM campaign with that subject line: "Make $$$!!! Work hard. Be honest and credible."