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Articles - Search Engine Optimization Tips

Advertising Is Dead! Viva le SEO!

Mike Banks Valentine

The King is dead! Long live the King!
The death of Louis XIV. was announced by the captain of the bodyguard from a window of the state apartment. Raising his truncheon above his head, he broke it in the centre, and throwing the pieces among the crowd, exclaimed in a loud voice, "Le Roi est mort!" Then seizing another staff, he flourished it in the air as he shouted, "Vive le Roi!" —Pardoe: Life of Louis XIV., vol. iii. p. 457.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the captain of the bodyguard for Advertising, so the task of announcing the death of advertising is not among my responsibilities. Nor is finding a successor to the throne. No, I do the less glorious task of search engine marketing. I'm quietly on the sidelines as Dot Bomb after Dot Gone pass by in a funeral procession that seems endless. The parade route marching to the funeral dirge and drum, glumly trudging through the streets to mark the passing of online royalty on a weekly basis.

This week we bow our heads in honor of the passing of another advertising-reliant giant, Before that it was WebVan and WebMD and -- I'm starting at the bottom of a very long alphabetical list you can see yourself at:

The death march itself has been analyzed-to-death by everyone from network news anchors to newspaper commentators and pundits. I won't burden us with another perspective here other than to say that it's big business that has it all wrong in a twisted attempt to apply old models to a new medium. I wonder why it is that each new technology is constantly wedged into the wrong shape hole because that is "where the money is". 

When television was first developed, we didn't know what to do with it because advertising was not so ubiquitous. We had print advertising in magazines and radio advertisement ruled the air- waves. But everyone agreed that television was worthless . . . 

 Not more than 10 per cent of the population will take up television permanently. Raymond Postgate, 1935

 Television? The word is half Greek and half Latin. No good will come of this device. C P Scott, 1936

 Television won't last because people will get tired of staring at a plywood box every night. Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox co-founder, 1946

But TV finally fell to advertising and is now fully one-third ads and very little content, except for product placement and sponsored content.

But because advertising ruled our lives when the internet was launched in 1995, we just naturally assumed that advertising would rule online as well. But we got it wrong. I spend hours online daily and do all I can to ignore the flashing, blinking banners and skyscraper ads and sponsored links glaring from the top, bottom and now edges, of the screen in front of me.

How do people behave online? Simple, they search. They search for things they have an interest in. They bookmark favorites. Most don't know why they get the results they do when searching.

It's because the top ranking sites in search results are very specifically designed by people who know how to gain those top rankings in the search engines. Why on earth would anyone spend good money on advertising when most web surfers seek to avoid advertising and even buy software meant to block advertising from their web pages? Why on earth don't more businesses see that search engine positioning is the number one solution to visibility and success online?

Here comes another funeral march. They probably bought Super Bowl ads and have banners flashing all over my favorite web site. Oh and look! They have banner ads on the hearse! I guess they didn't want to waste the eyeballs attending the funeral. At least they aren't animated banners. Have a little respect!

Well, I'm going to usurp the job of the Captain of the Kings' bodyguard and announce that "Advertising is Dead!" "Le ROI est mort!" (Return On Investment) "Long live Search Engine Positioning!" Viva le ROI! Viva le SEO!

About the author:
Mike Valentine does Search Engine Placement for the Small Business WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet Weekly Ezine emphasizing small business on the Internet


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