Internet marketing, also referred to as i-marketing, web-marketing, online-marketing, or e-Marketing, is the marketing of products or services over the Internet.
The Internet has brought media to a global audience. The interactive nature of Internet marketing in terms of providing instant response and eliciting responses, is a unique quality of the medium. Internet marketing is sometimes considered to have a broader scope because it not only refers to the Internet, e-mail, and wireless media, but it includes management of digital customer data and electronic customer relationship management systems.
Internet marketing ties together creative and technical aspects of the Internet including: design, development, advertising and sales.
Internet marketing also refers to the placement of media along different stages of the customer engagement cycle through search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific websites, e-mail marketing and Web 2.0 strategies.
Internet marketing first began in the early 1990's as simple, text-based websites that offered product information. Over time Internet marketing evolved into more than just selling information products. There are people now selling advertising space, software programs, business models, and many other products and services.
One of the benefits associated with Internet marketing include the availability of information. Consumers can log onto the Internet and learn about products, as well as purchase them, at any hour. Companies that use Internet marketing can also save money because of a reduced need for a sales force. Overall, Internet marketing can help expand from a local market to both national and international marketplaces. And, in a way, it levels the playing field for big and small players. Unlike traditional marketing media (like print, radio and TV), entry into the realm of Internet marketing can be a lot less expensive.
Furthermore, since exposure, response and overall efficiency of digital media is much easier to track than that of traditional "offline" media, Internet marketing offers a greater sense of accountability for advertisers.
Limitations of Internet marketing create problems for both companies and consumers. Slow Internet connections can cause difficulties. If companies build overly large or complicated web pages, Internet users may struggle to download the information. Internet marketing does not allow shoppers to touch, smell, taste or try-on tangible goods before making an online purchase. Some e-commerce vendors have implemented liberal return policies to reassure customers. Germany, for example, introduced a law in 2000 (Fernabsatzgesetz - later incorporated into the BGB), that allows any buyer of a new product over the internet to return the product on a no-questions-asked basis and get a full refund. This is one of the main reasons why internet shopping became so popular in Germany. Another limiting factor, particularly with respect to actual buying and selling, is the adequate development (or lack thereof) of electronic payment methods like e-checks, credit cards, etc.
Keywords are the words that are used to reveal the internal structure of an author's reasoning. While they are used primarily for rhetoric, they are also used in a strictly grammatical sense for structural composition, reasoning, and comprehension. Indeed, they are an essential part of any language.
A keyword in an Internet search is one of the words used to find matching web pages. It was popularized during the early days of search engine development, as it was not possible to ask natural language questions and find the desired sites. Searches gave the best results if only a few keywords were chosen and searched for. These "keywords" captured the essence of the topic in question and were likely to be present on all sites listed by the search engine.
Keywords are still used today. Many modern search engines have methods for determining which words in a search string are important and ought to be treated as keywords. Common words like articles (a, an, the) and conjunctions (and, or, but) are not treated as keywords because it is inefficient to do so. Almost every English-language site on the Internet has the article "the", and so it makes no sense to search for it.
Meta elements provide information about a given webpage, most often to help search engines categorize them correctly, and are inserted into the HTML code in the format illustrated above, but are not visible to a user looking at the site.
They have been the focus of a field of marketing research known as search engine optimization (SEO), where different methods are explored to provide a user's site with a higher ranking on search engines. In the mid to late 1990's, search engines were reliant on meta data to correctly classify a web page and webmasters quickly learned the commercial significance of having the right meta element, as it frequently led to a high ranking in the search engines - and thus, high traffic to the web site.
This trend has changed, however, due to abuse by search engine marketers and site owners. By cramming unrelated keywords into the meta tags to simply get high rankings, search results were skewed. Now, more importance lies in web page content and link popularity.
Some search engines such as Google will display the text specified in the content of the META description tag for a page in their result listings. This allows the webpage author to give a more meaningful description for listings than might be displayed if the search engine was to automatically create its own description based on the page content.
Web search engines work by storing information about many web pages, which they retrieve from the html itself. These pages are retrieved by a Web crawler (sometimes also known as a spider) — an automated Web browser which follows every link on the site. Exclusions can be made by the use of robots.txt. The contents of each page are then analyzed to determine how it should be indexed (for example, words are extracted from the titles, headings, or special fields called meta tags). Data about web pages are stored in an index database for use in later queries. A query can be a single word. The purpose of an index is to allow information to be found as quickly as possible. Some search engines, such as Google, store all or part of the source page (referred to as a cache) as well as information about the web pages, whereas others, such as AltaVista, store every word of every page they find. This cached page always holds the actual search text since it is the one that was actually indexed, so it can be very useful when the content of the current page has been updated and the search terms are no longer in it. This problem might be considered to be a mild form of linkrot, and Google's handling of it increases usability by satisfying user expectations that the search terms will be on the returned webpage. This satisfies the principle of least astonishment since the user normally expects the search terms to be on the returned pages. Increased search relevance makes these cached pages very useful, even beyond the fact that they may contain data that may no longer be available elsewhere.
When a user enters a query into a search engine (typically by using keywords), the engine examines its index and provides a listing of best-matching web pages according to its criteria, usually with a short summary containing the document's title and sometimes parts of the text. The index is built from the information stored with the data and the method by which the information is indexed. Unfortunately, there is not one search engine that allows to search documents by date. Most search engines support the use of the boolean operators AND, OR and NOT to further specify the search query. Boolean operators are for literal searches that allow the user to refine and extend the terms of the search. The engine looks for the words or phrases exactly as entered. Some search engines provide an advanced feature called proximity search which allows users to define the distance between keywords. There is also concept-based searching where the research involves using statistical analysis on pages containing the words or phrases you search for. Natural language queries allow the user to type a question in the same form one would ask it to a human. A site like this would be ask.com.
The usefulness of a search engine depends on the relevance of the result set it gives back. While there may be millions of web pages that include a particular word or phrase, some pages may be more relevant, popular, or authoritative than others. Most search engines employ methods to rank the results to provide the "best" results first. How a search engine decides which pages are the best matches, and what order the results should be shown in, varies widely from one engine to another. The methods also change over time as Internet usage changes and new techniques evolve. There are two main types of search engines that have evolved: one is a system of predefined and hierarchically ordered keywords that humans have programmed extensively. The other is a system that generates an "inverted index" by analyzing text it locates. This second form relies much more heavily on the computer itself to do the bulk of the work.
Most Web search engines are commercial ventures supported by advertising revenue and, as a result, some employ the practice of allowing advertisers to pay money to have their listings ranked higher in search results. Those search engines which do not accept money for their search engine results make money by running search related ads alongside the regular search engine results. The search engines make money every time someone clicks on one of these ads.