The Internet is a vast marketplace—but it’s still a marketplace similar to those that have existed since the dawn of civilization. Imagine yourself in a fairly primitive bazaar, maybe somewhere in Asia or North Africa a long time ago. It’s pretty noisy, isn’t it—lots of shouting going on. And why’s that? Because the people who are selling various goods for a living are trying to outshout their competitors, hoping that a nomad strolling through the dusty lane between the marketers will listen to them, and buy a new camel bit in their tent.
In more recent years, it was the same thing in the trading pits, where everything from oil futures to grain to hog bellies switched hands—for the right price of course. Lots of shouting and shoving—you almost had to be an athlete to compete in the pits of the major stock exchanges. Today, all that’s changed. Traders no longer let their prices be known by shouting—or with subtle hand signals. Stock market floors are a lot more genteel than they used to be, and a lot quieter. Because the overwhelming majority of trading is done through sophisticated software programs by quiet individuals looking at a laptop or desk screen, or even at smart phones. Computerization has changed everything.
But the selling must continue, and now with billions of consumers, engineers and purchasing agents looking for products on the Internet, it behooves those who want to sell to make sure that the potential customers know what they have to sell, what’s good about what they have to sell, and where they can get it and how much it costs. Companies that are selling products, either to consumers or other businesses, typically have put all the relevant information about their products on the Internet. But just for a second, let’s go back to our primitive dusty bazaar with all the shouting. Remember, who shouts loudest or gets the attention sells the camel bit. In a way, the same thing is happening on the Internet but a million times more. There are all kinds of people and products on the Internet. Sometimes there are hundreds of companies selling the same thing—but the winners don’t shout, they have strong keyword search strategies in place.
When people look for something on the Internet, they do what is called a keyword search. Maybe they’re looking for a black dog. Well, the words “black dog” constitute their keyword search. No matter how sophisticated the product is, if the proper keywords are strategically planted on the seller’s website, the searcher—or potential customer—will find it. And the good news here is that there are plenty of companies with all kinds of excellent software available to make sure that the seller is not drowned out in today’s marketplace.