If you still think that search engine marketing can be done by acquiring (and using) auto-submission software, drop this idea now. Search engine marketing requires an integrated approach to improve site content, quality and popularity. For a Web site to reach its top potential, it must incorporate target audience analysis, competitive analysis, cost per click optimization, and - last but not least - copywriting and copyediting. And, because things keep changing, search engine marketers need to devote a good deal of time staying on top of the SEO industry and its trends.
Today very few (and mostly inexperienced) optimizers/marketers would use spam methods to achieve high ranking. In many cases, spamming and the so-called "black-hat" SEO is recognized by automatic spiders as they become more and more intelligent.
Search engines have already developed into sophisticated systems, and no doubt that development will continue, with improved capabilities for indexing pages deep within the site (many links away from the initial page). Also, the ability to handle dynamically generated pages (e.g. shopping carts) is expected to grow. Among other prospective trends are advanced non-HTML content indexing (such as PDF and graphics), improved ability to rapidly integrate new content such as news using XML feeds or other technology, organization of search results into logical categories (sometimes referred to as clustering), and other advanced features. For insights into the future of search, you could visit Google Labs. This is the beta area where Google showcases some of its upcoming technologies.
However, the traditional "highest-bidder" approach makes SEM (Search Engine Marketing) feel more and more like traditional print advertising. I am anticipating that the best marketing efforts will aim to leverage three principal components: paid advertising and analytics, on and off-site content optimization, and the qualitative enhancement of off-the-page factors. When all is said and done, it is the traffic you get and the way this traffic converts that matters - even more than your site rank on a search engine. You can rank worse than your competitor, yet the percentage of your visitors that turn into buyers will be so high that you actually outperform your competitor several times.
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