The web is still growing at a phenomenal rate. The Computer Industry Almanac projects that the Worldwide Internet Population will grow from 1.08 billion in 2005 to 1.8 billion in 2010.
According to the Central Intelligence Agency's World Factbook 2007, over half (37.8 million) of the UK population are already Internet users.
Thus, businesses who have chosen to build an on-line presence can take advantage of reaching new customers through the web. However, the web is getting more and more crowded.
Netcraft.com reported in their October 2007 Web Server Survey that they had counted 142,805,398 sites; an increase of 7.6 million sites in 30 days.
The bad news is that this growth creates a new problem of increased on-line competition for many businesses.
To remain competitive and retain and grow market share, businesses are becoming more aggressive in their web marketing strategies. They understand that it is no longer sufficient to own a website and hope it visits visitors with little to no promotion of it. They are ensuring their site retains a high position and prominence in search engine rankings by employing a range of promotional tools, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), to attract visitors.
Businesses who fail to keep up will lose valuable custom to their competitors. Early signs of this include:
o A drastic fall in web visitor numbers
o A decrease in sales generated on-line
o A fall in search engine rankings
For businesses to maintain a competitive advantage on-line, it is essential that they invest in on-line promotional activity. The aims of online activity should mirror traditional offline marketing aims. IE
o Remain competitive and retain market share
o Increase targeted prospect numbers
o Attract new customers
o Deliver return on investment
This can be done in-house. There are no special tools required to promote a website, but it does take time and effort. In addition there is so much nonsense spoken about SEO that it is hard to avoid wasting time on optimization and promotion campaigns that achieve no worthwhile result. This is why, unless you have someone who really enjoys web marketing, it is best to outsource this work to professional optimization companies who know from experience what works and what does not.