It is these sorts of advantages that create the buzz that surrounds e-commerce. There is
one final point for e-commerce that needs to be made. E-commerce allows people to create
completely new business models that are only conceivable with the Internet, but the caveat
is that the website presented on the Internet needs to be found by customers. E-commerce
is only as good as its “findability.” Remember this: search engine optimization. We will
talk about SEO shortly.
However, it is important to point out that the impact of e-commerce only goes so far. It
doesn't stop your town from having a mall. The mall has social and entertainment aspects
that attract people, and at the mall you can touch the product and make a purchase instantly.
E-commerce cannot offer any of these features and retail stores are not going away anytime
soon. In fact, you may have a competitor right down the street, in a gorgeous new building.
It's OK. There's room for us all; just beat him on the Internet and get your e-commerce
game down. You're in control.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, is simply the process of making
your website come up when a user searches a particular keyword in a search engine. Basic-
ally, it's the search results from a web search.
Why is this important? The search results, unlike the pay-per-click results that we spoke
about earlier, are natural search results and don't cost you anything when a customer clicks
Let's take an example: Visit www.google.com, and in the search box, type in “auto repair,”
then click “Google Search.” The page that displays is the search results page. You may see,
at the top of the page and down the right hand side of the page, the “pay-per-click” ads that
vendors are paying for. Anyone can pay for these ads.
Below the paid ads, you will find the natural search results. You cannot “buy” this place-
ment. You must earn it.
You earn it by offering a complete and comprehensive website that will rise naturally to the
top of the listings because your website is the most relevant to the search requested. For
example, at the top of my natural results is “About.com's DIY Auto Repair Help.”Your res-
ults may vary depending on many different factors. However, the point is that About.com's
website was listed as the first site for my search query “auto repair” because that site has
SEO is an art form. There are many theories about the secret to SEO, but don't let anyone
fool you. Google changes the requirements all the time. There is no one secret to being the