The Internet is no longer the same that it was five years ago. Terms such as: Folksnomy, social media, Wikis were unheard then. From a tool of communication and simple data sharing it has been transformed in to an essential tool for many crucial activities in life. It’s a growing hub of activities that uses the latest technologies and influences all walks of life, especially business and commerce. The increasing utility of latest technologies provided on the Internet has given rise to the term Web 2.0. Using the web as the platform, Web 2.0 capitalizes on the strengths of the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 signifies the usage of the latest tools such as: audio, video, blogs, social networking, folksonomy, wikis, syndication etc. on the Internet to promote business. Web 2.0 encapsulates the idea of higher interconnectivity and social interactions.


Web 2.0 and Google Rankings

Many of the Web 2.0 features are favorable for better Google rankings. Google loves blogs. Wikis and blogs are primed for search engine visibility. Blogs and wikis have out performed and replaced comments, third party reviews, and forums. Why has this happened? Because blogs and wikis are textually rich, heavily interlinked, and rooted in semantic mark up. Moreover, they are frequently updated. All these are amenable for better Google rankings.


Not all Web 2.0 features work well for better Google rankings. AJAX for instance, baffles search engine spiders. Google uses AJAX in its gmail program where you can open or close threads of email conversations without reloading the page. But AJAX is rarely Google search friendly. However, XML and RSS are search engine friendly. Leveraging XML, RSS, mirror sites, and syndication services keeps the search-referred traffic flowing.


The evolution of pod- and videocasting has been possible because of RSS feed (Rich Site Summary). Google search picks up RSS feeds better. When you have audio or video files available for download it’s the RSS feed with audio or video enclosures that makes a podcast visible to search engine spiders.


Social Media Optimization and Google Ranking:

Web sites do not just provide information. They elicit opinions, encourage addition of value, and prod information sharing through linking. People have become more interactive on the Internet and they do not just download they upload too. This is where social media comes in to the picture. Internet users frequently visit social networking web sites and create their profiles, checkout others’ profiles, and post comments. Posting of pictures, audios, and videos have become the general practice. The idea is not to have a web site, but to take your web site to other web sites and encourage more visitors to the web site through high quality content and interesting pictures.


Social media optimization (SMO) is essentially a concept of marketing that is very similar to word-of-mouth marketing or viral marketing. SMO is a set of methods applied to optimize a web site or blog in the social media such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, and other platforms and sites of social web communities. Unlike the direct method of marketing this technique targets social groups on the Internet. A profile or weblog may be created in any one or more of the web communities in the social media. The profile or weblog will have to be linked to other blogs and web sites. Alternatively a blog may be created on your own web site and that blog may be linked to other web sites and blogs.


Adding RSS feeds, “Digg This” button, Flickr photos, and You Tube videos are some of the essential social optimization techniques that leads to improved Google rankings. Submitting to blog search engine Technorati is as an important social media optimization method as is social book marking. Social media optimization frequently uses Web 2.0 techniques.


Adding RSS feeds, “Digg This” button, Flickr photos, and You Tube videos are some of the essential social optimization techniques that leads to improved Google rankings. Submitting to blog search engine Technorati is as an important social media optimization method as is social book marking. Social media optimization frequently uses Web 2.0 techniques.


Link exchange is a common feature of social media where users visit each other’s blogs and leave their comments and links back to their blogs. If you follow some of these web 2.0 and social media optimization techniques you will generate more unique traffic to your web site and gain greater Google rankings quicker.

Prospects are important in sales – without them it’s like a salesman without a job. Thoughtful prospecting translates in to actual sales. The ratio of actual sales to prospects goes up when leads are worked …


Fifteen years ago a sales person required business cards, a pair of shiny shoes, a firm handshake, and the stamina to walk and search for prospects in office buildings, industrial parks and residential blocks. Five years ago sales people needed to learn how to use the pc and send sales letters via email. Now the same things are still required except the need to sweat for prospects. Search engines have made prospecting a lot easier.


Along with a winning attitude prospecting requires the use of the latest technology, namely the Internet and its search engines – GYM – Google, Yahoo and Bing. Prospecting on the search engines is the most convenient way of locating potential buyers. Instead of traveling great distances and moving from building to building in search of prospects a smart sales person locates prospects at the press of a few key buttons.


The Internet is a humongous library with a sea of information and knowledge about consumer behavior, tastes, and preferences. A salesperson can get an accurate picture of the trends in the market from the Internet. Survey reports and study findings are periodically published on the Internet from time-to-time. These reports give the exact picture of market trends. A sales person can then design his sales approach and zero on prospects based on the knowledge gathered from the Internet.


Search Engines for Geographical Location of Prospects


Search engines have a liking for yellow pages and directories. They rank them high up in the search rankings. Prospecting becomes easy when a sales professional accesses a yellow page through the search engine that is not available in print version.


Search engines are the tools that will facilitate prospect search on the basis of geographical locations. Googling “jewelry shops in New York” will pop up the names and locations of all the jewelry shops in New York. A jewelry sales person will get access to the contact information of thousands of jewelry shops that may turn out to be qualified prospects. Even if there are printed versions of the yellow pages available, search engines can beat them in terms of narrowing down searches to specific geographical regions which the yellow pages cannot. If it’s the up market clients one is thinking of prospecting for jewelry, the Fifth Avenue & 57th Street jewelry shops and malls could be tracked on the search engines. Contact information of not only jewelry shops, but malls and shopping centers that may turn out as qualified prospects in this area can also be searched on the same page.


Prospects on Social Media


Similarly it is easy to find target prospects on the basis of their interests, hobbies, age group and other demography. Search engines can do here what no yellow page book can do. Young prospects can be targeted in social networking web sites such as: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr etc. A lawyer specializing in adoption related cases can get a lot of prospects in forums and web sites that deal with adoption. Travelers keep touch with others and their family members on a web site (where are you now). Pet lovers share their love for pets in various portals.


Establishing a good rapport with influential members of these social networking groups can lead to the generation of a large number of prospects and sales similar to viral marketing. Every social networking group has a few connoisseurs. Their opinions are held in high esteem and their online actions are duplicated without much question. If they buy or give a positive review of a product the majority of the network members prefers the product.


Emails and Prospecting


Search engines can give access to a host of email directories where the members submit their email IDs willingly to receive sales offers. specials and product campaigns from sellers. Their willful membership is the guarantee of the fact that the sales letters will not be treated as spam. All of these letters may not be read and replied. But the mere assurance that these letters will not be categorized as spam is encouraging enough. Chances are that a good number of emails will be responded to and will eventually lead to qualified prospects or sales.


Technology can shape and influence business decisively. Search engines have been able to do so demonstrably in the fields of sales and sales prospecting in particular.

When you are lagging behind your monthly or quarterly sales quota, management may ask to check and review your sales pipeline. This means you need to pay attention …

The Need of a Qualified Sales Pipeline


When you are lagging behind your monthly or quarterly sales quota, management may ask to check and review your sales pipeline. This means you need to pay attention to the leads you are generating and how qualified they are. Your sales numbers will dip if the sales pipeline is not steady and strong enough to help you reach your sales goals. If you are not generating enough qualified leads and qualifying prospects correctly then how can you make sales? You will be advised to build a qualified sales pipe line to be effective in selling.


Search engines have come to play decisive roles in building a qualified sales pipe line. Here is how. Each sale starts with a lead: a name, a phone number, an email address, a referral, or the person that just walked into your office or store. The next step is qualifying the leads – to determine whether the customer has the need and capacity to buy your product or service. If you just have a name, or a phone number, or an email address that’s enough. The search engine can help in obtaining all the information you may need for qualifying prospects. All you have to do is search on the individual’s name, company, email address or other related data that you have obtained from the prospect. The search engines, GYM – Google, Yahoo and Bing will provide you with the relevant data to make the first contact with the prospect. And from there you can move ahead easily.


Archery and Sales Analogy and the Role of Search Engines


The analogy of a sprinkler system best applies to a sales pipeline. When a garden needs to be watered with a sprinkler system there is an elaborate plan. The pipes carrying water are arranged in such a manner that the water flow is steady to all the sprinklers. The game of archery is the perfect analogy for sales. An archer is given many arrows to hit the target. With the given number of arrows they have to maximize their score. The closer their arrows hit the bull’s eye, the more points they receive. Similarly, a sales person creates leads, qualifies them as prospects, and tries selling to them. Just as an archer may not hit the bull’s eye every time they take aim, sales people may not be successful in selling with each call or each prospect. As an archer tries with more than one arrow to hit the target, the sales person also tries to make a sale with more than one prospect. In fact the game of archery requires the archer to carry all the arrows with them. Sales people keep trying with many prospects. And prospects come from leads.


Ten or more leads may provide the sales person with one good prospect. And one in ten such prospects may actually buy. This is the basic premise of a sales pipe line.


It’s best for the sales person to have as many leads as possible to convert the maximum possible number of prospects from them and get the maximum number of sales. Search engines help in maximizing the number of leads with the least efforts.


Like an archer a sales person generates a fixed number of leads during a sales day. For example, a computer sales person targeting a high rise building in Manhattan housing 50 offices can have 50-100 leads at the maximum (assuming that in some offices they may get the chance to sell to individual employees in addition to catering to the official requirements of the firms) from that building. Their sales would depend on how they manage the 50-100 leads.


The leg work and time required for getting the 50-100 leads could be enormous. With the help of search engines the number of leads will go up and the leg work as well as the time consumed will come down dramatically. The sales person in question here need not go to each and every office in the building exploring about their requirement for computers. Nor does he need to call each office and face possible rude and reluctant people that may find cold calls intrusive.


You can get a fair idea about which offices will, which might, and which will not qualify as prospects from search engines. This can save a great deal of time and help in going ahead with the sales process in a hassle free manner. Moreover, the sales person will gather a lot of information about the offices in the high rise building through the search engines. There is a possibility to know what type of computer systems they operate, the software that’s installed and running, their annual sales revenue, senior executives and possible staff strength etc. which could give an idea about their potential to buy.


Steady Sales Pipe Line through Search Engines

The search engines can open a lot of channels of possible leads. Having access to online business directories, yellow pages, and email directories can increase the number of leads. Imagine the possibility of sending sales letters to thousands of prospects via email directories. This is not spamming as the email addresses are provided willingly by members of the directories and have given their consent to receive information and queries from sellers.


Let’s consider another exciting scenario. Let’s assume that a salesperson has sold a particular brand of car to two executives in an office. There are 200 more executives working in that office that can be presented with the sales idea through emails. Search engine can facilitate in the sales campaign. All their email addresses and telephone numbers can be obtained through search engines. Contacting through email is very unobtrusive. It will be effective when a quick and polite phone call is made to the prospect prior to sending the email.


Search engines have the potential to create unlimited number of leads in a limited market. You should know how to go about it and optimize your chances for sales success.