As a small business owner on the Internet, I started out like many others. I built a website and then waiting for traffic to come flowing in. Much to my dismay, that never happened. Nobody came to my site, and that meant, nobody bought my product. The problem is that I didn’t do my homework before jumping into the Internet market.

The Internet is a constantly changing environment, and growing every day. My small little website was no match for the competition, and I had to do something to bring more traffic to my site.

I began looking at different marketing techniques. Things like buying ad space on larger websites that had more traffic. I also looked at such things as sponsorships, and even email campaigns. The results of my investigations into Internet marketing were just not in my favor. I was just a small business, and to place ads on large websites is very expensive. Sponsorships were also expensive, and email campaigns showed very little potential, as they are usually thought of as spam and discarded. I had to do something else, and it had to be something that a small business like mine could reasonably afford.

I discovered search engine optimization. It was a means of making changes to my website that would better suit the desires of large search engines. Since it is free for people to find a website in a search engine and free for me to be there, this seemed to be my best alternative.

I began my research into search engine optimization (SEO) and discovered that I had much to learn. It was going to take some time for me to do everything that I needed to do, but it was certainly better than losing all that I had invested so far.

I started by adjusting my website to fit the known standards of most search engines and then began a link campaign. I distributed hundreds of free links, as well as purchased a few for a fair price. I wrote articles and newsletters. I even joined SEO discussion forums and participated in topics about search engine optimization. In the end, my efforts started to pay off. Traffic started to flow in, and I began to get a few sales.

All of this started to make me think. What if there was no such thing as a search engine? Could small businesses like mine even compete with large companies? For most of us, it would be entirely too expensive to even attempt. Big corporations would have far more money to use on advertising, and “Internet real estate” would be far more expensive, as it would be the only real means of advertising. My conclusion is that search engines sort of level the playing field between small businesses and large companies. They give a small business the ability to have a chance at competing for traffic on the Internet.

Most of us start out with a dislike for search engines. We get discouraged because so many other websites rank higher than ours. However, there is a way for us to compete with those websites, and it means taking a little time in optimizing website content and links for search engines. With a lot of education, and some good SEO techniques, small businesses can compete, and they can bring in traffic.