What are the leading internet marketing techniques? Well, speaking broadly there are really two. There is search engine optimization and paid search advertising. Of course, there are many variations in each category - but to get you started you either get traffic for free from search engines or you pay for it through advertising.

So when most people are evaluating internet marketing techniques, they first say "why wouldn't I want my traffic for free from the search engines? So search engine optimization (SEO) must be the way to go. Well, I have bad news. This is not a secret. For any term that has significant search volume, it is extremely competitive to get on the first page of Google. Some people use strategies to target Yahoo and MSN, but most agree that about 85% of the volume is from Google. So that's your real SEO target.

As you evaluate a search engine marketing campaign, you must realize that there are costs associated with SEO internet marketing. In fact, your up-front costs may be higher. Although it is my view that your long-term costs will be lower.

On the paid search side, the best game in town is again Google. Because they have the majority of the search volume, they are also the best place to advertise. The Google Adwords system is flexible and powerful. It can be a bit difficult for beginners, so it might be wise to hire a paid search consultant to get you up and running. If those costs seem high to you, have them train you (for a fee) and then take over the day-to-day campaign management yourself once you learn the ropes.

As you evaluate the best internet marketing techniques for your business, you will certainly be looking at both search engine optimization and paid search. Our view is that almost all businesses need both. It is often good to start with paid search and see what converts. You will likely have a negative return at first. This is normal for any pilot. But as you learn where your best results are, you can move into SEO on those terms and build a long-term Internet marketing strategy for profitability.