Define search engine optimization (SEO)

You have spent some time with Re-Pete, and he explained how the company’s Web site is designed. You noted that Cortez Creations shows up at the bottom of the first page on search engines for the search terms “personalized gifts,” “custom giveaways,” or “unique gifts.” This is good, but might be improved by search optimization. In addition, there are other ways to use search engines to attract customers. Discuss these concepts, and find companies with good search results to discuss with Re-Pete.

Define search engine optimization (SEO).
Discuss how SEO techniques improve the ability of consumers to find the company’s Web site.
Find at least 3 companies using the search terms “personalized gifts,” “custom giveaways,” or “unique gifts.” Briefly discuss how these companies receive priority in search results using SEO. This task requires an understanding of the following scenario:

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About 20 years ago, Pete and Anna Cortez started a small retail store—Cortez Creations—selling custom and personalized gifts. Pete is the businessman, and Anna has the creative eye and people skills to identify new lines of merchandise for the store. What started with jewelry, picture frames, and glassware for weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays, their store now has a full line of personalized promotional items for businesses, a custom T-shirt line, and items that can be personalized for pet lovers, sports fans, and other special-interest groups. The Cortezs have opened two other retail stores over the years and have a thriving small business.

When the Internet became a source for commercial transactions in the late 1990s, Pete invested in a Web site for Cortez Creations. The Web site has navigation (via an online catalog), online ordering (including payment by credit card), and information about retail store locations. The Web site also has a page on which consumers can sign up for e-mails and obtain special offers, which can be redeemed in the retail stores or online.

The Web site is maintained by Pete and Anna’s son, Pedro, or “Re-Pete” as the family affectionately calls him. Re-Pete is a tech-savvy, 20-year-old who has learned a lot about Internet Web sites from personal study, his tech-savvy friends, and some courses at the community college. However, Pete and Re-Pete both know that there is a lot they don’t know about how to improve the Web site and how to add new ways to communicate with consumers to capture more sales.

Pete and Anna have some aggressive business objectives for Cortez Creations. They want to expand sales from the local retail trading area, and they envision an improved Web site that uses other digital marketing as the strategy for success. They are concerned that retail store sales from the ground stores may not be viable in the future because lease costs for retail space continues to rise. In addition, the nature of the personalized and customized gifts business is that it is highly seasonal, with Christmas, Mother’s Day, and other holidays providing a lift in sales. With all of that in mind, Pete and Anna wonder if they should begin planning for a future with just one retail location and a warehousing and distribution operation that supports Internet sales.

Pete and Re-Pete have heard about Web 3.0, digital marketing, mobility marketing, and other concepts and ideas that can help improve their Web site. It is up to you to teach them about Internet-based marketing and to complete and present a plan that is consistent with their business objectives. Cortez Creations can be positioned for a successful future if the strategies and tactics for the company’s Web site are on the mark.

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