>Should we therefore be considering more creative ways of spreading our messages, ie good old fashioned word of mouth and networking?
Should you? If you weren't already, I'd say you didn't even START to
do any real or serious marketing or promotion for your Web presence. Calling
the submissionof your site to search engines "Web site marketing" or
"Web site promotion" is like calling a cash register a sales strategy.
While some level of computer automation can help, it has little of
anything to do with any real true marketing or public relations strategy.
Those require an analysis and understanding of your audiences,
tailoring your messages differently to your specific audiences,
approaching those different audiences in ways that best reach them,
Getting in the top 10 on a search engine does none of that for you. It grossly
oversimplifies what it means to do true marketing or PR. It's based on
the thinnest of assumptions about how to reach those who are
your targeted audience(s). There's no feedback mechanism nor true
communication with prospective interested publics. There's no human or
psychological appeal. There's no definition of a need followed by your placement
as part of the solution.
If you have no resources and have few business skills, then
using search engine rankings as a replacement for a marketing or PR
strategy may be better than nothing. Otherwise
you're just screaming into the wind and not only hoping someone
hears you, but you're hoping that those who do hear you want
to listen and didn't overhear you by accident.