What is it with Internet technology that causes people to neglect common-sense rules of doing business? No, I'm not talking about insane valuations given to Internet stocks such as recently listedGoogle (NASDAQ:GOOG), but rather about the marketing efforts that go into search engine optimization. Companies spend a fortune ensuring that their link appears somewhere at the top of any Google or Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) search, yet they often fail to ensure that their website title and description on the results page contain a compelling marketing message.

To explain what I mean, I Googled in the names of four of the top bed manufacturers to see whether their descriptions generated a yawn or a wake-up signal. After all, beds are precisely the large purchase savvy consumers like me will spend a bit of time researching on the Internet! Here's what my research yielded.

The yawns
When you Google Tempur-Pedic (NYSE:TPX), the company that brought NASA's technology into our bedrooms, you get the following result:

Welcome To Tempur-Pedic
Tempur® Material. Sleep Systems. Pillows. Comfort Products. Shop Online. Search:
COPYRIGHT, © 2004 Tempur-Pedic Direct Response, Inc. All Rights Reserved. PRIVACY

All you get is a uninspired catalog of its products and a bunch of legalese. And the words "Direct Response" are enough to turn even the most avid watcher of infomercials right off.

Sealy, probably the most well-known brand among the four (it has three times the revenue of Tempur-Pedic), does not do much better:

Welcome to Sealy...
Company Info. Job Opportunities. Contract Division. International Info. Sealy Supports America's Best. Privacy Policy - Terms of Use, © 2004 Sealy Corporation.

From its blurb, it seems jobs and contracts are more important than selling beds.

The wake-up signals
Moving on to Google Simmons, the originator of the Beautyrest mattress (as well as those annoying bowling ball ads!), things start to improve:

Simmons Beautyrest Mattress - Get a Better Sleep!Pocketed Cable CoilT
Only available in the Simmons® Beautyrest® mattress, this is the most revolutionary advancement in pocketed coil technology since ...

At least the title contains a strong sales message and some hint as to the distinguishing feature of the product. The only downside is that the great follow-on endorsement in the description gets unceremoniously chopped off, and the reader is left to wonder what it was that needed improving.

Just when my search for a great marketing message was proving futile, I Googled Hidden Gems pick Select Comfort (NASDAQ:SCSS) to come up with:

Select Comfort Beds & Mattresses call 1-800-548-7231
Learn why the Sleep Number bed by Select Comfort is the secret to a better night's sleep. ... Sleep Number Bed by Select Comfort. Buying a Bed? 1-800-548-7231.

Finally, a company that gets the basics of Marketing 101 right: The title tells us clearly what it is the company does, and immediately alerts us to the presence of the 1-800 number. The message then entices the reader to read further, plants the "Buying a Bed?" suggestion, and for good measure, reminds us of the 1-800 number again.

Search engines have become the new Yellow Pages. Companies, in the race to be No. 1 in the results, could do well to pay a little more attention to the basics of marketing in their presentation on this medium.

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Fool contributor David Jacobs is early to bed and early to rise, helping him become healthy, wealthy, and Foolish. David owns shares in Select Comfort but in no other stocks mentioned in this article.