This article started simply enough. We wanted to take a look at some of the changes made to Google Penguin and offer insights into the fluctuating face of search engine optimization, or SEO. (There are some great articles on the subject, like this one from Forbes.) We bandied this about the office for a few days, discussing some of the biggest changes to search engine optimization over the past few years. We discussed how our processes have evolved with them to try to stay as current as possible. Then we came to a shocking conclusion: most businesses don't need SEO help. Most businesses need holistic digital marketing help.
This may beg the question: well, what's the difference? An article by Inc. Magazine came across the social media feeds over the weekend. It reminded us that so often the various terms used in our industry get conflated. From PR to advertising, social media marketing to SEO, people are always looking for the magic combination to get the brand in front of the right people. (There's another one; let's not forget branding and reputation management.) Looking at all of these terms, it may seem like an all-you-can-eat buffet of options to make your mark on the internet. Much like a smorgasbord of food, what may seem like a good idea at the time may end up pretty painful in the long haul.
If we handed you a hammer, would you be able to build a house? What about a saw? Nails? Each individual tool is vital to the construction of a house, but each tool on its own is pretty useless without a plan. This is digital marketing in a nutshell. It is the plan by which all of the other tools — SEO, PPC, SERPs and the alphabet soup of acronyms — all coalesce into ROI for your KPI's*. Clear as mud? We can explain.
So often what seems like the solution to a small business' marketing woes isn't as cut and dry as they may think. For example, a business may feel like their website isn't pulling its weight. They want to see more business from the website, so finding an SEO company may seem like the obvious answer. After all, better SEO means more business, doesn't it? The short answer is yes... and no.
A good SEO strategy may only be half the battle. Perhaps it is not simply a matter of eyeballs on the site. Is your content leading your user down the path to conversion effectively? Maybe your competition is dominating the real estate on Google with local results and adwords ads, in addition to the organic results. In either case, SEO alone won't be enough to really maximize your website's potential.
A digital marketing plan can. In many cases, a smart digital marketing plan will utilize a number of tools to help ensure that a company is putting its best foot forward, digitally speaking. These tools include web design, organic SEO practices, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, content management, marketing automation, local SEO and even traditional PR relationship building. When integrated into a cohesive plan, a business can help make 1+1=3.
Since when does 1+1=3? It is a favorite saying in our office, so it may be safe to say that at Seafoam Media, we make this type of math work everyday. At its core, digital marketing is about working smarter, not harder. So often, we hear people talk about blogging as something that they know that they are supposed to be doing. After all, content is king; right? Not always. Blogging, simply for blogging's sake very rarely offers any return on the time and money that you must invest. More often than not companies find themselves talking to themselves out there in the world wide web.
When you create a holistic plan, the goal is to make your website more effective and more efficient. With a digital marketing plan, that same blog could be used not only to draw traffic to the site organically (with the proper keyword research) but to also build awareness and engagement on social media with a highly targeted paid advertising boost. A marketing automation campaign can be built into the blog's call to action, and a robust community outreach campaign can be used to spread the content to relevant bloggers and social-influencers. This highlights how one piece of content can be used to create four unique funnels for engagement on the website.
With each passing year Google, is getting bigger ,and it is getting smarter. It is estimated that in 2015, the search engine giant processed over 2 trillion search queries, up from 1 trillion in 2012. With each passing day, social media becomes a bigger influence in the average consumer's life. Over 40% of users report purchasing an item after sharing it or liking it on a social media platform. What does this mean to the average business? It means that if you lack a digital marketing plan, you are missing out on a world of opportunities.
Formulating and integrating such a plan is no small feat, however. It takes time. It also requires an ever-evolving understanding of all of the tools used in the digital marketing tool box. This is why it is estimated that only 50% of businesses operating online right now have any marketing strategy at all, much less a robust digital marketing strategy. There is no time like the present to ensure your digital marketing efforts are working smarter for your company. Contact Seafoam Media today for a free analysis of your digital marketing health.
*SEO: Search Engine Optimization, PPC: Pay Per Click, SERPs: Search Engine Results Pages, ROI: Return on Investment, KPI: Key performance Indicators. (Is it any wonder that this can be so confusing for the average small business owner?)