Marketing in Algorithms: Back to Basics

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Over the last several years I have continually sought to research and understand the power of search engine optimization within an ever-changing sea of algorithms and formulaic tweaks. Leading the charge of ever evolving formulas and prolific changes Google has sought to completely re-invent the search process.  Recently I have had some concerns, as I have seen many small companies allocate nearly all of their marketing resources in an effort to climb the Google stairway to search engine heaven. While obviously important, I have seen many countless months of work ruined as a new algorithmic update plummets them Southward . Many companies have so feverishly sought to chase Google that they have completely neglected to build their business.

During the early days of SEO, optimizing under a few successful link building tactics and meta adjustments allowed for a near mathematical way to game the system. It wasn’t difficult to predict that with the growth of the financial power of the internet, this game would become a way of life. Because incentives drive nearly every facet of human nature; “spammy” sites buried in multiple layers of poorly acquired links and duplicate junk content littered the system. During this stone age of optimization it wasn’t a far cry to wonder if the idea of traditional marketing and advertising had been replaced with black hat operations and paid link real estate.

In our current day and age it has become abundantly clear that not only has Google updated its system to directly combat spam, but that marketing in the truest sense of the word is now more important than ever. Now don’t get me wrong, the ABC’s of proper site construction, natural link acquisition, and content creation are still extremely important; but even these things must take a back seat to a comprehensive marketing plan.  In the world of near constant updates, Panda has shown us that even positive link building may have disastrous effects. If a site has been labeled with the scarlet letter of “spam” decides to link to your site (even if you weren’t aware) you may be penalized. The rush to disavow and analyze every possible juncture requires all hands on deck. In another example, if your site doesn’t command the highest authority and your original content is picked up by a larger more authoritative site; you may also be penalized for “duplicating” content, even if the content was originally yours.

Currently, the SEO community is no longer dependent on one focused link building tactic but rather the community now chants the mantra of “content creation”. This word has become so pervasive in nearly every internet marketing world that it has nearly lost its meaning. Google often states anything you create that is compelling and engaging should have the desired byproduct of elevated rankings.While good content is critical and strongly encouraged, it is merely one piece of the engagement puzzle. Content may be king, but if nobody has ever had the opportunity to read your great article, or weep over your moving piece of art, then it really doesn’t matter how compelling it may be. Simply put even the most engaging tree falling in the densest Google forest may not exist if it is not seen. How you strategically market that content, get the word out about your amazing sale, or just bring readers in is also necessary for a successful marketing campaign.

So often companies build the most amazing pieces of content and pay top dollar for specific keywords without doing the proper work of branding and marketing. The real message of internet marketing over the last several years has been to move towards the basic roots of marketing: discovering how to create and meet a human need. You must know your brand and develop your marketing plan in a the world pantheon rather than focusing everything on getting Google to like you. While clearly the largest shareholder in the search engine market, focusing your attention on customer needs and satisfaction will nearly always yield higher results than chasing the ever evolving Google algorithm. Building a marketing plan that is customer centric and effectively utilizes the tools provided by the proficient use of SEO, will almost always win. Use all the SEO tools available to you but at the end of the day never allow SEO to be your entire strategy. A good marketer will run a business that not only meets the needs of his customers, but through a healthy well-rounded marketing plan will in fact yield top results in Google.

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