These days, Google plays a huge role in customers’ decision making process. This is because both consumers and business decision makers rely on Google on a daily basis to help them research and find the best solutions to their problems. As a result, the majority of sales begin with a Google search.
Customers put more stock in Google’s organic results.
As anyone running a digital marketing strategy today should know, most modern internet users know how to spot an ad. What’s more, when they do spot one, they automatically ignore it. This includes Google Ads. Google Ads look a lot like normal search results, but they always appear at the very top or bottom of the page and are marked with a small yellow ‘Ad’ label. Savvy internet users are generally reluctant to click on a Google Ad; they’d rather click on an organic, earned listing.
Why do internet users prefer organic listings to Google Ads? It isn’t easy to climb Google’s organic rankings, especially in competitive industries. Knowing this, potential customers assume that the companies occupying the top slots know their stuff. After all, they must be well respected and very good at what they do if they’re dominating Google’s rankings. In contrast, anyone can simply pay for a Google Ad.
Even Google knows that its users are more likely to click on an organic listing than on an ad. That’s why they’ve launched a barrage of changes to Google Ads over the past few months. For example, they’ve made Google Ads look a lot less like ads, making the yellow ad label much smaller. This week, Google removed ads from the right hand margin entirely, instead only keeping a few listing-like Google Ads at the very top and bottom of every results page. Why is Google doing this? Well, the more a Google Ad looks like an organic listing, the more likely users are to click on them. And, of course, Google wants users to click on Google Ads, because that’s how they make money.
A central aim of most digital marketing strategies is to rank organically on the first page of Google’s results.
Most businesses know how important it is to build their organic rankings on Google. Traditionally, that’s where SEO companies came in. These dinosaurs use a collection of different techniques to trick and manipulate Google’s crawlers into awarding the website higher rankings. As a result, the website would climb higher and higher, eventually snagging the top slot for targeted keywords – even when they didn’t really deserve it.
Google penalises SEO efforts that amount to ‘cheating’.
Google’s people are far too smart to let that sort of thing go on. After a while, the search engine cottoned on to how SEO agencies were ‘cheating’. Tactics like keyword stuffing, fake backlinks, invisible text and so on were able to trick a crawler into thinking a given website was authoritative and valuable, when in reality it wasn’t really either of those things. To combat these sorts of ‘black hat’ SEO tactics, Google brought out new algorithms that can recognise underhanded tactics and penalise websites accordingly
Google didn’t launch these new algorithms without warning. They told SEO agencies to catch a wake up and stop doing what they were doing. Of course, they didn’t; they had their hands on a cash cow and they weren’t about to stop milking it. Some SEO agencies are still trying to milk that cash cow today, despite the fact that Google openly discourages and penalises their methods.
The best digital marketing agencies evolve with current trends.
The most important characteristic of any digital marketing agency today is the ability to forecast trends and pivot their offering accordingly. Today, Google’s algorithms award rankings based on how genuinely informative and useful a website is. Good SEO today means creating a website that contains genuinely useful, high quality, search optimised content. This means that successful modern digital marketing strategies are those that focus on modern tactics like content marketing.
This isn’t always going to be the case; digital marketing trends will keep changing and Google’s algorithms will keep evolving. Staying one step ahead of both your customers and Google is a full-time job; free your time up to keep your finger on the pulse by outsourcing the implementation of your digital and content marketing strategies to a specialist agency.
Find out more about outsourcing all or parts of your digital marketing strategies to MPULL by downloading our guide, Effectively Scale Your Agency, Outsourcing and Offshoring Your Inbound Marketing, here.