The internet has changed a lot since it first went public in the 1990s. Way back then, there was no such thing as digital marketing. Those were the days of bulletin boards and online services like AOL. Then came the 2000s and our obsession with SEO. But thanks to 20 years of internet evolution, digital marketing in the 21st century is way more sophisticated than most people understand.
Things are so different now that focusing exclusively on SEO is a fool’s errand. It will not get the job done. Today’s digital marketing agency must go well beyond SEO to achieve the kinds of results their clients deserve—the best of the best rise to the top in a highly competitive industry.
The Early Days of SEO
The digital marketers of 10 and 15 years ago could get away with focusing exclusively on SEO due to the immaturity of most search engines. In addition, there were far fewer web pages back then. Exponentially fewer, in fact. Limited search capabilities and less competition made it fairly easy to drive traffic by creating content around certain keywords.
It eventually became clear that SEO experts could drive search engine results with a practice known as ‘keyword stuffing.’ Additional black hat practices were developed to get around increasingly more sophisticated search engine algorithms. Eventually, Google’s much advertised Panda update laid down the gauntlet. The search engines were no longer going to tolerate black hat SEO.
That brings us to where we are today. In the modern SEO environment, keywords alone are not enough. They certainly are important, but they are not the be-all and end-all. Salt Lake City-based Webtek Digital Marketing explains why.
According to the Webtek team, search engine algorithms are advanced enough to use artificial intelligence and deep learning. Search engines are adept at separating relevant content from junk. They can artificially understand the relationship between content and outbound links. In short, modern content has to be high quality and relevant. If you are producing junk, your site will be left by the wayside.
Hundreds of Ranking Factors
Another thing to note is that today’s search engines rely on hundreds of ranking factors to determine search engine results. Two of the big ones right now are speed and mobility. For instance, Google has been rather open about the fact that it wants websites to load quickly. They announced a few years back that they would start ranking for page speed.
The same goes for mobility. With an increasing number of people exclusively using mobile devices to access the internet, search engines now want to see websites that are mobile friendly in every respect. They rank sites accordingly.
Staying Ahead of the Competition
One last thing to consider is the competitive nature of the internet. All of the mechanics and technologies aside, there are now billions of pages across the global internet. That is a lot of competition. The whole point of digital marketing is to go beyond mere SEO to stay ahead of that competition.
A digital marketing agency with any history of success doesn’t focus all of its attention on keywords. It implements the latest white hat SEO practices and offers web development, social media marketing, brand and reputation management, and more.
Regardless of the industry – be it healthcare, legal, or any other – modern digital marketing goes way beyond SEO. If your digital marketing agency is not up to speed with the state of the industry, you could be losing out on valuable opportunities. Perhaps it’s time to find another agency.