Unfortunately, as many marketing professionals will know, SEO was a progressive and self-defined industry, created from the flaws of how search engines worked. In an industry spanning nearly two decades, it has only been in the last few years that the likes of Google have started to correct this with Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird updates. Previously, SEO was a relatively inexpensive and inexperienced industry to get into. Being more technical than theoretical, it followed a specific set of quantitative tasks that allowed many agencies in the early days to show off quick results, without needing any real marketing experience. Over time, this sort of practice has greatly diminished, with search engines continually penalising those that carried out black-hat techniques. However, it was the client’s website that bore the brunt of these penalties by dropping in or being stripped from the search results.
Today, the tides are changing quickly within the digital marketing industry. What was once an industry founded on automated software and “x” number of keyword packages, has now flourished into an industry with a diverse range of marketing trends and strategies. SEO and search is evolving into a broader sense of digital marketing. It is now a cross channel tool used to implement all or part of the client’s digital marketing plan. Ultimately, it is about devising a bespoke strategy that will see a positive return on the client’s investment.
Greater Emphasis on User Experience & Content Marketing
User experience and content marketing are just two areas of digital marketing that agencies will need to put greater emphasis on moving forward. Yet for some agencies in Perth, actually making the transition to a more aspirational and traditional form of marketing is easier said than done. Whereas before, the client had little involvement in the process, there is now a dependency on them to provide the necessary marketing material in which the agency can form an appropriate strategy around the client’s target market. It is an important factor that the agency can engage and plan out a schedule with the client to facilitate this requirement.
When it comes to content marketing, its more than just suggesting to the client to write blog articles. There has to be a method to the madness. How does the content reinforce the offered product or services? Does it represent all of the client’s products and services? Does the content’s tone represent the client’s demographic? How should it be presented? Does it support the synergies of the client’s brand? Some or all of these questions can sometimes be missed when it comes to suggesting to a client that a content marketing strategy will drive rankings. In an overall sense, it is true that content will help and it's certainly where the industry is heading. However, a proper, thought-out content strategy should first and foremost support the marketing plan and have an implementation strategy behind it that is both ethically and technically sound. These two factors alone are what will add value in the long term to both the client’s website and brand authority.
The agency must learn to understand the psychology of their client’s customer demographic and how they interact with the current website. This knowledge will drive conversions by ensuring user experience is a core element of the approach. Improving user signals are the most important factor in building success on search engines. It is this factor that search engines use to better evaluate web users. Only bad agencies will tell their clients that creating a successful and popular website is solely about SEO and the technical skills they can add. For the agencies that want to undertake user experience marketing, they need to know that consumers:
- Care about their peers' thoughts and experiences
- Don’t like losing or missing out
- Like incentives when evaluating alternative options
- Crave personalised interaction over static web content
- Look for brand authority vs the product or service they want
What Does the Future Digital Marketing Agency Look Like?
In terms of business models and market trends, it is not unfair to say that the digital industry in Perth is slightly behind that of London or New York. However, despite this, the days of techno-only minded agencies that produce results from link farms, mass directory listings and spun article software are gone. Some may pop up now and again but even the self-employed tradie looking for digital marketing is starting to become savvy with regards to “white hat” and “black hat” SEO techniques.
Moving forward, it’s those Perth agencies that have a thorough understanding of traditional marketing theory and principles that will become the industry leaders in WA and remain worthy of a client’s marketing budget. These agencies will merge with their client’s marketing department and easily define their client’s target market, carry out competitor analysis and segment products or services according to demographics. They will be the ones that remain, as the industry and search engines as a whole continue to root out the relic SEO-only firms. It’s time to start saying goodbye to “SEO” as a term that relates to a stand-alone industry - a term that frustrates professional marketers when other agencies use it as a one-stop solution to all digital marketing efforts. SEO is now a tool to be used as just one aspect of an overall digital marketing strategy and which is implemented from an understanding of the principles of marketing and the client’s marketing mix.
7 Tips for Perth Businesses Looking for Digital Marketing to Consider
As a business looking for a digital marketing agency, don’t be confused by distracting billboards and clever strap lines as a means of judging that agency's ability. Instead consider the following when making your judgement:
The client’s ideal agency should:
- Have an ethical and knowledgeable marketing background.
- Consider themselves a full-service digital marketing agency.
- Prepare a marketing plan if their client doesn’t have one.
- Support and lead their client in all areas of digital marketing.
- Bring traditional marketing principles as a foundation to their services that are then implemented using digital practices.
- Integrate themselves with, or in some cases be, their client’s marketing dept.
- Design primary and supportive marketing material with the brand and marketing plan at the forefront.
If you like what you have read and want to discuss digital marketing further, talk to us now.