To say online marketing has changed over the past 5 years would be an understatement.
There was a time when the simplest and most effective way to market yourself online was to write a 400 word post that repeated the same exact phrase, like “green custom home builder” and, if you did it the exact right amount of times and then secured some questionable backlinks, your page would be #1 until someone else came along and did it again themselves.
None of these tactics were ever “spam,” necessarily, although some of them certainly crossed that line. But what they had absolutely nothing to do with was quality. They were all about tricks, and figuring out ways to “beat” the Google algorithm.
Those days are clearly over.
First, it’s not just about Google anymore. There are now plenty of other ways to market yourself online, most of which involve social media (among others). But also, Google itself is no longer a mysterious tool that needs to be broken. Instead, we’re reaching the point where the line between marketing your website and offering more to your visitors is essentially gone.
That’s where marketing is in this post-spam world.
Where We Are — Offering Value for the Sake of Value
There are still a few things that we know to be true, that could — in theory — be considered “beating the Google algorithm” (though that’s probably a stretch).
We know that content still matters. Websites with fewer pages or short pages do worse than websites with a lot of high quality content that engages the reader.
We also know that links from other sites still matter quite a bit, though a bit less than before. It’s possible to dominate search engines on content alone, but it is a lot more challenging, especially if you’re marketing a business against a lot of competition.
We also know that, even on social media sites like Facebook, there is absolutely no value to generic posts about nothing. We all follow too many people these days, and throwing up a Facebook page that says “Deimira Baidoo and His Business Strategies” and then trying to compete with quotes you found online will fail. There needs to be something there.
So where we are is a place where marketing is still critical. But the goal of marketing has nothing to do with trying to beat Google. Instead, the goal of marketing is to figure out a way to offer your content as a free service.
Let me repeat: Marketing, today, is about making your content a type of free service for the customer.
- That means writing long form, valuable content that people genuinely need about topics that really interest them.
- That means creating social media posts and advertisements that are genuinely interesting, funny, or offer more than what other people can provide.
- That means obtaining backlinks not by spamming out your articles, but by connecting with people and seeing if there is a way that you can help their readers in exchange, if possible, for a link back.
In a way, marketing online is sort of like volunteering. Promotional pages are still acceptable, of course, but what you’re really trying to do is see if there is a way for you to offer something for free that others want to read, and in the end watch search engines and social media sites reward you with a higher ranking and more business.
That’s the way that marketing is in a post spam world. We’ve moved from “marketing tactics” to investing your time in your customers, and watch as your business grows as a result.
About Deimira Paa Baidoo: Deimira Baidoo operates a marketing company in Calgary, AB, and also owns and manages an eco-friendly custom home company.