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How has Web Marketing Changed in the Last 7 Years?

We have come a long way from the old days of digital marketing when search engines were not so wildly popular and the internet was very much a wild west of white hat sheriffs versus black hat banditos.

All of that changed when Google search came into the picture in the late 90’s. Most search algorithms - whether you were asking Jeeves or looking at the Dogpile - simply weren't weren’t mature enough. And people could get away with stuffing websites with keywords without caring about content or usefulness.

SEO Then and Now

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) became the defacto standard for marketing your services by 2005. And currently, there are over a few hundred factors that Google analyzes to rank your web site.

In 2017, a meager presence on the web will no longer help your web marketing efforts. If you are a business that’s looking to increase your reach you need to dive deep into the content and the coding of your website, optimizing the maximum number of factors that you possibly can to make Google notice your efforts.

Remember, in this day and age, you've got two targets for your content:

  1. Your readers. 
  2. Google. 

The Rise of Social

In 2010, the internet forums where trolls, coders, and developers exchanged gifs and witty one-liners were set ablaze with the how silly social media was for the mainstream college kids and tweens wanting to show off their HTML skills making glitter stickers and unicorns on their MySpace profile.

But even back then, savvy experts in the world of internet marketing already suspected social media being part of the ranking factors used by the search engines. In 2010 Google, Bing and Yahoo! both announced that they use social signals from platforms like Facebook and Twitter to help them determine the ranking for a website.

The evolution of Social media also has been a phenomenon, creating a juggernaut of technology and sweeping social change in a relatively short time span. People were still using Myspace when Facebook was launched in 2004, and in 6 years Facebook had garnered so much engagement, the search engines had to sit up and take notice. It has now become so much more than just a place for college kids to chat as it's now an immensely powerful advertising platform that leverages everything from fake news stories to clickable videos so that businesses can acquire and convert customers.

More than 90% of marketers today use Facebook as their choice of Social Media marketing, according to a study conducted by Social Media Examiner. Which makes sense when you consider that 63% of the population of the United States of America is on Facebook every day.

With various popular channels like Linkedin. Instagram and Pinterest chasing after Facebook's lead, the trend of Social media as a tool for marketing doesn’t look like it’s going to cease anytime soon.

Marketing for an Audience of One: You
One of the factors for the success of these social channels is the fact that today marketing has become more customized and value added. You can target customers with content customized for their behavior rather than aggressive and broadcasting blindly.

The fact that the world of web marketing is changing so rapidly puts the onus on the digital marketing agency to keep them up to date.

That means what was working 6 months ago might not work today or going forward. They need to research and be aware of trends so that your marketing dollars get the best bang for the buck.

The most often discussed subjects that keep agencies and SEO guru’s on their toes are the constant changes to the Google Search Algorithm. This is in part necessary as people are always trying to find a shortcut or sneak their way past and try to rank.

Google is constantly evolving and trying harder to help people find the content that is highly relevant for what they are searching for. Here’s a look at some of the major changes that have happened on Google’s algorithm over the years.

Launched places for business listings, to help local search results and targeting local audiences. May Day update was rolled out to weed out websites targeting long-tail keyword with useless content.The famous Panda update for the search algorithm was launched in February 2011. There have been numerous tweaks that were made to the original update over the years.

To make sure that webmasters were not only working on optimizing the sites according to the algorithm, instead of making them useful for the user another update to the algorithm was announced in April 2012. It was called the Penguin, which was called the “webspam update”. The last Penguin update happened in 2016.

We Welcome our New Robot Overlords

Factors to rank your website will constantly evolve as years go by. Google has already launched its own Artifical Intelligence tool, RankBrain, that helps parse and update its Search Algorithm. Digital Marketing is getting more and more complex. The tools are evolving to become more refined. There will be new tools that will make web marketing even more exciting and help you reach more customers than ever before.

Big Data, Data Visualization, and Automation will keep pushing digital marketing into a reality that becomes more and more reliant on artificial intelligence. The future dystopia of the Terminator movies, where Skynet takes over the world, or the future utopia of the Jetsons cartoon both have one thing in common with each other: Robots push humanity forward. And that's where the future of Digital Marketing is headed.


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