Universal results are Google’s method of incorporating results from its other vertical columns, like Google Images and Google News, into the search results. A common example of universal results are Google’s featured snippets, which deliver an answer in a box at the top of the page, so users ideally don’t have to click into any organic results. Image results and news results are other examples.
In order to provide the best possible search experience for its users, Google continues to push for better local content from businesses. Regardless of future algorithm updates from Google, investing in high quality and locally relevant content will help businesses compete in the local pack and rank higher on search engine results pages. To learn more about Google’s recent removal of right rail ads, check out our whitepaper: Goodbye Right Rail: What Google Paid Search Changes Mean for Local Marketers.
To understand the importance of digital marketing to the future of marketing in any business, it’s helpful to think about what audience interactions we need to understand and manage. Digital marketing today is about many more types of audience interaction than website or email... It involves managing and harnessing these ‘5Ds of Digital’ that I have defined in the introduction to the latest update to my Digital Marketing: Strategy, Planning and Implementation book. The 5Ds define the opportunities for consumers to interact with brands and for businesses to reach and learn from their audiences in different ways:
If you think about it, how can a spider know the filename of the page that it gets back when requesting www.domain.com/ ? It can’t. The filename could be index.html, index.htm, index.php, default.html, etc. The spider doesn’t know. If you link to index.html within the site, the spider could compare the 2 pages but that seems unlikely. So they are 2 urls and each receives PageRank from inbound links. Standardizing the home page’s url ensures that the Pagerank it is due isn’t shared with ghost urls.
If your company is business-to-business (B2B), your digital marketing efforts are likely to be centered around online lead generation, with the end goal being for someone to speak to a salesperson. For that reason, the role of your marketing strategy is to attract and convert the highest quality leads for your salespeople via your website and supporting digital channels.
“From the beginning, our new company, AA Global Printing, has provided a superior global service, backed by a solid operations team. What we didn’t have were marketing resources to support the growth of our client base and to build a strong online presence. Fortunately, Brick Marketing has given us a structured website development process/solution and a cost effective “answer” to creating a viable web presence. Moreover, our account rep has been a professional and knowledgeable resource at every turn. Thanks to Nick Stamoulis and the Brick Marketing team, AA Global Printing is marketing with all the right tools ranging from SEO, strong content, a weekly blog, and easy site navigation for our visitors.”
This definition emphasizes the focus of marketing on the customer while at the same time implying a need to link to other business operations to achieve this profitability. Yet, it's a weak definition in relation to digital marketing since it doesn't emphasize communications which are so important to digital marketing. In Digital Marketing Excellence my co-author, PR Smith and I note that digital marketing can be used to support these aims as follows:
A content marketer, for example, can create a series of blog posts that serve to generate leads from a new ebook the business recently created. The company's social media marketer might then help promote these blog posts through paid and organic posts on the business's social media accounts. Perhaps the email marketer creates an email campaign to send those who download the ebook more information on the company. We'll talk more about these specific digital marketers in a minute.
Using digital marketing without a strategic approach is still commonplace. I'm sure many of the companies in this category are using digital media effectively and they could certainly be getting great results from their search, email or social media marketing. But I'm equally sure that many are missing opportunities for better targeting or optimization, or are suffering from the other challenges I've listed below. Perhaps the problems below are greatest for larger organizations who most urgently need governance.
The majority of companies in our research do take a strategic approach to digital. From talking to companies, I find the creation of digital plans often occurs in two stages. First, a separate digital marketing plan is created. This is useful to get agreement and buy-in by showing the opportunities and problems and map out a path through setting goals and specific strategies for digital including how you integrated digital marketing into other business activities. Second, digital becomes integrated into marketing strategy, it's a core activity, "business-as-usual", but doesn't warrant separate planning, except for the tactics.
For search engine optimization purposes, some companies offer to sell high PageRank links to webmasters. As links from higher-PR pages are believed to be more valuable, they tend to be more expensive. It can be an effective and viable marketing strategy to buy link advertisements on content pages of quality and relevant sites to drive traffic and increase a webmaster's link popularity. However, Google has publicly warned webmasters that if they are or were discovered to be selling links for the purpose of conferring PageRank and reputation, their links will be devalued (ignored in the calculation of other pages' PageRanks). The practice of buying and selling links is intensely debated across the Webmaster community. Google advises webmasters to use the nofollow HTML attribute value on sponsored links. According to Matt Cutts, Google is concerned about webmasters who try to game the system, and thereby reduce the quality and relevance of Google search results.
It is important for a firm to reach out to consumers and create a two-way communication model, as digital marketing allows consumers to give back feed back to the firm on a community based site or straight directly to the firm via email. Firms should seek this long term communication relationship by using multiple forms of channels and using promotional strategies related to their target consumer as well as word-of mouth marketing.