Chapter 12 - Be Agile - Getting Used to Constant Change
During the past 19 years as a content developer/online marketer/SEO/inbound marketer/internet marketer/social marketer/content marketer/digital marketer one truth has been made enormously evident; it's best to get used to the name changing.
We are in the midst of a revolution that changes more rapidly than any other our world has ever known. Don't get bogged down by attachment to anything but change. This lesson is beautifully shared in John Naughton's, "From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: Disruptive Innovation in the Age of the Internet".
Though only a part of digital marketing has to do with Google, it's a big part so let's start there. An exploration into the changes at Google help us recognize the importance of agility.
In the customer journey, Google, Bing and other search engines are how people discover sites and it's a big part of their exploration process. Of all search engines, Google still dominates with anywhere between 70 and 95% of search traffic (depending on the data points and the data source, the accuracy and integrity of that data is a topic for another conversation).
So when we talk about Google, the reasoning would apply to other search engines or social platforms or other digital channels yet to be created. A large focus of this book focuses on Paid (media), Owned (organic) and Earned (social) since they are the strategies which account for the largest digital marketing revenue generated.
When Google's algorithm was created by Sergey Brin and Larry Page at Stanford University, linking was seen as a vote of popularity and as businesses began to understand this algorithmic element, there were plenty of marketing practitioners that focused on the quantity rather than the quality and relevance of those links. As Google's algorithm has become more sophisticated, link building has thankfully become more about sharing the right content with the right audience at the right time.
Google will continue to evolve and change. Marshall Simmonds, Founder of Define Media Group noted "Google used to be a search engine with an ad network. Google is now an advertising agency with a search engine." Changes with Google have an enormous ripple effect on so much that has to do with search and how people discover sites and content.
As a litmus test, Eric Ward, President at EricWard.com and consultant to many large brands, used to ask "if you didn't get an increase in rank from a link would you still want it?" His point being that the value of a link to a site as a vote from another authoritative site would come from the audience from that site. The link as a measurement of value to increase ranking shouldn't be (and for the most part now isn't) the only purpose of the link.
As strategies, algorithms and platforms evolve our ability to be agile will be the difference between being relevant and being left behind.