December 19, 2015
Old-school SEO is dead. You now live and die by your brand.
Cheap tricks and shady tactics are now the fastest way to get penalized by Google.
Growth marketing is how smart businesses protect themselves from future Google algorithm updates.
That isn’t hyperbole. I mean exactly that—you should probably fire your SEO agency.
Why? Because if they still call themselves an SEO agency, they’re probably doing more harm to your brand than ever before. Times have changed dramatically, and the effectiveness of what’s commonly referred to as “SEO” has, too.
To be clear, I don’t mean the practice of search engine optimization is bad for your brand. I just mean that the tactics employed by “SEO agencies” to achieve those results are awful and often more damaging than beneficial to your company.
SEO has gotten such a bad name, industry experts like Moz (formerly SEOMoz) and Copyblogger are officially distancing themselves from the label:
So SEO (as we used to think of it) is finished.
Is that a bad thing for you?
If you’re one of those companies who love to make fools out of their customers by making empty promises backed by garbage content—and deliver nothing—then YES! Bad news for you.
You can no longer get cheap search engine traffic by using low-quality links, submitting crappy posts to article directories, spamming nonsense on forums and leaving self-promoting comments on every blog under the sun.
That doesn’t work anymore. And frankly, that’s what your SEO agency has been doing for years.
But if you’re genuinely committed to serving your customers and providing real value through your products and services, then nothing could be better for you than the painful death of conventional SEO!
Such a heartrending tale of broken promises and painful memories, it is.
Once upon a time, Google’s search engine wasn’t that smart. SEO tactics like keyword-stuffing and link-building worked better than anything else to skyrocket up the search rankings.
But bit by bit, Google grew up. It learned and adapted. Since 2010, Google has been releasing regular updates to its search algorithms. And with each update, the screw tightened on sub-par websites.
By the end of 2012, we witnessed virtually all keyword-stuffing and link-building tactics die a painful death. Not only did those tactics stop working, Google also started to penalize sites for using the old ways to cheat the system.
Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, etc. were parts of the same series of algorithm updates aimed at refining the quality of Google’s search results.
The Great 2012 SEO Massacre is far from a distant memory, though. Google continues to develop comprehensive mechanisms and criteria to identify quality websites that provide real value to web users.
The (near) death of conventional SEO has given way to sophisticated, sensible online marketing called growth marketing. It’s been around for a while, but growth marketing’s true effectiveness finally has a chance to shine due to its algorithm-proof SEO results.
Google now considers a number of factors before ranking a particular website in search results. These factors include the overall structure of the website, the keywords used, the quality of its backlinks (not just the quantity), social media signals, brand image, and many others.
Now, if you have real expertise in your industry and know what you’re talking about, then growth marketing is exactly what the doctor ordered. You’ll no longer be kept down by keyword spammers just because you couldn’t chuck out backlinks faster than they could.
Google now values expertise. Google now values brands. Google now values marketing that people actually enjoy.
Global brands like Coca Cola, Cisco, Dell, Verizon and many others are already doing it. Similarly, tech companies such as KISS Metrics and Buffer have solid growth marketing strategies.
Growth marketing is just something you can no longer ignore if you’re serious about your business.
But just because Google values expertise all of a sudden doesn’t mean you’re going to climb to the top of Page 1 overnight.
You still need to know the right ways to differentiate yourself from the crowd. We need to make Google realize that you’re someone who can really help people.
This is where a growth marketing agency comes into play.
They won’t lie for cheap exposure (something SEO agencies used to do), but they will work with you to create the right type of content to help your target market in solving their problems.
Growth marketing works on the basic principles of branding. The strength of your brand is directly proportional to the number and quality of customers you can attract.
If you have the expertise, you have to show potential customers how and why. You need to place yourself above your competitors as someone who knows the ins and outs of your industry and knows how to resolve even the most challenging issues that your target audience is facing.
You do that by developing a comprehensive growth marketing strategy that involves effective use of blog content, email marketing, SEO fundamentals, eBooks, white papers, guest blogging, podcasts, video marketing and a vibrant social media presence.
There’s much, much more to do now than just mass-produce spam.
Once you have the trust of your target market, making sales won’t be an issue.
But without a 360-degree approach to marketing, it’s almost impossible to elevate your brand above your competitors. And this is where a growth marketing agency can work wonders.
With so much noise out there on the internet, the only thing that can win you the trust of your target market is effective branding.
And Google knows that.
That’s why Google increasingly values expertise and brand image in determining the search rankings of a website. If you’re a genuine company with deep knowledge of your industry, the only thing you need in order to stand out in the eyes of Google and your target customers is growth marketing.
Once you put those principles into place, no substandard company can ever beat you.