The Internet Marketing Zoo: Pigs, Penguins, and Pandas


What has always amazed me is that some companies really get it, while others hem and haw, and endlessly complain about the effort involved and wish it really was just a matter of paying to flick a magic optimization switch. In April 2012, Google Penguin (a search algorithm update) took that switch and blew it up by getting much smarter at stopping the easy stuff from helping your site rank higher. People tend to forget that Google’s main mission is to highly rank only the highest-quality sites, not the most optimized, and that a winning lead generation strategy is about content more than technique. Here at McDougall Interactive, we have a saying: “We’re not here to make pigs fly.” What it means is that it is best to optimize quality sites. In other words, the trick is not to fool Google with keywords, but to show Google what a great website you actually have.

Google’s recent Panda and Penguin algorithm updates have deepened the need for authentic, engaging content versus just lots of fluff pages and backlinks (a tactic that once worked reasonably well). And if you are not working SEO with social media, you are getting creamed by competitors who are. Not on Google+? Well, your competitors are and photos of their faces show up in the search engines while you have a boring text listing with no authority! (We’ll discuss the concept of authority building using Google+ Author Rank in a later blog.)

What remains consistent is that for every one successful company that closes tens of thousands or millions of dollars in business generated from online marketing, there are a dozen or more companies doing the bare minimum with their websites while complaining that they are not getting enough return for their efforts. A successful website is not made by the subcontractors or employees a company hires, but by a highly synchronized, combined effort that gracefully combines SEO with social media marketing. Internet marketing needs to be treated like any other serious business. People hear stories of websites working magically and bringing in millions with relative ease. In the early days of the web, before the search engine algorithms became complex, this was true for some of the early adopters. Unfortunately, the complexity grows by the day, and website owners need to think about their websites’ strategy as they would any business model. This means you need to write a business plan for your website and ensure that the goals and tactics are mapped out as clearly as they are for your offline activities. Without this type of thinking, and with only a lonely webmaster as your Internet marketing army, the battle is already lost.

photo credit: Anne Froehlich via photopin cc

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