A Day in the (Frustrating) Life of Search Engine Marketing Pros


When you work at one of the only marketing firms in Charleston that also offers comprehensive managed IT services, clients expect you to have some next-level insight into the tech world. And while you can spend years becoming an expert at onsite and offsite search engine optimization, so far no one has been allowed to peek behind the Google curtain, so to speak.

What we mean is that Google updates its search algorithms up to 600 times a year, which doesn’t even include massive updates like Google Penguin. Understandably, Google doesn’t want to make it too easy for black hatters and shady SEM firms to rig their rankings, which means many SEO and SEM marketing firms have been left in the dark to determine with different types of marketing strategies work best. Even the best internet marketing firms Charleston, SC has to offer have trouble predicting Google’s next big move, but over the years we’ve gotten pretty good at it.

So how do you stay ahead of the Google curve, and why does that matter? Over the last few decades, a number of companies have shifted their marketing away from outbound leads (which can have a close rate as low as 1.7%) and towards inbound marketing (which has an average close rate of 14.6%). And since inbound leads are 61% less expensive to generate in the digital age, SEO marketing has become a popular strategy for a variety of companies.

It’s easy to see why. When people are looking for new local businesses, services, or products, they use search engines like Google. And since analytics studies have consistently shown that three out of four users never scroll past the first page of results, lots of businesses are competing to get onto page one.

Over the past six months, perhaps the biggest change in the SEM industry has been news of Google’s latest Penguin update. Penguin updates change the way Google ranks the value of a link, and since building links is most SEM marketing firms main SEO strategy, Penguin updates can have a massive effect on the search world.

In October 2015, Google confidently predicted Penguin would be out by the end of the year. In January 2016, SEM experts were confidently predicting Penguin would be out “within weeks.” Come March, and Gary Illyes of Googleannounced he was so fed up with people asking about Penguin that he wouldn’t make any more updates on the launch date. Now it’s April, and we’re still waiting.

For Charleston marketing firms like ours that offer different types of marketing strategies online, success depends on anticipating these kinds of updates and responding proactively. For Penguin, that meant actively conducting toxic link audits and updating disavow files to get rid of harmful backlinks.

It’s just another day in the life of online marketing firms.