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10 Digital Marketing Fundamentals Every SEO Pro Should Know

10 Digital Marketing Fundamentals Every SEO Pro Should Know
Written by publishing team

Marketing budgets as a percentage of company revenue fell from 11% to 6.4% in 2021, the lowest percentage earmarked for marketing in Gartner history. Annual CMO Expenditure Survey.

For SEO professionals and marketing organization leaders trying to fund growth and recovery by doing more with less, rethinking your budget and available resources before 2022 is essential.

It is always a good practice to set aside a portion of the budget to come up with and test new ideas. But that portion of the budget may shrink as marketers look for tried and proven digital marketing strategies and tactics to maximize performance this year.

In this column, we’ll explore 10 key areas of digital marketing knowledge and opportunities that you might want to take advantage of (as you plan for in the months and years ahead).

1. Understand Your Digital Presence – All That

Certainly, you have a good handle on your owned media. After all, these are the pieces of content, lists, profiles, websites, and other assets that you create yourself.


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And you had better know where and when your brand appeared online on paid placements.

But acquired media can be deceptive. If you don’t actively monitor brand mentions, relevant social content, online reviews, and incoming links, do you really have a clear picture of your web presence as a whole?

“Earned” is not just what you strive to build. Social listening, search insights, and reputation monitoring help you to inventory and monitor your web presence as a whole.

2. Basics of how search engines work

SEO has evolved from a single digital marketing channel to the business intelligence nerve center of the enterprise.

Having a solid understanding of how search engines work will help you and your team not only improve content for discovery but also deepen your understanding of how people search, learn, and consume content as well.

Developing an appreciation for the intricacies of search engine crawling and indexing will guide you in structuring websites and pages for maximum clarity.


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Knowing how search algorithms categorize content—and what the algorithm can’t—can help you improve content better and diagnose problems more quickly when your analyzes point to them.

Don’t forget that Google isn’t the only search engine game in town either.

3. Digital user experience and customer journeys

“Build it and they will come” may have worked in the dream field but it doesn’t fly in digital marketing.

Success in engaging an audience requires that you have a deep and purposeful understanding of who these people are and what problems you solve for them.

Google knows it too — updates to its algorithms are increasingly focused on improving the experiences people go through online and removing friction in each customer’s journey.

Today’s consumer understands that sacrificing the privacy inherent in online tracking is an exchange of value. They expect personal experiences in return.

Across devices, sessions, and platforms, customers expect seamless interactions and experiences from start to finish.

This overview across the customer lifecycle will be the stakes of the table going forward.

4. Competitor Analysis Basics

The art and science of competitor analysis is evolving; In the online space, competitors may not be who you think they are.

Yes, you compete for “airtime” with other companies that sell products and services like yours.

But today, companies vie with media publications, social networks and forums, map package business listings, video and photo assets, and more in increasingly rich and diverse search results.

There are a growing number of potential contact points for competitors, as well – podcast and video ads, push notifications from geofences, influencer marketing, and augmented reality in the physical spaces in between.

It is essential to have a clear view of who is standing in front of your customers and how. You can’t duplicate their efforts – this is not a way to stand out.

Competitor analysis will provide information on budgeting for the types of content, ad networks, and campaigns that will keep your brand at the forefront of your interests and positioning itself in every possible channel.


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5. Content and digital marketing

Content is so integral to marketing success that we are now seeing marketing agencies and brands take over their content studios.

Two recent examples of this trend are MSQ’s acquisition of creative production studio Brave Spark and Made Thought recruited by WPP.

You may not be in a position to build or buy an entire indoor studio. The size of your organization and the scope of your content needs will guide the best production strategy.

For some, this means bringing writers, editors, videographers, photographers, and other creatives into the company.

Others choose to augment their in-house marketing teams with an independent agency or designs — or even shift production entirely to outside contractors.

What matters most is not how they are put together but that your brand has the people, processes, and tools in place to create and promote optimized content at the scale your audience demands.

6. Online advertising

Hard-earned and long-lasting organic search results are valuable but most digital marketing strategies also have a paid promotion component.


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There’s no shortage of options on the paid side, from display and SEM to local ads, social media ads, out-of-home (OOH) and digital out-of-home (DOOH), and beyond.

Expanding your knowledge of the basics of online advertising means understanding:

  • Paid media pricing models such as CPM or CPC.
  • The advertising platforms and tactics available in your space.
  • Various types of creatives including text, video, and images.
  • Advances in advertising technologies, such as smart bidding.
  • Privacy issues and their impact on the amount and quality of data available to you.
  • Changing consumer behaviors and the effect this has on what resonates in ad text.

Staying up-to-date with what’s happening in the ever-evolving paid media landscape is essential for all digital marketers – not just those directly responsible for campaign management.

For SEO professionals, email marketers, content marketers, and senior executives driving strategy, developing a deeper understanding of paid media can help you make better use of it to complete and increase all kinds of campaigns.

7. Social media

Social media is still a great channel for finding and engaging potential clients.

Business features vary by platform but at a minimum, your brand should claim all available profiles and lists. If you are less active with some, use the description or attributes to direct potential customers to contact your more active channels.


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Some forget that Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other networks all have their own search functions that consumers can use to find related businesses as well.

On a social level, consumers look for brands to be authentic and responsive. They may read reviews on Facebook or specialized social networks before converting, so monitoring and responding to new comments is key.

Put work flows and permissions in place to ensure frontline social marketers are empowered to engage but brand protection is in place. You have clearly defined customer service and issue escalation processes available to ensure that every interaction is as positive and helpful as possible.

8. Analytics Basics

The coronavirus pandemic has taught many marketing teams about the risks of relying solely on historical data to guide future performance.

Access to real-time (or as close as possible) analytics is essential in a world where technological innovations, financial, social, economic, and more can transform the business landscape in the blink of an eye.


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Again, this is an area where you may not be quite as skilled – and that’s okay. You don’t need to achieve proficiency in Google Analytics 4 to run it for your organization.

Instead, you should have a basic understanding of the analytics platforms available, the types of data that provide the most valuable insights, and the types of professionals that can best drive your analytics operations.

This awareness will help you build a team and decide what tools you will use to fuel the next core area of ​​digital marketing on our list: business intelligence.

9. Activating data as business intelligence

As touch points with consumers increase in size and frequency, marketing leaders are finding that offline point solutions just can’t solve the problem anymore.

Accessing descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and descriptive analysis within one easy-to-use dashboard drives the kinds of insights and improvements that really move the needle.

Organizations must be able to look beyond themselves in order to identify new opportunities and money left on the table. Customer behavior, competitive analysis, real-time research insights, and macroeconomic trends all enhance business decision-making.


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And in the current environment, it is almost impossible to analyze that data by any kind of scale (let alone operationalize it via analysis) by any measure.

Which brings us to the last point: intelligent automation.

10. Machine learning, machine learning and automation

Automated media purchasing is not new but it is growing rapidly, and automated ad spend is expected to exceed $100 billion in 2022.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are making organic media more exciting too, as we go beyond predictive analytics and recommended optimizations to having technology that actually helps personalize content in real time.

AR/VR creates deeper connections between customers and brands and delivers smoother and more immersive experiences.

Indeed, we are on the cusp of adopting a broad stream of metaverses, that untapped virtual universe in which we will be able to fetch items from our physical world. The implications for marketing remain unknown, and the expectation is clear.

Whether your business is using intelligent automation in your business processes, improving ad targeting and ROI through programming, or looking to create a whole new virtual world for clients, keeping up with emerging digital marketing technologies will serve you well.


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SEO as the leader in digital transformation in 2022

As a bridge between IT, marketing and sales and the arbiters of all things data, SEO professionals are well positioned to lead their organizations through digital transformation in 2022.

Whether your focus is technical SEO, content optimization, link building, local — or whatever size of organization you’re working with, whether it’s a small business to an organization — a comprehensive understanding of all digital marketing channels and tactics puts you at the forefront of moving forward.

If you’re still looking for opportunities to expand your knowledge, check out these digital marketing courses and list of digital marketing certificate programs to get you started.

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Featured Image: WHYFRAME / Shutterstock

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publishing team