digital marketing

What is Digital Marketing? A comprehensive guide

You have more than likely heard of digital marketing.

I mean how approachable is the internet in the 21st century? 

Nevertheless, would you be convinced if I told you that internet usage is increasing still at a swift pace?

In accordance to Pew Research, it was found that sustained internet usage by adults expanded by 5% within the last few years. 

The phrase that 'consumption and behaviour has altered significantly since the rise of e-commerce' may be over-used.

However, it is a hard fact that a number of marketers still neglect the importance of digital marketing.

In essence, traditional marketing techniques and strategies are becoming increasingly obselete and less effective.

Ever since I started studying marketing and practicing the theory of marketing into tangible results.

One thing that has always intrigued me about marketing is the connections that you make with the customer.

As marketers, we are tasked with advertising products/services to the desired target audience. Thus meaning, we have to investigate and research where we can reach our customer depending on the demographic.

With digital marketing, the customer touchpoints have naturally moved to a virtual environment.

 In modern times, that means we need to be meeting them where they spend their precious time on the internet.

What is the definition of digital marketing?

Digital Marketing Definition

“Digital Marketing can be defined as the process that businesses and/or marketers take to communciate and connect with their target audience in a virtual environment. This is done through meeting them at the customer touchpoints online!”

My definition of digital marketing is derived from my experiences of working with clients and implementing tangible strategies online.

In addition, this facet of marketing is known for the usage of the internet and alternative digital media which supports contemporary marketing strategies.

Digital marketing is also commonly known as: internet marketing, e-marketing, and web marketing.

The beauty of internet marketing means that many factors can be implemented to make an impact on a brand's digital marketing operations. 

search engine advertising
1. Search engine advertising

Many start-ups and small-medium enterprises still do not have a presence on search engine result pages (SERPs).

I have seen this with numerous of my clients therefore I suggest that search engine marketing (SEM) and online advertising should be the first steps to build conversions. While SEO strategies are being implemented to garner organic traffic.

I understand that many people are new to digital marketing and it can be confusing. 

Therefore, I’ve compiled a short list of the primary online advertising platforms:

  • Google Ads: If you are wanting to produce advertisements on Google then you are going to be using Google Ads. This is a platform provided by Google enables your brand to appear at the summit of SERPs. These search engine ads place a high importance upon targeted short-tail and long-tail keywords. When a search query is made and matches the selected keywords on your ads then you shall appear above the organic search results, as shown below. Nevertheless, your paid ad rank is all dependent on your Google Quality Score and the bid that your advertisement has (the cost per click you're willing to pay in order to appear higher than your competitor).


  • Bing ads: Bings Ads is a similar platform to Google Ads but for the Bing search engine. As I noted previously, search engines are a great customer touchpoint to find your target audience and build a new blossoming relationship. Although Google pretty much dominates the search engine industry, Bing still attracts curious customers that are seeking answers. Which is why it baffles me that business owners and marketers still fail to see the potential in Bing Ads. I wrote an article here, that explores how Bing Ads can be a viable alternative or a complementary resource to Google Ads. As Bing is evidently less popular than Google for searches, they still produce high search volumes. However, their cost-per-click (CPC) tend to be cheaper than Google's.
search engine marketing
2. Search Engine Optimisation

As my day job, I ply my trade as an Internet Marketing Consultant for a digital marketing agency called Adtrak. My job revolves around search engine optimisation for an array of clients.

In brief, search engine optimisation (SEO) is a technical process that increases a company's digital visibility through successful search marketing techniques.

Brands need to be utilising on-page optimisation techniques and keyword strategies to get your brand in front of the people that are actively searching for the company's products/services.

However, off-site SEO operations need to be taken into account also.

As there is over 200 ranking factors that Google's algorithms take into consideration when working out which website is of most relevance to the searcher.

As such, Google pronounced that the user experience (UX) is also taken into consideration. UX tells search engines a lot about your authority. If your website is receiving high bounce rates and a low average time on page then this is a major indicator that your website is failing to optimise UX.

It is not no secret that in previous years, brands found loop holes and unethical methods to get ranked on search engines.

However, algorithms have since changed to only rank website that are legitimate and websites that want to break the rules will get penalised.

In the past, SEO helped sites rank higher, sometimes in unethical ways (Blackhat SEO techniques). 

Today, SEO helps legitimise your website(s) and should be used to benefit the consumer.

Below, we can see an example of a search engine results page.

organic search

What is on-page SEO?

When we discuss on-page SEO, it refers to the operation of optimising seperate web pages in an attempt to increasing search engine rankings.

Thus meaning, your website will experience heightened levels of organic traffic.

On-page SEO encompasses the content and HTML source code elements. Both of these can as such be optimised.

The importance of on-page SEO is that you can ultimately control your website's successes.

Therefore it is imperative that your website is fully optimised and continually optimised to satisfy the forever changing algorithms that search engines implement.

So, what are the indispensable on-page SEO factors?

  • Technical excellence: The quality of your website's code is crucial and should be of utmost importance. Your robots.txt could be blocking your website from being crawled without you even knowing any different. Therefore, it is advisable that you utilise WordPress as your website platform. Seeing as this is an SEO-friendly platform and there are plugins that aid your SEO efforts such as Yoast SEO. Yoast SEO enables you to enhance the technical facets of your website just like magic.
  • Mastering the metas: In brief, meta tags and description are key ranking factors for search engines. The metas can be inputted into the HTML code of your website. As such they tell the crawling search engine what your website consists of and givers the user a snippet of what to expect. Every content management system (CMS) and platforms differ in terms of adding metas to the HTML. If you do not have any prior experience in technical SEO coding then please do not worry, there is method to the Magners. If you utilise a WordPress website, then there are plugins to help you achieve what you need to. These plugins are called Yoast SEO or All in One SEO Pack. I'd say my favourite is Yoast SEO however both are very popular. I'd say that the meta title tag is the most crucial and the most beneficial for your web page(s). These are the first HTML elements that search and engines and visitors will view. They show up in the SERPs for both search engines and visitors to skip through. The general rule of thumb is always to ensure that the optimal length for meta tags is 60 characters although Google tends to show the first 55-64 characters. Meta descriptions are another HTML elements that has the salient purpose of summarising your web page to search engines and visitors. The meta description is placed below the meta title tag within the SERPs. However, in modern day SEO practices, search engines have said that they no longer view meta descriptions as a ranking signal. Nonetheless, they have been proven to enhance your clickthrough rate (CTR) as it appears in the SERPs.
  • Breathtaking content: What is the main purpose that someone may visit your website? They may be interested in your products/services? Or it could be just to gather your contact details? Either way, you need to ensure that your content is on point. Afterall, content marketing is all about storytelling. Curating content is a skill that needs to be mastered! You should be writing for the consumer first and foremost then take a smaller consideration for the search engines. When search engines crawl your website, they always read your content. They notice keywords within the text. On the other hand, they want to see that it is user-friendly and isn't stuffed with keywords that it makes no sense. Want to read more about content marketing? Learn how to rediscover the beauty of words here...
  • Immaculate User Experience: As noted before, Google has said that UX is crucial for enhancing SEO propsects. In essence, they'll be no point in your website if it's difficult to navigate or hard to read. When you visit a website, you want to find what you want as swiftly as possible, correct? They want to be guided through a user-friendly journey. They want their needs to be acheived quickly, therefore pagespeed must also be optimsied.

On-page SEO is continually growing as Google are rolling out new ways for marketers to optimise their web pages. Structured data or schema markup is starting to come into the public domain!

Why is this?

Because as search engines are starting to promote paid SERPs listings even more so, structured data is a contemporay method that allows marketers to produce multi-media listings within SERPs.

The structured data aids rich snippets to appear above the organic listings. 

Read and learn more about rich snippets here.

SEO with Marcus Langmaid
What is off-page SEO?

In oppose to on-page SEO, this strategy is practiced externally and you possess less control over its success.

However, Google has annouced that facets of off-page SEO such as backlinks or link building is imperative for a website to rank within SERPs.

Whereas, many people do associate off-page SEO solely with link building. Nonetheless, there is more to off-page SEO than sourcing inbound links.

Overall, off-page SEO concerns itself with the act of promotion for the benefit of ranking better in the SERPs.

The most crucial facets of off-page SEO are as follows:

Why is Off-Page SEO important for websites?

Since search engines first came into the public domain, the developers have continually investigated different algorithms that returns the most optimal results to the searcher.

Search engines have been trying for decades to find a way to return the best results to the searcher. In order for them to decipher this, they take into consideration the on-site SEO ranking signals (as described above), off-page SEO and some other quality factors.

"Off-page SEO simply tells Google what others think about your site. For example, if you’ve got a lot of valuable links pointing to your pages, search engines will assume that you’ve got great content – the type that provides value for users."  - Neil Patel

Expanding on the above quote from Neil Patel, when your website obtains backlinks from high quality sources, your Domain Authority rises as a result. This is desirable by Google and other search engines.

What are the advantages of ‘off-page SEO’ to businesses?

I touched on some of the benefits of off-page SEO previously, however lets delve in further with these benefits...

A successful off-site SEO strategy will generate the following benefits to website owners:

Enhanced SERPs rankings – The website will rank higher in the SERPs and this also means more organic traffic.

Increase in PageRank – Page rank is a number between 0 and 10 which indicates the importance of a website in the eyes of Google.

Increased exposure – Higher SERPs rankings also generates increased exposure. This happens when a website ranks in the top positions: it naturally procures more links, more visits and more social media mentions. It’s like a never ending sequence of events where one thing leads to another and then to another etc.

How to improve your SEO ROI [Infographic]

benefits of SEO
Link Building with Marcus Langmaid
Link Building

A link building campaign is used by most SEO consultants, simply because it is the most effective off-page SEO technique.

When you get backlinks pointing towards your domain, you are basically accumulating 'votes' and confidence from external websites that deem your website of quality content. 

E.g. if a website owner views this article, and they feel that it provides them with quality content. They can reinforce their point by inserting some anchor text with an embedded hyperlink back to this article for their readers to follow.

The way that I seek to build inbound links are through the follow methodologies:

  • Blog Directories – similar to the yellow pages but each entry had a link pointing to a website
  • Forum Signatures – You can comment on forums for the reason of procuring a backlink to your website (they included the links in their signature)
  • Article Directories – Through publishing your articles in online article directories you could obtain a backlink (or 2) foryour website
  • Shared Content Directories – Websites like hubpages allowed you to publish content and in return you could add a couple of links pointing to your websites
  • Business Directories - You can register your business through online business directories. Within the signing up process, they ask for your website URL and display this on your listing. Thus meaning, this counts as a backlink.
  • Reciprocal Links – Instead of trying to publishing content in article directories. You could contact other webmasters or website owners and propose to exchange links. In other words, I could link your website from mine and you could do the same.
link building
3. Online Content and Blogging

Blogging and alternative forms of content marketing distribution is becoming increasingly popular. This is because blogging entails numerous of benefits for a company. Blogs have the ability to forge a relationship with customers, boost your SEO prospects, and satisfy the consumer decision make process.

Content distribution has also been utilised for a method of lead magnet. Where the company give away content of value and quality for FREE in exchange for potential customers' personal details.

4. Web PR

A web PR distribution will ultimately improve a company's digital visability and will aid the company to appeal and connect with the desired target audience. 

Press releases are a critical aspect of a PR campaign. As such, they can be used for an integrated link building strategy to correlate with SEO campaigns. 

Press releases can build traction across media veichles and generate brand awareness and exposure for the said company.

social media marketing
5. Social Media Marketing

Social media is becoming an important aspect for the majority of company's digital marketing strategies. 

Why is this?

Because depending on which platform, companies can find their target audience and optimise their efforts by being on the right platform. 

Social media has not only revolutionised the way that people communicate and stay in touch in their personal lives; it has wholly transformed business and marketing practices as a result.

In recent history, social media websites have become some of the largest and most meaningful pieces of the digital marketing puzzle.

In a traditional marketing environment, businesses would often cold-call on people's doors. Many deem this as intrusive and wouldn't welcome them lightly.

However, with social media marketing company's can in a sense, cold-call within an environment where their customers are always active, in an ethical manner.

This is not the marketers fault!

Members of social media, tell them so much about their personal lives. This information is stored and businesses can target them just by what people tell social media platforms about them!

Below is an example of Facebook Business Manager and you can see the different elements we can target customers by.

Want to discuss more about digital marketing?

Contact me by click the button and I will gladly offer you some FREE advice into how you can start optimising your digital marketing strategies!

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What is Digital Marketing? A comprehensive guide
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What is Digital Marketing? A comprehensive guide
As we delve further into the 21st century, digital marketing is rapidly becoming increasingly imperative for brands. Discover what digital marketing is here
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