We are all prone to a mistake every once in while – it’s a key part of being human, after all.

The problem is, digital marketing is such a vast, competitive arena that even the best in our field are terrified of making digital marketing ‘mistakes’:

  • Lose yourself a ton of eager customers by forgetting to include an opportunity for email sign ups. Bye bye, easy-peasy customer engagement!
  • You might produce brilliant content, but completely miss the target audience…
  • …or worse yet, create something brilliant…for the WRONG audience.

All bad moves.

But none of these – or the many, many others – are the end of the world. Digital marketing ‘mistakes’ can be rectified, or at the very least, learned from.

The biggest digital marketing mistake I’ve made so far?

I tried to give up Google (* cue groans*)…

Why giving up Google was a terrible (digital marketing) mistake

It all started with a resolution. Okay, a New Year’s Eve resolution. Alright alright, prefix that with ‘drunken’ – though I’m not excusing it.

Sitting on the sofa at 23.45 on NYE, my girlfriend and I had just curtailed a frankly boring evening out (yeah, we’re just THAT cool) to sit on the sofa and watch the New Year roll in.

The subject of resolutions came up, and here’s what I decided to enthusiastically exclaim:

I know! I’ll give up Googling stuff – it’s so easy to switch off and just reach for your phone to answer a query. Instead,  I need to THINK about stuff more and try to figure it out myself first.

In my defense, it was with perfectly good intentions, but nevertheless I pretty much found myself moving from here:

google-knowledge1

…to here:

google-knowledge2

As you can imagine, THIS WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA. Without this plethora of information at my beck and call, simple questions I could have ‘just Googled’ plain stumped me, and the determination to keep with this resolution just led to more frustration as I realized how easily ignorance can creep up on us when we deprive ourselves of the right tools.

But specifically, this led me to ask myself…

Why is this such a silly digital marketing mistake to make?

First of all, let’s state the obvious:

Want to know where on earth you can find that perfect piece of furniture? The nearest fast food chain? How about where you can hire someone to advise you financially? Welcome to the digital deluge of information! The ocean of info may be vast and deep, but Google’s got you covered; ready to deliver answers in milliseconds…

…and yeah, I’d just decided to cut myself off from all of that in one fell swoop. D’oh.

Picard's facepalm strikes again
Alright Cap’n, no need for that now.

And it’s not just the normal, everyday stuff you can find by tip-tapping on your keys. Google is up there as possibly the BEST tool out there for learning, developing, and growing yourself as an individual: There are no barriers, no walls, no secrets – if Google can access it*, it’s all yours.

It may sound obvious, but seriously, have you actually ever THOUGHT about how much untapped potential lies within its grasp? Unlimited, unadulterated information is at our fingertips – now more than ever – and people on the other side of the planet can offer you information you had no idea existed.

If I wanted, I could learn Spanish from a bored housewife who started up her own business in her spare time, earned enough money through said online course to emigrate to Australia, and now offers private Spanish tuition…all whilst I watch on my commute. Probably.

As it is, I recently gained a CPD-recognized Digital Marketing Diploma through a webinar-based course, broadcast from Dublin, Ireland – along with dozens of other eager students from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Australia, and across the globe…all without ever sitting in the same room together. Crazy.

The way I discovered this course, which has made a huge difference to my C.V.? Google.

That, amigos, is why cutting yourself off from your biggest digital marketing resource is a HUGE digital marketing mistake.

Suffice to say, we need Google search to help us learn

By now, I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the converted, but the point still stands: Google is your friend.

With a 67.49% market share of the desktop search engine market, Google search is HUGE – without doubt, it is the best way for people to find your post amongst millions of others. It’s a good friend to have.

desktop-search-engine-market-share
Source: Net Market Share, correct at time of writing.

So who better to help us bloggers/marketers/entrepreneurs get our content seen in this age of digital overcrowding, than our dear friend Google?

What I learned from Google with a quick search…and how it helped boost my traffic in the long run

It’s what we all want: more traffic. Just like footfall at offline retail stores, we all want more people coming to us for their needs. The best way to do so? Climb those search engine rankings!

Here’s how a Google search actually helped me learn how to improve my Google search rankings.

Step 1: “I want to know where my page ranks in Google search.”

Easy peasy. Just searched: “Where does my site rank in Google search?”

Sure, I could have looked through the rankings manually myself, but Google is the perfect tool to assist in my research. Why spend time manually looking when I can use Google search to answer this surface question, very quickly?

Going through this process actually helps show the scale of Google search, and the importance of things such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Besides, I can always drill down further and manually check the rank myself for accuracy.

Anyway, here’s what our good friend Google dug up:
google-rank-query

15,300,00 results. Top of the pack? A Keyword Rank Checker and SERP checker tool for Google. And guess what? It’s free!

Sounds ideal, so let’s check it out:

SERPs checker reveals where I rank for keyword 'digital marketing mistake'
Definitely adding this to my digital marketing toolbox.

Okay, so once I have plugged in the engine, country and domain, I can see that this page (yup, the one you’re reading) is ranked #51 in U.K.& U.S. search results for my focus keyword ‘digital marketing mistake’, meaning I’ll be displaying on roughly the 5th page of results.

That’s obviously not ideal, especially seeing as on average the first 5 results in Google get 67% of all clicks. As the joke goes, “if you ever need to hide a dead body, just place it on the 2nd page of Google search results.”

Basically that means if you’re lower than half-way down the search results on the first page, you’re not going to see much traffic – let alone if you’re on pages 2, 3, 4, 5 and beyond. Few people are looking that deep into the results. Seriously.

Step 2: “Is that right…? Let’s double-check this…”

Right, so let’s verify where this page is appearing now that we’ve narrowed down to where my page is ranking in the results, to confirm accuracy of the tool for myself. Again, using Google:

google-serp-digital-marketing-mistakeHmm. Just as SERP checker claims, my page is wayyyyy down the rankings, on page 5. I guess it could be worse, but as I mentioned, this just confirms my fears: ranking on the 5th page and being search result #51 for this term is not going to help my traffic in the slightest.

So, the the logical next step is…

Step 3: Looked up “how to improve your search rankings”

howtoimproveyoursearchrankings

…and cue: 70,500,000 results search results returned in 0.32 seconds, eager to help!

The results included:

  • Introducing me to Neil Patel’s excellent blog.
  • Discovering Moz! (Where would I be without it?!)
  • Learning about on-page and off-page optimization
  • Backlinking

…and so much more!

I can promise you, these search results were an absolute goldmine for me, and kickstarted a massive knowledge improvement…but that’s for another time. The point is, this just goes to show the vast resources Google maps out for you. It’s the go-to-tour-guide of the internet, and you can be sure as hell that it is here to stay.

Lesson learned: That was a stupid idea  If you have a resource available, USE IT

It’s easy to mock people for ‘Googling’ everything, but it’s HOW you go about this. Make sure you apply it differently than as an excuse for allowing tumbleweed to roll around inside your skull.

If you don’t know the answer to something, just Google it! As long as you make sure you apply that knowledge, and take it on board, it’s a perfectly acceptable – hell, indispensable – means and resource to achieve your goals.

Learning from a digital marketing mistake
Using Google helped me immensely, improving my SEO knowledge. And it can help you gain a massive knowledge improvement too.

That means using your noodle, and not just switching off as you type like a jellyfish (I imagine they don’t type too well) to ask questions of poor Google.

Come on people, when you pose queries to Google, just remember imagine Google as a person, like this:

[youtube id=”YuOBzWF0Aws” align=”center” maxwidth=”600″]

Just…brilliant.

Over to you, amigo

That’s all from me for now, but I’d like to hear from you!

What’s your biggest digital marketing mistake? From silly to disastrous, I’d love to hear what’s happened to you – and how you learned from it. Leave a comment if you want 🙂

Stay tuned, amigos.

-Joe

*and your, er, totally nice government/internet service provider allows…

 

Image credits: All images either sourced from Unsplash or of my own design (yes, really!)

4 thoughts to “My #1 Digital Marketing Mistake…And Why It Was A Good One To Make

  • Justin

    Haylo hooman,

    Good read. So good, in fact, that I’ve read it like 6 times over the last 2 months.

    While my biggest digital marketing is still out there waiting for me to make it, I guess the dumbest thing that I’ve done was thinking that I knew sh*t about digital marketing a few years ago. There is at least another decade of marketing agony ahead of me until I can call myself a decent digital marketer, yet I thought I was pretty damn good when I was still at uni.

    Ego and arrogance were my biggest digital marketing mistakes so far. Hopefully I won’t make them again.

    Luckily for you, with your humility it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem 🙂

    Can’t wait for your next blog post!

    Much regards, such cheers,

    Justin

    Reply
    • Justin

      I think there’s something wrong with how your blog displays and styles comments. Just sayin.

      Reply
      • Joe B

        FTFY. Apparently this is how to fix it:

        Within style.css, search for and change:

        .comment-content {
        display: flex;
        }

        to

        .comment-content {
        display: inline-block;
        }

        …and voilà! All fixed 😀

        Reply
    • Joe B

      Haha for which I am eternally grateful, my fellow copygator!

      I think your point is something we all need to be aware of: there are no true ‘masters’ in digital marketing, there are just people who are just very good at what they do. You can’t afford to stop learning, or assume you know enough, because – and it’s one of the most exciting things about digital marketing – things are constantly changing, improving, and evolving. It’s joyous, and I love it!

      I don’t agree that you are arrogant in the slightest, but I’ve told you that many a time. Being confident in your ability (for good reason) and arrogace are two very separate things. The most important aspect? That you are still always willing to learn and improve yourself. Just keep at it, amigo!

      Ha thanks, you’re too kind! Hurry up and start posting again too!!

      Such honour, much flattered,

      Joe

      Reply

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