Learning a Digital World: Marketing Through the Eyes of a Newbie

Hey, everyone! My name’s Amy, and I’m MAKA Digital’s newest intern. I’ve been with the company for about three months now (has it already been that long?!), and it’s certainly been a wonderful (and overwhelming) summer. When I first came to MAKA I knew very little about the world of digital marketing, and now, just three short months later, I’ve become an expert on all things digital marketing. Well, I like to pretend I have, anyway. Maybe I’m not there yet, but I’m certainly on my way. Today I’ll be sharing with you some things that I’ve learned and how it will help your experience as our client.

I entered the doors of MAKA a fresh-faced college graduate with a degree in English and journalism. I could write, I was somewhat adept at social media and I knew a bit about SEO. That’s where my digital marketing experience ended. Soon, though, I was thrown into the world of PPC and CPC and B2B and myriad other acronyms I’m still trying to keep straight.

I first started learning about search engine optimization and the ways in which Google factors keywords, site navigation, link quality and much more into its algorithms for ranking websites. It was a lot to learn, and it opened my eyes to how amazingly complex SEO is. I had always assumed that Google ranked websites using a magic combination of faith, trust and pixie dust… I’d never actually realized that it was much, much more complicated. I suddenly understood why my personal website only ranks third for a Google search on my name (and I began to understand what I can do to improve that!).

There were a lot of things that surprised me about SEO. One thing in particular was the frequency with which companies try to manipulate Google’s system. Most websites increase their organic website ranking through dutiful and time-consuming keyword research, SEO audits, internal and external link building, affiliate programs, and more. Some websites, though, think they can skip all that busy work and get their pages to the top of Google, fast. They do this through “black hat” SEO techniques, which involve spammy practices such as paying for links on websites that have nothing to do with your site. An infamous case of this comes from JCPenney, whose products turned up at the top of Google in 2011 even for seemingly generic searches like “tablecloths.” This happened because their products were unscrupulously linked on hundreds of thousands of completely unrelated and underhanded websites, thus tricking Google’s algorithms into thinking they were credible and relevant product pages. When JCPenney’s tactics were discovered, the company was stripped of its superior Google ranking, and it would be a long (and nearly impossible) climb back to a respectable ranking.

I faced a long climb, too, when I started at MAKA. Besides SEO, I also needed to learn about paid search engine advertising, Facebook and Instagram ads, content writing and more. It was certainly overwhelming at times, and throughout this experience I knew I had to grasp all the do’s and don’ts of the digital marketing industry so I would never make mistakes like JCPenney’s. That’s not to say I haven’t made any mistakes. I definitely have…and I’ll probably make more in the future. But, because I’m such a newbie to the world of digital marketing, I can see everything with a beginner’s perspective. My viewpoint is very similar to that of our clients, who have often dipped their toes into the world of digital marketing but still have lots of questions. With the help of my co-workers (who, I assure you, are much more knowledgeable than I am) I’ll do my best to answer those questions, and I’ll probably ask a few of my own, too. I can understand our clients’ confusions or concerns because I’ve experienced them too during these past three months. Because of this, I know that we can figure everything out together. All it takes is a little trust… and maybe some pixie dust.