Why Digital Strategies Fail

We see a common theme on why digital strategies fail.

2014 was a turning point for Google. Digital Strategy (“SEO”) and Public Relations (“PR“) are merging at a frightening rate. With each Google algorithm update, there is less emphasis on general “link-building” and more on “good marketing” and “good content”, but it has to be done correctly in order for it to work properly. Quality links are derived from good marketing and good content.

Key digital staff need to change the traditional SEO strategy to match the speed of the 2014 Google algorithm updates.

Digital strategy now needs to be implemented by all within a company, or at least the basics understood by all within a company. Digital strategy can no longer be left alone with the Digital team.

Marketing and SEO are merging with each Google algorithm update and companies’ structures need to merge or reflect the nature of these updates. When we talk update or change, people may construe a negative attachment and none is meant here. The updates are about good content and good marketing, which is how it should be, as distinct from rewarding black hat practices. So, if companies correctly tailor to content and marketing effect to the updates, the effects can be optimized to increase website traffic.

The old days of black hat link-building alone are gone.

The best digital operators teach SEO to everyone in their company, slowly and methodically, instilling on their staff how SEO works and the digital strategy adopted by their company. Staff need to know that higher rankings equals more opportunity to capture customers, which equates to more website traffic. This traffic enhances or creates a natural process of building a website’s authority. It also means staff can question the digital strategy, which ultimately benefits the company. After all three heads are better than one, right? Newly trained staff should understand the rudimentary workings of SEO and understand how to dot the i’s and cross the t’s for SEO when going about their every day work. As a result, without much effort or change in a staffer’s daily routine, everyone ends up working on increasing a company’s page rankings and breadth of keyword phrases across the website. There ends up being a strength and unity of purpose and understanding of what they are doing and in doing so, the beauty of online everything can be measured.

A recent talk with a now highly successful AFL athlete confirmed to me the significance of this post.

When quizzing the AFL athlete on why he improved as a player after moving from a bottom club to a top-performing club, the player’s initial response was “It’s a better club.” Perhaps it is; however, that did not explain to me how or why he improved as a player. I delved deeper and after dozens of questions he finally exclaimed, “They made me understand why I did what I did in training.”

The example the AFL athlete proffered was that at both clubs, he had to perform hundreds of weekly “box jumps”. There was no difference in the number of box jumps at either club; however, at the second club, the fitness coach spent time and explained to the athlete why he had him do these box jumps. He explained that the box jump exercise facilitates increased acceleration from a standing start. There was more to the conversation than this, but I will say that the AFL athlete mentioned that after he understood the reason behind his coach’s need for him to do so many box jumps, he became more focused and it dramatically improved his athletic performance.

The moral of the story: you can improve performance simply by knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing. Back to the website: if the marketing team knows about anchor text, they will be in a position to negotiate. The marketing team will know the importance of Google+ etc.

Google is forcing SEO into the light. In order for your company to remain competitive, embrace SEO within your company’s culture.

In 2015, if you are a CEO and you do not understand what your head of Digital Strategy is doing, then at least one of you is in the wrong job.


A CEO does not need to understand all terminology in Digital Strategy; however, a CEO should understand basic terms like “bounce rate” and “page views”, and where search traffic for their website is derived.

The CEO should benchmark the digital strategy team against worldwide competitors. Then the CEO should ensure that key stakeholders in the business are imbibed with a rudimentary understanding of SEO. Everyone should be onboard to drive a great user experience for the website. Google measures Bounce rate; Google spell checks; Google wants unique images… these are not hard concepts, but all key business stakeholders should know them. Mistakes are made online all the time, but with a business understanding the significance of online and the driving factors for sales, these are quickly picked up and rectified.

We recommend teaching key stakeholders one key metric at a time, since staff still have other parts of their jobs to focus on as well. If we were to suggest one metric to start with, it would be the website bounce rate.

From unity comes strength and from knowledge comes appreciation of the task. A good online business is not reaping the rewards because of luck, but rather, hard work.

If you have any queries on any of our strategies or would like to tell us about your experiences,
please do not hesitate to contact us.

We look at retail bounce rate benchmarking in our next update.