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Kevin Hill
M Posted 11 years ago
t 4 min read

This is the first post in the BrightEdge Customer Column, a series of SEO best practices shared by thought-leaders among the BrightEdge customer community.

BrightEdge Customer Column - What Changed In Digital Marketing?A Quick Intro

I am Kevin Hill, VP of IT and eCommerce for Guardian Safety and Supply ( I have been an online marketer for a while and have led online strategy for companies ranging from niche retailers to multi-billion dollar businesses. I have even built eCommerce software from scratch! With my diverse experience, I hope to share with you my experience with SEO, Brightedge, and perhaps we can learn a few things together!  

Ads - My Gateway Into Digital Marketing

When I first heard about digital marketing it was from a small company called – and they wanted me to PAY for keywords.  The cheek! The very idea!  On the other side was a bright cheerful woman, who was trying to convince me that I should PAY for traffic that I was already getting for free!  She mentioned that I could pay about 5 cents for a keyword like “Power Tools” and my ad, carefully crafted by their team, would show up in front of many people – and I’d pay for it if they clicked on it.

My suspicious mind instantly thought of schemes and plots to spin these clicks out of control, and pad the pockets of this new company.  But – marketing is always a risk game, and if I could limit my potential “loss”, I perhaps could learn something.  So I handed over my credit card, authorized a $500 charge, and worked with her to put together some ads, decide on where those ads should land, and craft a call to action in the ads, that would convince customers to click on the ads.  Even then, the call to action was “FREE SHIPPING!”  

SEO Was A Lot Simpler Back In The Day

That was my first jump into real, paid digital marketing.  And it’s paid off ever since.  And, during that process, another type of Search engine marketing was already well under way.  How to give the search engines what they wanted to rank you highly for keywords that would drive traffic to your website. Search Engine Optimization had been born – and Title Tags, and Meta Descriptions were all the rage.  Back then, things were pretty simple – no Panda’s, no Florida and the many others that have come since.  Link building was out there, but was not really understood except by the cutting edge SEO’s – and often times, an onsite link building strategy was all that was needed in the wild west of the internet in those days.  

The Tools Of The Trade Are More Sophisticated Now

The other things that have changed over the years, is the plethora of tools that are now available to help aid in SEO.  In 2001, 2002 – there were no Screaming Frogs, or Brightedge – you had to build that yourself (and I did!) and collect data from multiple sources, and often patchy data at that!  Now, we have great tools out there that can quickly analyze a page for the basic, and give you a red, green or yellow warning flag, and show you exactly what does not fit the rules as we assume them to be.

What are my favorite tools today?What Changed In Digital Marketing - SEO Tools

  1. Google Analytics
  2. Google Adwords Keyword Estimate Tool
  3. Google Ad Planner
  4. Brightedge
  5. Screaming Frog
  6. Firebug
  7. SEO Doctor
  8. Microsoft Excel
  9. MySQL
  10. Xampp/PHP

My Next Post : How I Achieved A Jump In Daily Impressions

What I’d like to accomplish in the following weeks and months of articles with BrightEdge, is to setup experiments that we can all work on together, using the tools above, and perhaps adding more to our understanding of SEO each day. And, I hope, you’ll share in the discussion by posting comments, and emailing me to share your findings and questions.  You can reach me at and @CarKevin.  

And here is a little teaser for you.  In early June – I started an experiment in old school SEO that you can do as well.  But, I’ll leave the graph below to pique your interest in how I achieved a jump in daily impressions on Google during these tumultuous times.  

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