Saturday, 18 January 2014

Search Engine Optimization: Key points you must know before engaging your team.

Everything in today’s world has come down to the search engines. Whatever we are looking for we prefer to switch on our computer or mobile phone and quickly look it up at one of the search engines. It is one of the most important things to optimize your business website in accordance to the search engines so that anyone looking up for you can easily find you. It’s a fact that neither you nor I go past the first page of search engine result page (SERP, it is the page on which all the results of a search are displayed) whenever we are looking something on the internet. So to make a business easily accessible to the customers one has to be aligned with the way search engines read your page and not only from a customers’ perspective; because if a search engine doesn't bring it in front of the user, there is no way user is ever going to find it.

But there is more to it than just optimizing your website according to the criteria of search engines. The most popular search engine Google has been changing its policies from time to time whenever it realizes that most of the websites rather than delivering quality content are focusing on just optimizing their sites according to its terms and conditions that Google has laid down. Whenever these search engines see a loop hole which bloggers or website owners are exploiting, they change their policies which have lead to each new website giving high quality and original content. This is the most important reason why a person running a food chain or an educational institute or any other business apart from online promotions needs to engage a team of professionals, either in-house or outsourced, who can stay in touch with the changing policies of the search engines and keep the website updated accordingly. Trying to handle this yourself is not suggested, as one has to concentrate on main line of business and SEO alone takes at least 3-6 months to show results depending on the nature of business and completion in that particular line. Most of the optimization that needs to be done is according to Google as it is the most used search engine worldwide.

In 2013, 68.10% of the total searches were made by Google alone, this constitutes to more than 2/3 of all searches, and this is when Google comes on #5 in China, the most populated country in the world, with only 2% search share. The main reason for this is that most of the features of Google are still banned in China. So unless you want to promote your business in China you only need to worry about optimizing your website according to the Google policies.

Apart from this,
Baidu being primary in China has 18.84% share percentage globally
Yahoo has a Search share of 6.40%
Bing was used 5.59%
0.28% of searches in 2013 were made by AOL
Ask shared 0.16% of the whole searches
And a mere 0.63% was shared by all other search engines.

So if you want to target customers specifically in China, then guidelines of Baidu should be kept in mind to optimize the website, but if your target is rest of the world Google guidelines is your Bible to optimization.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Evolution of Marketing.

It is not a hidden fact that for any successful business one of the most important things is marketing. Marketing is simply a method of promoting your products or services; companies have been spending millions of dollars on marketing every year in the form of TV and radio commercials, sponsorships to events, and roping in big celebrities to talk about their products. Marketing has evolved a lot in past few years, day by day it has become more creative both in terms of the way of an advertisement is presented and where is it presented. The advertising agencies are trying to find new and innovative ways to attract customers for their clients. The shift from physical advertisement in form of hoardings changed to video commercials on Television and now, when the customers have shifted to internet, so have the advertisers. In the 21st century, if you are not available online, you do not exists for this generation, whether it be food, clothes, stationary or travel, customers like to check reviews online and if possible visit your website and have a brief idea of your products and services before they actually plan on using them. With the advent of Smartphones it has become easier for people to get this information even when they are at your door step. Online presence can be in the form of a website, a facebook fan page, twitter etc; being present online is just half the work done but promoting your business online is more important to attract new customers who do not know about your business. For example if somebody knows the name of your business, he can search it online, but for instance, if somebody is looking for “authentic Italian food in city square” or a car repair shop in a particular area, even if your services are best, they cannot find you and you can lose a potential client if your business is not promoted online.

Not only has online industry made it easier for customers to find what they are looking for but some business owners are taking as much benefit from it as possible to lure customers. Mary, a restaurant owner, uses facebook page to connect with everyone who walks in her restaurant. She has been actively updating about festival and weekend specials on her page and so that she remains in sight of her customers all the time. The Online Marketing industry, also known as Digital Marketing, is vast field and many areas are still to be explored. The main activities without which it is difficult for a business to survive in online industry are Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Marketing (SMM), Blogging, Video Marketing, Online Advertisements, email and web feeds etc.

“Digital Marketing” as a term was first used in early 1990s and the first clickable banner adds was generated in 1993 and hence started the most dynamic form of advertisement. In late 1990s as Google became popular people started realizing the benefits of Search Engine Optimization. It had been growing slowly and steadily for more than a decade but with the beginning of 2000s it shifted gears. The rise of platforms like Wordpress, Linkedin and Facebook changed the script of marketing future, and by the end of 2004 $2.9 billion was generated by online advertising in US. There was no looking back from here and soon came Youtube, Twitter, Digg etc. Just when the world thought that this is could be the biggest breakthrough for a few more decades to come we were introduced to mobile marketing and everything that had made their space in the online industry started scaling down to mobile and by 2010 mobile marketing generated approximately $650 million. The Marketing industry is growing with lightening pace and to keep any business running the most important thing is to get accustomed with it and be present at spots where your customers are searching for you.