Digit Magazine - 1
The First Page (November 2005)
As a business, it may be time to consider search engine optimisation for your site?if you haven't already. Here's how an online payment gateway, CCAvenue, benefited from it
What would you do if you were an online payment gateway looking for more sign-ups? Advertising offline would be fumbling in the dark, because your potential clients are all online and Net-savvy. Advertising online in the form of banner ads is an option, but since your potential clients are actively looking for solutions on search engines, your best bet would be to hope that you show up when they search.
Actually, simply hoping will not do it. CCAvenue, an online payment gateway, did not just sit hoping. They got their site professionally optimised, and the results are patent. When you type in "credit card processing " (without the quotes) into google.com or google.co.in, CCAvenue comes up first. And even something like "set up a merchant account" brings CCAvenue up third on google.com and second on google.co.in, and "credit card payment setup" brings it up sixth on google.com and first on google.co.in (in all this, we're not talking about sponsored links). CCAvenue doesn't rank so high for these keyword searches on the other search biggies?the ranks on MSN are just around the 10 mark, With Yahoo!, the ranks are somewhat lower.
It's remarkable that an company tops the search with such generic keyword searches. And it's all courtesy the search engine optimisation (SEO) that eBrandz, an SEO company based in , did for CCAvenue.
Advertising, SEO, And More
We've mentioned SEO briefly in The Future Of Search (Digit, August 2005). By a popular Web definition, SEO is "the term used to describe the marketing technique of preparing a Web site to enhance its chances of being ranked in the top results of a search engine once a relevant search is undertaken. A number of factors are important when optimising a Web site, including the content and structure of the Web site's copy and page layout, the HTML meta-tags and the submission process."
We were clear that it would be a waste of money to rely on traditional methods of communication to bring in new customers Vivek Nayak, CIO, CCAvenue.com
We turn to the relationship between advertising and SEO. Advertising works differently in the online world. Offline, advertisements are there for everyone to see; but who sees them, and do they act upon what they see? Online, if you consider your page listing on a search engine as an ad, who sees the ad is not an issue?you know that the people who see it are actively looking for you. The issue is whether they see it at all.
The issue thus becomes one of visibility, and ad campaigns become online visibility campaigns. There are several approaches a company can use. One amongst these is organic SEO campaigns?organic search results are the natural results that occur in search engines, the left-hand results.
Getting back to the point: how come "credit card payment setup" brings up an contender?CCAvenue?first in Google, when there are so many global players out there?
Small Companies Can Beat Global Giants
"You have the potential to get lots of recognition for a reasonable price," says Vishwas Patel, CEO of Avenues (the parent company of CCAvenue), about search services such as Google's. "You might not have a big budget, but if you know your way around, you can beat any Fortune 500 company in the visibility game."
Small companies beating global giants in marketing and advertising? That would sound like a happy pipe dream for most CEOs of small or medium-sized companies. But it's not all that far-fetched, because there's a fundamental difference in the way visibility on the Internet works.
In a traditional marketing campaign, a large organisation typically unleashes a multi-media campaign across a city or area, hoping their target audience will notice. But 50 per cent of advertising money is wasted: the message does not reach the intended audience. Pioneering Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker, considered the father of the department store and of modern advertising, is credited with this infamous comment about advertising: "Half of the money I spend is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half."
Exactly. The problem is, not even the best brains in the business?including expensive media consultants?have a clue about which 50 per cent is wasted.
Now consider the value of a medium that tells the marketer exactly who is viewing the message and what effect each message has. Yes, the Internet has the power to let you intrude on a potential buyer's attention. But more than that, it has the power of presenting your product to him in a shopping cart, taking his money and closing the sale in an instant.
So naturally, the marketer who brings his message best to the customer will be the winner. Budgets are important, but the right techniques, much more so.
In this context, all a small company needs to do is bring in visibility experts in the online space and give them a brief. These visibility experts?the so-called SEO companies?specialise in search engine marketing (SEM) / SEO campaigns. If the campaign is successful, a company's Web site comes up tops for the keywords associated with their business. The audience is extremely targeted?they're actively searching for your product or service! And by having a presence on the first page of search engine results, an organisation can differentiate itself from the competition.
Because of cost limitations, therefore, what a small company would be looking for is a good SEO company. But after the Dotcom bust, there were very few left. Ideally, that shouldn't be the case, because doing good SEO boils down to superior human intelligence?raw smarts. And hey, who scores better in that department than ?
eBrandz.com is an example of an SEO company that rivals the best in the world.
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