Digit Magazine - 2
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
- The Client: CCAvenue
- At a basic level, Avenues (the parent company of CCAvenue, as mentioned) is a payment gateway services provider that enables Web sites to collect funds through credit cards or directly through customers' Internet banking accounts.
- Avenues has an 85 per cent share of the market. It is the largest integrated e-commerce solutions provider in South Asia. Headquartered in , it has subsidiary companies incorporated in Singapore, Hong Kong and Delaware in the US. The Avenues support and development centre is based at Santa Cruz in .
- A partial customer list includes the Ministry of Information and Technology, the Press Trust of , The Express, Business Standard, Greenpeace, The Leela Hotels and Palaces, and BharatMatrimony.com.
- Relying On The Medium
- CCAvenue's target audience is, naturally, e-commerce stores. It's physically impossible for them to have a sales team that can cover the length and breadth of the country and market their services to individuals or mid-sized companies. Nor did they think it advisable to advertise on popular portals.
- Vivek Nayak, CIO at Avenues, explains: "Right from the outset, the management at Avenues was clear that in a specialised domain such as payment gateways, it would be a waste of money to rely on traditional methods of communication to bring in new customers.
- SEO is effective. Period! The reason not everyone is doing it is because there isn't too much awareness about it
Milind Mody, CEO, eBrandz.com
- "Since the Internet merchant base space was very small, we felt the best way to bring in customers was to use the various opportunities available within the medium itself. With this in mind, the Avenues management started looking for a partner who would assist them in their endeavour. There weren't too many credible players in this emerging space, and eBrandz seemed a serious player."
- Nayak continues about eBrandz, "They were deadly serious about the domain. They were proactive in their approach and constantly pushed the CCAvenue content management team to fine-tune content. Their research process was the most comprehensive one we found. All in all, it came down to how passionate they were about the business." And thus, CCAvenue chose eBrandz as their site optimiser.
- How They Did It
- So what exactly goes on when an SEO company optimises a client's Web site? First off, the complexity of the optimisation process increases with the complexity of the Web site itself. If it's a simple site with static HTML pages, the process is relatively simple. If the site has programming or is database-driven, the SEO company has to understand the process flow and see if these processes, programming and database architecture are search engine-friendly. If not, the client needs to make changes to the logic.
- Second, in the case of a multinational Web site that has a presence in several countries ? say the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia, in addition to ?a company such as eBrandz would have to set up an architecture in such a way that the international Web site ranks on google.com, with the local site ranking well on the local engine: for example, the .co.uk site would rank well on google.co.uk, the .in site would rank well on google.co.in, and so on.
- To improve the client's rankings (in organic SEO), eBrandz researched and understood how search engines work, and used that knowledge to improve the client's site, making sure search engine crawlers were able to properly read and understand the client's site. Such research is ongoing, because search engine algorithms change over time; you can't have it all figured out once and for all.
- However, even after an all-out effort, organic SEO campaigns can fail, for a variety of reasons. Results cannot be guaranteed, but the first step is keyword research. For the CCAvenue campaign, eBrandz identified keywords such as "payment gateway ", "credit card processing", "merchant account ", and so on.
- CCAvenue's initial Web site did have good content. It explained CCAvenue's strengths vis-?-vis that of their competitors, and the features and benefits of using their service. That should have been good enough, right? Actually, no. CCAvenue's Web copy did not have any of the keywords that eBrandz researched. eBrandz convened with the CCAvenue content management team and began the process of including many of those keywords in the Web site copy. eBrandz also completely rewrote all their and other meta-tags to incorporate the keyword research and accurately describe CCAvenue's services to visitors as well as search engine spiders.
- It also turned out that CCAvenue hadn't been maintaining server log files. Analysis of server log files can reveal crucial information like the number of unique visitors per day, the main traffic sources, the traffic from major search engines, major keywords from each search engine, the major keywords that generate signups (for each search engine), traffic from the top 50 cities around the world, how often major search engine robots visit the site, and even things like the number of times the site was bookmarked.
- eBrandz started maintaining CCAvenue's server log files, and started keeping track of their visitors, signups, and the other statistics mentioned above. Apart from this, eBrandz also analysed which areas of the Web site visitors were clicking and which areas they were avoiding. eBrandz put a signup button in and around where visitor clicks were high!