An Enigma – Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

At the outset, I must confess that this is an extremely tricky topic. I am still on a steep learning curve with SEO but I am happy to share what I have been able to understand till now. You will come across many who boast about knowing SEO in and out. But trust me, how it works is still an enigma. While I call SEO an enigma, I also cannot deny that fact that it is irreplaceable.

Consumers search for category/brand/product related information online and expect results in split seconds.  They even want Google to read their minds. They expect Google to show them just the right thing at the right time.

As a Digital Marketer, it is your job to bridge the gap between your consumer’s expectations from Google and your brand’s presence in the Digital space.

SEO helps a brand website’s ranking improve in an organic way – meaning marketers do not need to spend money to improve the ranking. An SEO initiative drives inquisitive consumers or those with a high purchase intent for your website.

There are two ways to run SEO. On-page Optimization which you run on your own website and it remains completely under your control. Off-page Optimization happens when you publish rich content on various other platforms and link it to the relevant pages on your website. SEO is a vast and complicated topic. I have tried to list some of the key steps which can help you successfully implement it:

  1. Analyze the Keywords Searched – Simply put, these are actual words used by consumers in their searches. To identify keywords pertaining to your brand and the category you are in, it’s important to get into the shoes of the consumer. a4aaa12fe42ec0d1e3babefccbf670ae
    The words you decide as your keywords, should be the ones that are most likely to be used by your consumers. It is important to have the most comprehensive list of possible keywords. The best way to list them is by segregating them under various themes like benefits, category, situations, signs, and symptoms, uses etc. After listing, shortlist the keywords basis the relevance to your website’s content (which obviously is complete and accurate with respect to your brand-related information) and volume of searches – the no. of times each of the listed keyword has been used by consumers. There are a lot of tools available for free to help you figure out keyword search volumes – some examples being Google, SEMrush
  2. Develop a Well-designed Sitemap – As stated in my blog “First thing first” on building your website, a sitemap is the blueprint of your website basis which Google navigates and reads the content published therein. A well-designed sitemap is your path to successful SEO. After finalizing the keywords, reviewing your sitemap is crucial. It is important to note that Google ranks individual pages as well as the website. The Sitemap has a direct correlation with the site visits, if the crawlers1 are not able to navigate through the site, the pages or website will not get indexed, and as a result, the content will not get ranked in search engine’s results pages. So you can imagine the situation if your page is not ranked within a search results page.
  3. Things to Note: On-Page Optimization – After finalizing the sitemap you need to ensure that your chosen keywords are an integral part of your The following are the key yardsticks of a successful On-Page Optimization:
    1. Title Tag – Title is the headline you see when you search for a website. Please note it is not your page headline. Google is like the headmaster in the school of SEO and the headmaster knows when you cheat. So, do not add random keywords but build relevance of the same in the title tag(s). A CCP (cut-copy-paste) of keywords can lead to a poor ranking for your website.
    2. Meta Description (Meta-Tags) – If the Title Tag is the headline, I am sure you can guess what the Meta Tag would be. You are right – it is the body copy. The description shown below the title tag in the search results is called a meta-description. It briefly describes what the page contains. It is important to integrate CTAs in your website’s meta-tags (be cautious in limiting the use of action words) to induce some action/next steps for consumers. While getting a good rank for your website is the first task, it is equally important to get more people to visit the website. Well defined meta-tags can do this job.
    3. Image Tags/Alt-Tags – Images play a very important role in running SEO for the website. Well written image-tags (descriptions) positively influence the ranking. The best part is that the image description can include more keywords as the image description does not have any limitations with respect to relevance to the image.
    4. URL Structure – Check your URLs thoroughly before making any change to run an SEO initiative. If the current URLs explain what consumers should understand and expect from a page, then you do not necessarily need to change them. Though keyword inclusion is important, it is more important to stick to a URL which describes the page correctly. Ensure that URLs are simple to understand and compelling for search engines and consumers.
    5. Schema Markup – This is a tough one. The Schema is a description of the page, in brief, placed in the backend for Google to understand page content. It should ideally be done on the website during coding (HTML/development). It enables search engine crawlers1 to interpret the data and improve the ranking of the page.
    6. Content and Updates – This is not news. Content is the most important part of the website. While you should make sure that the content is easy to understand, relevant to search and intriguing to engage the consumers, also ensure that the content contains a high intensity of relevant keywords. Headmaster Google never punishes for having a low number of pages, short articles etc., but you will surely earn negative points for duplicate content (Google punishes those who try to be over-smart 😉). So, keep refreshing content, adding new topics, articles and images from time to time.
    7. Page Speed – The time needed by any web-page to fully load on the consumer’s browser is called Page Speed. A quick load time is not only important for a great consumer experience but also one of the key parameters used by Google to rank pages. Often, it is directly proportional to the bounce rate2. If a page takes too long to load, consumers tend to move to a different website. You can increase the page speed by optimizing the image sizes, improving the server response time and by minimizing the complex backend coding.
    8. Mobile Friendliness – As stated in my previous blog, you need to remember that a lot of searches now happen on a mobile device. You are doomed if the great work you have done on the desktop version of your website does not come alive on a handheld device. Some points to be considered while initiating Mobile friendly SEO:
      1. Page speed is more important for mobile users given connectivity issues. Minimizing images, codes etc. can help you improve the page speed of your mobile website
      2. Mobile friendly design for superior user experience
      3. Short titles, meta descriptions, and URLs (without losing the essence of the information)
  1. Things to Note: Off-page Optimization –
    1. Backlinks – Backlinks are links on one website that, when clicked, take the user to another site. As we know, the internet is nothing, but a network of the various portals interconnected like a web. It is important that your website, as a part of this complex network, has as many possible links directing consumer traffic towards it. There are various ways to back-link, but it is important to focus on some high-quality links directing to your website. The best way is through blog postings, PR articles, and social bookmarking. Curate content keeping in mind your target consumers, in this case, potential websites which can backlink to your website. Understand what kind of content they will be interested in and are likely to share. It is important to know the websites linking to yours to get rid of toxic links and analyze the links to follow or unfollow. There are various online tools available to know the websites blacklining your website like Buzzsumo, SEMrush etc.backlinks.png
    2. Social Media – I read somewhere Social Media Marketing and SEO are like friends with benefits. I am sure you know that the more your business is talked about, the better place it gets in the search results. Social Media Marketing is a great way to build a link. When you have a good follower base, there are high chances that your Social Media profiles/handles will show up in the search results when a consumer searches your brand.
    3. Company Listings (citation) – This one is extremely helpful in local SEO. List your business through Google’s “My Business” profile and on the other available platforms by sharing complete information about your offering, with images and other important details. By sharing complete information with regular updates, your website ranking is bound to improve.
  2. Track progress and redo – Progress is all that matters. While you need to give time for SEO to work, it is also important to keep a check on it. A monthly check on the progress will help you optimize and improve. Track only the most important and relevant keywords to avoid confusion. Other than the keyword ranking you should also check website progress on the following parameters:
    1. Organic website traffic
    2. Page speed
    3. Time spent on each page
    4. Bounce rate

Please do not get into a loop of changing your SEO strategy every time you see the report. If there are no gross issues, my suggestion would be to let your optimization work for three to four months and then initiate the required corrective actions. I would want to repeat – allow time for SEO to work.SEO
That is all on my understanding of SEO. I am sure you want to know more too about SEO. I would recommend you visit for detailed information and some cool tools as well.
With this, the “Owned” of PESO comes to an end for now. I will be now starting with “Paid”. In the next couple of blogs, I will shed light on the various paid promotions you can do in the Digital space to engage and enthrall your consumers.

I am super excited. Hope you are too…Stay tuned…

1. Crawlers are the programs that search engines use to scan and analyze websites to determine their importance, and thus their ranking, in the results of internet searches for certain keywords. Crawlers are also often referred to as spiders or robots.
2. Bounce rate is the percentage of site visits that are single-page sessions, with the visitor leaving without viewing the second It is typically used as a measurement of a website’s overall engagement. The formula to derive the Bounce rate is the no. of visits with 1-page view divided by total no. of visits
*Image courtesy Google 🙂

Go Social…

You must be thinking that in my two previous blogs I wrote about the most important parts of digital marketing without writing about the social media… Did you think that I missed it? Did you?

We have been talking about Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned Mediums and in this blog, I will be writing about the second part of ‘Owned’.

If website is the hero, SOCIAL MEDIA is the SUPER STAR

Social Media entered our lives sometime around 2003, the likes Orkut (remember?) and Facebook were the new buzzwords and people were getting a hang of these platforms. Facebook as a platform grew over us and it turned out to be a great way for people to connect and communicate. It helped connect with old friends and even the new ones you wanted to know more about ;). More and more people got glued to various social sites so much so that now Facebook is now the third largest country in the world. How much ever people deny and say that they don’t like to be on Social Media, they are present and actively using one or the other platform. So, Social Media is something you can’t miss.

Even for marketers, Social Media is a great way to reach and engage consumers with interesting content. It helps in approaching consumers in a much more targeted way unlike any other traditional media like Television, Print, etc.

Having worked on a lot of Social Media campaigns from setting them up, to defining their success factors (KPIs), to driving them, I can share the following imperatives from my experience:

  1. Be omnipresent – Be available on all the relevant platforms. Be it Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Quora…anything and everything visited by your consumers. It helps consumers find and engage with you wherever they are. It also helps in search initiatives in many ways. By the way, just to clarify, by being present I do not mean you need to spend money on promotions. What you need to do is create your brand’s pages on all the relevant platforms by filling complete information on the profiles so that the page looks authentic. Also, post your brand’s communication on the Social Media pages regularly.
  2. Create engaging content – While product information is of utmost importance,  one must not forget that one cannot win on Social Media by just blowing one’s own trumpet. To engage with consumers, you need to do more. You need to post content which consumers would love to see or relate to. Content that not only engages your consumers positively, but also make them share it with their friends and family. Some of the content buckets you can consider can be celebration of important days, things to do/know related to the category you are in, inspirational quotes, contests, real consumer stories/ testimonials, DIY tips, etc. But again, the caution is to keep the content simple.
  3. Be always on – After setting-up the page and defining the kind of content you want to put on the page, you need to devise a calendar which will help you be present online. It is important to be present 24x7x365 days so that tdepositphotos_48042613-stock-illustration-open-24-7he consumers are engaged all around the year. Social Media gives you the chance to actually publish fresh content every day. But that is not what you should be doing. Define and schedule the posts and updates strategically, so that a variety of content is placed in front of the consumers, at the right time. Don’t be sporadic in your posting.
  4. Don’t complicate – Well, after having the content buckets and its posting calendar in place, it becomes really important to choose how much to say in one piece of communication. I would suggest the KISS strategy (Keep it Simple and Sexy). Choose your key communication messages wisely. Do not put too many things in one post. The ideal way to go about this is the “one picture one message” approach. For that matter, Facebook does not allow promotion of posts containing more than 2% text. . The writing is on the wall for delivering clear message it’s important to keep it simple… so go Kiss J
  5. Think mobile – Designing content basis platform and device is most important as we want consumers to not only see our content but also engage with it. Statistically, 80% of India consumes content on mobile. While designing content make sure your creative is mobile friendly. Pictures, fonts, and the call to action should be visible clearly on a mobile device. As an example, imagine sitting in a boring meeting, you browse YouTube or Facebook. Will you turn your phone horizontally to see the video? Most of the people see the content in a vertical format and hence creatives should be made keeping that in mind.
  6. Create Videos and GIFS – Video content is the new drug. We all love stories and videos allow us to show, tell and explain stories better. More video content helps consumers to engage better with. According to scientific studies, people retain 70% of audio-visual communication. It can be just a two slide story or a two-minute video. Don’t forget to have subtitles in your video. I am sure you know why I am saying that ;).124
  7. Link your website, shamelessly – While the page is yours, Facebook is owned by Mark Zuckerberg. You want your consumers to come to your platform i.e. your website. The same is applicable to all Social Media platforms. It not only helps you to engage with your consumers, but also indulge them with more brand related content available on your website.
  8. Link to ‘Shop now’ – This does not need any further explanation. One should not miss the opportunity to sell on any of the Social Media platforms. Consumers tend to spend money shopping online. You just need to promptly and redirect them to a page they can buy your brand from.
  9. Always reply/respond – Unlike any other traditional media, Social Media is all about a two-way communication with your consumers. Real time. When consumers engage with your content on Social Media, expect them to ask you questions, raise queries and post feedback. They know you are reading it and they expect a prompt response or issue resolution. Ensure you have the right people responding to consumers with the right messages/resolutions at the right time. Set-up a response time-frame and publish it on your handles for people to know. Set-up an escalation mechanism. There have been instances when I, as a consumer, have used Social Media to love or hate brands. When my issues have not been resolved on time, I have turned nasty. You would not want that to happen to your brand.
  10. Not everything will work right the first time – Well, I learnt this the hard way. Always be prepared to fail and learn. All your posts will not necessarily get the same kind of response in terms of reach and engagement. Every content piece is like an ad and not all ads you create work with consumers. Try to learn from posts that did not work well to avoid the same mistake in the past. The reasons for a bad result can be many – bad creative, bad timing, sub-optimal spend, etc. You don’t want your posts to just do “OK” but you want them to do “great”. So it’s important to fail miserably a couple of times to understand what exactly works and what does not.


While all the points above are applicable to all of Social Media, below is a brief description of each of the key platforms. This will help you understand them better and will also highlight specific purposes of each of them… So here we go:


  • Most actively used social media platform – with the widest reach
  • Helps reach and engage consumers
  • Promotion is really simple, inexpensive, and you can easily run it yourself
  • Important: Now it is imperative to promote every post you publish on your page. The new algorithm of Facebook does not necessarily show all your posts to all the followers of your page if people have not engaged with your posts. This can happen even if they have liked and followed your Facebook page


  • This is a micro-blogging network
  • Helps drive conversations and plays an important role in influencer marketing
  • Promotion, like Facebook, is simple, not as inexpensive, but you can easily run it yourself
  • Important: Most Twitter users use the platform to reach out to brands for complaints and review of the products & services and bad reviews tend to get more attention. So, beware!


  • Most actively used video search platform. Today, YouTube is the No. 1 search platform in India. Yes, it has crossed Google!
  • People visit the platform to watch videos of interest across genres.
  • Promotion is expensive and needs experts on the job
  • Important: Interesting content once posted on YouTube works as hard as you do and can go viral in no time. What you should do is create content relevant to your brand and ensure people like it.  Link your YouTube content to your website and other social media pages to drive views


  • The most actively used platforms for visual and video content.
  • Extremely effective in influencer marketing
  • Promotion on Instagram works exactly like Facebook
  • Important: You can link your promotions on Facebook and Instagram – making them more efficient


  • The most actively used platform for working professionals
  • People visit the platform to seek information on categories and organizations, company updates, selling B2B services and hiring/seeking jobs
  • Can be very useful if you have to do professional/B2B marketing and share updates about your product/organization. Promotion on LinkedIn is expensive
  • Important: Even if you are not into professional/B2B marketing, you should maintain a detailed, well written company profile to strengthen your reputation in the industry. Do not forget to share links of your website and social media pages on your LinkedIn profile


  • The most actively used Q&A website, where the questions can be asked and anyone can answer them to the best of their knowledge
  • People visit the platform to seek answers to their queries or specific questions and to seek consumer feedback
  • Important: You should definitely maintain a page on this platform. You can answer questions related to your brand or category and easily link them back to your website and social media pages. The only word of caution here is to be thorough with your topic

While I have tried to list the latest understanding of each of the platform, I strongly advise you to keep looking for newer updates on each of the platforms that you actively use. Change is the only constant when it comes to the rules of the game on Social Media. The algorithms, platforms and offerings keep changing and trust me you would not want to be left behind on the same.

Coming to the end of my blog, I want to confess that I love Social Media Marketing. My friends call me “Facebook Raonka” (Raonka being my last name). I am blatantly always online, looking out for conversations, trends and campaigns happening on each of the platforms I love calling it “social listening”. Imagine a job that pays you to be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or for that matter even on WhatsApp. It needs a lot of hard work and dedication.

Uff I am working so hard all the time…I need a break 😉

In the next blog, I will cover the last (but definitely not the least important) topic – SEO. Until then, Go social…in the Digital space!

First thing first…

In my last blog, I shared how my digital journey began and the six key learning from my journey as a Digital Marketer. In this blog, I will focus on my first learning and elaborate on what goes into “Building the base” in the digital space.

Have you heard about PESO? At the risk of sounding jargonish, all the mediums available for marketing/advertising in the digital space are classified into four buckets of PESO. PESO expands as Paid, Earned, Shared and Owned. I will touch upon each of the four buckets in my subsequent blogs. But here, let’s start with the “Owned”. Owned, as you can already understand covers anything which is your own asset. Namely, a website, app, social media pages, blogs etc. So, the right thing for any Digital Marketer to do before anything else, is to have one’s own house built with a lot of care and love. And where do you think could that begin?

Well, it all starts with the hero… the WEBSITE

According to me, creating a website is the most important thing to start your presence in the digital space. Picture this: if someone wants to know about your brand, your company, your products etc, where would they go? People simply search for it on Google and more and more people use Google every day. Your own website would be considered to be the most credible source on your brand. Developing a website can really be a time-consuming and cumbersome process if you do it the right way. I would suggest you give it the time and effort it needs.

I have developed many websites, with multiple iterao-NAME-TAG-facebooktions and updates. In the process, I learnt that a ‘good’ website should feature the following:

  • An easy name – While Shakespeare said “What’s in the name”, when it comes to the name of a brand’s website, I would say everything. Choose something that is simple and associates with the brand’s name. Ideally, create a domain name that is your brand name. For example,
  • A well-structured Sitemap – Now this one is really tricky. It is very complicated in beginning and one pays the least importance to it. Sitemap helps in laying out all the content one has in a structured way. It is like a path/network of pages in any website. Some of the sections which should be part of the website are ‘About us’, ‘Products’, ‘Contact us’ and ‘Media and blogs’. Sitemap is also helpful in SEO.
  • Rich content – Content is what consumers come to your website for. Content is KingA good website allows consumers to know what products are marketed, what their USPs are and how they differ from other products. It gives information about the organization, the contact details and where the products can be bought. Comprehensive FAQs make it easy for consumers to form positive opinions about your brand. Blogs are a good way to keep consumers engaged. Enough and more is spoken about on the importance of content in every Digital Marketing forum. Remember to keep the language simple and avoid use of jargons.
  • Attractive design – A good design is nothing but clarity of thought visualized. Your website should be pleasing to the eye and clutter free. Stick to the key colors of your brand and use the available visual identity assets. This will make it easy for existing consumers to relate to your website. Use light imagery to ensure your website opens easily, even in situations of poor data connectivity.
  • Mobile responsive – Smart phones have become an integral part of our lives. Many people disregard this fact while developing the brand’s website. Whilst creating the website, one needs to ensure that consumers have a seamless experience even while accessing the website on their phones. One needs to know that what works on desktop, does not necessarily work best on a handheld device.
  • Well optimized – One comes before the other and that is how it works best. Optimizing a website should not be an after-thought. You need to know the key words before you start putting the content together. The key words can be pertaining to both, your brand and the category. Optimizing the website early on will help in search initiatives and your website will be there, when your consumers need to see it.
  • Links to Social pages – We are in the world of social media and sharing with each other in the digital space is a trend. You don’t want to miss an opportunity images (1)there. Your website should lead consumers to follow your pages on social media to remain posted on new content. Consumers should also be able to share your website contents easily with friends and family. It is imperative to create social media handles on all key platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.
  • Contains contact information – Your consumer is like your spouse. Even after thorough preparation, there are high chances of something being amiss 😉. The contact information page actually bridges the gap between your brand and it’s consumers. Consumers can reach out to you on anything that you might have inadvertently missed in your content. The ‘Contact us’ page is a MUST have. You can add your address with a link to your location on Google maps, contact details and also an email id. Just ensure the consumers reaching out to you through your ‘Contact us’ page are attended to. And timely.
  • Leads to Shop Now – We are in the era of eCommerce. It’s growing leaps and bounds. When you have your consumers on the website, you do not want to leave them high and dry, you want them to buy. And the best way to convert them then and there is to give them an easy way to buy. If your brands can sell online, ensure your website links consumers to your product listings on the likes of Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, 1mg etc.
  • Easy to navigate – While consumers would often come to your brand’s website looking for something specific, you want to engage them further and keep them glued to your brand. Ensure your website is not designed like a maze. You need to make sure consumers do not get stuck and find it easy to browse through the pages. Weave in your brand story in a way one thing leads to the other and design your website’s interface accordingly. Page links, homepage links, back button, related articles/products and buy now are some of the important elements to interlink on a website. .

Having listed the above, I would say creating a website is a no-brainer.

image credits to google 🙂

There are a lot of portals where you can host your website in the digital space and have scores of information to guide you on how to go about it. Some popular ones are,; (used by yours truly) and many more. For less than Rs. 500/-, you can book a URL, create a website, try and test all your theories and have fun. It might take time but it is completely doable and will be worth all the effort. All you need is patience, time and a glass of wine.

Well… so get started and share your experience with me… Ciao…