Get started with search

Hello everyone!

Today we are going to go in depth of the complex world of search. The earliest search engine was launched in 1990. Named ‘Archie’, it was a tool for indexing FTP archives, allowing people to find specific files.

Fast forward to two-and-a-half decades, 81.1 billion USD was spent on digital marketing in 2016, half of it went in search engine marketing. Hence, the potential of search marketing speaks for itself. Let us look try and decode some of the aspects of search.

 

Search query

The words and phrases that people type into a search box in order to pull up a list of results.

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Figure 1: Search query

There are three types of search queries, which are as follows:

  • Navigational search query: These are search queries entered with the intention of finding a particular website or page. For example, a user typing ‘YouTube’ into the URL bar to find the ‘YouTube’ site. Interestingly, ‘Facebook’ and ‘YouTube’ are the top two searches on google, both are navigational queries
  • Informational search query: These are search queries that cover a broad topic for which there would be an infinite number of results. For example, a user typing ‘Calcutta’ or ‘Bus’ is probably looking for information or trying to learn how to do something.
  • Transactional search query: These are search queries that indicate an intent to complete transaction, such as making a purchase. These may be generic such as ‘mobile phones under 20k’, or may include exact brand or product name such as ‘Samsung galaxy s3’. Many local searches such as ‘Wine shop in Delhi’ may be transactional in nature as well

 

How search engines work

Each search engine has their secret way of doing things, which they do not reveal too much. However, a basic process is followed by every search engine.

Crawling: Systematic browsing of the web to collect information for indexing, and to help searchers find what they are looking for. This is done by internet bots called ‘crawlers’ or ‘spiders’.

Indexing: The process of categorization of digital content into systematic lists of web pages, to be used by search engines to provide relevant results to the searchers.

Ranking: It is the process of positioning of a listing or result on the search engine results page, according to the relevance of content.

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Figure 2: Search ranking

Results: The outcome of a search query, displayed on a search engine results page.

 

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Figure 3: Search Engine Results Page

 

 

 

What search engines look for

Web crawlers look for specific things to determine the ranking of a webpage.

Content: The relevance of the content displayed on a website of page is of utmost importance in determining its position

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Figure 4: Relevant content

Coding: The back office of a website, crawlers look at the coding for information related to the site. A Content Management System (CMS) may be used to modify page codes

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Figure 5: Updating codes for search

Descriptive words: These provide additional information helping the spiders index a website better

Alternate text: Crawlers unfortunately cannot see images, it can only see HTML version of it. Alternate text can be inserted in the HTML to tell the crawlers, and even the visitors about the type of image it is

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Figure 6: ‘Kanye Laughing’ is an example of alternate text

Optimized visibility: Responsive sites, which adapt its visibility according to the type of device on which it is being viewed are ranked higher

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Figure 7: Responsive website

Meta tags: A few lines of text appearing on the SERP, just under the title tag. Also called meta-descriptors, these gives further information about a page

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Figure 8: Meta tag

 

Organic search explained

SEO: An acronym for Search Engine Optimization, it is the process of positively affecting the visibility of a webpage in the search engine’s unpaid (organic) results page by increasing the quality score of that webpage.

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Figure 9: SEO / Organic listing

 

Paid search explained

SEM: An acronym for Search Engine Marketing, it is a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of a webpage/ site by increasing their visibility through paid advertising. Google AdWords deals with SEM in for its own search engines and partner sites.

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Figure 10: SEM / Paid listing

Paid search components

Organic formula: What works for SEO, also works for SEM in terms of quality score and relevance of content

Advertising models: There are various advertising models such as PPC, PPM, etc. which needs to be explored

Bidding auctions: Every single listing fights against its competitors via a bid. The bid amount, quality score, and other criteria work together to generate rankings on the SERP.

Keywords: Bids are placed on keywords- words and phrases, which are typically typed in by the users when they are looking for a business like yours

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Figure 11: Keywords

All about websites

How a website works

Setting up a website can be a complex process, and as a marketer you may not have full understanding of it. This is alright, but there are certain must-knows from this world in order to succeed in creating a wonderful website. Some of them are as follows:

  • Web-hosting: Web-hosting service is a type of internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible via the World Wide Web. Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server owned or leased for use by clients, as well as providing Internet connectivity, typically in a data center
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Web hosting
  • IP address: IP or Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. Think of it like the geographical coordinates of your office, this the address of your office online
  • Domain names: A domain name is an identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. Just like your business needs a name to operate in the physical world, your website requires a domain name to operate in the online world
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Domain names
  • Browser: A web browser or simply a browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. Examples include Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, etc.
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Web browsers

 

Key website ingredients

A good website is more appealing to both the customers, and the Google’s spiders, as it helps in getting more traffic, or showing on the SERP. Some of the key features of a nice website are as follows:

  • Relevance: All the webpages, and the website as a whole should exist in a harmonic state with perfect synchronization. Your website should contain relevant information for your target customers in order to be attractive
  • Extension: A website should be an extension of your business offline, and not an entity by itself. In today’s age of Omni-channel experience, customers are used to having same experiences throughout her journey at all touch points
  • Homepage: A home page or a start page is the initial or main web page of a website or a browser. It is like a shop window, it represents the entire business, and customers would only come in if they have a positive first impression
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Homepage
  • Navigation: Smooth navigation is really important, especially for websites with numerous pages like an e-commerce site. It has to be synchronized and every webpage should have the necessary links like the home page button, contact form link, etc.
  • Templates: Nowadays, many companies provide read-made templates to design a website. There are thousands of templates to choose from, starting from a simple blog to a full-fledged e-commerce website. When starting to build a website, it is a convenient option and may help in simplifying the entire process
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Web templates

 

Websites and your business goal

As mentioned earlier, a website is only an extension of a business and therefore should give out the same vibe as your offline business does You need to match the customer needs with your wants, and provide aligned experience.

  • Design: A website design can be strikingly different from your actual business, but should be well-aligned. For instance, if the business logo is in green and you do all you promotional activities with a green background, your website should definitely have a strong presence of the color
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Web design
  • Mobile: Most of the people are accessing the internet on their mobile phones these days. Therefore it is essential to optimize your entire website- right from the landing page to the contact form should be mobile-friendly
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Mobile
  • Content: They say ‘content is king’, and I could not emphasize enough on the importance of that statement. No matter how well a website is set up, if the content is not up to the mark, then users would merely visit your website, but never engage with your business, or turn into paying customers
  • Tone: Every business has its own style of tone to communicate with the customers. However, it is safe to say that the chosen tone should be boring or dry, nor should it be extremely aggressive to make the viewers uncomfortable. This is especially true in the online world, as people cannot see your face to gauge your expressions

 

Make your website easy to use

Nobody likes a bad website experience, and most of the times, a user would not come back if she had anything less than a perfect user-friendly website experience. There are certain factors which help in making a website suitable for even the most unaware users, which are:

  • Navigation: As mentioned earlier, smooth navigation is really important, especially for websites with numerous pages like an e-commerce site. It has to be synchronized and every webpage should have the necessary links like the home page button, contact form link, etc.
  • Layout: An easy layout which does not make the users look too much for anything, no matter how huge the website is, is always desirable. Therefore, if you are not a website expert, a pre-designed template could be your true friend
  • Colors: There are some articles which suggest that colors play a very important role in attracting customers to your business. For instance, the color red supposedly has a hunger-stimulating effect on our brains, therefore most food and beverages related companies (Coca cola, Zomato, etc.) use red in their branding efforts. Likewise, green is perceived as the color for harmony or blue as the color of royalty. It is hence essential to carefully choose the color theme of the website
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Colors
  • Consistency: As mentioned earlier, a website be consistent and well-aligned. For instance, if the business logo is in green and you do all you promotional activities with a green background, your website should definitely have a strong presence of the color
  • Language: The language of the website should be the one that your target customers are likely to understand. But if you have customers who speak a different language than yours, be prepared to customize your website and get it translated into that language
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Language

 

Website design

There are some Do’s and Do not’s of website creation, which are:

  • Loading time: Slow loading time is always unattractive, and mobile users tend to leave a website if it does not load in 10 seconds. So try to building light home and landing pages, so that a customer does not have a reason to not enter your website even if they she intended to
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Loading time
  • Responsiveness: Responsiveness is the same as loading time. Smooth website experience which is responsive gives a lot of credibility to business and makes it easier for a customer to browse through your website, thus increasing the average session time
  • Mobile-friendly: As mentioned earlier, most of the people are accessing the internet on their mobile phones these days. Therefore it is essential to optimize your entire website- right from the landing page to the contact form should be mobile-friendly
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Mobile friendly website
  • Universal access: It is imperative that your website is accessible from all parts of the world, even if your target customers are situated in just one part of the world. For instance, one of customers are travelling to another part, or a person from a different country is shifting to your country decides ti research before-hand
  • Quality content: As mentioned earlier, they say ‘content is king’, and I could not emphasize enough on the importance of that statement. No matter how well a website is set up, if the content is not up to the mark, then users would merely visit your website, but never engage with your business, or turn into paying customers

First steps towards online success

In the third post in the Digital Marketing series, we would discuss  how to take those essential first steps in order to achieve online glory.

 

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Online goals
  • Step 1: Setting online goals

    The first step towards the online journey in setting up the goals which we want to achieve by going digital. A set agenda has to be there for going forward in the journey. This can be done through the following:

    • Planning: The most important aspect of setting up a goal is having a plan in place. What we want to achieve and how we plan to do it are equally important questions to be answered
    • Visibility: The most basic aim of any business going online is to improve its visibility and our expectations regarding the same should be analysed
    • Targeting: Online devices gives us many options to segment and target customers, therefore it is essential to establish separate groups and clusters In order to customize content
    • Advertising: Learning and deciding about the types of advertising to focus on- search, or display is also essential
    • Measuring: Finally, a success measuring toll should be in place, which could help us to understand our mistakes and better our campaigns

 

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Setting up your online presence
  • Step 2: Building our online presence

    The next step is to decide about the where to be more visible. There are a number of channels which may enable us to reach our online goals. Some of them are:

    • Directories: Local directories are the most basic requirement of any online entity. It is a good starting point, and also helps customers reach us while searching for products that we sell
    • Social media: Building a social media presence is the next step and requires a lot of planning and good execution. Platforms like Facebook, and Twitter enables us to engage with our customers, but merely having a presence on social media is not enough. Continuous involvement is desired.
    • E-commerce: Companies whose business involves selling pf products and services and wants to do so online may set up an e-commerce site to facilitate smooth transactions. But it is a complex process and requires dedicated effort to manage such a site
    • Application: The last leg of building an online presence is to develop a dedicated app where customers can be engaged. With the penetration of smart-phones, it is a good idea to have an app. But it is advised to go for it only after all the other channels have been covered

 

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Online Marketing
  • Step 3: Marketing your online presence

    The third and the most important step in building your online presence is marketing it symmetrically across the platforms. The main aim right now would be to increase the online traffic to your business, which can be done via:

    • SEO: An acronym for Search Engine Optimization, it is the process of positively affecting the visibility of a webpage/ site in the search engine’s unpaid (organic) results page
    • SEM: An acronym for Search Engine Marketing, it is a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of a webpage/ site by increasing their visibility through paid advertising. Google AdWords deals with SEM in for its own search engines and partner sites. It has two sub-parts, which are:
      • Search advertising: This deals with the promotion of your business on SERP (Search Engine Results Page) via texts
      • Display advertising: This deals with the promotion of your business on the partner websites, app, video channels like YouTube, etc. via texts, images, videos, or animation
    • Social media: This deals with the use of various social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. to promote your business
    • Email: This is an form of promotional activity which basically deals with sending commercial messages to a group of people via email

* More on these on upcoming articles

 

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  • Step 4: Analysis and adaption

    The fourth and final step is to examine your online success and modify your campaign accordingly.

    • Analysis: Today we have many data analysis tools to help us understand the pros, and cons of our campaign. We need to use it to realize the trend
    • Tracking: Tracking the customers through her customer journey (right from the time she decided to buy something to the point of purchase) helps us become customer-centric
    • Flexibility: By understanding what worked for a business and what did not, we can make quick changes in order to improve our campaigns, and we have to remain flexible in order to make those changes

7 reasons why digital marketing is essential

Hello everyone!

If you are a start-up which is on the cusp of opening shop or a company which falls in the category of late-majority and/ or laggards, still figuring out whether digital marketing is really required or not, go no further.

Today, I am going to give you seven compelling reasons as to why digital marketing is not only crucial but is almost indispensable to the future of any business.

1. The world is going digital– According to Google, there were about 3 billion users online, and that is a 764% increase from 2000. Nearly half of the world, and 34.8% of the Indians are currently online.

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When the entire world is moving towards digitization, digital marketing has become vital for any company or individual who market and sell products and services.

2. Start-ups get a fair chance– Digital marketing helps level the playing field for the start-ups and SMEs by letting them compete against the established companies and attract their own share of the market

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3. Digital marketing ROI is countable– In the age of analytics, digital marketing lets us measure success in terms of conversions- be it the traffic directed to the website, number of subscribers, or sale.

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4. Better targeting– John Wanamaker, considered to be a pioneer in marketing once famously said that, “Half the money I spend on marketing is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half!”

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Digital marketing tools helps us segment customers according to their online behavior and target specific groups who might be interested in our product or service.

5. Digital caters to the mobile consumers– According to Think with Google, by 2018 one-third of the entire world would be using smart-phones that, in numbers, is a whopping 2.5 billion!

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In India adults on an average use 2 hours and 49 minutes daily on mobile phones- that is more than 5000 minutes a month!

Therefore, it is essential for any business to engage the mobile users and try to entice them to spend as much possible, out of those 5000 hours, on their business.

6. Better engagement with customers– Digital marketing, especially social media helps businesses engage users better than traditional forms of marketing. It allows for a two-way conversation and turns the customers brand loyal by allowing their voices to be heard.

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7. Tempts people to take action– Digital marketing allows businesses to incorporate clever ways to entice customers to take favorable action via calls-to-action. A simple advertisement with a buy now button has higher chances of conversion and sale than any traditional form of advertising.

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Pictures courtesy – www.pixabay.com

Important digital marketing terms

Hello everyone!

This is the first post of the blog therefore I am starting with a basic article. Today we are going to have a look at some of the most important terms in the world of digital marketing. This is a comprehensive list of the widely used words, and for the people who want to know just the important ones, can find a video at the end of this post which shows only the nine must-know digital marketing terms.

1. Analytics– It is the discovery, interpretation, and communication of meaningful patterns in data generated by people’s activities online

2. App– Short for application, it is a program designed to be run on mobile devices such as smart phones, tablets, etc.

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3. Banner ad – Also known as web banner, it is type of advertising found on websites and applications

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4. Blog – A truncation of the expression weblog, is a discussion or informational website consisting of text entries (posts), typically on a specific subject matter

5. Browser – Commonly referred to as web browser, it is a computer program used to access and navigate the internet. Example- Google chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, etc.

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6. CPA– Short for cost per acquisition, it is an online advertisement pricing model where the advertiser pays only for a specified acquisition like a sale, click, or form submit

7. CPT – Short for cost per thousand, it is the cost or expense incurred for each potential customer who views the online advertisement

8. CTR – Short for click-through rate, it is the ratio of users who click on a specific link to the number of total users who view a page, email, or advertisement

9. Conversion – Traditionally it meant the conversion of site visitors into paying customers. However, different sites might consider it as an action that the website wants the visitor to perform. Example- Form submissions, phone calls, video views, etc.

10. Conversion optimization– Also known as conversion rate optimization, it is the process of increasing the percentage of visitors to a website that performs a desired action

11. Conversion rate – It is the ratio of the number of conversions to the number of visitors on a website

12. CPC – Short for cost-per-click, it is the amount of money required to acquire a single click on an advertisement online. Sometimes it is also called PPC which is short for pay-per-click

13. Crawler – Also known as a spider, it is an internet bot that systematically browses the web to collect information for indexing, and help searchers find what they are looking for

14. Desktop – A personal computer designed to for regular use at a single location, typically on a desk due to its size and power requirements

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15. Domain authority – It is a marking scale used by search engines to determine how authoritative a company’s website is, 1 being the lowest rank and 100 being the highest

16. Digital content – Also known as digital media, it is any content that exists in the form of digital data, such as text, audio, video, images, etc.

17. E-commerce – Short for electronic commerce, it is a transaction of buying and selling online

18. Email marketing – It is the act of sending a commercial message using email to share information and promote products and services, typically to a group of people

19. Home page – Also known as the main or start page, it is the initial page of a website or a browser

20. HTML – Short for hyper-text mark-up language, it is a language used for creating web pages or applications

21. Impressions – The number of times an online advertising is fetched from its source and displayed. Each time an ad is fetched, it is counted as one impression

22. Index – A systematic list of digital content on web pages used by search engines to provide relevant results to the searchers

23. Keyword – A word or a phase that can be targeted by a business as part of their advertising

24. Keyword stuffing – It is the practice of using too many keywords in content in hopes of making it more visible on search engines, however, search engines may penalize a website for doing so

25. Landing page – Sometimes called a lead capture page, it is a single web page that appears in response to clicking on an online advertisement

26. Link – Short for hyperlink, it is a reference to data that the reader can directly follow either by clicking, tapping, or hovering. Like this one- Link.

27. Meta description – It is a few lines of text that appear on the search engine results page just under the title tag

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28. Mobile device – Also known as a handheld computer, it is a portable computing device capable pf connecting to the internet, and running applications

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29. Organic listing – Also known as natural listing, it is a result from a search engine which are not paid advertisements

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30. Paid listing – It is an advertisement that appears on search engine result pages

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31. PPC – Short for pay-per-click, it is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, it which an advertiser pays a publisher when an ad is clicked

32. Query – Also known as search term, it is a keyword or phrase that users search for on an search engine

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33. Ranking – It is the position of a listing on search engine results page

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34. RSS – Short for Really Simple Syndication, it is a technology that allows users to become subscribers of content and get automatic alerts if updates are made

35. Search engine – It is a software system that is designed to search for information online. Popular search engines include Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

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36. SEO – Short for search engine optimization, it is the process of affecting the visibility of websites or web pages in a search engine’s unpaid results

37. SEM – Short for search engine marketing, it is a form of internet marketing that involves the promotion of websites, or web pages by increasing their visibility in a search engine’s results, primarily through paid advertising

38. SERP – Short for search engine results page, it is a page displayed by a search engine in a response to a query by a searcher

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39. Session – It is a group of interactions that take place on a website within a given time frame

40. Social media – It is a computer mediated technology that facilitate the creation and sharing of content such as texts, images, videos, etc. across the internet

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41. Social network – It is a community of individuals who create and share content

42. Subscriber – It is a person who allows a company to send him messages through email or other personal communication means

43. Traffic acquisition – It is the process of acquiring visitors, who are referred to as traffic, to website, applications, and other digital assets

44. Unique visitor – it is a single visitor to a website during a specific period of time

45. URL – Short for Uniform Resource Locator, it is the unique address of a page or piece of digital content on the internet

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46. Viral marketing – Also known as viral advertising, it is a marketing technique in which the audience is encouraged to pass on a company’s content to others for better exposure and brand awareness

Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and new terms would be added periodically. So keep following.