Fish’s Day Out

Chaaya3July14Doing agency offsite workshops is fun.. and it’s not just about drinking, dancing and partying all night. We made it into an action-packed creative stimulii event involving each and every member of BC Web Wise, including our admin and HR so that across teams we had a buy-in on what we do, and we could pick brains from not just people who did their jobs but those who are their potential audience groups.

Talks. Teas. And Thoughts.
BC Web Wise WorkshopBC Web Wise WorkshopBC Web Wise WorkshopDay 1: We met at a large auditorium with enough daylight to keep the creative energies flowing. Presenters included team heads from various teams who shared best-in-class practices from across the local as well as global markets and shared ideas on what more we could do, the need to go beyond the obvious and the need to go beyond the brief.

We even invited guest sessions from One97 and Telibrahma to open our eyes and minds to opportunities in the mobile space that we may have not seriously and regularly considered.

The morning opened with a song and dance to get the early birds their adrenaline rush. People were shuffled and then reshuffled to ensure cross-team bonding. And to keep the enthusiasm levels from dipping as the day wore on, there were spot-quizzes and prizes.

Hitting The Road – Day 2 :
20140726_074455 DCIM100GOPROWe met at a resort in Utan, just an hour and half’s drive away from our agency headquarters at Bandra, Mumbai. This time, the morning started with a scrumptious breakfast, the resort’s signature dish of ‘idli puriyal’ doing what the song and dance had done the previous morning.
The team then headed to a comfortable conference room where everyone was re-grouped into 8 teams of 7 or 8 members each, every team a motley bunch drawn from different departments of the agency, again ensuring cross-team participation and bonding.DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPROMyself, our in-house client

At around 11.30 a.m the brief for a live project “1 million downloads for Oojle, our mathematical game app” was then shared that each team would pitch for and compete against each other. As would happen, a handful of members missed the briefing and had a slightly later start than the rest.
IMG_3877 IMG_3879 IMG_3883 IMG_3886 IMG_3887 IMG_3888 IMG_3893 IMG_3894 IMG_3899 IMG_3904 IMG_3913 IMG_3916While a few teams found their cosy spots in the air-conditioned meeting room, many headed to the green lawns to rackle their grey cells with nature and to spark their creative fire. One team even huddled together in one of the many rooms booked for the sleep-over in the night. Chart papers, sketch pens and markers flew around between team members as they put their plans together to be presented within an hour.
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A ten minute extra time was given to wrap up because they did have loads to plate up! Pens were then snatched away so no one could write any more and each team presented their plans one after the other. As mandatory, every member of the team that presented had to be a part of the presentation. This enthused team members who otherwise were the backstage folks, and new stars emerged as every member participated in the sessions. The presentations rolled on till almost 3 pm. The enthusiastic teams forgot their lunch; we were so totally having fun! And finally the winners were announced!

Winners take it all!
The winning Team D – Yash (Copy), Sheetal (Strategy), Yuvraj (Servicing), Kunal (Design), Punit (Media), Sushil (Coding), Prachi (Scripting), Amit (Programing) made a clean sweep, leaving their nearest competitors behind by a 10-point margin with a score of 85 on 100. As true to the brief, the team is now working on the plans to make Oojle a success. And we hope to keep everyone updated on the progress with our blog feeds.

Drink like a fish/ Sway like an octopus
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The late lunch was followed by long hours in the pool, music and dance in the rains till the wee hours of the morning. And whoever tried to sneak away, was ordered back by me!
Boy.. did we have fun over the whole 48 hours!

The next workshop dates are still not out. To be a part of it, join our team! Drop us a mail on info@bcwebwise.com .

Is SEO Going The Way Of The Dodo Or Is It More Like The Phoenix?

If you are using the internet to search for information then you will probably use a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo. The beauty of a search engine is that you can be as specific or vague about the information you Prasad Pillairequire and it will give you results. As a user this is very useful as it will give you hundreds of pages of potential sites. From a business point of view this is very bad. If, for example, you are running a small bicycle repair website, your website may be ranked 500th on a list. Most users only look at the first two or three pages of search results and you are probably on page 74.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), is part of a set of tools grouped under the term Search Engine Marketing (SEM). SEM can help move your website up the page rankings, but an integral part of SEM is SEO and it is the future of this that we will be looking at here today.

There is talk that SEO is a dying methodology:

If you want to rank high on Google, build a good site and market it the best you know how. Just don’t expect SEO to be the answer to your traffic-related prayers because, increasingly, it won’t be.

But I would tend to disagree, the problem is that there are a lot of people out there who understand the principles of SEO but do not know how to deploy it in their website content. SEO can boost average content up the rankings by effective keyword density. But when people talk about Google being worried by users being ˜underwhelmed with their search results”, this is not Google acting in the best interest of a streamlined globally available knowledge base but Google trying to protect its self-image.

Old School SEO

To understand why this is happening, how this is happening and what we can do about it, we need to understand the origins of SEO. Early search engine algorithms indexed search results using a keyword principle. Going back to our previous example, in the early days of search engines your search for ‘bicycle repair’ would display webpages that have the word ‘bicycle’ and ‘repair’ in their webpage meta tags. Furthermore, it would rank the pages by the number of times those words appeared on that webpage.

White Hat SEO

White Hat SEO

Like the hacker term, white hat means ethical. So a white hat search engine optimiser will populate their meta tags with enough keywords to give the page a decent ranking while still being true to the content.

Black Hat SEO

Inversely, a black hat optimiser will flood their meta tags and page with every keyword they can think of, even if it is unrelated to the theme of the site, in order to improve their rankings.

This is probably why people developed a bad taste for SEO. Because it is easy to manipulate, it has an underhanded hue about it.

Google

In 1998, Google appeared on the internet and was an instant success. Google is not a fan of having their search and indexing algorithms manipulated so employ other factors into their indexing. This countered some of the more aggressive SEO techniques and resulted in users having better access to more relevant content. Google also looks at links, the site map of the website, pictures and videos used etc. etc. Google also offer paid services to allow companies to advertise their site or push their site up the rankings.

The end of SEO?

With Google being the weapon of choice for more than half the web searches done, globally, and Google’s abhorrence to SEO, an opinion which they neatly double underlined in 2013, when they stopped publishing data on keyword popularity. After this, web marketing operators and analysts hinted that this may be the final nail in the coffin for keyword based optimisation. This, however, is simply not the case.

Content Is King

In the beginning, SEO was a way of increasing your page ranking by effective use of meta tags, and for a while this was good. Then Google threw a spanner in the works, introduced a whole new set of web marketing tools and began to beat SEO with the wet end.

Google’s defence is that users should be provided with quality content and not manipulated onto websites which are either poorly conceived but expertly marketed or purely exist for malicious purposes. So SEO needs to evolve, if Google wants content to be king, and let’s face it, if Google is God, then that is where SEO needs to go.

The SEO Phoenix

The current market for SEO related material is for short articles about specific content that has specific keywords in it, the same old SEO we know. But the focus has shifted from keyword stuffed titles and content to the production of actual articles. Instead of writing SEO off as extinct, we should be looking to the future.

Google has been pushing for this for a few years, that is why it surprised me when I came here in January to see that Etsy is using the “Search Engine Manipulation” model of SEO, which Google hates. That is why I am VERY Careful how I list, and title my items, I try to balance the two with leaning a bit more toward Google. (discussion board post: https://www.etsy.com/in-en/teams/7718/questions/discuss/14919048/page/2?post_id=232445881)

From the ashes of failed keyword stuffed articles comes an opportunity for SEO companies and writers to apply tried and tested SEO strategies to a client’s existing content. Keywords are always going to be used by search engines. Instead of employing black hat techniques like Etsy’s spamdexing to counter sophisticated algorithms, SEO needs to evolve into a highly specialised writing craft, a craft where informed creative writing, by quality writers who know how to research a topic, is used to enhance a website’s content and therefore page ranking. As long as the web, as we know it, exists, keywords will continue to be relevant. SEO isn’t going anywhere, it is us, the optimisers who need to adapt in our approach to SEO to make it work for both the companies that employ us and the search engines that scrutinise our content.