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From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 31, Dated August 07, 2010
BUSINESS & ECONOMY  
SHORT TAKES

SEARCH ENGINES

A sales-boosting software tool is a major hit with companies

BY DHIREN DUKHU

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WHEN YATIN Mayekar, a Maharashtra-based mango exporter from Devgad, tried to promote his produce on the Internet in 2001, the site — giftmangoesindia. com — had attracted few hits. But soon his friend and collaborator Milind Mody, who owned a cyber café, found the solution: SEO. Search engine optimisation technology helps increase a website’s traffic by creating tags or keywords. The two placed tags like “gift mangoes” and “mango gifting” in spots likely to make an impact. It worked. Though a slow process, SEO ensured that the website would be on top of Google. Mayekar is now busy handling global queries, and sales are brisk. “Sometimes, I have to decline orders. It’s thanks to SEO,” he says.

Around the same time that Mayekar and Mody were grappling with the problem of boosting sales, M Shabir, a fresh MBA graduate from Pune who made a living hawking websites for a Bangalore- based software firm, came to pretty much the same conclusion: just setting up a website doesn’t mean sales will happen. “Clients faced a problem selling their products online because there was no traffic,” adds Shabir. “So I started digging into SEO.” In 2004 he launched his own company, SEO Valley, and today, according to topseos.in — a portal that tracks Indian SEO solution providers — the Bhopal-based firm that has Nokia USA as a client generates close to $3 million annually. And it has been growing at the rate of 60 percent since 2006.

Mody has his own company — eBrandz.com. “I set up my firm in 2003 with a capital of Rs 50,000,” he says. Today, eBrandz reportedly generates annual revenues of $3 million, and has offices in Mumbai, New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, London and Singapore. From a mere handful in 1999, the number of SEO firms is nearly 600 now. Yet despite the spread of Internet in India, the main revenue source for its SEO firms is the US. “India’s online ecosystem is far from developed. Indians like to do deals across the table while Americans prefer online transactions,” Mody says.

“It’s the US where the money lies,” adds Gyan Sati, product manager at the Noida-based Outsource SEO, founded in 2004 on an investment of $1,000, but which now has a turnover of more than $5 million. “The Indian SEO market is not very good.”

Today, Indian SEO companies account for a mere 2 percent of the American pie. “We will grow in the next two-three years, but we have to work more on our pricing and branding,” says Mody.

 

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 31, Dated August 07, 2010
 

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