The Future of SEO in India

What Top 23 Experts Think!

We asked 23 experts, 4 questions regarding the future of SEO in India:

  1. What is the importance of Rankings today as far as you're concerned?
  2. What are your favorite strategies to get your site or content ranked in the Google SERPs?
  3. What would you say are the 3 critical elements to be covered in an SEO site audit?
  4. What features do you think are missing in mainstream SEO tools? Are these any processes you'd love to see automated?
"The only way to stay on top of evolving quality benchmarks and updates in Google’s search algorithms is to produce great content consistently!."
Importance of rankings?
Any sustainable business today that's looking to attract high-value customers has to turn their attention toward search rankings. There are no two-ways about it. My company, BUZZVALVE, is fortunate enough to work with many marquee brands and startups. In all honesty, a significant chunk of clients in the early days came solely via organic search. We simply did not have the luxury of "word of mouth" or "referrals" back then. And so, getting on SERP #1 with high-quality content was the only objective we really worked on. If done right, the number of tangible business leads you can get with a good search ranking is practically unbeatable by any other marketing tactic, except perhaps WOM.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
In my book, the only way to stay on top of evolving quality benchmarks and updates in Google's search algorithms is to produce great content consistently! That's it. Create a solid content strategy, hire a talented content marketing partner, and just go out there and execute. Don't forget to learn along the way. There are a whole bunch of tweaks and techniques to optimise each page and the base layer powering your website so it's friendlier with Google. But surely, that can be done in parallel with publishing solid content.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Is your site quick to load? Is it mobile responsive? Have you been publishing best-of-breed content within your industry?
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
It's easy to make things look complicated. The challenge is in making them look easy to understand and use. And there lies the opportunity. I get pitched by many SaaS companies who offer "best in class" features at ridiculous prices. The thing is, "best in class" need not mean "best for my business". I don't think that tools today are missing out on any features. In fact, what we're experiencing is feature overload. Moving forward, being able to work with only the features that you want for your business, in relation to the metrics that matter most to you, is going to be the adoption standard. Secondly, SEO as a subject and as a technique is beneficial to everyone — big and small. It's time for tools that are underserving SMB's and overpricing the enterprise to change their business model in everyone's favor.

ZUBIN KUTAR

Head - Digital Marketing, Communications & Social Media at Tata Consultancy Services
"You get traffic only when you rank high on search else you have to pay to get traffic and that’s an expensive proposition ..not sustainable in the long run."
Importance of rankings?
It's one of the most critical aspects of the digital marketing mix, you get traffic only when you rank high on search else you have to pay to get traffic and that's an expensive proposition ..not sustainable in the long run ..Optimizing for rankings is hard work but will pay off to get you quality traffic in the long run.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
There is no magic to get your sites ranking high. It's 24/7 tireless work to optimize your site and keep reviewing it ....Link building is the fuel to search and that what sites should aim for, it's easy to get your pages optimized but the real value in ranking is the kind of links that you should get. Avoid black hat techniques and work hard on what google preaches on link building.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Site audit should be a comprehensive approach to finding "unfriendly gaps' in SEO, it should cover the site architecture, site navigation URL structure and site tagging.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Most of the tools now are highly enriched to point out gaps from a search perspective...the real work begins once the tools tell you what's missing.

DEEPAN SIDDHU

Head of Digital Strategy at Webenza.com Twitter: @deepansiddhu
"Irrespective of the number of algorithmic changes by search engines, the one thing which never changed is their measure of importance to quality content."
Importance of rankings?
While rankings are not as important as metrics such as relevant user traffic or conversions, they are still important to assess a business's performance on the search landscape vis-a-vis their competition at a higher level. While the rise of local search & personalization of search results (based on location, search histories, languages, devices etc) almost brought down the value of rankings, it's important for a business to monitor rankings on a fixed schedule at an aggregate level to get a bird's-eye view of brand's performance on search.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Creating content that your users will fall in love with. Irrespective of the number of algorithmic changes by search engines, the one thing which never changed is their measure of importance to quality content. This coupled with contextual links from reputed sources within your industry, a beautifully designed website with an architecture of lesser complexity that loads within few seconds across browsers & devices.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Site speed & navigation, User behavior & experience, Aligning SEO KPIs with Business KPIs.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
We've been using a wide range of tools for SEO such as Adwords Keyword tool, Page Speed Insights, BuzzSumo, Headline Analyzer, Moz, SimilarWeb, Ahrefs, Seositecheckup, SEMRush, SERPs Rank checker, Google Analytics, Wayback machine etc. It would be great to have all of them in one place. It would also be interesting to see a snapshot or timely reminders of how search rankings are fluctuating with respect to location (City/Country), devices, algorithmic updates, website changes, negative ranking factors along with specific actionable recommendations for improvement & an approximate prediction of numbers if the recommendations are implemented.

SOMESH KHANDALKAR

Head of Online Marketing at GoZoop
"Rankings will continue to matter unless the Artificial Intelligence (AI) reaches next level or there's a paradigm shift in how search works."
Importance of rankings?
The basic fundamental approach of a search engine is to promote good, relevant content and demote not so good content.
So, rankings still matter a lot. In fact, they will continue to matter unless the Artificial Intelligence (AI) reaches next level or there's a paradigm shift in how search works. Personally, I would love to see a Google one day that understands my online behavior and shows me more content based on my likes/dislikes and less on the basis of which website is more optimized. Social Media has a major role to play in the same. So, as of now Ranking is the no. 1 KPI to help you understand the progress you made.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
There are 2 favourite strategies of mine among many which are essential. First is to make the website as mobile friendly as possible. And second is 'Always Be Blogging'. Blogging can help you get quality traffic and can go a long way in ensuring your rankings improve.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Sitemap. It is one of the essentials and needs to be done first as it helps Google crawl and categorize the website.
Meta tag. They provide information about your page to Google. Its also helps Google verify your website.

Check for duplicate pages and get them removed asap. They leave google crawlers bamboozled. It can be your worse enemy if not taken care of soon.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Nothing much, the current set of tools cover a wide range of things that assist SEO executives. In my early days, we had a manual approach to almost everything. I think doing so ensures a human connect. A human intervention helps maintain the balance between automation and manual work.

KAMALJIT SAINI

Head of Digital Marketing at Puretech Digital
"Rankings or placement being the "First Point of Interaction" deserve the seriousness of digital marketers."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings still remain one of the important measurability parameters. Whether it's SEO or PPC, your brand placement combined with your communication strategy on SERPs will define the Quantity of Sessions that your website is going to get through Search Engines. Rankings or placement being the "First Point of Interaction" deserve the seriousness of digital marketers.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Off Site content & communication that can intimidate and Onsite content that can dominate is generally our strategy to get our content ranked. If the content can address the concerns and provide a solution to a customer, it gets the required attention. We have always used content as a medium to address problems and how users/customers can be benefited through the brands they are going to get engaged.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Critical elements that we always evaluate a brand against are:
  1. Technology and Ease of navigation in website: Technology that makes thing easy for Crawlers to match user queries to solutions that you are able to provide.
  2. Content: Content that can anticipate your prospects/customers journey of a brand engagement (Typically 3 phases, beginning with being Aware, Engaging and becoming a customer. In today's scenario 4th Step is gaining attention, which is advocacy) and emphasis on benefits that a customer is going to get if they engage with the brand.
  3. Customers: Customers are your assets. If they can be your advocate be it on any channel of communication, dominating the digital mediums of promotions will be easier for the brand. Hence, we believe in ensuring that customers are leveraged as advocates which make our jobs easier to ensure that we to meet the client's objective.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
The way Search Engines work have always kept Automation at bay. So far most of the automation tools generally provide data in silos. They don't provide a holistic view of all the signals that can influence your rankings positively or negatively. A tool that provides great offsite popularity of the website is not an equally good technical evaluation of a website or other Onsite Factors or Social Signals. Even the greatest of Rank monitoring tool won’t really highlight what made the website slip or improve its rankings viz-a-viz competition. Hence, a holistic view of SEO effectiveness is something that is the need of the hour.

VISHAL DUTTA

Co-founder and CEO at Drumup.io Twitter: @vdutta1
"Organic search still is the most sustainable way to get new conversions and will remain so for the foreseeable future."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings, of course, remain extremely important. This is will remain important despite the percentage of traffic moving to the mobile app. Organic search still is the most sustainable way to get new conversions and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
We like to do detailed articles on topics that add genuine value to the users. We get a lot of traction on social media and get mentions elsewhere. Infographics are still quite effective. But all this needs to be done keeping the competition for your keywords in mind, and having a close look at long tail potential.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
  1. Competition benchmarking.
  2. Keyword validation (both broad and long tail).
  3. Detecting and correcting onsite blunders.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Most SEO tools are still very passive and assume that an expert is using them. In fact, the information overload can be overwhelming even for expert users. They need to be more intelligent and start recommending real actionable advice.

KAUSHAL THAKKAR

SEO and Digital Marketing head at Myntra Twitter: @kaushal_t
"Rankings help in understanding the ranking improvement a site had over a period. This is a basic indicator to understand if your SEO efforts & spends are helping."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings were important for measuring search performance a decade back and remain important today as well. Rankings help in understanding the ranking improvement a site had over a period of time. This is a basic indicator to understand if your SEO efforts & spends are helping. It is also one of the most important metrics for competition analysis.

However crucial, ranking is not the only metric that an organization should look at to get an overall view of SEO performance. They should also include other related metrics to organic search traffic such as click share, conversion, sessions, bounce rate, engagement etc.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
I follow a three-pronged strategy for getting a site ranked in Google SERP.
  1. SEO compliance of platform - It is important to ensure that the bots crawl only unique and relevant content on the site. If this fails, all other SEO efforts would go down the drain.
  2. Implementing a good content strategy - Create content for users and not for bots. Many people ask me if they can automate the generation of content for gaining search rankings. Doing so will not only will increase the bounce rate of users but it will also be a hanging sword over your neck. Remember that Google is smarter than you. Even if a black hat technique works today, you do not know when Google comes up with a new update that will crash your ranking and reputation. It's better to follow ethical ways to generate content and rank on Google.
  3. Relevant links to important pages - It is said that "Doing business without marketing is like winking in the dark, you know what you are doing, but nobody else does." Creating relevant links from various other locations is like advertising since it helps users discover the critical pages on the site. This also enhances the authority of the site.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
The 3 most critical elements to be covered in SEO audit are
  1. User & Bot eXperience (UBX) audit - Ensuring that the experience of Users and Bots is the best on the site is one of the most important elements of an audit.The Site should be simple & easy to navigate. Many times the crucial pages of the site that are expected to bring the maximum revenue are found 3-4 levels away from the home page. This is neither good for the business nor for the users & bots.
  2. Thin content review - Creating pages that add little value to a user can be termed as thin pages. E.g. "casual shoes size 10", "casual shoes size 11". 99% of the products displayed or content written for such pages would be the same. There is no need to create this level of detailed content and URLs. For websites with high dynamic content (e.g. E-Commerce), it's better to keep the site lean with relevant URL's instead of bulky with not so relevant URLs.
  3. Backlinks - It's important for a site to be linked from relevant websites and not from irrelevant websites. If your site is being linked from sources that are irrelevant please request the owner of such websites for removal of such links to your site or Disavow such links from your search console.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
It's important to look at search rankings from a holistic view. I see many mainstream tools only reporting the average ranking change on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. While this is important it is also important to understand the search volume of keywords.

E.g. Search volume for the keyword "Online shopping" will be much more as compared to "Nike casual shoes". Let's say site X gained 5 rankings on "online shopping" to move to the first position & site Y gained 5 rankings on "Nike casual shoes" and moved to the first position. If these were the only keywords for which the rankings changed over a period, the average search ranking metric for both these websites would increase in the same proportion. However site X would have gained much more visitors from search because of the higher search volume. So we need a better metric like click share.

A click share can be calculated on the basis of rankings, CTR of the ranking position & search volume of the keyword.

Yes, I would like to see this automated in the mainstream tools.

JIGNESH GOHEL

Founder & Marketing Head at Olbuz Twitter: @jigneshgohel
"Understanding the difference between running behind keywords vs optimizing the pages for better user experience is very important."
Importance of rankings?
According to me, having a better position in the organic search results is one of the biggest factors in organic search marketing. But understanding the difference between running behind keywords vs optimizing the pages for better user experience is very important. We never offer any package to our clients which are based on keyword rankings! But at the same time, we do work on targeting keywords to bring the most relevant traffic to our client websites. Here we closely work on targeting and monitoring rankings as well and improving the user experience of the audiences. The combination of these two will result in a better ROI and can help businesses to get sustainable long term revenue from online sources.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
We have a well defined in-house process to get our site or content ranked well in Google SERP which starts from research / analysis. We do an in-depth research on the topic we are supposed to write on by understanding client goal and interest of target audiences. We do research around already published content (Top blogs / website in a similar niche) and understand the gap that we can fill by writing missing information that can add value in existing published content online. Based on our research, we prepare a list of keywords with the help of Google keyword planner & SEMRush. Then we work on content flow & creatives (infographic, videos, images, statistics etc) and we prepare the first draft for client review. Upon receiving feedback, we prepare the final draft and publish on respective blog / website.

After publishing; content promotion & outreach is the crucial part as it must reach the targeted audiences at the right time & right places. We also share our content with industry influencers who share their feedback and also spread the same with their audiences. This is a continuous process which requires a well-defined plan and a better understanding of content marketing strategies. We also use tools like socialpilot, bufferapp, hootsuite to increase the efficiency of our social media marketing approach.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
According to me, the 3 most important elements in SEO site audit are:
  1. Backlinks – Quality & Relevance of backlink (if the website is old) is very important to audit first.
  2. Technical Analysis: Search engine friendly structure, website speed and various other important factors in technical audit is mandatory in SEO site audit.
  3. Content & User experience: Unique, relevant and precise content along with better user experience (that can be understood by analyzing bounce rate of the pages) is very important in SEO site audit.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
I am a big fan of productivity tools and keep testing them to enhance the productivity. Regarding missing feature, I would love to see tools that help to analyze latent semantic indexing keywords and optimize / suggest content topic based on it. This will help SEOs to target closely relevant keywords while working on content marketing strategies.

SANDIP SHETTY

VP of Search and Analytics at Jack In the Box
"Rankings are very important for any content driven website, products/services company or e-comm site."
Importance of rankings?
It is still very important. Initially, clients may not focus on it but they eventually get quite demanding about it. And they are very important for any content driven website, products/services company or e-comm site.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Social Bookmarking + News aggregators and some blog writing (or Content Marketing). Besides direct XML submissions to SE's.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Responsive and Mobile optimisation, Website URL structure, Use of primary keyword in meta tags and content, site loading speed.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Image ranking, Keyword ranking changes (current ranking vs older ranking), Heatmap in google analytics.

TUSHAR PANT

Head of SEO at ShopClues
"Rankings are important, but the most important aspect is the quality of information that you are going to provide on the web page."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings are important, but the most important aspect is the quality of information that you are going to provide on the web page. As Google says, build the website / webpages for users and not search-bots. A quality website with useful information will tend to drive more visitors, which in turn (the URLs) will be shared via social profiles of users, talked about and will lead to a returning visitor.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Originality, Uniqueness and Value (information) are the 3-major one's for content.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
PageSpeed Insights, Mobile Friendliness & Website Validation.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
I think the mainstream SEO tools, nearly cover most of the aspects for the website optimization and usefulness. The things which I would feel will make the life simpler of the webmaster are:
a) to have an option to collectively compare the organic vs paid keywords at a go and
b) to figure out, all hidden keywords resulting in traffic, which further can be split into branded vs non-branded.

PANKAJ CHAUHAN

Head of SEO at 91mobiles.com
"User experience is the priority if you want to get your site ranked better in search engines."
Importance of rankings?
If your site doesn't rank on Google, you don't get the traffic leading to no business/sales. Ranking higher on Google is important as around 90% of search traffic goes to sites that rank on the first page Google SERP. And if your site is ranking on #1 position then you are likely to receive around 30% of search traffic. Thus, Ranking is of utmost importance. Besides, if you rank better, it helps to improve your branding and gives a boost to direct traffic.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
How a user feels when he visits your site defines the user experience. And user experience is the priority if you want to get your site ranked better in search engines. User experience can be improved by offering a seamless movement of the user from one page to another (i.e. technologically sound site with good site speed, no duplicate in pages, usable content etc.). This means no technical glitches, useful content, and smooth navigation helps in ranking a site better on Google.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
SEO audit must cover all technical aspects of the site. Example, factors which help to improve the crawl budget of the site so that more content can be crawled and ranked, duplicate content issues etc.
Second, how well the interlinking is done with each and every page of the site to make sure that valuable pages are accessible for the users as well as crawlers.
Third, low-hanging fruits and new upcoming content opportunities must be covered as per the latest search and industry trends.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Most of the SEO tools cover only linking and ranking profile of the site. More focus must be given to crawl issues of the site, internal linking of the site, etc. This means a tool that can do a thorough technical analysis of the site would be a great help for SEOs.

LALIT KATARIA

Head of SEO at GroupM
"Once you have content in place, content distribution and syndication should follow for quality links."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings are an instant gratification brands look at, while measuring success or conducting a competition benchmarking. Ranking is first stopover where users discover a new brand, product, services etc.. So rankings are very important and is here to stay. For SEO practitioners, it's a must have and also relevant to see how many miles they have to cover before reaching the top spot.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
I'm a firm believer of 'Out of the Box' ideas. However, mostly I rely on content strategy and content amplification approach. There are several intriguing content ideas that specific brands can leverage for them to be popular. Once you have content in place, content distribution and syndication should follow for quality links.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
  1. Technical audit including site speed (mandatory).
  2. Information Architecture.
  3. Keyword and Content audit.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Personally being notified on ranking drops or links moving out of indexes is something that one would expect most mainstream SEO tools to be monitoring. Having said that, automating everything will remove all the fizz from the can, a custom fit with balanced manual participation from a real person on the other side is absolutely important.

AGHA MATEEN

Group Head of SEO at Interactive Avenues
"If you are not ranking, you are not visible and hence you stand to lose out on getting organic traffic to your website."
Importance of rankings?
According to me, rankings = visibility; which means that if you are not ranking, you are not visible and hence you stand to lose out on getting organic traffic to your website. Google's update of having the 4th paid ad has already reduced CTRs for organic search results which make it all the more important that we rank higher on SERPs.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
My approach is to first make your website as SEO friendly as possible from a technical standpoint i.e. ensure your URL structure, website load time, content placement, content visibility to crawlers, breadcrumb navigation, footer links etc. are all good. Post this, the focus should be to generate content that your audience is most likely to consume. It helps in improving keyword rankings, as search engines find a lot of related content on the website plus internal linking helps in improving the internal link structure. Additionally, this could also be shared on social platforms where your audience is engaging with you.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
The 1st I would say is the taxonomy of the website. It is very important to have a proper structure to ensure all category, sub-category and bridging pages are present so that keywords can be properly mapped and targeted. The 2nd would be content visibility - while most websites add content, many times, it is added in a way that this content is not visible/crawlable by search engines i.e. it is as good as having no content on the website and the 3rd would be to look at crawling stats i.e. there are no crawl errors on the website, which will ensure a good crawl efficiency. In addition to this, it is also very important to do a thorough backlink audit to ensure anything bad done in the past should not haunt us later.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
As of 2016, you can find tools for almost everything that you need. What I would still want, would be a tool that would help me seamlessly crawl websites; currently, the available tools crash if you try crawling a website which has over a 100,000 pages. The other automation (I really wish this was possible) would be something that could help me get a good quality back links without all that manual work.

SABYASACHI MITTER

Managing Director at IBSUnified
"Rather than spending effort on back links and other methods, spend effort on creating content and building material which is useful, insightful and valuable."
Importance of rankings?
Given the multiple different modes people now choose to connect with a brand, rankings may not be as important as they once were. Even today, despite updates to the search algorithms, many pages without appropriate content get listed. What remains more important is spending effort on developing appropriate and rich content to meet the needs of consumers along with using a mix of paid and organic methods to make them visible to people.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Content is king. Rather than spending effort on back links and other methods. Spend effort on creating content and building material which is useful, insightful and valuable.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
The Richness of content is the first element, which includes related descriptive meta data, followed by priorities to mobile first design, and last but not least usability signals.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
I think the existing tools meet most of my requirements.

BIPLAB DAS

Founder and CEO at 7boats
"Ranking is important but having informative, user-oriented content is far more important today."
Importance of rankings?
If I take Google as an example for a popular search engine, everyone looks for a good ranking here. But Google intends to give the best search experience to the end user. It combines user's search intention with various other real-time information and serves right content in the form of rankings to help the searcher. So ranking is important but having informative, user-oriented content is far more important today.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Doing the SEO right and having more & more SEO optimized blogs & informative, demography targeted content on the website, social media, microblogging and content sharing platforms.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Website structure, Content style, structure & quality and Link popularity.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
I prefer manual auditing for researching mobile friendliness, link quality, content style & analyzing traffic with analytics & insights than blindly relying upon automated SEO tools. But it's good to have the tools. I would like to see automated features in SEO tools linked with defined KPIs to get an idea about performance from specific efforts so that I can work out a better strategy.

HONEY SINGH

CEO at ARMDigital PR
"In current semantic behavior of consumers, the organic traffic is directly proportional to the keywords ranking."
Importance of rankings?
In current semantic behavior of consumers, the organic traffic is directly proportional to the keywords ranking.
Till the time, we use search engines for content discovery, rankings will always be important.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
On page keyword hacks to get the rankings is short term. The long term strategies are:
  1. Focusing on the content at core which is relevant to the keywords, no stuffing. Bots are getting smarter day by day.
  2. Social recommendations by driving engagement from digital influencers & bloggers for landing page or site.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
  1. Page loading time & factors responsible for it.
  2. Status of keyword rankings for the site with segmentation of under 10 - under100.
  3. Sitewide Traffic analysis with social stats (twitter/facebook/linkedin shares).
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
  1. After inputting the target keywords, tools should automate the process & create a guide with the list of tasks as a recommendation to rank quickly.
  2. SEO score on the basis of grammatical, content, traffic, social & rankings

DEVRANJAN DASH

Senior Manager Marketing & Analytics at Onmobile Global Pvt. Ltd
"The results on the top always carry that importance & authority."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings are very important or crucial as they are closely linked to inherent human nature to seek/reach out to for that object/thing that closely matches the requirement. This in case of search, is based on queries and the results on the top always carry that importance & authority.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
External Links from blogs, Social Posts relevant with Website content, Authentic content keeping in mind the possible user/consumer of the same.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Site design, it should be clutter free with easy navigability, Use of keywords based on the type of users one wants to reach out, Optimised URL & URL parameters.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
While there is a whole host of automated tools what is key for from SEO perspective is that Choice and use of effective keywords which are a derivation from the intended users.

MADHUSMITA PANDA

Head Marketing & sales at Aranyani Lifestyles & SAC
"Ranking gives you an 'almost' clear picture on what factors to follow to be out there."
Importance of rankings?
The Ranking is the basis, the very foundation. Since I live & breathe in a start-up environment it becomes all the more crucial, because there is always a dearth of the most important factors, money & resources and hence you learn mostly on your own, either out of pure passion or simply to avoid marketing spends or costs. Ranking gives you an 'almost' clear picture on what factors to follow to be out there and with practice and no spends you kind of might reach there. I did :)
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Again I will be talking from a startup perspective. Going slow and steady is what it is for me so that even if you make mistakes (which you will) your exposure is limited and you do get some time to work on them. a) Extensive keyword research, I dig on long term keywords for obvious reasons. b) Content as always remains the king my approach is usually to take the humor or the quirky road as much as I can see) Faster site, no compromise there.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
1. Simple & easy to navigate architecture
2. Internal Linking- so, so crucial.
3. Content analysis
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Plain simple English or maybe vernacular language to help newbies with instructions on what to do or just read that report for me, I hate reports :)

RAMPRABU

Digital Marketing Manager at Myntra Designs Private limited
"Rankings are the most important one for any online business. Without organic traffic no online business can survive far."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings are the most important for any online business. Without organic traffic no online business can survive far.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
CTR of the SERP , URL Arch, Deeplink crawls.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
  1. CTR from search positions across verticals.
  2. A/B suggestions for meta contents.
  3. Technology used is in compliance with SEO. So many technology has arrived but not all of them are crawlable tech.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
Again CTR rates for keyword positions, Competitor CTR for higher/lower position, Brand share on search, Brand influence on CTR from search.

VIRAJ MEHTA

Head - International Business, Marketing & Partnerships at Muvi Entertainment Pvt Ltd
"With Google now displaying search results from various sources, the type of content you deliver becomes an important factor into consideration for these rankings."
Importance of rankings?
Rankings are always going to be important, the top 5-6 ranked results take away most of the traffic, unless a user is searching for something very specific and decides to go deeper into pages. With Google now displaying search results from various sources (News, Video, Local etc) the type of content you deliver becomes an important factor into consideration for these rankings.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
Have a page/site which offers good and "relevant" content, User Experience, without a doubt SEO Friendly technical structure, update fresh content regularly and get good and legit backlinks, natural as well as ones generated by guest blogging, PR and other activities. Try to follow a clean process as much as possible.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Site Errors, Site Speed, Mobile Friendliness,
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
  1. Accurate Data Prediction - I see in most popular tool is incorrect data, these tools are not able to accurately track a website's data, traffic, keywords, rankings etc.
  2. Reports - current report formats are too confusing for a CEO / CXO level person or a non SEO person, a tool should use certain natural language based suggestion to improve site rankings.
  3. Competition - lot of tools claim to pull competition data and keywords without clearly understanding the actual competition a client may have.

DEVESH VERMA

SEO Manager at WittyFeed
"Focus on original and relatable content because content is the king and if it is relatable to your audience, it would be highly shared."
Importance of rankings?
If you want to grow faster than your competitors, then the importance of ranking is very high. It helps us understand whether our search traffic is rising or falling. Ranking are essential for competitive analysis. I firmly believe we should use third party ranking tools because there is a slight inaccuracy in webmaster tools and hence, we cannot rely on it completely.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
There are many strategies to rank your content or site in Google SERPs. I strongly recommend that you should focus on developing original and relatable content because content is king and if it is relatable to your audience, it would be highly shared. Also, it will give many you high quality backlinks and initiate the branding to get better rankings in Google SERPs.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
I would say do not ignore any kind of errors, nor the elements that are connected to your SEO. They might not seem very important at that moment, but they can have a negative influence on your SEO efforts.

And if you ask me about three critical elements, then they would be:
  1. Site load speed - sites which take more time to load are not ranked good. So, Site load time should be less.
  2. I would say during the audit you should check if all search engines are able to crawl all the right pages of your website?
  3. The most important thing is to remove the duplicate content, if any.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
There is not any perfect tool which can get the exact data of each and every link we have on our websites. You have to take help from different tools for different aspects. But personally, I feel if we get a tool which can easily give us insights on all aspects of SEO, then there would be no need of an SEO expert. So instead of pushing a single button as an SEO expert, I would love to do each and every step myself.

RAHUL SETIA

Digital Marketing Head at Content Mart
"Focus on competitors who are already ranking on Google for those keywords and try to analyze their backlinks for those ranked pages and their SERP view as well."
Importance of rankings?
After the launch of Google's new ad layout on SERPs, which shows 4 ads from last few months for almost every query made by user, But still rankings for these keywords important, because paying money for every single keyword is not affordable for every business or individual, so I prefer here get rankings for those top keywords which are very important for your business, this you achieve by gaining top quality links by using informational content which users like to share more and more.
Remember; keep producing content which Google pickup from Featured snippets in search.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
I am a very big fan of data-driven content & facts with numbers, which people also like to read & share. This means first create very good content with some visuals for sure in content along with some tips & numbers etc. because people come again and again to your site to read this content and will share it more and more in their social channels & groups.
Second, I will suggest you focus on competitors who are already ranking on Google for those keywords and try to analyze their backlinks for those ranked pages and their SERP view as well.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
Robots.txt file & along with Robots tag is very important for me the first thing is to see on every site because misuse of this can damage site rankings in SERP.
Then, I will prefer to go for Page Speed because the user experience is very important & without a good page speed it can't be achieved.
Rel=canonical Tags are very important for me to check, these tags will set the platform of rankings for a website in SERP for the dedicated page with unique content.
At the end, I recommend using screaming frog tool to analysis your website from A-Z.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
One thing, I am currently searching or you can say trying to see in any tool is "voice-based searches" made by users on a mobile platform like android, iOS & windows. Rest features you can find in any tool but not everything in one tool & it can't be possible because every few months something new will come to audit as Google has more than 200 rankings factors to consider for rankings.

RAHUL KAMAL

SEO Analyst at OmLogic
"Focus on competitors who are already ranking on Google for those keywords and try to analyze their backlinks for those ranked pages and their SERP view as well."
Importance of rankings?
According to me, Rankings are the most important thing in SEO. If your business ranks in top positions of Google serp's, it will definitely increase your quality traffic and business. As per your rankings, Google also give weightage to your website.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
I am doing Article Submission, Press Releases, Guest Blogging, PDF Submissions, Commenting and other off-page activities to rank my content in Google SERP's. Also, I do some keyword targeting in my content. We optimize our webpages through on-page optimization like: Meta Tags, Heading Tags, Image Optimization etc to increase our content reach.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
On-Page Optimization, Google Analytics and Webmaster Setup and Robots.txt setup.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
I am really concerned about Page Rank. The page rank is no more visible in tools. According to me, Page Rank is most important to know the weightage of your web-page according to Google. Google gives a rank to your page so, people can easily know that site is safe for work or is it hit by google bots.
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