SEO: A misunderstood Enchilada

“if you want to hide a corpse you should put it on the second page of Google search results”

With the internet being the number one place to search for any product or service and Ecommerce growing an astonishing 43% in 2020, having an effective digital marketing strategy is more important than ever, and SEO forms an absolutely integral part of this. Not being Search Engine Optimized is akin to simply having your proud, passion-owned business sitting in Barcelona’s La Mina or New York’s Brownsville, as opposed to the money-welding, spending-ready crowds and foot-traffic of Passeig de Gracia and Fifth Avenue. Put differently, a wise friend (and proud member of the enchilab team) once told a client; “if you want to hide a corpse you should put it on the second page of Google search results”. Your call.

So what is (safe) SEO?

The goal of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is to ultimately rank as high as possible in organic (unpaid) online searches. The difficulty in achieving this obviously depends on how competitive the market your business trying to rank in is. Your business is focused on selling a relatively unknown Himalayan herb? Your SEO strategy will probably not be as in-depth, and take as long, as the business owner trying to rank high in household insurance provider related searches.

“We at Enchilab like to think of blackcaps as your self-proclaimed and spammy cryptocurrency expert friend who made a couple hundred bucks off bitcoin once, but has consistently made a loss since (though they’ll never admit it)”

Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot more to SEO than simply ‘throwing in a bunch of relevant keywords together on your site’. Typically divided up into Black-hat and White-hat strategies, those fly-by-night, ‘bunch of keywords together’  types generally fall into the former, along with excessive duplicate content (spam), invisible text, and links from sites with non-relevant content. The focus is on short-term returns which will inevitably end up in penalties and being pushed down the rankings. We at Enchilabs like to think of blackcaps as your self-proclaimed and spammy cryptocurrency expert friend who made a couple hundred bucks off bitcoin once, but has consistently made a loss since (though they’ll never admit it). 

Whitecaps, on the other hand, are more like your David Attenborough types, or the type of partner you’d like to take home to your parents in your 30’s type; those that come with a clear and concise long-term plan, and human audience focused strategy. Where your rankings will improve and that rate of improvement will be maintained. This is ideally the direction whoever handling your SEO strategy will take.

SEO nitty gritty

“…ensuring great User Experience which will affect bounce-rate and dwell-time.”

SEO is generally divided into two main categories; on-page and off-page. On-page SEO involves optimizing all those elements that make up your site and its performance; the quality of your sites’ code in ensuring easy crawling by Googlebots in indexing your site, quality content (with the CORRECT use of relevant keywords), and your site’s architecture-ensuring great User Experience which will affect bounce-rate and dwell-time. There’s also ensuring your site is responsive, and in the age of the smartphone, not having your site mobile responsive is essentially the same as attempting to bungee jump without a chord. 

Off-page SEO refers to optimization work done outside of your website, but which still increases its trustworthiness and authority. This is generally achieved by building backlinks (the heart of off-page SEO), social media marketing, guest blogging, and anything else that increases outside engagement with your site. A good SEO strategy will most likely contain a healthy mix of both on-page and off-page.

Another concept of SEO worth considering is Economies of Scale; in competitive industries or markets, a one-place movement (which could easily take months) up the organic rankings could convert to tens of thousands more click-throughs, and depending on your conversion rate, a LOT more business. Compare this to our Himalayan herb example, where a one-place movement will be relatively easy to achieve in a short amount of time, but will not be making all that much difference. The point is, an effective SEO strategy will take time to yield results, but that wait will be oh so worth it.

You’ve made it!

“You have managed to crawl through the trenches of shady SEO advice…and stumbled upon SEO Shangri La..”

The internet is a crazy place, where pretty much anything goes and anything is possible. And while it’s filled with all sorts of goodness like cute cat videos and Bill Gates jumping over a chair, there’s also plenty of not-so-much-goodness (I’m still waiting for my Nigerian prince inheritance after sending money to cover transfer costs). However, the fact that you are reading this post is a good sign. You have managed to crawl through the trenches of shady SEO advice, steered clear of those dodgy blackcap alleyways and stumbled upon SEO Shangri La. Go you! And welcome to Enchilab.

Diversity: Not just a superstar in the natural world

“Increasing interconnectedness of the Global Economy requires increased diversity in digital marketing.”

Walk into any part of rural Africa, and a significant portion of the population you come across will have a smartphone, with access to data. The hard part is access to a reliable energy supply to charge these devices (but that’s a whole other matter). For many, there is huge interest in brands from the US and Europe. One simply has to consider Manchester United for example, whose logo is easily identified throughout the continent. While this can mostly be accredited to television and football’s (actual football) popularity on the continent, there’s no denying the importance of digital marketing and it’s reach.

“‘transaction times’ have become slightly more acceptable and less devoid of potential heart-attacks when entering credit-card details online.”

When it comes to Ecommerce specifically, Africa is seen as having huge potential thanks in part to having the youngest, and second largest, population in the world. There are obviously also plenty of hurdles. South Africans in particular are a pretty skeptical bunch (online retail currently only accounts for around 2%), used to constantly needing to keep one’s guard up. I look at my parents who up until a year ago, were too scared to purchase anything online. They didn’t want to trust anything which didn’t resemble that traditional transaction of handing over one’s money, and instantly picking up their newly acquired possession (and sure, this is an older generation phenomenon). 

However, with the emergence of fulfillment services across the country, ‘transaction times’ have become slightly more acceptable and less devoid of potential heart-attacks when entering credit-card details online. The country’s Ecommerce market grew 24% in 2020, with 27% of purchases being made on US sites, and 14% on European.

Years ago Viettel, Vietnam’s biggest telecoms decided to chance-it and provide free data to sim card holders under the age of 18, countrywide, with the hopes that when some of that demographic became adults, they would remain loyal to Viettel to provide for their connectivity needs. The move paid off and resulted in them completely obliterating the competition, while still providing cheap and reliable data to almost the entire population.

While living in the country, I had greater reception and faster internet in middle-of-nowhere rice paddy fields, while on ‘trying to get away from it all’ breaks, than in many parts of the United States. 

“the average Vietnamese consumer spends an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes per day on the internet.”

According to Deloitte, the average Vietnamese consumer spends an average of 6 hours and 42 minutes per day on the internet. These figures don’t differ all that much from other countries in the region, with the highest being the Philippines (10 hours, 56 minutes), and the lowest being Japan (4 hours, 25 minutes). As an international brand, that’s a whole lot of opportunity to make an appearance! 

The point is, there exists a truly global audience with eager participants from the furthest corners of the globe. Get your brand identity right, with this diversity in mind, and be willing to cut through some bureaucratic red-tape, and you can establish yourself as a truly successful international brand. Of course, choosing a digital marketing agency that can accommodate achieving such a strategy will set you on course. Que Enchilab.

At Enchilab, we pride ourselves on this diversity. Six nationalities and languages spoken, from 4 different continents and educational backgrounds, but with a shared passion for technology and the digital marketing space, and the creativity to help your business thrive in our global economy. We understand your market, and get your brand’s needs, whether it simply remains regional, or decides to conquer the world, we’ve got you covered!

Coding & Hogwarts in the time of Corona

Learning to code is something I never thought would exist in my vocabulary. Like a cat avoiding water, I did my best to avoid anything ‘tech related’. After studying Environmental Science and Economics in South Africa, I did some land assessment work for a wind-turbine feasibility study before deciding to hit the proverbial ‘road’. I travelled for a few years before accepting my first (and only) corporate gig in Cape Town. On paper it sounded amazing, but I quickly learnt that my role, and the rest of the so called ‘eco energy’ team, was primarily a ‘greenwashing’ move – we were there just to give the company some ‘green’ accreditation. It didn’t take long for me to leave, and along with 3 other guys from the company, we decided to start our own thing.

“my stubbornness to at least go out with ‘tech’ for a drink was shooting myself in the foot.”

The idea was to develop a pay-as-you go platform for purchasing solar kits in rural Africa where users could, through the app, make minimal monthly payments to pay off a basic kit which would provide enough energy to power basic lighting and a charging portal to charge a phone. We had lined up a supplier of said affordable kits, but had absolutely no idea where to even start when it came to the actual platform application. After not being able to afford quote after quote from developers we found off Google, we decided to scrap that idea and settle for the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency in industrial South Africa. While profitable, it was not exactly what we had in mind. This was the first time that I acknowledged that my stubbornness to at least go out with ‘tech’ for a drink was shooting myself in the foot.

The second moment came when, some years later while travelling through Ecuador, I decided to set up an online store selling organically-grown-in-polyculture guayusa and cacao. Again, I had no idea where to even start with setting up an online store. I was so intimidated by it, that I eventually offered a  ‘tech-savvy’ friend an equal stake just to build it. There was delay after delay, and I felt completely helpless not knowing whether some of these were legit or whether it came down to pure laziness. The seed was planted. I needed to neaten up, put on some cologne and throw myself at the tech world. Be annoying and clingy, the full monty. 

I tried some online courses, but was so far gone, I needed the equivalent of a coding Jesus. Going back to study full time was out of the question. It was then that I heard about coding bootcamps. I was blown away, but equally skeptical. Learn to code in just 9 weeks? Surely not. I kept reading raving review after raving review about people’s experiences and decided to just take the leap and sign up for Le Wagon Barcelona. 

“I considered starting to smoke, but figured my heart wouldn’t handle it.“

It was easily the most challenging 9 weeks of my life. I wanted to cry at least 3 times a week. My relationship took strain. I ate a bag of chips and 2 empanadas almost every day. I gained weight, and lost hair. I considered starting to smoke, but figured my heart wouldn’t handle it. The thing that got me through it? Harry Potter. After a string of feel-good Disney movies, I got started on the Harry Potter binge train, and my wounded soul was so glad I did. I likended myself to Harry (though in reality I was a lot more like Ron), enrolled at Hogwarts and learning magic. That’s how I eventually came to view code. As magic. Like learning new spells, seeing your code come to life is extremely rewarding. And seeing coding wizards work their magic is pretty awe-inspiring.

The people, however, take the number one spot. Sharing the journey with such an incredible group of individuals from different backgrounds, and 15 different nationalities, was an experience in itself. An experience which lead to the starting of Enchilab, a team which is consistently making magic!

5 Kick-ass apps which have been co-developed by the Enchilab Team

  1. Amandla

Amandla is a retail directory for the conscious consumer, where users can filter what kind of product or service they are after, and filter the desired characteristics they would like to support (women-owned, fair trade, organic etc). It then directs users to businesses that are aligned with these beliefs. 

Essentially seen as the TripAdvisor for the conscious consumer, Amandla aims to encourage businesses to do their bit in making the world a better, and more equitable place.

  1. Helios 

Want to step out of your comfort zone and immerse yourself in new cultural experiences? Helios is the app for you! Pick a date, choose a budget, and vamos! A ticket to a surprise event will be sent your way.

It is THE ultimate flex when showing one’s spontaneity and open-mindedness. Mention it for a date, and you’ll be a-for-away!

  1. Matchmapp

Not a fan of planning to watch your favorite sports game at a pub with some friends, only to spend most of the game trying to find a pub showing the game which actually has space? Me neither. But fear not dear friends, MatchMapp is here for you! Choose a sports event and your group size, and the app shows you all venues showing the game. From there, you can message the owners or other spectators, and determine whether there is space to host you and your friends.

Be THAT person which pulls through for the team!

  1. HandyLadies

You’re a woman who always gets a little nervous when it comes to requiring the services of a handy person (which is most often a man) in your home? HandyLadies was built just for you. Choose an issue which needs fixing, and HandyLadies presents a comprehensive list of available female professionals in your area who may be able to help, along with their hourly rate.

You can then reach out to them directly to discuss any details and come to an agreement, via the on-app messaging service.

  1. Upfluential

The majority of us are good people who would like to give back in some form or another, but we all have limited time and different schedules which sometimes makes that simple act of giving back a little complicated. Upfluential was developed with this in mind. Punch in your available time and skillset, and choose from a variety of organisations in your location to volunteer at. It’s as simple as that. They even offer certificates to add to your social media platforms after completing a certain amount of volunteering time.