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We are all familiar with search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Baidu. They list out all web page links according to your search queries. But have you ever wondered how they do it? Are the links just magically shown at random? Or is there some kind of method behind this madness? For tech people and web marketers, the answer is more obvious.

Each search engine has its own “bots” that navigate page content across the internet and apply algorithms to match content with keywords. After that, results to your keywords are listed as web page links that we see normally. There is a special technique to keep your page’s links prioritized and relevant in the eyes of the search bots — and for those of you who are brand new to this — it’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Each search engine has its own “bots” that navigate page content across the internet and apply algorithms to match content with keywords. After that, results to your keywords are listed as web page links that we see normally. There is a special technique to keep your page’s links prioritized and relevant in the eyes of the search bots — and for those of you who are brand new to this — it’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Why is strong SEO important for businesses?

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A recent study from Search Engine Watch explains that websites ranked number one in the results receive an average click-through rate of 36.4 percent. Those ranked number two receive an average click-through rate of 12.5 percent, and that number continues to drop for pages that are lower on the totem pole.

Strong SEO provides increased web page traffic and credibility to brands online. As the internet has become the go-to source for finding whatever you need, consumers today become aware of new brands most often if they are associated strongly with certain keywords, and pop up high on the results page after a Google search. One important SEO technique is optimizing your content for mobile.

This is particularly important in Indonesia, as 86 percent of internet users access the web via smartphone. In rural areas without broadband, Indonesians may sometimes only be able to get online with mobile. Digital ad spend is estimated to grow by 80 percent this year and most spending will be accounted for by digital ads on mobile come 2019.

Increasingly, Indonesians are shopping on e-commerce marketplaces like Lazada, OLX, and Tokopedia. If you sell tangible goods, set up an account on these sites, and start selling. You can share links to your own platform, and get actively shopping consumers to click. This is one clever way to get your brand noticed in Indonesia for free, and boost your SEO strength in the eyes of the bots. With these things in mind, here are a few other strategies to consider when building an SEO strategy in the archipelago.

Identify the right audience

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Knowing who the audience is and what they want will be a great help to create your SEO outline. Doing research will help define what the trends are, how users behave, and how to build a bridge between needs and solutions.

Marketing something in Indonesia without knowing how to do it can be very dangerous, and it may do damage to your brand in the long term. If we are talking about Indonesia in general, the population has lower to medium income per annum, and folks are sensitive towards pricing (35.9 percent of consumers shop in certain stores because they are continuously offered discounts and promotions).

Most Indonesians prefer promotions to memberships. Additionally, only 15 percent of Indonesians can understand English. While these facts are indeed pretty general, they can help you start to define your local audience. Never try to win everyone, but instead stay focused on one demographic. The country is big enough for this.

Play with keywords

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Putting too many keywords into your content might make it seem like you’re trying to please the bots. Harsh Agrawal, a blog scientist and CEO of ShoutDreams who managed to gain one million pageviews in a single month, said that Google encourages you to create content naturally, with only a few keywords for optimization.

The point of keywords is to help the bots grasp the idea of your content, while still factoring other elements to gauge quality. Too many keywords in one piece of content is never good, but applying long-tail keywords can actually help. By combining one keyword with another that’s frequently searched for, you may end up targeting an audience that’s looking for precisely what you offer.

Data shows that most searched-for words in Indonesia are comprised of celebrity and football-related news. Some of the hottest keywords this week are “PSSI,” “Klasemen Liga Spanyol,” and “SNMPTN.” You may identify these keywords by checking out Google Trends. Brilly Andro, customer relationship manager and marketing at commodity futures business First State tells Content Collision the simplest way to localize is through native language, wording, and phrases in accordance to the market’s geographic location or social norms. URLs can be utilized to let audiences know what you are promoting. For example, if your keyword is “shoes,” a custom URL should be generated like this:

Sample Link

Try to avoid URLs that are full of complex and uninformative words. The audience is more likely to click a URL if they know what they are about to see.

Have influential endorsers

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Create informative content that is important, then have some influential endorsers spread it around. Indonesia is famous for celebrity endorsers, some of them are Dian Sastrowardoyo, Raffi Ahmad, and Raisa. It’s super effective to have these people mention your content on social media. This, however, often requires you to have a pre-existing friendship with the celeb, or a business arrangement that involves compensation. Other key endorsers are the people who speak out and build awareness of your brand, they may have various levels of fame, and most often people will listen to them (or at least take note on Twitter).

Give a free trial version of your product to a handful of strategic endorsers, and get your product team to communicate with them. With any luck, they will link back to your website, which in turn, will boost your SEO. In terms of a search engine’s authority ranking, your site being mentioned by an influencer will make it stronger in the eyes of the bots. Andro confirms that endorsements play a vital role in building strong SEO, especially with B2B businesses. According to him, virality is fast and it’s the most effective way to get your site known by the general public in Indonesia.

Get mobile-friendly

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If you’re a bona fide newbie to the way the web works in Jakarta, it’s important to know that the ever increasing internet traffic in Indonesia is not coming from desktop. It’s coming from mobile. In 2015, the number of mobile web users worldwide reached somewhere above 1,800 million, while desktop users dipped by 200 million. According to media measurement firm GfK, in Indonesia alone, 90 percent of smartphone users access the internet through their device.

If you’re a B2B firm in Indonesia, it’s imperative to build your website in a way that shows up well on mobile, by removing barriers such as JavaScript blockers and image blockers. Here are few quick tips to optimize your site for mobile. If you’re a B2C firm in the archipelago today, you should probably just go straight to mobile, and only build a desktop

If you’re a B2C firm in the archipelago today, you should probably just go straight to mobile, and only build a desktop site as a secondary action. As of April 21, 2015, Google Search expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as an SEO ranking signal. This is crucial for any business on the web in Indonesia.


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  • Hey Sharon, awesome post! Really liked how you wrote about targeting specific demographics in Indonesia instead of trying to cater to the whole country. Great tip. Thanks for mentioning us!