Charmis Pala

Associate Director at Games 24*7

Charmis Pala on Best SEO Practices In Modern Day

SEO is crucial in placing a product or service in the digital space. It has the potential to impact business success and several other aspects. Following the right SEO practices can show a massive impact on the growth path of a business.

In conversation with Rishabh, Co-founder and CEO at Pepper Content, Charmis Pala, Associate Director at Games 24*7, talks about the relevance of SEO and adopting an ideal content strategy.

1. Quickly take us through your journey so far.

I have spent over a decade working in SEO, gaining experience in various industries such as real estate, travel, fashion, and gaming. My career started in an agency where I worked for 2.5 years before deciding to work independently. Later, I joined where I learned about the gravity of SEO and the importance of a seamless collaboration between the product and SEO team. Working with Cleartrip has been my best stint, where I scaled the company from one to eight countries and developed various tools and modules to cater to our SEO needs.

SEO is not a marketing role. Instead, it is a product-driven tech role. An individual who is working in SEO should ideally not just report to their manager. They should be saying this to a lot of other members.

Currently, I am associated with Games 247, focusing on optimizing audience affinity and developing entities based on affinity identification. My career journey has been product-driven, moving from the agency to product-led innovations, and now to app development. With Games 247, we have been dominating the space with a 96% market share. I have gained varied experience from different companies but also cater to small clients.

In conclusion, my experience in the industry has taught me the importance of collaboration, innovation, and understanding the market. My current focus is on developing entities based on audience affinity and optimizing the overall experience.

2. What is your content strategy?

Any content for a user must come from the need of that user.

I have had various learning curves concerning content. In my opinion, for any user who is consuming content in any form, the need portion of the strategy should be identified. My content strategy has always revolved around a cluster of different themes. Since I am heavily inclined toward products, my content strategy involves using various industry tools. My favorite is PAA (People Also Ask). So if I have to define a plan for my current stint at Rummy Circle, I would inject my primary keywords into the console where I would get the PAAs. I have developed a list of almost 400 PAAs which helps me understand the persona of these users and divide them into segments. Anyone driving this content strategy keeping the user in mind can experiment with their audiences. User-centric content is a very subjective strategy.

In my experience with Cleartrip, we were struggling with the topics in the first place. I could see my competitors covering a lot of content in the masses. But if I can write just five pieces of content and still generate a good quantum of traffic than their 400 contents, then I have won. My strategy is very skewed, and I watch trends on a very rapid basis. I think that any information that is not easily accessible to anyone can be made scalable. I would give my content writing agency a mandate to read the terms and conditions of every travel industry. That was the base for our content strategy.

3. How different is ASO from SEO?

Initially, I found it challenging to adjust to the shift from optimizing a large volume of keywords to just five dominant ones. It took me nearly six months to understand the significance of app store optimization (ASO) in the gaming industry. As gamers use apps for entertainment, they search for specific terms, which made me realize that the search patterns for ASO differ from SEO. I needed to comprehend the essential factors that moved my ranking in the app store.

Compared to SEO, I found ASO more competitive due to fewer levers available. Thus, it is essential to understand users' behavior and how they search for apps in the store. Unlike SEO, where direct visits to the website increase, ASO requires optimizing different attributes such as ratings, reviews, and app descriptions to improve the app's visibility. This journey taught me the importance of ASO and how it differs from SEO in terms of search patterns and attributes that drive ranking in the app store. I consider myself fortunate to have walked down this path and developed my ASO skills.

4 Are app downloads through search a high-focus funnel for you?

Yes, it is certainly a funnel. Earlier in the business, we had two models – APK and app models. For users who are aligned with APK, search is the dominant portion. In recent times, Google’s algorithms have changed drastically. In my opinion, organic reach has become more competitive. Few of the changes in the display options of Google pages have made it possible for apps to be discovered. It has worked well for us. Now, almost 70% of our focus is on apps because if we are not taking advantage of this funnel, then someone else will.

For the past six-seven years, SEO and content have gone hand-in-hand because of certain statements from Google.

5. How do you see AI changing the face of SEO?

SEO can be divided into three aspects of the business. The first is where a company would want to enhance its discovery funnel, and hence they will use blogs. The second aspect is the affiliate industry, and the third is usually blogging. In my career, I have used numerous AI tools, and I understand why AI tools can be needed for generating content since the cost of content can be high. But it cannot replace the quality of human touch, and output accuracy is also not guaranteed. But, again, I have used multiple AI tools to know this.

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