For Md Faruk Khan, a Google search of his name is his biggest advertisement.
There are thousands of Faruk Khans out there, if not lakhs, as this is a very common name in Bangladesh but if you type it in Google, at least 10 results would appear in the search engine and would tell you a plethora of information about one particular Faruk Khan.
'MD Faruk Khan: SEO Expert in Bangladesh' - the first result would say.
'SEO training in Bangladesh by Faruk Khan' - said the second result.
The third result would direct you to Faruk Khan's youtube channel.
"My job is to make sure that your website appears first in a Google search. As a testament to that, I make sure that mine has appeared in the same manner," Faruk told The Business Standard.
Faruk is an SEO specialist. If you are not getting a ton of hits on your website, you may need to step up your search engine optimization (SEO) game. No game? No problem. An SEO specialist like Faruk can help.
What exactly does Faruk do?
An SEO specialist like him improves website rankings on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing. He ensures on-page optimisation to produce relevant search results and a positive user experience, growing site traffic, lead volume and brand awareness.
By employing smart on-page tactics - keywords tag, internal linking, clean URLs, etc. - an SEO specialist is able to increase the website's visibility within the search engines, which results in increased traffic.
Other duties include implementing and maintaining title and meta tags, URL redirects and 404 errors; analyzing competitors' web presence; monitoring Google Search Console and similar webmaster tools; identifying link-building opportunities; and negotiating contracts with agencies and vendors.
"The primary purpose of an SEO specialist is the same as any marketer: Create more sales for the company," Faruk said.
Why is SEO important?
In the last one decade or so, consumer behavior has witnessed a drastic change. Before the proliferation of the internet and the advent of social media, people used to prefer buying things from brick-and-mortar shops.
Faruk said, "Yes, people still buy things from physical shops but they probably prefer doing a Google search of the desired product before actually buying it now."
"That's where I have my part to play," he added.
For example, Faruk detailed, a person wants to buy a bed. He types "best bed in Bangladesh" in Google.
"Now if you own a furniture company, you want your beds to appear in the first page of the Google search as very few people actually bother to go through the second page. It's like placing your product at the eye-level space in the supermarket."
If you actually bother to type "best beds in Bangladesh" in Google, the first search result will direct you to Hatil's page. Hatil is one of the leading furniture companies in Bangladesh.
Faruk is the SEO consultant for Hatil and he made sure that Hatil's name appears at the top in such searches.
"That's not all. If you type 'Hatil' in Google, you will find the search results to be very well-structured -- their website being in the first place, locations of some of their showrooms in second and photos of some of their furniture in third. The fourth and fifth results will take you respectively to their facebook and Wikipedia pages," he told the correspondent.
Faruk continued, "But that search result will not stay like this on a constant basis. Google is making huge changes every few months and you need to stay up-dated with search engine algorithms to make sure your client stays at the top in the search result," he said.
Faruk also said these search results help a company to build a brand. "Hatil paid me the big bucks because they knew these would ultimately increase their sales."
"As I always say, that's the ultimate goal - increasing your sales," said Faruk.
SEO: A part of digital marketing?
Faruk, however, is not just an SEO specialist. He is also a digital marketeer.
"I do digital marketing for your Facebook page or for your YouTube channel but what I like to concentrate more on is search engine results," said Faruk.
There are reasons behind his preference.
He justified, "Your website is your absolute property. You pay for it unlike your Facebook page or your YouTube channel for which you don't need to pay."
This is because social media does not actually make money on content or directly through its user base. Instead, it makes billions via digital advertising, as Facebook has something that companies really want - access to billions of people around the globe who might buy their products or services.
"So, for social media, you - the person - is actually their product. They also have the right to shut down your page anytime without giving you a valid reason. But that's not the case for your website. You are the master of your domain there because you are paying for it," said Faruk.
There is also a major difference between social media marketing and SEO marketing, he said.
"In facebook or YouTube, you are being sort of forced-fed an advertisement of a product. It appears in your Facebook feed or YouTube as a sponsored content. You might buy it or not. But when you make a Google search with the intention of buying something, you actually buy that product. So, an SEO of your website has better chances of making a sale," Faruk asserted.
The prospect of SEO specialist
SEO is an industry that Faruk found by chance, but he could not be more thrilled.
In 2013, after completing his bachelors in computer science and engineering from a private university, Faruk, like any other computer science graduate, was looking for a job in the programming field.
"But I couldn't make a breakthrough as there were many computer science graduates looking for jobs with the same skill-sets," he said.
Then he stumbled upon a two-month training on SEO conducted by the BASIS Institute of Technology and Management (BITM). At the same time, he started watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading lots of blogs and papers on SEO.
"I took that course out of curiosity as I had very few ideas about SEO back then. I excelled at the training and realised there are actually very few industry experts," Faruk recalled.
"In fact, there are very few good quality trainers in Bangladesh," he continued, adding, "So, I started my own YouTube channel and started designing SEO courses and teaching students."
In the last six years, Faruk has trained over 3,500 students and completed over 250 SEO projects for multiple clients including Walton, Hatil, Keya Cosmetics.
"SEO experts are now definitely in demand. There are more and more businesses that understand that launching a website is just the beginning of building their online presence. And that they need someone who would be able to take care of the website, content, links, social media," said Faruk.