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5 Reasons why you should Twitter for your Business

See Also: The Future of Facebook Online Marketing

It seems everyone is twittering these days and you are wondering if you should be using Twitter for your business also. You’re already active on Facebook, why bother with Twitter? You’re limited in what you can say (140 character posts), they use all those weird symbols and heck, even the name sounds stupid. But if you aren’t doing it for those reasons, then you risk not tapping into this great marketing strategy. Here are 5 great reasons why you should consider twitter for business:

Generate more traffic to your website

Twitter is another wonderful way to get traffic to your websites. As of April 2010, the last statistics I could find, Twitter has 105,000,000+ registered users averaging 300,000 new users sign up per day. What is also exciting is that they get around 190 million visitors per month.

Since Twitter posts are in real-time, it has become a place where people go to to find the latest information on topics. Do a keyword search in Twitter’s search tool and you’ll find up-to-date and targeted resources you can’t get with Google (at least not yet or as easily that I’ve found).

But why is that important? Well, if someone is searching on a specific topic and you’re tweeting about it and have a link to your site for more information, they can click right on through. Also for your followers, if you’re tweeting about items of interest, they will want to know what you’re all about and can click onto your site from your profile.

But the traffic generating power of Twitter doesn’t stop there. What can happen, and what you want to happen, is for your followers to “re-tweet” your post, which is basically sharing your tweet to their list of followers. That’s what the mysterious RT means, by the way. Being re-tweeted gets you exposed to more people than just those that follow you. So the potential to have your posts go viral is a marketing dream.

Read the latest news and discover excellent resources

I’m amazed at how much valuable news, information and resources I am referred to by the people I follow on Twitter. In fact, I have to limit myself (I’m on Twitter only about 15 minutes a day) or I’d just be reading all day and not working. You can also subscribe to Twitter feeds for specific websites/conferences, which allows you to receive and view content quickly. This is very useful for active social news participants.

Networking

You can use Twitter to interact with other like-minded people, those in your industry or in related industries. I’m amazed at the people I have gotten to know just by actively communicating with them via the reply function (that’s what the @ symbol means next to the person’s Twitter name). We’ve even been asked to do joint partnerships with some of the respected people in our industry because of all my tweeting from my home computer! Now that’s exciting since that has the potential to really increase our business exponentially and take us on new and exciting endeavors. Imagine how that would help your business.

Find prospects and customers

Twitter is also good for finding potential customers or clients. You can do a search for keywords related to your product on Twitter Search and then follow those users who are posting about it. Most people who you follow will return the favor and follow you back. Then when you tweet about topics relating to your products, you increase the likelihood that they will see what you have to say as well. They can then communicate with you.

You do have to do this with discretion, however. The point is not to try to sell to them right away; the point is to let them know you are a resource for them for the future. If you are consistently posting about issues and topics important to them, then they’ll get to know you and may likely turn into a loyal customer one day.

Improve your copywriting

At first I hated being restricted to 140 characters but see it as an advantage the more I tweet. I found that I now have to not only send eye-catching posts, I also need to be brief. If you’ve ever met me, you know how hard that is for me! But now it’s a fun challenge to say something interesting in as few and as powerful words as I can. I’ve become so much better at copywriting in all of my marketing material as a result.

So if you haven’t started using Twitter for your business, now you have 5 solid reasons to begin. I’ll be covering more reasons it’s such a great marketing strategy as well as tools as to how to do it effectively in later blog posts. But in the meantime, I invite you to follow me on Twitter. I post links that don’t make it on this blog to articles about video, internet marketing, special interest video business and boosting marketing success, among other things.

Link Building & SEO Tips

Enhancing the link popularity of an web-site to increase natural search-engine rankings is a methodology used by lots of search-engine Optimization, or SEO, pros and site owners known as link building.

The six most used search engines are Google, MSN, and Yahoo. Each of these search engines determines the rating position for a website's keywords by thinking about the link popularity of an web-site in combination with its link quality. PageRank is the methodology used by Google's algorithm to determine the worthiness of an web-site. According to Google, PageRank is a reflection of their views on the importance of web pages by utilizing over 2 billion terms and 500 million variables to determine the rating of a web page. Those that are deemed to be more important according to these variables are most likely to appear at the top of the list of search results.

Link Popularity is not Determined By All Inbound Links

The importance of every page that casts a vote is also thought about by PageRank, as votes from sure pages have greater value than others, leading to the linked page having greater value. Google believes their expertise utilizes the collective intelligence of the world wide web in determining the general importance of a web page. we reckon that their methods generate useful products and improve search quality by applying a practical approach. The growth rate of inbound links, quality of inbound links, and volume of inbound links are all considerations of PageRank and link popularity used by Google.

1. No-Follow

Link popularity standards are such that search engines may only recognize a portion of the inbound links that are pointed to an web-site. There are sure link types that won't pass link popularity standards:

As a deterrent to spam, Google created the rel=nofollow link attribute. While this attribute was originally created to get rid of spam on blogs, it's also served major sites such as Yahoo Answers and Wikipedia. it is not unusual for numerous inbound links to have rel=nofollow embedded in the link code. All links with this attribute will be disregarded by MSN, Yahoo, and Google.

2. Tracking Codes

3. No-index, Robots.txt, and Indexing

To permit advertisement publishers to keep track of the number of times an advertisement is clicked and the number of impressions of an advertisement, all but around 1 percent of contextual ads and banners use a tracking code. Outbound clicks are tracked by tracking technologies using redirects. it is these redirects that strip the link popularity prior to it reaching the location URL.

there are a selection of reasons why there are lots of pages on the world wide web that are not indexed by the top search engines. It could be because the page has basically not yet been discovered by what's known as a "search engine spider". It may even be that the webmaster my not require the page to be indexed, which can be done by including a No-Index META tag. It could even be because the page is included as an exclusion within the robots.txt file, or the page could be banned from the search index. Any link that is included on a page that meets any of these criteria won't be conducive to link popularity.

Inbound Links Should Have A Natural Look

Sophisticated radar systems have been developed by major search engines to be sure that properly created sites will be rewarded. These sites will typically demonstrate the proper mix of inbound links. This mix includes six important parts, which are:

1. Landing Pages

2. Link Growth


it is a common occurrence that inbound links will only point to the home page or index of an web-site. it is important, however, when developing web-site authority to point links to various pages of the world wide web-site by using relevant anchor text from incoming sources.

Link growth is a substantial part in the trust algorithm of search engines. Any web-site that naturally receives giant spikes in inbound links will normally continue receiving inbound link growth consistently. Not adding new links consistently can set off an alarm in the event a bunch of inbound links are built quickly. Planning a proper link growth strategy is essential to seeing lovely results and SEO.

3. Anchor Text Diversity

A backlink is another term for an inbound link. lots of high rating sites show diversity in their backlink portfolio. all of all backlinks should be branded. In other words, the anchor text should include your brand name than a specific keyword. Remaining anchors should be focused on keywords, although it is important not to target a specific keyword often in the anchor text as the backlink structure won't look natural.

Hiring a SEO Consultant

Learn precious tips and tricks of SEO presented by an experienced SEO Expert

The SEO consultant can help your business capitalize on the ever-growing shift toward online research & promotion. Recently, The National Association of Realtors (NAR), the country largest trade organization, released a document indicating that that over 70% of homebuyers first became aware of the home they finally bought through online research.

Meanwhile statistics recommend that 92% of shoppers either purchase or research products online. The fact is that the use of an SEO professional can boost your site's visibility, productivity, sales & bottom line. Irrespective of your company's product or service, businesses that rely on an online presence & that do not use an SEO consultant will learn the hard way that a comparatively reasonable upfront investment can yield huge dividends down the road.

Launching a web-site without the advice of an experienced SEO is akin to casting an un-baited fishing line in to the ocean in the hopes of landing a trophy fish. SEO specialists provide a variety of services including training, monitoring, recommendations & analysis.


Duties and Qualities of SEO Consultant

The services provided by the SEO consultant have depth and range and can be carefully coordinated to compliment the company's promotion strategy. As a necessary part of that strategy, some SEO consultant recommendations may be used to generate consistency throughout the total promotion plan. Seamless promotion must always be the aim. With increased exposure to consumers and with ever-changing online research trends, the SEO consultant will diligently keep the client advised of industry trends. These trends can usually be basically expanded in to new online venues. The recent splurge in social media is a ideal example of the necessity to stay atop of the way consumers perform research.

There are six main reasons to acquire an SEO Consultant help:

* Learn effective SEO techniques and their implementation
* Boost the company's online presence
* Increase the site's search engine ranking
* Attract targeted consumers
* Increase sales
* Protect the company's online reputation

Decisive points to be taken into the account

Whether your site is dormant or active, an SEO will be able to provide considerable analysis and discover new areas and means to boost activity. Again, there are six central areas in which the professional SEO can buoy your site.

* Analyze your Search Engine Optimization techniques
* Improve your SEO website design
* Optimize keyword usage
* Improve your SEO copywriting
* Build effective links
* Setup and expand website analytics

The SEO expert can either work with existing staff or perform the services directly on an ongoing basis.

Search Engine Optimization specifications constantly change. The giant search engines, Google, Yahoo & Bing have sophisticated algorithms. The changes present constant challenges to sustaining high SEO rankings. When adding the significant gains in social media venues like Face book, Linked in, Twitter & Digg, the necessity for the SEO consultant becomes even more necessary.

Improving your SEO has a high return on investment. To increase the exposure & increase the bottom line, the SEO professional provides significant value. Think about that un-baited fishing line, think about what your optimized site can mean to your company & think about retaining a professional SEO to boost productivity & sales.

Facts and Functions of SEO

How do we define a SEO Advisor?

The advent of net know-how has been generating exceptional alterations to personal & business life of an individual.

Its growth is soaring that it is now massively in utility to connect people irrespective of distance, geographical location, race, language & culture. However, along with the changes come various practices & criteria. The net at present has become the primary venue where businesses & transactions arise, & these are the reasons attributing the existence of modern expert practitioners dubbed as SEO consultants. Now, let us learn what SEO consultant is, & what are their contributions to company's objectives.

Facts about SEO

SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, which is a system used by web developers & owners in order to increase their websites' presence & visibility with regards to search engine result pages in an absence of paid processes. The major objective is to make the world wide web page ranks higher than competitors do. One time the site bears the high rank in result page, the tendency is for the site to acquire huge numbers of visitors. Moreover, when the site gets frequent visitors, this means increase in popularity & sales.

What SEO Advisor has to do with these?

The liquid atmosphere that the net offers makes it harder to guess the outcomes. What a person must do to ascertain that the impacts of their presence in the cyberspace are positive for their interest is to maneuver the ideas to increase such possibility. However, the issue lies on tracking, performing, monitoring & evaluating performances.

These need full time efforts at project's period. These also demand particular knowledge & skills, which the company's net site owner must possess. This is now the reasons why companies hire SEO Consultant & analyst, as either part time or full time.

SEO Advisor's Functions

SEO Consultant has various roles. Some of them are the following:

* To make evaluation on the client's current marketing scheme and execute easy website diagnostic on its performance.
* Elaborate the website owner's aims and identify the relevance of existing processes if they still serve for purpose.
* Support provision about recommendations given by representatives of the company that are in task for sales, marketing and human resource.
* Learn and assess the plight of competitors when it comes to analogous undertakings in marketing practices. Identify the grounds and practices that makes high ranking for such competitor.
* Explore about the most accepted and effectual keywords, as well as key phrases, according to the needs of the client.
* Delve into the best keywords, the Meta tags, and long tails that can come into use. Execute campaigns for such.
* Submit to the client reports, recommendations, plus the targeted results for appraisal and approval.
* Devise great tactics for execution of back links. He also submits links to content directories and supply viral articles to other online sites for links to the client's site.

What is with the Good SEO Advisor?

The best SEO Consultant is somebody who possesses the robust comprehension on SEO attitude, knowledge & skills. They keeps himself always updated on the modern flairs when it comes to online concerns. Apart from that, they also bears appropriate understanding on client's needs. It does not necessitate that the SEO Advisor has sure college degree in business, communications & promotion. What ripens a lovely SEO advisor is his experience in the field of search engine optimization.

Quality Link Building Tips For SEO

The success of an internet promotion campaign depends on lots of things. of these is the building of quality links. The page rank is heavily influenced by the links pointing to your net site. This means that the link building will play a vital role in your search engine campaign & hence in your net promotion campaign.

Every business needs targeted traffic. The building of links can help you to get targeted traffic in the event you are using the right strategy. You need to make positive that you are linking to the relevant sites. You will also must make positive that the sites that you are linking do nice business themselves. Also make positive to link to various kinds of net sites in your niche. Like do not only link to the vendors or knowledge based sites. Link to all the relevant sites. Link to blogs containing knowledge about your relevant products or business & link to stores selling such products.

Also make positive that you have your domain registered with the niche directories. You can do this by going to the sites of these directories & submitting the net site by hand. This will help you a lot.

Look for natural links. Natural link means a link which has been requested by another webmaster because your net site is nice. If your net site contains distinctive content then you will automatically get lots of natural links.

This is a great opportunity & you ought to not miss on the natural links.

Articles are a great way to build links free. The articles are read by lots of people. They are short & are to the point. The reader gets the desired knowledge in a short time. This makes the articles famous. Do not miss the chance to publish as lots of quality articles as lots of you can. There's various free publishing sites. They will charge you nothing to publish the articles.

Reciprocal links used to be great when it came to link building. Now its a banned tactic which can HURT your SEO. It used to be a handy way of getting nice links. If your website had quality content on board, you would talk to the other site owners whom you desired to link to you & asked them for reciprocal links. Usually they agreed, you would link to them & in return, they would link to you. This was chiefly a useful process to building quality links. These reciprocal links however are now considered a bad tactic and Google has all but banned the practice. Google now lowers the ranking of anyone using link exchanges so its unwise to use that tactic these days. Even three-way link exchanges will hurt your SEO because Google will notice it.

The websites you are getting links on ought to be relevant to your net site & ought to contain distinctive content themselves. Also, these sites ought to place your links with proper text & on proper place.

Nowadays the focus is more on blogging/article links and social media buzz (free links from people who like your website).

How to boost visitors to your site

How to boost of traffic for my site? Get some tips for Increase your site visitor.

A detailed study on some tips to help us, the quickest and cheapest way to drive traffic to the site.

Join online forums - is one of the most effective tips that can help generate traffic. By joining forums, which are related to the niche site you can promote your products or services easily. After joining the forums to try to spend some time in online discussions. Do not post your comments on the posts of other members and not to fix your link in the signature line, because it generates a negative effect.

Article Marketing - Article marketing is most important for link building & generate visitor. If you are a writer or a passion for writing then this method for you. After writing articles, you can submit to free article directories that help drive more traffic to the site. You must provide unique content that is informative and in conjunction with the company you want to advertise to write with your site. You must also include the URL of your site at the bottom of the article when you publish.

Blogging - This is a trick to generate huge traffic, which benefits many ISPs in the world a. You must not contain links that provide information about products or services from your website. Theme and content of the blog are the company you are promoting and content, it must also have a clear idea of ??the reader about the purpose of this blog are linked. At the end of all entries in your blog, add a link to your website, simply directs the reader to your website.

DO NOT TRADE LINKS WITH OTHER WEBSITES! Reciprocal link trading (aka link exchanges) actually gives your website a bad reputation. Incoming links = Good, Outgoing links to the same websites linking to you = Very Bad!

See The Importance of Non Reciprocal Links.

The Need To Use Search Engine Marketing

Internet Marketing is all about getting traffic to your website, and then converting it into dollars. Without the first part there is never any chance of the second, so generating traffic is a vital part of online marketing. Converting that traffic into profits is the real clincher so your product needs to be able to sell itself and your website should be in tip-top performance both in terms of design and being able to convert visitors into customers.

One of the most discussed methods of doing this is through Search Engine marketing. Search Engines play a huge and vital role in distributing traffic around the internet, and can make the difference between a site becoming outrageously popular, or dying a traffic free death. In recent studies it was shown that at least 80% of first time visitors to most websites are directed there through a Search Engine.

The obvious importance of Search Engines has spawned a massive demand for Search Engine Optimization and a number of Toronto firms have sprung up to cater to that demand. It is vital to new Toronto websites and established sites alike to be indexed with the big search engines.

Search Engines are the place that people begin their search for new information online. The search engines in turn gain their credibility through providing the most relevant search to the terms entered. The user is looking for the best answer to the question they have, and Search Engines are the most efficient way of finding that. Thus the search engines have to be very clever in establishing which sites are the most accurate match for the users query.

Webmasters agonize over finding the method which will put their site in the highest favor of the search engines. The answer given by almost all search engines is the same. The sites which provide the most current and meaningful information are the ones which will be listed the highest. Thus for the webmaster the first step to high search engine rankings is to provide meaningful content to surfers. Webmasters should always remember that regardless of the niche their website is designed for, the service that Search Engines provide is relevant content.

Search Engine Marketing needs to be taken very seriously by any webmaster who values traffic to their site(and that should be every webmaster). No webmasters work is done merely because they have finished constructing a website, no matter how wonderful the website itself is. In fact the website being built is merely the first step. Each page needs to contain relevant Meta Tags to start the search engine optimization process. Search Engines were once almost exclusively reliant on Meta Tags, but this quickly became inefficient as a means of determining the content as a page as webmasters would ‘spam’ their meta tags with a huge list of keywords to hijack traffic away from more quality content sites. Search Engines have wised up to this tactic, and they now not only recognize this process as legitimate, but will actively punish those indulging in it.

Along with Meta Tags, Search Engine Spiders are also able to browse site content and establish themes between Content, Meta Tags, Meta Descriptions and even anchor text on links(both internal and external). Search Engine formulas are designed to be increasingly hard to trick, and are now provide more and more accurate results. However due to the nature of internet spiders on websites, sites that use flash and images to provide content do rely heavily on the information in their Meta Tags and Descriptions.

Alongside Meta tags, Optimization is a highly important step in Search Engine Marketing. The process describes the process of designing a website specifically with getting a high Search Engine Ranking in mind. There are numerous Search Engine Optimization organizations around, and the ideal situation would be to employ the services of the better amongst these firms. Results can differ from absolutely nothing from a poor SEO provider, to dramatic floods of traffic from a successful Search Engine Optimization campaign. A good Search Engine Optimization firm will have their finger firmly on the pulse of what is happening in the Search Engine world, as this changes very quickly, and the changes can often have dramatic repercussions for the ranking of your website. Likewise changes you make should always be run past your Optimization specialists, as even a small and seemingly insignificant change can undo months of Optimization work.

A good SEO firm will also know its very important to base your product locally if you're promoting a business with an actual store front. ie. A Toronto restaurant or selling Toronto real estate. You want the locals to be able to find you so everything they do in terms of SEO should have the word Toronto in it (and possibly other keywords so you can pinpoint the location even more).

When you get the right combination of SEM and SEO, your site can soar to the top of the Search Engine rankings and your business can thrive. Needless to say getting it wrong can have the opposite effect, so it’s vital to make Search Engine Marketing a cornerstone of your online strategy.

NOTE: SEM really only works for certain types of products. Its best to start off with a small budget to determine whether your product is worthy of using Pay-Per-Click advertising. Otherwise you are better off sticking to traditional SEO.

E-commerce and the SEO Checklist

E-commerce web hosting is the modern day equivalent of building a better mousetrap. A well-run, well-maintained, secure e-commerce web presence is part of the key to a company’s success. The other part of the equation is attracting customers to your site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a proven, effective tool to help build that mousetrap. SEO tools make your site more visible to the various search engines used by customers to look for products like yours. The SEO Checklist will increase the power of your Toronto e-commerce website. The following list borrows from just part of the much larger SEO Checklist.

• Keywords – These are words that appear in the content of your site. Brainstorm a list of words that you would search if looking for your product. Use the keywords often in the text of your site, but do not obviously overuse them, or the search engine will ignore them as spam.

• Research – Though not a tool in and of itself, research will tell you if you are on the correct path. Once you determine your keywords, run a search for each word or phrase to see if the content of the pages generated matches the content of your page. If not, try new keywords until you are confident that consumers searching
for your product will find your Toronto e-commerce website.

• Code to Text Ratio – Search engines calculate the percentage of text that appears on a page in order to determine whether or not that page is relevant to the requested search. A higher text ratio places a page higher in rank. Search engines prefer text to images, and prefer HTML to other formats.

• Titles – Title each page descriptively as this title will appear as the link when the search engine returns its results to the consumer. Keep your title interesting, keep it to the point of your site, and keep it brief – no more than five to eight words.

Do not use words such as “Title” or “Introduction” or “Main Page” as titles. SUCH WORDS ARE THE PLAGUE! Title each document on the site appropriately so that they will be searchable by keywords pertaining to the content of the site.

• Document Properties (Meta Tags) – Most programs automatically complete some of the information listed in the document’s properties. Manual completion of the fields results in greater document searchability. Fields may include subject matter, category, and keyphrases specific to your business and Toronto. While some search engines now ignore keyword meta tags, many use the description meta tag to elaborate on the title.

• Image Tags – Use “ALT IMAGE” tags to specify an alternate text for an image. This tag will be read as text (increasing your code to text ratio), and should contain your keywords.

• Linking – Link the pages within your site using keywords and phrases. Such links will increase the natural usage of the keywords on your site, and generate more interest in your site.

• Site Maps – Site maps were originally used to enable customers to navigate a site with ease. Now they also increase the crawl-ability of the website. The site map should be simple, in text format, use keywords, and link to every page within the site.

• Frames – This tool is actually a “don’t”. Do not use frames on your site if you can help it. The search engine may see the frame only and ignore any of the text contained within the frame.

While no list can completely guarantee a perfect mousetrap, using these simple SEO tips will increase a site’s ranking, generate interest, and guide customers to their end goal of buying your product. The most important tool of all, though, is “repeat”. Constantly test and re-test the site and don’t be afraid to make changes as needed to keep up with consumer trends and increased technology.

Changing SEO Responsibilities


Big Business Blogging, The Toronto Way

At Intel’s first Social Media Conference in Portland this week, 100+ Intel social media practitioners from all over the world came together with about 20 industry subject matter experts to share and engage social media best practices.

One of those speakers was Lionel Menchaca, the Chief Blogger at Dell and a real pioneer in the world of blogging and social media for the enterprise. Lionel told the story of Dell’s initial blogging efforts that turned the tide of Dell Hell as well as other practical insights.

Here is what we've garnered from his wisdom and applied it to Toronto SEO.

1. Write about topics that matter to your customers (in our case, Toronto customers), especially the tough ones. Dell has a social media command center to track topics and inspire ideas, issues to deal with.

2. Provide context for a range of customers / Torontonians and people living in the GTA. Be thoughtful about the interests for specific segments of customers. Find a balance that allows you to appeal content to a range of customers. To do that effectively, you must listen online and understand the convergence of issues that you can address with content though the blog.

3. Write to educate and serve. If you’re doing your job correctly you’re doing both. Informing customers about more than products, including Toronto-based industry news and trends as it relates to your customer’s perspective builds trust and makes your corporate blog a source of information that’s meaningful towards what customers care about.

4. Be authentic, be human, be a nice Torontonian (they're hard to find, but they exist). If you can look back and see what established a blogger as a personality that audiences engage with, that’s what’s important. Write from a personal perspective, not from a “brand messaging” perspective.

5. Let your passion and personality show through. There will be points that the brand wants to make, but it’s important that the blogger’s personality show through. When tapping Subject Matter Experts for contributed blog posts, coach them on writing from a personal perspective vs. just providing the facts. [This reminds me of the Facts Tell, Stories Tell adage.]

6. Provide an inside look. Content should complement, but also offer a different view than corporate website content, press releases, and other brand communications. Examples: Video interviews with internal subject matter experts about product features and what they personally like about them.

7. Don’t be afraid to disagree, if you can back it up. Dell uses Radian6 as a listening tool to monitor for discussions. Techmeme is also a useful site for tracking stories that drive discussion in the tech space. Show that you’re there to be part of the conversation when you find dissent, vs. trying to steamroll it.

While blogging within Toronto businesses has been around for a very long time, I think a it’s important for Toronto companies to take a second look at how their communicating through blogging platforms. Far too many Toronto business blogs are lacking in reach, readership and engagement because of approaching business blogging solely as a distribution channel vs. a platform for engagement. It’s by finding that right mix of personality and brand representation.

Toronto Search Engine Optimization

designSEO.ca provides expert search engine optimization services for Google, Yahoo and MSN search engines. Making sure your site is well ranked in the top three search engines is critical for any company seeking an online presence.

With over 10 years experience, we know what works and what doesn't. In today's search engines there are two major elements required to achieve top rankings.

1.) Links - link building campaigns - Offsite optimization based in Toronto

Since the number of links pointing to your site is the most important factor in how search engines like Google determine your site's importance, your going to need links from TORONTO WEBSITES. When combined with onsite optimization services, our link building campaigns will take your site to the top for your target keywords regardless of how competitive they are and optimize it so you are getting local Toronto people finding your business.

2.) An optimized website - Onsite optimization

Having lots of content and links won't do you much good if your Toronto website is a mess. One of your first steps should be to ensure your website has been thoroughly and properly optimized. This should include the following:

Meta, title and description tags that are topic specific and location specific

Internal navigation structure

Internal linking structure

Directory and file name design

Headers, keyword density

Title/Alt tags for images

Image filenames

robots.txt file

Clean HTML coding

Sitemap page

XML sitemaps exports (large e-commerce sites)

Unique copy through out (non-duplicated pages)

2A.) Content - copy optimization

You can't expect to rank well if your Toronto website doesn't have content about the products being searched for, and duplicate content copied from other sources doesn't count. Original structured and useful content about your product or service is required, and more is always better. There's no such thing as too much unique content. We can create copy for your site, or re-work and optimize your existing content.

What about Link Building Services

Search Engine Optimization starts with links. Your back link profile is the most important factor in top search engine rankings.

Think of the web as a giant popularity contest, the more links that are pointing to your site, the more popular your site must be and the better you'll rank.

Links are the core element in all search engine ranking algorithms. We provide quality link campaigns that are guaranteed to take you to the top 5 of Google regardless of how competitive your keywords are - you just need the budget, we'll do the rest.

Check your back link profile by using the "link:" operator in Google, or for a more accurate link count - use Yahoo's site explorer tool (Google likes to hide true link counts). Compare your website to the sites currently ranking on the first page for an idea on where you'll need to take your back link profile.

Read our SEO blog and learn more about link building and other Search Engine Optimization basics.


Types of Links

Now that you have some concept of your link count and how many links you'll need to be competitive, how do you get them? Two ways - naturally, or by buying them.

Natural links

The main problem with natural links is that you have no control over how and where other sites link to you. It also takes a long time to build up the number of links - as in years. And be prepared to spend a lot of money on web development as you'll truly need to set yourself apart from other sites in your space in order for other sites to want to link to you. At the end of the day, nothing guarantees you'll get the links you need and you have zero control over the anchor text used for the links. Most natural links wind up being your domain name, which isn't as effective as keyword based links.

First off - let's clear up any misconceptions you may have about paid links.

Google (and Yahoo/Bing), do not have any mechanisms in place that automatically detect paid links, nor will they ever. If they did, all you'd need to do to get your competitor banned is buy a bunch of links and presto, their site would disappear. Clearly search engines would never let this happen, otherwise competitive sabotage would run rampant and they'd wind up spending all their time cleaning up the mess this would create. Although it is in their best interest for webmasters to believe this...propaganda anyone?

Second - paid links work - even in ultra competitive categories. Trust us - we've been using paid links since G rolled out PR as a method of ranking websites - and it works. Last, but certainly not least - provided you have the budget, there are no search terms we can't nail for you. None, period.

Types of link buys

There are two primary types of paid links - static site links and blog links.

1.) Static site links are typically found on the homepage of a site, as part of the main navigation in a prominent location and are designed to provide both traffic and link power.

2.) Blog links are posts on various related blogs that are designed for traffic and link power. We employ our own team of veteran bloggers who's posts will be written in a neutral manner (non promotional & news oriented perspective), so there aren't any issues with the posts being viewed as sponsored or as endorsements for products or services. This will keep your brand police happy. The best thing about sponsored links is that you can control the anchor text to focus on your target keywords and you also control the growth rate. The biggest difference between the two types of links is that you have to pay for static links every month and the minute you stop paying, the link comes down. Blog links on the other hand remain active for the life of the post, and you only pay once. This helps grow the total link count over time. We recommend a mix of both link types for maximum results.

Other important details on links

Anchor text. This is the actual word(s) used in the link itself. This needs to be the same, or related, to the term you're looking to rank for. For example - if we're trying to rank you for garden sheds then we'll set your anchor text to terms such as garden sheds, sheds, storage sheds, etc... And while its true that any link is better than no link, having the anchor text set as www.sitename.com won't produce anywhere as near the same impact as having the text targeted.

Landing page(s). We'll make sure that you're mixing it up a little, but place most of the weight towards the page that's best related to the term you're targeting. Typically a 70% weight towards the targeted page, 15% to the homepage, and the remaining 15% to other pages that make sense. Too many links pointing at just one page can trip alarms with the search engines so we'll be careful not to over do it.

Growth rate. For existing websites, the growth at which you introduce new links to your site needs to be carefully monitored. We'll make sure that there is a slow but steady ramp up in the links so the growth pattern doesn't look out of place.

Time requirements. Once we've rolled things out completely, you can expect to see ranking improvements with the terms we've targeted within 2-6 weeks. We provide historical ranking reports every month for all your targeted terms so you have an easy to read graph showing the effectiveness of the links.

Once we've achieved the desired rankings, we can change up the terms we're working with, rotating with a new set. The number of terms you can work with is largely dictated by your budget. Our link campaigns have proven their worth time and time again - across many different categories for both brand new, as well as established sites. Coupled with onsite optimization, our link campaigns have taken search terms that previously weren't in the top 100, and within a couple months, have driven them to number 1. And not obscure long tail phrases, but for single phrase, ultra competitive terms dominated by big players. When it comes to Toronto SEO it pays to hire a pro!

Content and Search Engine Optimization

It all starts with content. Your whole website design is based on it.

If you sell Toronto widgets, you’ll be talking about Toronto widgets. There are a few basic, common sense rules with respect to content.

1. Use unique content about Toronto widgets – don’t be lazy and scrape content from other Toronto websites. It’s not helping anyone – you, your customers and the search engines. Provide unique content and you’ll be rewarded all around.

2. Content quantity – I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve been asked to look at that have had 5-10 pages of content – and their owners were wondering why they aren’t ranking well. Unless you’re running a business card style website (and you don’t need to rank in Google), be an information source for your products and services. Provide as many details on your widgets as possible. Provide history, bio’s, background and anything else related to your topic. The more information you provide, the less likely it’ll be that your visitors will need to go anywhere else for information – and the search engines will reward you with more pages in their index.

3. Keyword use – it might surprise you, but I’ve seen hundreds of sites about Toronto widgets and the webmaster hasn’t even put the actual phrase “Toronto widgets” in the content. Graphic text doesn’t count as Google can’t see them. Make sure you use the keyword in the copy, and use it as many times as possible – without going over the top.

4. In copy links – link to other pages within the copy itself. Search engines often ignore navigation links, plus it works the same way as building links – use keywords as your anchor text for maximum Toronto SEO impact.

Onsite Search Engine Optimization

Onsite search engine optimization refers to all the elements on your site that can be optimized for the search engines using nothing more than Search Engine Friendly Website Design. This includes:

Main keyword list

* You need to create and prioritize your keywords – this list will then be used in the below.

Meta titles

* Main keywords and related terms relevant to the copy and theme of the page in questions.

Meta descriptions

* The same process as the title tag – repeat main keywords and craft it for your customers as it’s going to be what’s shown in the SERPs and greatly impacts your click through rates.

Content

* Make sure you’re continually adding and improving content on your site. Be the expert in your industry. Provide rating and reviews, video, specifications and anything else you can think of.
* There’s no such thing as too much content – just keep it organized so search engines and users can actually find it.

Internal linking structure

* Search engines often ignore navigation links as they are repeated on every page of the site – so make sure that you’re linking to other pages of your site from within your cleverly crafted content.
* And use keyword anchor text for these links – don’t use click here or other generic terms as they don’t help.

H1, H2 Usage

* Old school, but still has a place in helping search engines determine the theme of the page in question. Headers should contain keywords of course.

Directory/Navigation structure

* This is always easier to address when you’re building the site as opposed to coming in after the site’s been running for several years. None the less, it’s one of the most important onsite issues you’ll need to deal with.
* Here are a couple examples of bad directory structures:
* This was browsing through to their electronics section, and looking at clocks. Not that you’ve ever be able to tell that from this ugly looking URL:

o http://www1.macyss.com/shop/for-the-home/more-for-the-home/electronics?id=23480&edge=hybrid#!fn=ELECTRONICS_TYPE%3DClock%26sortBy%3DORIGINAL%26productsPerPage%3D40&!qvp=iqvp

* This is how I’d have their IT re-write this URL:

o http://www.macyss.com/shop/electronics/clocks/

o Wow, what a difference – the user knows where they are and Google would too.

* This URL, while short, gives no insight as to what product or category we’re dealing with. It’s for dinnerware, solid colors.

o http://www.pier11.com/catalog/browse/493.885.solids

* Here’s how it should look:

o http://www.pier11.com/catalog/dinnerware/solid-colors

* Our last example is from the juggernaut Walmart.com. This was browsing through to DSLR Cameras. While they’ve at least got the first part of the URL right – they’ve added a massive string of tracking parameters that makes it a mess. They also left out the most important keyword – DSLR.

o http://www.walmartt.com/browse/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/All-Cameras/_/N-58czZ1yzp1qeZaq90Zaqce/Ne-aq8n?browsein=true&search_sort=5&ic=48_0&ref=125875.244115+500567.4292587526&fromPageCatId=133277&catNavId=133277

* Here’s our version:

o http://www.walmartt.com/browse/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Cameras/DLSR

File naming conventions

* This goes hand in hand with Directory/Navigation structures. Name your pages using keywords, not numbers or some other completely unrelated convention. It’s going to help the search engines figure out what your page is about, and it helps users too.

Domain name

* While not always an option for brand name companies to change, if you do have the flexibility to integrate a main keyword into your domain name, do it. If not, you can address this by crafting a smart directory structure that incorporates keywords.

Multiple language handling

* The old EN/FR issue always seems to cause headaches. Short of the amount of resources it can require, I’m not sure why, as it’s not rocket science.
* Here’s a couple common examples of how sites deal with EN and FR content:
* EN: http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/home.aspx
* FR: http://www.bestbuy.ca/fr-CA/home.aspx
* So far this makes sense…until you go one click deeper that is. Then what you get is an English site translated to French.
* Just about every FR site I’ve ever seen is translated, as opposed to being written for the intended audience. Some don’t even take the time to translate the URL, so they’ll change the language parameter but leave the product/category in English – that’s just lazy. J
* Another area to watch for is if you’re using a content management solution. Be sure to check your code with a Googlebot crawl tester – I’ve seen many sites that are showing FR tags on the EN version, and vice versa. It’s important that you verify the code when using dynamic content management software as they are normally built with very little thought into SEO.

Sitemap Page

* This one’s a no-brainer. If your site has over 20 pages, make sure you always have a sitemap page listed predominantly in your main navigation. This page helps search engines crawl and index all your pages.

XML Sitemaps

* This is debatable if XML sitemaps actually do anything for rankings. First off, if your website is built and optimized properly Google shouldn’t have any trouble crawling and finding all your content, however for sites with fast and frequent changes to pages it can help Google stay on top of what’s what.
* Automate the creation and sharing with search engines so it doesn’t require manual intervention, other then periodic testing and verification.

These items are where your onsite Search Engine Optimization process should begin. Why? Because it won’t matter if you have a million links if you’ve got fundamental site problems. You need to make sure your basic site functionality works first.

Make sure your site functions and include all the SEO best practices. When in doubt use The SEO Checklist.

Search Engine Optimization Basics

When it comes to SEO, there are two primary search engine optimization areas: Onsite & Offsite.

Typical Onsite Optimization:

* Meta tags – title & description tags – yes, they are still very important – it’s normally what you see when your viewing results in any search engine. If your site’s been submitted to DMOZ (see below) then add a NO ODP tag so Google doesn’t end up showing some title that an overzealous DMOZ editor decided to edit.

* Content – creating unique, useful content for your visitors and search engines. Don’t be lazy and scrape content from other sites no matter how big your site is and how much work you have to do. If you can’t write it from scratch, modify it to make it unique – make sure to inject keywords and links to your other pages as well. Don’t duplicate pages for any reason – fix your directory structure instead.

* Internal linking structure – use links within your copy to other pages on your site. It helps to tell search engines more about your site – plus they tend to ignore main navigation(s) as they are repeated on every page (looks like duplicate content).

* Directory structure, file names and navigation – keep things clean, if dynamic URLs are used, create mod-re-writes to produce clean search engine friendly URLs. Be sure to 301 redirect the old pages if the site’s been around for awhile and the old pages are in the Google index. Page names should be optimized based on the topic of the page – keep it logical and user friendly. Use bread crumb trails when possible.

* Code bloat – stay away from MS based server environments and web products. They are notoriously bad at keeping code clean and error free. Use Linux based server environments – they’re faster and free. Run your templates through a HTML error checker and make sure there aren’t any major malfunctions – small errors are usually fine, but try to keep it to the absolute minimum.

* Table & Cell Usage – try to keep the website design/layout simple, don’t nest tables within tables within tables – use CSS to keep the overall design clean from a code perspective – it makes it easier for search engines to crawl your content.

Typical Offsite Optimization:

* Link building – Simply put linking is the core of how Google’s search algorithm works. It’s like a giant popularity contest. They call it PageRank, but really what it means is that the more sites you get to link to your site, the more popular Google will think your site is which will produce better rankings. The text used in links is called Anchor Text – and it’s vital that the anchor text be keyword driven. Don’t get someone to link to your site using www.yourtorontosite.com, get them to link using your most important keywords. Read more about linking on our link building page. How do you get links? Well that’s a closely guarded secret – but for the most part, companies that have the dollars buy them. It’s the only way to really control things. Yes you can try requesting links, link exchanges, directory submissions, and other techniques from 8 years ago, but you’ll soon realize that to nail competitive terms you have to buy links, simple as that.

* Social Marketing – well the jury is still out on this one, but we do it more because it’s what you should be doing versus there being a direct coloration to social marketing helping your search rankings. It’s also a little tricky to even get your corporate Facebook or Twitter account pages ranking for your brand name. Do a few searches for some well known big brands and you’ll quickly get the picture. Bottom line is Social can’t hurt your rankings, and these days it is a great way to connect and communicate with your customers – so do it – just don’t look to it to increase your search rankings.

* Article Submissions/Press Releases – provided this isn’t going to take away resources from content writing and other SEO efforts, article submissions and press releases can help with traffic and search rankings – but in terms of priorities – I’d recommend this be kept low, or better yet contracted out so it doesn’t require or divert any attention away from the real drivers.

That’s SEO in a nutshell. For more details see the SEO Checklist.

Link Building

Link Building is the core of how search engines rank websites, it creates order out of the ciaos that is the web.

How? All search engines use the number & quality of links pointing to a particular website as part of their algorithm to rank websites in their search results.

Search engines then further refine this portion of the algorithm by looking at the following:

* The text used in the link itself – called “Anchor Text”
* The quality or reputation of the site that’s doing the linking – done by looking at how many links the site has
* The topic of both sites to determine if the two sites share topics
* How many other links are present on the page that’s doing the linking – the more links the page has, the less important the link to your site is
* The content on the page that contains the link

More on Anchor text

When you’re building links you don’t want to be used link text like “click here” or “www.mytorontowebsite.com”. You want to use your keywords. The text used has much to do with what you wind up ranking for. You can have 100 generic non-keyword links and 10 blue widget links, and the later will provide the biggest impact every time. So make sure your optimizing your anchor text for all inbound links.

Quantity or Quality?

First we should qualify Quality. Quality links mean they come from “trusted” sites with healthy and established link profiles of their own. Take a site like CNN.com versus Torontonewsonline.com. CNN will have a massive back link profile (over 13,000,000 to be exact), because people link to it all the time – Torontonewsonline on the other hand will have a fraction of the link count. This means that a link from CNN will carry more weight then a link from Torontonewsonline, making it a “quality” link.

My personal experience is that you have no choice but to have a mix of both. Why? Because there are only so many related sites that you’ll be able to obtain links from.

If you sell computers you’ll want links from technology related sites, but in the natural world of links, you’ll also wind up with links from completely unrelated sites. Unrelated links still help your rankings, albeit you’ll need more of them.

So how many back links do you have?

Use Yahoo’s site explorer to see how many in bound links your site has, then check out the top sites in Google for a desirable search term and see how many links they have. This will show you how much link building you’ll need to do in order to rank in the top 3 for a given keyword.

So where do you get links from?

You can get links two ways – naturally or buying them.

Natural links happen when people visit your site, find it useful and share it on their site or in a blog or forum. You can’t control natural links (think anchor text), you’ll need an absolute killer site to give people a reason to want to link to you on their own, and they take years to happen. Because of these factors, natural links don’t tend to play a large role in SEO.

The other option is to buy links. There are three primary types of paid links:

1.) Text links

AKA sponsored links – these typically appear in the commonly found main navigation areas. Top right, right, or bottom of the page. They are easy to spot as being “paid” links.

2.) Blog/social links

These are my favorite as they really look natural – provided they are written in a way that doesn’t look like self promotion of course, and the anchor text used is focused on your keywords. Blog links are found in posts on a wide variety of sites. Typically they don’t carry the same impact as the above text links as text links tend to be on the homepage, where blog links are usually on a sub-page within the site. The best thing about blog links is that you pay once for it and it’s there for months and months. Text links on the other hand are charged on a monthly basis.

3.) In-Content/article links

These are a blending of text links with healthy amounts of related content. They provide good performance because of this content surrounding the link. Unlike text link ads, or blog links, there is either no content immediately surrounding the link, or it’s unrelated. The content helps search engines know what the link is about.

Link Building Costs

Link building isn’t cheap – expect to spend at least $500/month for non-competitive categories and upwards of $30,000/month for competitive categories. While this may seem crazy, it’s not as your Analytics will attest to – search engines will always be the top performing campaign for any industry. Why? Because people always start the buying process at the search bar.

Summary & other tidbits

Build your links carefully and slowly. Don’t go from no links to hundreds and hundreds in one month – spread it out over 3-6 months so it’s natural looking. Make sure the sites being used are all unique and aren’t all part of the same network (IP classes/ranges should always be unique).

Stay away from crappy directories and dodgy cross linking schemes. If you have a network of your own sites, resist the urge to cross link them all – you’ll wind up getting them all tossed out of the index.

Remember, link building is the most important factors in ranking well so make sure you’re spend an appropriate amount of time and resources on it. You’re rankings will reward you!

Toronto Website Design + SEO

Check out the following article:

The Importance of Local Website Design & SEO in Toronto

Patrick the DIY SEO Vs Vanessa the SEO Expert

What’s your SEO approach?

Are you a do-it-yourself SEO or did you hire an SEO consultant?

DIY SEO can be great because it is a whole lot cheaper than hiring an SEO professional. And even better, since you are your own SEO expert, you are in control of everything. On the flip side, DIY SEO can also be very time consuming and it can lead you down a dark path of destruction without you ever even knowing. It can also give you a false sense of security and make you believe you know enough to be effective, when in reality you know enough to be dangerous.

The Case of Patrick, the DIY SEO
Over the last week I’ve been talking with a guy named Patrick about his blog and upcoming website launch. Patrick was connected with me via a mutual acquaintance, so I’ve been reviewing Patrick’s activities and giving him free advice. This is something I typically do not do, but I like our mutual business partner and I believe in Patrick’s project.

Patrick has an ultra secret website project and he has been blogging in an attempt to drive initial traffic and drive interest in the big reveal. Patrick knows his competition and he has an idea what he’d search for if he were a potential visitor to his future website. Patrick even put those words into Google to figure out the highest volumes.

Patrick, like many others I speak with, thinks he is fairly well prepared. After all, he has his 80 or so keywords in hand, he’s blogging regularly, and he is considering keyword density within his posts. Heck he’s even content tagging and sharing his posts via Facebook and Twitter. He is making progress with inbound traffic, yet none of it is actually coming through his blog posts. By why would this be the case you ask? He’s doing everything right isn’t he? No, not really.

Patrick’s intentions are excellent. And as a person, I think Patrick is pretty darn cool. He is trying really hard to read up and SEO topics and learn from SEO experts. Patrick is the average wannabe SEO expert. Although in Patrick’s case, he is actually spending a significant amount of time trying to learn SEO and he has picked up a lot of information on SEO basics.

But that is the dangerous part. Patrick cannot tell good SEO from bad SEO. He can’t tell real SEO advice from regurgitated old SEO advice. He doesn’t know an H1 tag from a meta description or an alt tag from cornerstone content. He doesn’t know about keyword mapping or XML sitemaps. Patrick knows how to blog and blog very well.

His intentions are good and he is putting in a lot of sweat and tears into the process, but he is trying to catch up and compete with SEO consultants (or entire in house teams) who have a decade or so of SEO experience. He is also trying to compete with heavy hitting websites.

I looked up the competitors Patrick gave me and they’re heavy hitters. I mean they have huge traffic volumes, thousands or inbound links, and in some case millions of indexed pages in Google. Patrick has a huge uphill battle. He is not only competing against an experienced SEO consultant and his in house teams of minions, his competitors already have a ton of inbound links, indexed pages, and web traffic.

So can he compete? Yes he can. He has a different value proposition, he is unique, and he has a business plan. The problem is he does not have an SEO plan. He has a list of highly sought after keywords and that just isn’t the same thing as an SEO plan. It isn’t a strategic, methodical plan to compete keyword to keyword with the big boys. It is a valiant effort, but at this point it is an effort in futility.

The Case of Vanessa, the SEO Consultant
I’ve been doing SEO and website design for about eight years. In the earlier years I made a lot of mistakes. Thankfully my industry was as new to SEO as I was and my competition was still trying to figure out SEO just like I was at the time. I muddled through, read a lot, and performed a whole lot of trial and error stuff on my own website. Then I read more, talked to some experts, and worked on some more websites.

Then shazam! I finally felt like I had it together. I didn’t just know some stuff about SEO, I actually had a very detailed project plan for building SEO friendly websites and performing ongoing search engine optimization. I really knew my SEO and better yet, I knew my SEO stuff worked. I had gone against the big boys and I had won. I had bruises and war wounds to prove it. I also had Google Analytics data to prove that I knew what I was talking about. I went to battle and I came out alive and stronger than when I went in.

Remember – my battle and my SEO journey was eight years in the making. And remember, I made a lot of mistakes along the way. While I’m confident now, I wasn’t eight, five, or even three years ago. I wasn’t until I started looking at the SEO of other SEO consultants. And then I knew I had it and I wasn’t just claiming to have SEO knowledge. I started to see SEO everywhere I went on the internet.

But What About Patrick and His SEO Efforts?
I’ve tried to get Patrick to take a step back. I’ve tried to teach Patrick some best practices over the last week. Unfortunately, I just can’t cram eight years of SEO experience into a few emails over the course of a week. Patrick, smart as he is, can only digest so much. And I, giving free advice to a peep, can only allocate so much time.

I don’t know what the future holds for Patrick and his website. I know his project has some fabulous potential, but I’m currently not involved in his website project. It has been in the works for a while and I just met Patrick a week or so ago. It is hard to take my 90+ step website development plan and force it on Patrick and his team midstream. I would personally suggest the entire group take a time out and sit down so they can reflect and consider the ultimate goal. That goal is to go head to head with the big daddy of their industry and make an impact.

So how does Patrick make an impact? To do that, they need a thorough, well crafted, and completely integrated website design, SEO, and social media plan. SEO doesn’t come before or after design, it is part of the entire process from initial thought straight through to the website’s end. It is a living and breathing plan that matures with the website, the website visitors, and the industry in which is competes.

SEO is a journey and not a destination. I’ve chosen to take this journey and dedicate my professional life to it. I believe in SEO and I truly believe with all my heart that SEO is a journey worth taking.

Google Ranking Factors

Search Engine Optimization is a fast changing discipline.

What worked 2 or 5 years ago might be completely unnecessary these days or even bad for your site’s ranking.

Leading search industry publications publish the most probable Google ranking factors each year. Nonetheless many webmasters prefer to stick to the past or follow wrong advice from bloggers who just repeat SEO myths.

In recent years, Google has not only included lots of new media types into its search results; it has also added numerous ranking factors while rethinking many old ones... thus the game is changing rapidly as other things become more important.

Below is a list of new or current ranking factors that get underestimated by webmasters and neglected because of this. Included are those often old school ranking factors webmasters tend to overestimate the power of. These may not work anymore, or may even hurt your site in Google’s search results.

These ranking factors are gaining importance or haven’t been as popularly accepted as they deserve

Site Speed – site speed is an official ranking factor that Google has been pushing quite hard for a while. Despite this, I still see plenty of sites that don’t seem to care. They load huge images where you don’t need any or are cluttered with widgets and rich media that take too long to load. Especially on mobile phones, Google prefers sites that load quickly.

Social Signals – Twitter, Quora and even Friendfeed get used by Google Social search to populate your social search results, but these services also influence regular results. Hundreds of tweets by real accounts with some authority can push your site significantly. A few tweets by authority accounts or even one Google Buzz mention can get you indexed. Google just acquired social media analytics tool PostRank so they can measure this even better.

Usability – with the Google ”Panda” high quality update, user experience as chekecd by human quality raters and automatically measured by algorithms have been introduced as a direct ranking factor.

Outgoing Links – it has already been two years since Matt Cutts disclosed that outgoing links to authority sites are a positive ranking factor like bad neighborhoods are a negative one. These days some of the most renowned SEOs advise linking out not just for direct ranking benefit, and link out a lot themselves.

Google +1 – with the launch of Google +1 it has been announced that +1 votes will count as a ranking factor. There are still penalty of sites who don’t seem to care. Inserting a +1 button is easier than a Facebook-like widget.

Branding – over the years, branding has seemingly become one of the most important ranking factors for Google. Make sure that people know your name and link to you using it. This way you ensure that you will be created as a brand while generic sites get downranked. It’s even feasible that Google counts the number of mentions of your name or brand that do not link to you. The more you get talked about the better, of course.

SERP CTR – Google can measure how many people actually click your site in search results. You can even see the numbers in Google Webmaster Tools. The less people do click, the less valuable it must be is the logic I’m afraid. Make sure you sport an enticing meta description and title tag. Don’t just stuff keywords in there like 10 years ago.

Readability – Google is also measuring the readability level of a text. For instance, most of my blog posts don’t require a university degree to get understood. That might be an advantage in many cases, unless someone needs scientific advice of course.

Ads to content-ratio – too many ads on your site may mean bad karma as your site might get considered to be a thin content site with more ad than actual text. If you use Adsense, this might be even easier to determine.

Site topic – what is a page about? Increasingly, search engines try to understand the meaning of a query to return the best results. Google is still at a very early stage of this, but it already matters what the page linking to you deals with. So placing an SEO article on a gardening site may not work in the future.

Page age (not domain age) – Google is increasingly keen on displaying dates on your articles and posts. While it’s not yet clear whether it’s a direct ranking factor as well, it will surely impact your click-through rate. The older the date, the less likely people are to click.

Link velocity – by link velocity, we describe the actual number of links a site gets in a particular time frame. If you get links too fast, you may end up in a Google filter. On the other hand, a good viral campaign with a large number of links in a matter of hours or days can propel you to the top accordingly.

Link decay – as content gets older, many links in it end up being broken. Or even worse, some of them redirect to bad neighbourhoods. So link decay may hurt in two ways, by either showing that your content is now obsolete or by hurting it directly by linking to spammy or rogue sites.

Internal link anchor text – the actual anchor text your internal links have can be a major ranking factor. So don’t link ”services” in the menu but ”seo services”.

Alt text – in 2009 it seemed that alt text, the text you add in the alt attribute on images, may be one of the most important ranking factors on page. I admit that I still neglect this ranking factor, sometimes due to sheer haste and laziness. Blind users are only aware of the alt descriptions so you may want to think twice and add them.

On page link position – over the years, Google has been stepping up its efforts to identify where a particular link is on a webpage, in the footer, sidebar or the editorial part of the content. These days editorial links are best, of course.

Natural link profile – a natural link profile consists of all kinds of links: branded ones, deep links, nofollow links, even links from low quality scraper sites. By now it’s quite sure that Google has to look at the overall link profile of a site. If your site has only links from one geographical area, sites on one specific topic or specific links (e.g. blog comments), for example, this may mean that you will be ranked accordingly.

Deep link ratio – with the new Panda algorithm, sites with many pages that have no external incoming links have suffered. Until now it was enough to have enough authority from the homepage to push thousands of pages down in the hierarchy. From now, deep links get even more important for so called long tail content.

Link geography – as noted above, UK-based links are good for UK sites that want to rank in the UK. If you want to also rank well in the US, you want to make sure you publish and promote your posts while most US citizens are awake (not in the morning UK time). This also works for tweets, as some tests have already shown.

Backlink diversity – links from a lot of different sites are important not only for the natural link profile. Backlink diversity is similar to domain popularity and ultimately part of a natural link profile. This ranking factor has been around for ages, and some people have seemingly forgotten about it.

Just consider this: a new site is buying links from a few high PageRank sites and has barely any other links from domains with no Google authority. Doesn’t it look suspicious?

These ranking factors are losing ground or are even negative ranking factors

Facebook likes – in recent days there’s been a lot of news coming in that Facebook likes do not count as much or at all for Google rankings. Until now, after a disclosure a few months ago, it was assumed that Google counts public likes from profiles that are visible to everyone (like mine is for example).

Exact match domains – for years, so-called exact match domains e.g. seo.com for the query [seo] have been the best bet to rank quickly and stay on top. The good times seem to be over, however; branding gets more important, and even an exact match generic keyword domain is no guarantee of ranking these days.

Backlink anchor text – when every link to your site from the Web has the same anchor text, such as “seo agency”, this will be easily detected by Google. The anchor text of incoming links gets monitored more closely, so using it in an over-optimised way might even hurt you.

h1 headlines – some already old studies suggest that the h1 tag has lost much of the impact it once might have had on Google results. h2 and even smaller headlines most probably counted for more until now. Other specialists tend to dismiss h-tag altogether these days. I’m not sure here, but headlines are not a place to stuff keywords in anymore.

Top level domain – the TLD, that is the .com .co.uk or .fr ending of your domain, doesn’t count that much these days. Sites with .ly, .me, .is and other similarly exotic top level domains can rank well now without major disadvantages. Just look at Good.is – it even outranks Good.com.

Server location – my own SEO blog over at SEO 2.0 has been ranking for years in the US, despite being hosted in Germany. So while hosting locally is a good thing, it won’t stop you from ranking when you get your SEO strategy right and earn links from your target market. I considered moving it, but I decided that the change would not be significant enough to justify the risks of moving.

Content length - I remember when one of the most common pieces of SEO advice was to write content that is at least 200 words long. Also, over the years, pages with very long on-site copy have traditionally ranked better than short ones. Now that Google has cracked down on content farms that focused on size not quality, it would seem that content length is not a signal of utmost importance anymore.

Backlink number – I also remember a time when you looked at the sheer number of links a site had. Soon the number turned completely useless because of thousands of footer links from ”partners” many websites got. With the appearance of widely used CMS systems like WordPress and Drupal, Google has taken measures to curb the footer link game.

Keyword density – the higher the keyword density, the more likely you get penalised by Google for keyword stuffing. Keyword density is not a metric most serious SEO practicioners use in 2011. While it’s good to mention your actual keywords on page, any suggested density of several per cent is nonsense and barely readable.

Meta keywords tag – no major search engine uses the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor these days, yet some blogs still advise you to use it for SEO. Some SEO experts assume that it’s even a negative ranking factor. Google might be checking whether the keywords mentioned in it are also found on page, and if they aren’t, you might get downranked.

Of course, ranking by itself is not the only thing important in SEO, but if your SEO strategy is based on outdated ranking signals that do not matter anymore, while you ignore the most important current ones, you may be heading in the wrong direction.

Make sure you stay on top of new developments. On the other hand, you may have to focus on the actions that work in search due to the fact that they are popular. This way, you are staying ahead of Google's future changes.

How to Optimize your Blog Post

SEO Advice - If you’re writing and publishing blog posts, but not putting in the few extra steps to optimize and align them with an overall keyword strategy, then you’re not leveraging the full potential of that content and you’re not making your website pages visible and highlighted for the search engines.

Blog Optimizing: Back to the Basics

Content is a form of online currency that is crucial to any business' online marketing. With consumers relying on search engines for product research and reviews, content is key for ranking among those search results because search engines largely determine the quality and relevancy of the Internet’s countless web pages by looking at the text on those pages.

Just having content, even great content, on your company's website isn't enough to grab the attention of search engines. Businesses must leverage this content using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Maintaining a corporate blog is a good SEO tactic that allows for rapid content creation without the constraints of website architecture and web development teams.

Here’s how you can optimize your blog post in eight steps.

1. Find a Compelling Subject

One method for differentiating your content from all the other writing available across the web is to offer a fresh perspective and a unique angle on a given subject matter. If you haven’t spent time working through this step, don’t bother with the rest of the optimization process.

2. Conduct Keyword Research

This step is the perfect litmus test for determining whether your blog post topic is aligned with what people are looking for. When developing your focused keyword list around the blog post topic, make sure to do a sanity check and confirm that consumers are actually using these keywords to search for your product/service.

Save yourself time in the long run and filter out visitors who are unlikely to buy your product by ensuring your keywords align with the purchasing intent of your target audience.

3. Select Keywords

In order to rank high for a given keyword phrase, it’s important that you only designate up to two to three keywords per website page. Limit your blog post to one primary keyword, as well as two or three variations of that keyword (e.g. optimize blog post, optimize blog, blog post optimize, blog optimize).

4. Track Keyword Ranking Trends

Make sure your focus keyword is worth optimizing for. If there are only 10 searches for a given keyword per month, it might not be worth your while.

Look at how your target keyword phrase is trending, in terms of global monthly searches, how competitive the search term is, and whether any of your competitors or one of your pages are already ranking for it.

5. Optimize the Page

Page optimization is crucial for boosting the visibility of your blog post for the search engines. After you create the content, insert your keyword phrase throughout the blog post in specific locations where the search engines will be looking for information about your page (i.e. URL, title tag, H1, H2, emphasized text in the body of the post, alt tags on images).

From here on out, every time you mention this specific keyword phrase on your website, use an internal link to its corresponding blog page. There are also available SEO plugins for certain blog platforms, like WordPress’ popular “All in One SEO Pack,” to help you control these SEO elements.

6. Syndicate via Social Channels

Syndicate your blog post externally by sharing it across your social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, post comments with your blog post link on relevant, external articles to attract clicks through to your site.

Make sure to use the blog post’s target keywords in your syndication via tweets and Facebook status updates. Help your audience share your content as quickly and easily as possible by including social sharing buttons on your blog post pages like the tweet, Facebook Like, LinkedIn Share, and AddThis buttons.

Consider adding Facebook's new comments plugin to drive engagement and sharing. Also, make your content available via RSS feed, so subscribers can regularly view your latest content on their news reader of choice.

7. Find Top Links

Inbound links are essential for boosting the search engine rank of a website page. A handful of relevant links will help you better rank. Use a link suggestion tool to help identify and track high-quality, relevant websites that you can reach out to with your blog post and request a link back to your page.

8. Track Keyword Performance

Monitor your blog post on a regular basis, in terms of rank, visits, and leads from its given keyword phrase over time. By checking back on your progress, you can understand what about your content is resonating with your audience and what to improve upon. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t, then repeat the successful tactics with your next piece of content.

Summary

SEO is a gradual process, but by just setting aside an hour a week, you can make a lot of progress over time.

While many view paid search as a quick and easy way to drive traffic without a large time investment, once you switch it off, you lose that traffic. SEO, on the other hand, when done well, can have a long-lasting, sustainable impact for your website.
If you need SEO, SEM or SMO help in Toronto then you need to contact designSEO.ca
Get started by emailing contactus@designseo.ca.
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