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Top 10 Tips for Ranking your local business in Toronto

No matter the size of any business, it can always benefit from utilizing the power of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That said, geo-specific optimization can add even further benefit. A small investment will pay huge dividends down the line.

For example, “banquet halls in Toronto” or “iron works in Toronto” will be much less competitive than “banquet halls” or “iron works.” Therefore, by allowing customers to see that you provide services to specific area, you increase your number of clients significantly by making yourself stand out. This is where geo-specific optimization comes into play. Here are 10 tips for doing so:

1) Don’t Alienate Customers across Canada

Although some business are certainly focused locally, some of these same businesses to think nationally as well. If you find yourself in this position with your business, then make sure that you also highlight that you offer services on a national level. This is a simple way to get your name out there and make more customers aware of your business.

2) Give Prominence to Your Contact Details on your Website

It is very important to give great prominence to any terms you wish to be ranked. If you are looking to rank high for a certain service in a very specific area, then it is prudent to make your address stand out on your website. Be sure to mention your location a few times through your website’s copy so that search engines can associate your business with a specific area.

3) Go Beyond Google Search

While Google certainly has a stranglehold on much of the market, Yelp.com is also a great resource for getting people to see your business. Just like Google Places, people can create reviews.

4) Consider Using More than One Domain Name

If ranking high in local searches is of great importance, then using multiple domains might be a good investment. Google, as well as the other search engines, will look at your business’s top level domain in order to see if your website is relevant to a specific country. That said, if you are using a regular domain, like .com, for example, then you can establish your geo-targeting with Google’s webmaster console.

5) Use Incentives for Positive Reviews

Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews when using Google Places so that they can outweigh any potential unsatisfied customers.

6) Use Other Search Engines

Again, while Google definitely has a stranglehold on the search engine market, some people do use other services. Make sure you dedicate time to using Yahoo Local and Bing Maps, as well.

7) Get Involved in Your Offline Community

Perhaps your business can support local charities or participate in community campaigns. This will increase the likelihood of your business getting local press coverage.

8) Update Your WHOIS Information

Make sure your domain name is registered with your current business address for best results when being searched for. Some people believe Google takes this information into account when deciding how to rank certain websites.

9) Use Google Places

Google Places is free for business so it is thus immediately practical. Google Places lets people searching with either Google or Google Maps find your business. Make your information as accurate possible and invite satisfied customers to add reviews to your listing.

10) Get Involved in Your Online Community
Use local websites and forums to advertise your business.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know.

How to create a Google Analytics Account

Google Analytics is an incredibly useful tool for a business. By creating an account, you can accurately see detailed statistics of your website’s visitors: who is coming to your site, how long they are staying on it, their demographics, how they get to your site, and where they live.

What Google Analytics therefore does for you is give you the best possible chance to analyze all of your website data. With this data, you can improve your site content, you can write more specific, targeted ads, and you can strengthen your marketing. Obviously, Google Analytics is incredibly useful for a business, and quite necessary nowadays.

The first thing to do is to set up a Google account, if you do not have one already. Simply go to http://www.google.com and you can have one in seconds. They will send you a confirmation email; click the link and your account will be officially activated.

The next step involves the actual Google Analytics account. Go to google.com/analytics/ and click on “Access Analytics.” It is a big blue button in the upper right part of the page. Then, log in with your Google account. When setting up the account, Google will ask for your website’s URL, its country and time zone. Once these are entered, Google will automatically create an account for you based on your inputted data. Click the “Continue” button.

You will then be asked to enter your name, phone number and the country in which you live (if different from that of your website). Click the “Continue” button once again.

On the next page, you must agree to the Google Analytics Terms of Service. You really do not need to read this, but you can if you’d like. The only thing to pay attention to is the Data Sharing Settings at the bottom. By default, Google uses your analytics data for benchmarking. If you’d like to compare your traffic to similar websites, then you will need to keep these settings as is.

Google says that the data it collects is not shared and is held in the strictest confidence. If, however, you are not comfortable with this agreement, you can change your Data Sharing settings. If you do this, though, bear in mind that you will not be able to compare your sites with others.

Once done, agree to the terms with the check box and click the “Create New Account” button.

You will now be taken to get your tracking code. You are offered “new” and “legacy.” You are advised to simply take “new,” so copy the text under “New Tracking Code.” This code will go on the bottom of every page you want to track. Put it right before the head or body tag.

Google takes roughly 24 hours or so for you to start seeing activity on your account. That’s it! Look at your data and make the appropriate changes to your website and your marketing strategies.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know.

How to setup a Facebook Business Page

With Facebook being one of—if not the—most popular websites on the internet right now, more and more businesses are starting to use the site as a means to advertise and inform the public about their product. What you can do is create a dedicated page on Facebook for your business, product, brand, etc. The whole process is very simple and only takes a few steps.

The first thing you need to do is create a personal Facebook account before you can set up a business page. You will then be able to access, modify and update your business page through your personal page. So simply head over to facebook.com and create your own personal page. All you need is an email address.

You can, however, create a business page without a personal page, but you’ll end up going through more steps. Either way, Facebook is going to want personal information, so it is best to create the personal page before the business page.

Facebook will ask you for some typical information on your business: its name, where you’re located, what you do, what your mission is, what your products are, when it was founded, etc. You can input as much or as little information as you would like. That said, it is best to obviously give the public as much information as possible, so you should try be fairly detailed and accurate when creating the business page.

What Facebook offers is a focused ad campaign within their website for businesses. So once you create your business page, you can create a campaign that uses only certain demographic data to target specific viewers. For example, you might want single men who are between 18 and 24 and like to drink beer. Facebook will pick up on those keywords from users’ personal pages and only show them your ads. Your ads will not be wasted on people who do not care about your business or products. Facebook will always calculate for your approximately how many people will be seeing your ads.

You can always change the information you want Facebook to use at any time. Simply modify certain variables and Facebook will automatically recalculate your expected number of viewers. Your new ad will then go only to these specific users.

The final step is to set up your daily budget—how much money you are willing to give to Facebook to advertise your ads. To do this, you tell Facebook how much you’d like to spend for every ad that is clicked on. The higher you “bid,” the better exposure you get. You will have to tinker with this until you find the perfect number for you and your business.

If you have any comments or questions, please let us know.

SEO Test Results from RankBuilder

For fun I took the SEO Test on RankBuilder... here is my results:

The SEO Matrix Specialist

The SEO Matrix Specialist is an SEOer who has generally been in the game for a while (at least a year) and you know your stuff. You’re one of the few who were able to cut straight most of the BS about SEO and just go with what works. Your rise to the level you’re at now was likely quick although it could be a result of years of hard work put in.

You’re the type of SEOer who has pretty much perfected the formulas that work for you – and most importantly that you read and acknowledge SEO “gurus” in general but you don’t hang on their every word. In fact, you’re probably a lot better in practical, results-based SEO than most of them.

What sticks out about you most though is your uncanny ability to get consistent and proven results. If you want to rank for a specific keyword – you likely can do it and you likely know how much of an investment it will be in time and money to do so. You are generally ready to attack anywhere sufficient opportunity shows itself.

But you’re not sporadic or jumpy about it. No, the things you do are pure formula – things that you’ve been doing for a while now and you’ve got your own “special sauce” when it comes to the way you do SEO.

When it comes to things like Blackhat, you don’t specifically subscribe to these methods as some would label it.

The bottom line is that you have your way of doing SEO and you simply define it as such. You like to go against the grain because that’s what works for you and you’ll go with flow when it’s most appropriate.

You are an SEO specialist in your own right, although you may not be recognized as such. You’d be the type more likely to have 4 or 5 out of the top 10 spots in Google and no one even knows they’re all the same person’s sites.

Cons: It can be a struggle sometimes keeping up with the game and finding new and exciting ways to add that needed juiced to your formula.

Pros: You’re that rare breed which usually gets what you want when you go after it. You can be a beast of a competitor if you put all your efforts into any one campaign and will likely continue to be so.

artificialintelligenceseo.com = SCAM!

Just a warning for people out there thinking about hiring the company known as AI SEO...

AI SEO is running a PayPal scam designed to bill your credit card $3,588 one month later. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR IT. If you ask the guy to provide a list of past clients he always refuses. He has no past clients. He just rips people off.

Also the guy is a complete amateur. His website only has a PageRank of 2. He knows very little about actual SEO (and what little SEO he does know is probably Black Hat and he will eventually get banned by Google).


Writing Good Copy, Why Good Content Drives SEO

By Toronto Copywriter

Writing good copy is about using language that is concise and to the point. You want to grab your readers' attention within the first paragraph. Choosing your words carefully is the key to success.Engaging content serves to sell you as an idea, a brand or a commodity.Your piece must include words like professional, business,service and so on.

One of the main reasons why good content drives SEO is that people tend to search for exactly what they need. So say they're looking for a house cleaning business, they will put in words like cleaning, home cleaning etc... It's these key words will draw your readers in and help lead them directly to your business or website.

People enjoy reading articles that are of interest to them or that they can relate to. Writing with your reader in mind is important when it comes to good content and optimizing your search engine.

See Also
Personality Sells, Toronto Copywriter
Writing Compelling Copy
Toronto Business Writing

The Importance of Google Plus on your Website

Watch the video below and see why you NEED to have Google+ on your website. You should have it. You want to have it. You must have it.

If you want to be promoting your website on social media, then Google Plus is pretty much mandatory.

New Canadian rules for Domain Name Disputes

Domain name disputes emerged as one of the first Internet legal issues in the mid-1990s as speculators recognized the value of domain names and the potential to resell them to the highest bidder. The growth of “cybersquatting” led to several unsuccessful attempts to establish a dispute resolution system. Finally, in 1999, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the agency responsible for administering the domain name system, created the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), which has since resolved tens of thousands of disputed domains.

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which manages the dot-ca domain, adopted its own dispute resolution policy, the CIRA Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (CDRP) in 2002. Using the UDRP as a model, CIRA developed a Canadian version that borrows much of its structure and content from the international approach, yet reflects Canadian law and policy.

The Canadian policy calls for quick adjudication of all disputes in a cost-effective manner and ensures that either party may still launch a court action if they are left unsatisfied.

Trademark holders who believe a dot-ca domain name registration involves cybersquatting may file a claim supported by evidence of their rights to the trademark, bad faith by the domain name registrant, and the fact that the registrant has no legitimate interest in the name. The domain name registrant is then provided with an opportunity to rebut the claim. Expert panellists adjudicate the cases with written decisions delivered within a few months.

The CDRP has dealt with many well-known trademarks over the years. Recent cases include the transfer of ultimatefightingchampionship.ca, ufc.ca, jockey.ca, mentos.ca, and americanidol.ca to trademark holders.

The organization recently announced a series of reforms set to take effect later this month that, once implemented, could lead to an increase in complaints.

The most important change involves an expanded definition of what constitutes “bad faith” under the policy. Both the ICANN and CIRA dispute models are intended to be limited to clear cases of cybersquatting and the bad faith definition establishes the boundaries of potential claims.

The CDRP initially included an exhaustive list of bad faith characteristics including registering a domain name with the intent to sell it to the trademark holder or registering multiple domain names that correspond to trademarks (a practice known as warehousing domains).

The exhaustive list was intended to guard against the ICANN experience where dispute panellists ventured well beyond clear cases of cybersquatting by creating their own categories of bad faith. Under the new CIRA policy, the bad faith list is now non-exhaustive, opening the door to more domain name dispute claims and increasing the risk of inconsistent decisions.

The new policy does, however, provide greater protection for registrants of generic domain names. These include generic words that may correspond to a trademark, but are widely used for many other purposes. Registrants will no longer be required to marshal evidence they have used the generic domain in order to claim a legitimate interest.

Other changes include shortening the implementation period to allow for faster domain name transfers after a decision is released and allowing for domain names to change hands during the dispute process should the parties settle the case.

5 SEO Mistakes That Make You Look Like an Amateur

Mistake # 1 – Trying to trick the search engines

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a woman who has an online editing business, and the topic of search engine optimization came up. “Oh, I know all about that,” she said. “I put certain words all over my website in white font so that you can’t see them, but Google will pick them up.”

No, no, no, no, no. This woman is risking getting her site banned by Google.

Search engines base their business on delivering relevant and useful search results. In order to do this, search engines use keywords on a Web page to figure out what the page is about.

There are a number of ways that people try to manipulate search engine results, such as including hidden text and links or cramming pages full of irrelevant keywords. These so-called “black hat” SEO techniques have the effect of making search engine results less useful to searchers, not more so.

And the search engines are getting better and better at filtering out – and even penalizing – such manipulation.

If you’re tempted to try something sneaky, ask yourself this: do you really think you can outsmart Google?

Mistake # 2 – Choosing useless keywords

I run a document translation company, and a couple of years ago, we relaunched the company’s website. At the time, I didn’t know much about search engine optimization, but since the company specializes in providing translation services to the market research sector, I decided to optimize the new website for the search term “market research translations.”

A short time afterward, I did a Google search for “market research translations” and was delighted to see our website come up in the top results. It worked! Great, right?

No, not so great.

As it turns out, ranking highly for the search term “market research translations” is pretty much useless because no one searches Google for that term.

With the proper research, I could have figured this out in advance and optimized for keywords that our potential clients actually use when searching.

If you’re looking for a way to research keyword demand, you might start with GoogleAdwords keyword tool and WordTracker. You’d be surprised at what you might discover.

Mistake # 3 – Choosing keywords you can’t win

Let’s say you’re a copywriter specialized in travel brochures. You’ve done some keyword research and found that no one is searching for “hotel brochure copywriting,” but lots of people are searching for the word “copywriting.”

Why not optimize your site for that word? The more popular the word, the better — right?

Here’s the problem with that strategy. Optimizing for a word is not enough. You have to “win” that word on Google by becoming one of the top results when people search for that word. If your site is number 200 in the results list, no one will find it there.

If you optimize for the word “copywriting,” you’ll be competing with a huge number of websites for the top few Google results. For a new website on a small budget, this word will be nearly impossible to win.

Optimizing for such a common term as “copywriting” is not totally useless, though, since your website might come up when people search for that term in combination with others (for example, if your website mentions a trade fair in Nashville, and someone searches on Google for “Nashville copywriting services.”)

But your SEO strategy should not focus on the word “copywriting” alone. Look for terms that have high enough search volume to be worth the effort, but which have a manageable level of competition.

Mistake # 4 – Ignoring off-page factors

You’ve chosen ideal keywords and integrated them into your website in an ideal way. But on-page factors are not the only criteria that search engines consider.

What you need now is links. You need links to your website from other related websites — real links from real websites, not links from spammy directories or links that you buy. You need these links in order to improve the search engine performance of your site. Google gives better ranking to sites that have other sites linking to them.

Some ways to get links include guest posting on blogs, writing for article directories, and sending out press releases.

Getting links can be time-consuming, and you may not feel like putting in the effort. After all, the idea of SEO is that the customers come to you. If you have to do marketing and write press releases, then why do SEO at all?

You do SEO for the future. If you market your site with press releases but don’t optimize it for search engines, then you’ll have to keep writing press releases indefinitely. When the press releases stop, your website traffic is likely to stop as well.

Put in the work now, and reap the benefits later.

Mistake # 5 – Short-term thinking

If you optimize your site today, you won’t see the results of your work tomorrow. You might not see the results even after a couple of months. Search engine optimization, like building a business, takes time to pay off.

Give up too soon, and you’re likely to fail. Instead, try to focus on your long-term goals. Be patient, and keep working away at it. Eventually, your SEO efforts can turn into a steady flow of free qualified traffic to your website — potential customers coming to you.

That’s a result worth waiting for.
If you need SEO, SEM or SMO help in Toronto then you need to contact designSEO.ca
Get started by emailing contactus@designseo.ca.
Consultations are $30 per hour.