Recession is a time for battening down the hatches, staying the course and avoiding unnecessary expenses — right?
Not according to Canada’s entrepreneurs, who are in a fighting mood as they await a recovery. In a new survey, 61% of business owners said they are investing in innovation and/or research and development this year, which may surprise business-watchers who think small business owners are innovation laggards.
But business owners are always looking at new product ideas and tweaking their service offerings. Designing a new type of sandal, hiring an SEO consultant to beef up a Web site, or recruiting a student to make cold calls all count as innovation in a small company, where you fall behind whenever you stop moving forward.
The Canadian Small Business Monitor, published last week by American Express, breaks ground by putting a price tag on innovation investment. An impressive 13% of the 500 business owners surveyed said they will spend more than 10% of revenues on innovation or research and development this year; 10% expect to spend between 6% and 10%; and 28% plant to invest 1% to 5%.
Another reassuring finding is only 19% of business owners said they will spend nothing on it “because innovation/ R&D does not apply to my business;” while 13% said they don’t have the budget for it, and 7% were undecided.
(That last group probably includes the dry cleaner that tore your favourite jacket, the e-commerce Web site that lost your order and the ad agency that produced the Stephane Dion video last December.)
Overall, 40% of the businesses surveyed consider innovation a “high priority,” while 8% call it a “top priority.” Generally, the larger the company, the higher priority they place on innovation.
Like anywhere else, a website requires optimization in order to rank within its own city, and Winnipeg is no exception. Winnipeg is the 7th largest city in Canada and the largest city between Toronto and Calgary.
Home to several internet startups in health, travel, and finance, Winnipeg is an overlooked technical hub with lots to offer. A little known fact, its where a few internet industries were started. Winnipeg also has a small gaming and film community which is thriving as well.
Internet marketing has made location a non-issue, allowing people virtually anywhere to operate a business online.
What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Borrowing a definition from wikipedia… “it is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via “natural” (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results.” SEO is a process which requires a time investment in order to see results. For faster results, one might try PPC, which you can setup and turn on in the same day.
Search Engine Optimization Winnipeg
There’s a city that lies on the prairies where two rivers meet. Known as Winnipeg, it’s known for hot summers, cold winters, love for hockey, and the great outdoors.
Winnipeg is also a thriving community for business, both online and offline, and has contributed a great deal for a city of barely 700,000. There is a strong community for web developers, designers, and Internet marketers. There is also the Winnipeg SEO and SEM groups as well
In the taxi on the way to the airport yesterday, the driver made the sort of offhand, clichéd remark that nobody ever takes seriously: “What would we do without computers?” Always one to take things seriously, though, I jumped at the bait. What would I do without computers?
Everything about my life would be different. Obviously, I couldn’t do the work that I do — and that’s probably true for you too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this column. I would also need a replacement for my social media addictions.
Everything about my life would be different — and that’s true for most people. If we didn’t have cell phones, our lives would be dramatically different. If we didn’t have television, our lives would be dramatically different.
But now imagine that we didn’t have Google. Imagine a Terminator came back from the future to kill Google before it became self-aware. Imagine that it found the global jeadquarters in Mountain View and managed to destroy Google’s “brain.” (Don’t you love that no matter how distributed and redundant our actual technology gets, every artificially intelligent movie bad guy always has a single “brain” that can be destroyed in a shower of sparks and dramatic effects?) Or maybe the Terminator just unplugs it. Whatever. Bottom line, we wake up tomorrow and there’s no Google.
For purposes of this thought experiment, let’s actually restrict ourselves for a moment to the idea of a world without Google search. Relax — we’ve still got YouTube.
Here’s what I believe would happen from a consumer perspective: there would be a brief and reasonably harsh shudder — and then we would go on as normal. The hundreds of Lilliputian search engines nipping at Google’s heels would rush in to fill the vacuum. Searches from your address bar? No problem. SERPs with images? No problem. Mobile search? No problem.
The commercial ecosystem, of course, would be dramatically undermined. All of the entities that have built their businesses on the idea of an ever-dominant Google would have to quickly and accurately reallocate spending to the most dominant of the new pretenders. Publishers would have to switch networks. Sites using Google custom search would have to offer another way to navigate.
But here is where it gets interesting for me: the strategy wouldn’t really change.
A company investing in text ads would still invest in text ads, because text ads will still be an effective, measurable way to advertise. A publisher tapped into the Google network would tap into a different network — but it would still tap into a network. Keyword identification and SEO would go on as normal, just with different players.
As integrated as Google has become in our lives, its functions are still replaceable. That “competition’s only one click away” idea is actually true, in theory. We stick with Google because we love it, not because we can’t get satisfaction anywhere else.
The best relationships are always those that exist out of continually renewed choice. Google has a lot of “habit capital” it would have to burn through before people started questioning that choice, but at the end of the day, it’s not really that hard to find another way to search.
If there were no Google? We’d simply have a different logo at the top of the page.
A flurry of new information released as part of Forrester research predicts a huge change of emphasis from traditional media to online advertising over the next few years. In particular, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) are due to double over the next five years according to the Forrester report.
In the US, digital marketing will become $55 billion industry by 2014, representing 21 per cent of the overall marketing spend. In the UK, online advertising spend already controls over a fifth of the overall advertising market, but the trend predicted by Forrester is that online will continue to flourish while other aspects perish.
The most interesting takeaway from the research is that overall advertising budgets will decline. Yep. With dollars moving out of traditional media toward less expensive and more efficient interactive tools, marketers will actually need less money to accomplish their current advertising goals.”
The message is getting through that online marketing can achieve the same as traditional media for less. A paradigm shift is occurring, with 60 per cent of advertising gurus ploughing money into digital media rather than the normal advertising avenues. Up to 59 per cent of the increase in advertising spend will be allocated to SEO and PPC.
PPC is currently much more prominent than SEO with most companies preferring to invest in paid search. However, as organic search starts gaining more widespread traction, more brands will turn to search engine optimization to drive traffic naturally to their websites. By 2014 the US will spend over $5 billion on SEO according to the Forrester research.
If you’re a website owner, then you probably already know that websites need plenty of love and attention. Then you have to think about how you use your website to get the best return on investment. Most companies pass the request on to the marketing team in the hope that they can work wonders in implementing a successful marketing strategy. This isn’t always the case, as normal marketing employees haven’t got the faintest idea on where to start to help market a website for the internet.
There is a phrase for one of the best parts of internet marketing, this is search engine optimisation(SEO). This is when a company makes changes to your website and a range of other strategies to help your website appear as high as possible in the listings in major search engines such as Google. Because search engines are still relitavely new in the world of business it can be difficult to find resources to help you, or even people to find who are willing to help. I can imagine there are not many people out there who even knew what SEO was let alone think that they needed it.
There are 100’s of people out there that claim to be someone who can help. Don’t be fooled by techincal talk from these guys as they don’t generally have the results to back up their claims. If you decide you need to look at marketing for your website then make sure the company you choose, are not scared to show previous customers or results. Always make sure you recieve testimonials from these customers to otherwise you could be sending an awful lot of money down the well and not getting much in return.
Achieving a high ranking in the search results at Google and other search sites is, for many websites, the primary means of attracting new visitors and increasing traffic. That’s why it’s important to optimize your site for search, using various search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. The better optimized your site, the higher it will appear in the search rankings—and the more traffic you’ll attract.
With that in mind, here are 10 SEO tips that you can use with any website, no matter what the site’s content. Follow the advice here and you’ll likely improve your ranking!
TIP #1: Improve Your Content
Ultimately, people visit a given website because it has valuable content. If the content isn’t any good, all the SEO in the world won’t create new visitors.
That’s why of all the SEO tips in the world, the one that has the biggest impact is improving your website’s content. It’s simple: The better your site is, content-wise, the higher it will rank.
You see, when it comes to search rank, content is king. Ultimately, the better search engines find some way to figure out what your site is all about; the higher quality and more relevant your site’s content is to a particular search, the more likely it is that a search engine will rank your site higher in its results.
So forget all about fancy keywords and technical META tags for the time being, and focus on what it is your site does and says.
If your site is about NASCAR racing, work to make it the most content-rich site about NASCAR you can; if it’s about aquariums, make it the highest-quality aquarium site possible. Don’t skimp on the content—the more and more relevant content you have, the better.
Here’s what you need to remember: SEO isn’t about technological tricks. It’s about making your site more useful to visitors—and that means providing the best possible content you can. Everything else follows from this.
TIP #2: Create a Clear Organization and Hierarchy
Here’s an important fact: Web crawlers for the major search sites can find more content on a web page and more web pages on a website if that content and those pages are in a clear hierarchical organization.
Let’s look at page organization first. You want to think of each web page as a mini-outline. The most important information should be in major headings, with lesser information in subheadings beneath the major headings.
One way to do this is via standard HTML heading tags, with the most important information in H1 tags, the next most-important in H2 tags, and less-important information in H3 tags.
This approach is also appropriate for your entire site layout. Your home page should contain the most important information, with subsidiary pages branching out from that containing less important information—and even more subpages branching out from those. The most important info should be visible when a site is first accessed via the home page; additional info should be no more than a click or two away.
TIP #3: Fine-Tune Your Keywords
Just as important as a page’s layout is the page’s content in terms of keywords. A keyword is a word or phrase that the user searches for.
In determining search ranking, the major search engines look to determine how important a keyword or phrase is on your page. They do this by seeing where on the page the keyword is used and how many times it’s used. A site with a keyword buried near the bottom of a page will rank lower than one with the keyword placed near the top or used repeatedly in the page’s text. It’s not a foolproof way of determining importance and appropriateness, but it’s a good first stab at it.
When various search engines examine your page, they look for the most important words—those words used in the site’s title or headings, those words that appear in the opening paragraph, and those words that are repeated throughout the page. The more and more prominently you include a word on your page, the more important a search engine will think it is to your site.
For this reason, you want to make sure that each and every page on your site contains the keywords that users might use to search for your pages. If your site is all about drums, make sure your pages include words like “drums,” “percussion,” “sticks,” “heads,” “cymbals,” “snare,” and the like. If your site is about dogs, include words like “dog,” “puppy,” “canine,” “beagle,” “collie,” “dachshund,” and such.
Try to think through how you would search for this information, and work those keywords into your content.
TIP #4: Tweak Your META Tags
A search engine looks not just to the text that visitors see when trying to determine the content of your site. Also important is the presence of keywords in your site’s HTML code—specifically within the META tag.
The META tag includes metadata about your site, such as your site’s name and keyword “content.” This tag appears in the head of your HTML document, before the BODY tag and its contents.
It’s easy enough for a search engine to locate the META tag and read the data contained within. If a site’s metadata is properly indicated, this gives the search engine a good first idea about what content is included on this page.
Fortunately, you can insert multiple META tags into the head of your document, and each tag can contain a number of different attributes. For example, you can assign attributes for your page’s name, a description, and keywords to the META tag.
You use separate META tags to define different attributes using the following format:
META NAME=”attribute” CONTENT=”items”NOTE
In the previous line of code, replace attribute with the name of the particular attribute, and items with the keywords or description of that attribute.
For example, to include a description of your web page, enter this line of code:
META NAME=”DESCRIPTION” CONTENT=”All about stamp collecting”
To include a list of keywords, use the following code:
META NAME=”KEYWORDS” CONTENT=”keyword1, keyword2, keyword3″
TIP #5: Solicit Inbound Links
Google got to be Google by recognizing that web rankings could be somewhat of a popularity contest; that is, if a site got a lot of traffic, there was probably a good reason why. A useless site wouldn’t attract a lot of visitors (at least not long term), nor would it inspire other sites to link to it.
So if a site has a lot of other sites linking back to it, it’s probably because that site offers useful information relevant to the site doing the linking. The more links to a given site, the more useful it probably is.
Google took this to heart and developed its own algorithm, dubbed PageRank, which is based first and foremost on the number and quality of sites that link to a particular page.
If your site has a hundred sites linking to it, for example, it should rank higher in Google’s search results than a similar site with only ten sites linking to it. Yes, it’s a popularity contest, but one that has proven uncannily accurate in providing relevant results to Google’s users.
And it’s not just the quantity of links; it’s also the quality. That is, a site that includes content that is relative to your page is more important than just some random site that links to your page. For example, if you have a site about NASCAR racing, you’ll get more oomph with a link from another NASCAR-related site than you would with a link from a site about Barbie dolls. Relevance matters.
So when it comes to increasing your rankings at Google (which is, far and away, the largest and most important search engine), you can get a big impact by getting more higher-quality sites to link back to your site.
There are a number of ways to do this: from just waiting for the links to roll in to actively soliciting links from other sites. You can even pay other sites to link
back to your site; when it comes to increasing your site’s search ranking, little is out of bounds. But however you do, increasing the number and quality of inbound links is essential.
TIP #6: Submit Your Site
While you could wait for the each search engine’s crawler to find your site on the Web, a more proactive approach is to manually submit your site for inclusion in each engine’s web index. It’s an easy process—and one that every webmaster should master.
Fortunately, submitting your site to a search engine is an easy process. In fact, it’s probably the easiest part of the SEO process. All you have to do is go the submission page for each search engine, as noted here:
•Windows Live Search: search.msn.com.sg/docs/submit.aspx
As easy as this site submittal process is, some webmasters prefer to offload the task to a site submittal service. These services let you enter your URL once and then submit it to multiple search engines and directories; they handle all the details required by each search engine. Given that many of these services are free, it’s not a bad way to go.
TIP #7: Create a Sitemap
Here’s something else that you can submit to increase your site’s ranking: a sitemap. A sitemap is a map of all the URLs in your entire website, listed in hierarchical order. Search engines can use this sitemap to determine what’s where on your site, find otherwise-hidden URLs on deeply buried pages, and speed up their indexing process. In addition, whenever you update the pages on your website, submitting an updated sitemap helps keep the search engines up-to-date.
The big three search engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Live Search), along with Ask.com, all support a single sitemap standard. This means you can create just one sitemap that all the search engines can use; you don’t have to worry about different formats for different engines.
Your sitemap is created in a separate XML file. This file contains the distinct URLs of all the pages on your website. When a searchbot reads the sitemap file, it learns about all the pages on your website—and can then crawl all those pages for submittal to the search engine’s index.
By the way, the new unified sitemap format allows for autodiscovery of your site’s sitemap file. Previously, you had to notify each search engine separately about the location of each file on your site. Now you can do this universally by specifying the file’s location in your site’s robots.txt file.
While you could create a sitemap file by hand, it’s far easier to generate that sitemap automatically. To that end, many third-party sitemap-generator tools exist for just that purpose. For most of these tools, generating a sitemap is as simple as entering your home page URL and then pressing a button.
The tool now crawls your website and automatically generates a sitemap file; once the sitemap file is generated, you can then upload it to the root directory of your website, reference it in your robots.txt file, and, if you like, submit it directly to each of the major search engines.
TIP #8: Use Text Instead of Images
It’s important to know that today’s generation of search engines parse only text content; they can’t figure out what a picture or video or Flash animation is about, unless you describe it in the text. So if you use graphic buttons or banners (instead of plain text) to convey important information, the search engines simply won’t see it. You need to put every piece of important information somewhere in the text of the page—even if it’s duplicated in a banner or graphic.
So if you use images on your site, which you probably do, make sure that you use the ALT tag for each image—and assign meaningful keywords to the image via this tag. A searchbot will read the ALT tag text; it can’t figure out what an image is without it.
TIP #9: Update Your Content Frequently
It pays to constantly update your site. Because most searchbots crawl the Web with some frequency, looking for pages that have changed or updated content, your ranking can be affected if your site hasn’t changed in a while. So you’ll want to make sure that you change your content on a regular basis; in particular, changing the content of your heading tags can have a big impact on how “fresh” the search engine thinks your site is.
TIP #10: Know Your Customer
This final tip is a piece of business advice I’ve been hawking for the past two decades. Everything you do in business—or on your website—should come in service to your customers. You don’t develop a new product just because you have the capability; you do it because it’s something your customers want.
To that end, knowing what your customers want is the most important part of your business. If you know your customers, you can develop a website that they will want to visit—and that search engines will want to rank highly. Know what your customers want and you’ll know what kind of content to create, and how to present that content.
And because SEO starts with your optimizing site’s content, the better and more relevant that content, the higher your site will rank with Google, Yahoo!, and the other search engines.
Know your customer, and everything else follows.
You can’t swing a dead cat nowadays in Winnipeg without hitting a self-proclaimed SEO expert. Just about every web design worker and internet company is deeming themselves real masters of search engine optimization.
Most of them are liars.
People tweak a few title tags and do some casual keyword research, (one recently even stole my title and description) and call themselves experts. These guys are the same ones who tell women they meet at the bar that they make seven figures and have a house in Fiji. When in reality, they live with their parents and lease their BMW.
The truth is, SEO is pretty complicated, and the rules that govern good search engine rankings change more often than the guards outside Buckingham Palace.
To be a real expert in the process of improving your position in Google requires a solid understanding of Google’s complex algorithm, which determines what site occupies that position.
The best search engine optimization specialists have been in the business for years and are constantly involved in implementing and testing new strategies and techniques. They live and breath keyword density, anchor text analysis, crawl tests and permalink structures.
In reality, there’s only a handful of real SEO experts out there. I’ve personally met and dealt with hundreds of search engine aficionados, some relatively knowledgeable of the SEO best practices.
But only two or three people I’ve met are real SEO warriors. These are the people that grabbed Google’s top spot for ridiculously competitive terms in tough markets such as travel, car insurance, mortgages and pharmaceuticals.
Casual SEO workers drown in these areas.
Needless to say, most people fall short of expectations.
If you want to know who some of the best search engine optimization specialists are, try a simple Google search for seo marketing or seo world expert. The sites coming out on the top 10 (not sponsored links) are probably pretty good at their craft.
Getting listed within your town or city is a piece of cake for most, but do they come up nationally or global? NOPE.
Just for the record for the wannabe seo’s in Winnipeg, you cannot learn SEO from books, forums or seminars, you can learn good practices which is totally different, sorry Aaron, people, Mr Wall does a great book called SEO Book which can be purchased to help beginners, I suggest you read this, then stick to what your good at.
My Granny had a great old saying, People in glass houses should not through stones.
The imminent death of SEO has been a hot topic amongst SEO professionals for quite some time now. Some SEO professionals worry that their careers are in jeopardy since search engines are continually making improvements to their technologies. Search engines are in the process of completely revamping their ranking strategies to fight spammers and improve user experience. For example, Google is currently improving intent and behavior-based search in order to provide more relevant search results. So what does this all mean for the future of SEO? Is the death of SEO an inevitable outcome of the advancement of search engines?
People have been predicting the end of SEO since the very beginning. While it’s certain that things on the SEO front are always changing and that search engines are getting smarter, SEOs will continually adapt to these changes just as they have in the past. As long as search engines list websites without requiring the websites to pay a fee, SEO will exist.
Google’s Improvements and What They Mean for the Future of SEO
In the quest to fight spam and improve user experience, Google is in the process of implementing a series of changes in behavior and intent-based search. Every person who conducts a search for a particular term will have different results based on their location and search history. As a result of these changes, search engine optimization have to switch from only targeting keywords to focus more on increasing traffic and conversions. A possibility is that link building will become far less important in the future of SEO because Google will determine the value of a website based on how visitors engage with it. The ultimate goal of websites will be to provide compelling content that entices visitors to read, share, bookmark, and so on.
Social input through voting is another feature that search engines are tinkering with in order to provide user-controlled rankings. Search engine users might have the chance to vote for sites they like and sites will get ranked based on such votes. The model will be similar what’s seen on social voting sites like Digg and Reddit. Of course, search engines will have to find a way to ensure that votes are made naturally in order to prevent black hat SEOs from fooling the search engine bots.
Google and other search engines are raising the bar in SEO. Initially, this will make it harder for SEO professionals to do their job but the end result is positive. Spammers and black hat SEOs will have more difficulty succeeding in their unscrupulous efforts and search engine users will be provided with content that is more relevant.
Humans, Not Machines
As always, the aim of webmasters and SEO professionals should be to appeal to humans. People spend so much time trying to trick the search engines that they forget who they are ultimately serving: people! Your site should be optimized but your priority should always be to fulfill needs and provide solutions. Considering the direction that SEO is going, human actions and behavior will ultimately determine rankings. Your SEO success depends on your ability to engage people through great content and social media marketing
Winnipeg based Fresh Traffic Group – one of the worlds leading Internet Search Marketing companies – today announce that they have acquired two Canadian web companies – Betop Internet Marketing and Red River web design – to operate under the Fresh Traffic umbrella.
Jerry Booth CEO of Fresh Traffic says “Having in house graphic and web designers can only help further the services already offered by Fresh. We can now build websites for our clients using all the good practices usually missed by other web design companies, that together with award winning search engine optimization and Internet marketing, will make for a very strong end product.”
The company started to relocate their headquarters to Winnipeg in September 08 with the goal of having the US & EEC offices acting as satellites. The latest acquisitions will only strengthen the Winnipeg, Canada link.
If you happen to look around, even slightly, you’ll learn that there is no “quick fix” when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. It’s an investment in yourself and your website, wherein you hope your content is better than the next guys.
But if you own the goose that lays the golden egg in your market niche, how can you possibly wrangle your way to the top of Google to shout out to the land? The tried, and true, SEO; correctly performed and implemented, and practiced will drive you there. But just like a journey of 1000 steps starts with the first, so does the journey to the top of the Search Engines starts with day 1 and building your site with proper coding, and SEO practices in mind.
In the first 30 days you’ll be noticed by the spiders, as they crawl your content and start finding where you fit into the billions of already indexed pages out there.
In the first 60 days, if you’ve built your site properly and have had optimization done onsite, you’ll start to see yourself climbing “the ladder” in your market niche. You may already start to make brief appearances in the top 20, exciting times for a new business.
Nearing the end of your first 100 days of properly constructed, and optimized site, your site will start to hang around consistently in the top 15 or so, top 10 if the search engines love your site, and perhaps top 5 if your market niche is that particular.
All in all, the first 100 days of a newly constructed, optimized site, can be viewed as a beginning benchmark to your strength within the index. If you’ve followed the rules, been properly optimized, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labours and investments for a long time to come.