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1st on the List Listed as a Top Marketing & Advertising Firm in Canada!

Top Advertising Agency Clutch 2019

If you’re looking to get your company’s name to the top of the list, look no further than our seasoned group of SEO experts here at 1st on the List Promotion. Each of our core staff has over a decade of experience, having serviced hundreds of SEO clients in Canada and the US in a diverse range of industries and markets. Some firms today are outsourcing their SEO efforts, but our core focus has always been SEO, with all of the its complex trends and techniques. It isn’t an afterthought for us- it’s what we live and breathe for!

With that said we are very excited to announce that Clutch has named us as a Leader in Marketing & Advertising for Canadian firms in 2019.

We take great pride in this recognition as it has always been our firm’s goal to provide the best service for our wide range of clients.  Clutch included us as a top SEO services provider based on the strength of our core business practices, our outstanding customer relations, and our overall ability to deliver results.  Clutch is a B2B reviews platform that connects service providers with their potential clients in a quick and easy manner. Clutch has added value to our firm by collecting high quality, in-depth reviews from our previous clients and displaying them on our profile.

Here’s what some experiences that our previous clients have shared with Clutch:

“They are honest and deliver.” – CEO, Door Screen Company

“They have very sound strategies and produce real results.” – CEO, Specialty Hardware Distributor

“1st on the List Promotion delivered on all fronts.” – Digital Manager, Home Care Provider

We truly appreciate all the resources Clutch has provided us which includes two features on their sister sites: The Manifest and Visual Objects.  The Manifest has listed us under their list of the top SEO agencies in Canada, increasing the likelihood that firms in need of an SEO agency will find our firm’s website.  Visual Objects is an additional resource that has added our portfolio of work to their site, further increasing our reach as a firm and improving the chances that we win more organic leads. 

Overall, we cannot express enough how proud we are of our team here at 1st on the List Promotion and we are very excited to continue our success throughout 2019 as a Clutch Leader in Advertising & Marketing.  

Getting Too Much Business From Your SEO Firm’s Efforts (Hint: It’s Not the Time To Quit With Them And Here’s Why)

Yes, it really is possible to have too much business. Your business will have a sweet spot of success. The right number of people throughout every level of the sales funnel, all being properly serviced by the current team, is an ideal goal. Of course, for some businesses, they are looking for increased business beyond this sweet spot, and will grow their business and staff to match.

But, what happens when you simply want to maintain your current levels? Many businesses will ask to pause all marketing efforts in an effort to decrease the flow of new leads and customers. They’ll admit to being too busy and promise to re-enlist when things slow down.

Does that sound familiar?

Here’s the thing: it’s actually not in your best interest to pause your SEO efforts. Generally speaking, the SEO efforts we make today will see the benefit in six months or beyond. Plus, every monthly effort builds upon what was done before. Stopping cold turkey can have a negative effect on your SEO rankings and can be more difficult to rebound from.

So what do you do?

If your current SEO plan is working well (or too well) for your business, the best thing you can do is slow down your program, rather than stopping altogether. This way, you don’t lose the momentum you’ve built up along the way, and your future-proofing your efforts with your current work.

After all, SEO is an ongoing process and the last thing a business wants is to disappear or have all the prior hard work be for not.

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PPC or SEO? Which should you choose and what is the difference?

There comes a time when businesses are faced with a decision as to where to allocate their online marketing spend. Often, when it comes to targeted search-based advertising, a business will be presented with the option of PPC and SEO. Which should you choose and what is the difference?

PPC stands for Pay-Per-Click advertising. Generally speaking, this refers to paying for search placement ads in a search engine. You bid on keyword phrases and pay when a visitor clicks on your text-based ad.

Pay-per-click is quick to set up, and you can start benefit from this form of advertising right away.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is the art and science of building a website, landing pages and content that is designed to bring targeted search-based traffic to your website based on related keywords. In other words, someone goes to Google and is searching for a business with your products or services, sees your organic search listing, clicks on it and reaches your website.

Building a stellar SEO pipeline can take a lot of work and time; however, the benefits are great.

Ideally, you should make room in your budget for both forms of advertising. Pay-per-click is great for campaigns or when you don’t have time to wait for your SEO strategy to work; however, year after year, the best, most targeted traffic is usually generated from organic search.

In other words, SEO is a long game while PPC is now. As with all your marketing efforts, you can really maximize your efforts by layering your digital efforts throughout the online marketplace.

Quality SEO Content Checklist

We’ve all heard the term “Content is King” but are we actually writing content that deserves royal treatment?

Content needs to be original, desirable and relevant but are there more concrete quality content guidelines to use while writing?

At 1st on the List we’ve compiled this quick quality content checklist to help you write great content that is appealing for both your visitors and for the Search Engines in a post Google Panda world.

  • Write with a specific purpose and audience in mind, from start to finish.
  • Help the reader complete a task or answer a question.
  • Make sure your content includes all the information your reader may be looking for about the topic.
  • Make the content relevant and timely.
  • Write content in a voice that represents your brand and keep a consistent style of writing.
  • Write for your audience and not your peers; stay away from industry jargon.
  • Stay on topic; each sentence should have a purpose.
  • Write without promoting yourself or coming off as too salesy.
  • Link to good sources.
  • Double check all your facts, stats and sources.
  • Organize text into sections with headers, quotes, bullet points and so on, with plenty of white space, so that it is visually appealing.
  • Make the content easy to scan as readers will read as little as 20% of the words on the page.
  • Write a clear and concise Title to catch attention and indicate what content is about.
  • Be sure to proofread multiple times and ask someone else to proofread once you think it’s perfect.
  • Provide clear action statements to encourage readers to take a next step.
  • Make the content easy for readers to share through Social Platforms.
  • Organize text into thematic sections with synonyms, related terms and phrases.
  • Write a strong Meta Title and Description that isn’t too long or short for the SERPs.
  • Don’t overuse your primary keyword for the sake of SEO; be sure to use related terms and synonyms.
  • Clearly define yourself as the author on the page for both readers and Search Engines to recognize.
  • Make sure your content is 100% unique and provides unique value not found anywhere else. Is your content adding anything new and of interest to the Internet or is it just rewriting someone else’s thoughts?
  • Aim for a minimum of 300 words, depending on the type of content you are creating, and strive for 1,000 words; never compromise quality for quantity.

And of course, you can always refer to Google’s guidelines of high quality content to see how your writing measures up. Some of their hardest questions to ask yourself as a writer are:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

Do you need assistance writing content for your website or optimizing and improving the existing content on our website? Give our Professional Copy Writers a call at 1-888-262-6687 or fill out our quick form to get in touch today.

Please Note: This article was originally published January 19, 2015 and has since been updated to reflect current SEO content best practices. 

Here are some additional recent SEO Content articles:

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5 Questions To Ask When Choosing An SEO Services Firm

In the late 90s and early 2000’s, it was a lot easier to choose an experienced SEO Services firm because there were not that many of them. Of course, like any industry, there were some amateurs and bad apples in the mix. The term ‘black hat seo’ stemmed from early SEO days where some individuals and businesses were looking to cheat the system, rather than figure out best practices for success.

But, even back then, many businesses had a hard time justifying if the work was worth the cost or if they had found a good company. SEO is complicated and not in the average business’ wheelhouse so it can be more difficult to understand the complexity of the results.

After all, if a business knew how to do it and had the resources to do it in-house, they wouldn’t be hiring out.

So, when it comes time to look for an SEO services firm, having a basic understanding of what’s involved and knowing the questions to ask during the interview process is key.

Recovering from a bad SEO strategy or unprofessional tricks is time consuming and costly. You can avoid this by ensuring you’re selecting an SEO Services firm that has the experience and methods to achieve success.  

Benefits of Search Engine Optimization

Traffic from organic search engine results is highly targeted. This means, when a user queries a search engine they are looking for something specific (be it an answer, information, a product or service). The goal of the search engines is to deliver the best results for the query. So, the idea is that if a visitor lands on your site from a search engine, it his highly likely they are looking for your product, service or information.

The art and science of having your website appear for related search queries is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short

A good SEO strategy places your business in a position to receive targeted visitor traffic to your website. A targeted visitor is further down the path to conversion/purchase which makes them a great target market.  

SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. It can take some time to implement; however, the results are usually long-term.

Generally, an SEO firm will recommend a long-term monthly program. A well-run and successful program is ongoing and includes a variety of items including on-page continuous optimization, content strategies, technical elements, link building and more. Analyze. Rinse. Repeat.

How is SEO Achieved?

There are a variety of tactics involved in a good SEO strategy. Often, you will see that a web designer offers ‘SEO’ under their list of services. Usually, this means they are outfitting the site with a tool designed to allow for the integration of Meta tags (strings of code read by the search engines). This is only one factor of SEO and is not a strategy or a tactic, but rather a tool.  

For the average business owner, if they’re told they’re getting ‘SEO’ they believe it, right? What many are not aware of is that there is SEO and then there is SEO. How do you tell SEO from SEO? Ah, now that’s the big question!  

A Successful SEO Plan Generally Includes:

1. Keyword & Market Research – What is the targeted web visitor searching for to find the website? What are other websites providing? Where is there room for improvement and market infiltration?

2. Content /Site Planning – User experience is everything because SEO is designed to get a visitor to a website, but what happens once they are there is equally as important. Determining the required content, order of pages, importance of items and site flow is paramount.

3. Site Navigation – A cleanly navigated website is easier for the visitor and the search engines.

4. Content – Content is king (and queen, and prince/princess/commoner, too). Again, SEO is designed to get a visitor to click on a search result. Content is what keeps and converts the visitor once they arrive on a website.

5. Clean Coding – A well-built, clean-coded website does wonders in helping a website rank.
6. Speed – Search engines factor in site speed and website load when looking at a website. Speed on mobile devices and desktop computers should be looked at.

7. U/X – User-Centered Design/Content – Some businesses design the website they want to see, or the website they like; however, well-performing websites are designed 100% for the visitor.

8. Meta Tags – Title and description tags are integrated on every page to help aid the search engines in what that page is about.

9. Page Titles– A page title is important for the search engines and the web visitor.

10. Technical SEO Items – There are a variety of technical elements that can help or hinder SEO.
11. Analytics Review – It’s important to continue to monitor campaign results, traffic, and user-flow on a website to adjust strategies and get new ideas.

12. Repeat – SEO is not a one-time affair. For long-term success, an ongoing strategy is essential.
13. Plus various other factors – There are a variety of factors that go into how well a website ranks on the search engines. From link-building to alt-tags and everything in between, a professional SEO services firm prioritizes tactics for your success.

One of the first things you will see is that there is a good deal of planning and strategy that goes into an SEO-optimized website before the build even begins. This is because it is important to build a website that is designed for the targeted web visitor. A site plan, content strategy and website that is built with SEO in mind from the ground up has the right foundation for success.

How To Choose an SEO Services Firm

With so many SEO Services firms out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the choices. Finding one who can talk the talk and walk the walk is key.

In addition, because SEO is a long game strategy, choosing the wrong firm can set you behind. But even more so, when SEO tactics are not implemented properly, or black hat tricks are used, long lasting damage can often be done to a site that takes a lot of hard work and time to overcome.

By asking these questions, a business is able to better ascertain who is reputable, and who is not.

Top 5 Questions To Ask An SEO Company

1. How Many Years Experience Do You Have (and can you show me examples and case studies of your success stories)?

Perhaps the general philosophies and tactics of SEO can be book-learned; however, actual industry experience is priceless. Through working in the industry, SEO experts can delve beyond best practices and recommendations because they have developed an innate ability to naturally assess a situation and implement a strategy that will work.

By asking this question, you’re looking for an SEO services firm that has been around for years and can provide many examples of top search engine positioning and lead generation results in a variety of industries.

2. Do You Follow Industry Best Standards and Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?

Ideally, we’d like to think this is the easy question that every SEO professional would answer properly; however, there are some out there who have developed proprietary practices designed to trick the search engines. That’s your cue to run away.  Another cue? When they tell you they can rank you in a day or a week and offer ranking guarantees. If a sales pitch sounds fishy, generally, the practices put in place are too.

You should only hire a company that continues to stay up-to-date on recommended best practices and uses white-hat SEO practices.

3. How Is Your Success Measured?

Reputable SEO companies work with you to outline goals, targets and timelines. They send regular reports and updates that measure things such as keyword positioning, website traffic, visitor demographics, time on site, bounce rate and lead conversions.

It is important you know the goals of the SEO firm and that they align with your goals. What kind of traffic increase are you expecting? How many visitors per month are the targeted keywords expected to get?

4. What Keywords Can You Guarantee?
Here’s the trick question! You want to hire an SEO services firm that can look you in the eye and explain that keyword positions cannot be guaranteed. There are many companies out there touting first page positions, guaranteed! But, for what keywords? And, for how long? Organic search engine results are not something that anybody can guarantee so it’s best you work with a company that is upfront about the goals and the strategies to get there.

Generally speaking, the more popular a keyword, the more competitive the keyword which means the more work and time it will take to rank. We’ve worked tirelessly for multiple years to rank a website for a very popular keyword while others can take a week or a month.

5. Am I Under Contract? What Happens if We Part Ways?
Many reputable SEO services firms are confident in their ability to establish long-term client relationships and are happy to not work within locked-in contracts. Some may require contract terms. Regardless of whether you are locked-into a relationship or not, more importantly, you need to understand what happens if you choose to part ways.

There are a variety of reasons a business may cancel or pause their SEO services. Best practices are that the business retains their content, access to their website (if with the same company) and all logins/passwords for accounts.

Trust, Integrity and General Likeability

One of the reasons a business might have difficulty selecting an SEO services firm is because they do not understand the process and therefore, find it more difficult to ascertain what to look for. Business owners regularly have to contract out services that are outside their own scope of work. When a business can build a long-term relationship with an outside vendor, there is a greater opportunity for success.

A successful relationship with an SEO services firm can be highly beneficial to a business. So, it is important you select a firm you can trust and is based on integrity. This firm and their professionals will be working hard on your account so it’s helpful if there is a good working relationship.

Selecting the least expensive company or the company with the slick sales pitch doesn’t necessarily bode well for long-term success.  

Ideally, a company that has been around, achieving successful results, for years is best suited to help your business achieve long-term success. They’ve not only seen, but experienced, search engine algorithm updates. They’ve had experience with competitive keywords, dropped rankings, and cleaning up technical code on a website. They’ve developed an innate understanding of what it takes to achieve results. They stay up-to-date on best practices and up-and-coming trends but have a solid grasp of the foundation and good, sound business.

They can speak client and programmer and act as a bridge for your company between these two, very different languages. They can delve deep into analytics to continue to strategize for best results and then provide you with key indicators in a way you can understand. They can stay up-to-date on the trends but also are not bound by the trends.

Ideally, you’re looking for a company that has a proven track record, satisfied clients and has achieved long-term successful results that go beyond positioning and into ROI and lead generation.

As a business owner, you don’t need to know how to do SEO to hire an SEO services firm. You just need to know the right questions to ask so you can ensure you’re hiring a reputable firm that has your best interests in mind.

About 1st on the List

Located just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1st on the List is a boutique SEO Company that has been offering search engine optimization, pay per click, and SEO web design services since 1997.

To learn more about our services, please call us Toll Free at 1-877-562-7965 or send us an email.

How To Incorporate SEO Into Your Web Design

SEO Web design is the partnership between web design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). More so, it is a philosophy that includes the user and lead generation within the design and planning process. Even more importantly, it is a methodology whereby SEO planning and strategy happens throughout, rather than as a post-launch activity.

If you’re looking for a new website and/or SEO strategy, seek a company that includes comprehensive SEO as part of the planning process, in addition to the design and post-launch phases.

Most commonly you will find web designers who outline SEO as a post-planning and/or post-build service. This often comes by way of an SEO plugin so metatags and titles can be optimized and content can be reviewed and graded. For others, there will be some general keyword research and SEO content edits.

SEO Web Design from reputable SEO Web Design Agencies takes an entirely different approach altogether.

This approach includes SEO throughout the entire process from planning, to coding, to design to content to post-launch. It is an approach where the entire foundation is built upon solid SEO infrastructure and knowledge designed to not only bring leads to a website, but capture and convert them.

If This is Such a Great Approach Why Aren’t All Web Designers Doing This?

SEO is hard work. It’s time consuming work. It takes a lot of experience and knowledge to do it properly and quite frankly, web design is easier without taking user experience and lead generation into account.

It is an entirely different skill-set than web design, so a team approach is often needed. It would be difficult to be one person fluent in programming, coding, web design, graphic design and comprehensive SEO.

In addition, due to the time and work involved, good SEO is not suitable as a lost-leader type service, especially if you want it done properly. This means it adds to an overall budget and when web design companies are quoting for accounts, they can bring their price down by leaving it out.  Since many non SEO companies say they do SEO, a real SEO Web Design Approach when compared to basic web design can often run higher in price.

In addition, education is usually part of the sales process which also takes time and resources.

When business owners are comparing web design quotes, they may think they are comparing apples to apples. In reality, the quotes likely vary in scope regardless of SEO. Plus, comparing a basic web design with SEO web design is truly like comparing apples with, well, pineapples.

SEO Web Design – The Process

Incorporating true SEO into web design requires a process that begins in the planning stages and is a part of every aspect of the build, and beyond. This is the key element that is important for businesses to understand when comparing web design companies.

The SEO web design process has several additional steps than a regular website, and with that comes additional time, additional scope and often additional cost.

When businesses understand the process and the importance of user-experience and lead generation, the added steps and cost makes sense.

1. Planning

When following an SEO Web design process, planning is a crucial stage. SEO moves beyond basic keywords and content and incorporates user experience, lead generation, site speed, user paths, targets and goals. It is during this phase that we work with you to really understand your business, your target market, how to attract your target market and the best way to encourage them to interact with your website.

What features do you want your website to have? What are the best technologies to achieve these goals? What will things look like (figuratively and literally)? What is the user looking for?

Keyword research, competition research, industry trends, current website analytics and more all go into the planning process. It is during this phase where a thorough audit of your business, your market and your goals begins.

2. Keyword Research

Exhaustive keyword research is part of the planning process (and will continue long after the build). What is uncovered during the research phase helps lead the way for key site planning decisions, including site architecture, lead capture pages, content and more.

Keyword research helps determine the search phrases your targeted customer is using to discover websites of businesses such as yours.

Top Keywords – Top keywords are the general keyword phrases that are common among web visitors. If your business is local it will often be city +service or city +product. During the keyword research phase we determine the popularity and competitiveness of keywords and set target goals.

Long-tail Keywords – These are more specific, generally longer search phrases, used by users to find specific products/services/content from businesses such as yours. These may be questions or sub-services. Generally, these are less competitive, less popular and easier to rank for. We can’t ignore these phrases as when combined, the traffic can often amount to a strong base.

We may set a phased schedule of keyword priority. This allows us to work on a variety of keyword phrases (top and long-tail) in tandem, before moving onto a different topic or priority. This is an effective way to continuously build website traffic and relevance in the marketplace.

3. Competition Research

Let’s take a look at what your competition is doing, and then do it better. By fully understand what other businesses in your sector are doing online, we can best plan how to compete in the marketplace.

Are there gaps in the marketplace where you can easily slide in?

Are there ideas we can garner from other websites?

By thoroughly analyzing the competition, we can gain a solid understanding of the market and where you best fit.

4. Site Architecture

The navigation and flow of your website is important. In a basic web design (non SEO) process this may be given to a client by a web designer or a client may ask for certain items.

With SEO web design, the key decisions for site architecture are made based on SEO and User experience.

Getting the site architecture right can involve several key decisions. After all, keywords don’t always have marketing flow. Since thus far, everything has been done based on SEO and usability, the same holds true for this phase.

The competition research, keyword research, the user and your goals outline the best navigation, page names and content.

This is where many businesses and web designers will be reminded that it is not what the business wants that matters, but rather what the user needs.

A website that speaks to the user and their needs will perform better than a website that is simply about the business.

5. The Website Build

This is where all that hard planning work starts to see the light of day. Seeing a mockup of a homepage or page layouts is fun and exciting, which is why non SEO web designers often start with this step. It gets a client excited for the project. But, with an SEO-first approach, the build cannot begin until after all the planning is finished.

There are a variety of ways to build a website, including various platforms, code languages and templates. But, for a website to perform well in the search engines, there needs to be an SEO approach to the build. Google and other search engines outline best practices for webmasters including, user experience, site speed, clean code, tags, hosting location and optimization.

From coding to design, SEO best practices should be accounted for.

6. Website Content

On the surface, writing content for a website seems like an easy task for most business owners. Many times, they know their business best and will want to take on this job. Writing content for the web is much different than writing content for a brochure or a business proposal.

With an SEO approach to web design, developing good content is essential. In addition, an ongoing content marketing plan is key for success.  

SEO website content has three main jobs. It needs to be relevant to search queries so search engines rank the pages higher. It needs to grab the reader’s attention right away. It needs to provide the information the visitor is looking for.

Let’s say we had a 4th. It needs to encourage the visitor to learn more, purchase or contact.

Generally, web content has a many headings, lists and short paragraphs. It is scanable and various typography styles will be used to make things interesting.

Content should be written to speak to the user. It needs to be quick and easy to read and should not include industry terms the user has not yet been introduced to.

Content has a big job to play on a website and it’s important this phase is done right. Well-crafted content is key to success.

7. Ongoing Reviews and Reporting

Once the website is built and launched, there’s still more to come. SEO web design undertakes the practice of regularly reviewing web analytics, running a/b testing and making updates as needed. In addition, regularly adding content helps future success.

SEO professionals relish in digging into a website’s analytics to see what is performing well and what may need a revision. In addition, user queries and intention change which is why monitoring analytics, search engine results and leads is a crucial aspect of a sound SEO strategy.

8. Site Maintenance

Regular tweaks, both programmatically and within content, will be made on an ongoing basis to ensure a website is running its best. Platforms change and have updates and upgrades so regular website maintenance helps ensure your website is performing at its peak for your visitors.

How to Incorporate SEO Into Your Web Design

SEO isn’t something that should be incorporated in silo into your web design. It should be the foundation and a part of every piece of the puzzle.

When SEO is considered at every stage of web design, it shows in the results because it shows in the build. It puts the user first and when the user comes first, they feel important and are more likely to convert.

While a strong SEO strategy can be incorporated on a pre-existing website, when you have the opportunity to build (or re-build) from scratch, you can rest-assured that your foundation is sound.

1. Hire the right SEO Web Design Firm

This is the key step when incorporating SEO into web design. Whether you are utilizing your current built or starting fresh, having the right time is essential. When SEO professionals work closely with web designs the results are better.

2. Don’t rush the process

SEO is a long-game marketing approach. The results build up slowly over time, but the long term benefit is worth the wait. It’s easy to get cold-feet while you’re waiting, but give the strategy time to take footing.

3. Don’t quit

Once you start to see results, it is tempting to quit. Keep in mind, that a well-planned SEO approach involves a content and optimization plan that is continuous. In other words, the results you will see in say six months are solidly based upon the work that is done today. If you stop, you may not see the effects of quitting immediately, but over time you will.

Our best results come from web design builds that were executed with a sound SEO strategy at the forefront. While sometimes, in a non-competitive market, SEO can be added post-build, best practices and the best opportunity for success come from a true SEO web design build.

Our success is built upon our past results. While trends and tactics may change, year over year this SEO web design build process is crucial for our top achieved results.

About 1st on the List

Located just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1st on the List is a boutique SEO Company that has been offering search engine optimization, pay per click, and SEO web design services since 1997.

To learn more about our services, please call us Toll Free at 1-877-567-1341 or send us an email.

The Importance of Having A Steady SEO Campaign In Order To Build Rankings Over Time

A well-performing SEO strategy is built over time. SEO is a layered effect and can sometimes be a little game of “what came first, the chicken or the egg”.  That’s because many of the algorithms that a search engine uses in their rankings are based on so many different factors that work together.

For instance, what is your website’s user relevancy for the query? You might find that more competitive keywords are harder to achieve top rankings for; however, as you work on less competitive keywords the results for your other keywords improve as well.  This is because you’re updating your content, increasing your website traffic and generally putting in SEO efforts that contribute to the overall plan of attack.

SEO professionals and firms will have a phased approach for SEO. They will have top keyword phrase and their goals to achieve better rankings. They will also have secondary keywords and long-tail search queries that can build up to a lot of targeted, relevant traffic.

This phased, layered approach takes a steady delivery and ongoing efforts to achieve success.

SEO is not a one-shot kick at the can. In fact, the most successful SEO campaigns are the result of months or years of ongoing, steady effort all properly planned and executed in a systematic manner.

 

About 1st on the List

Located just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1st on the List is a boutique SEO Company that has been offering search engine optimization, pay per click, and SEO web design services since 1997.

To learn more about our services, please call us Toll Free at 1-888-262-6687 or send us an email.

 

How Search Engine Optimization Works

Whenever someone asks me “What do you do?” it really is a loaded question because understanding what I do requires just a little understanding of SEO and how SEO works.

More often than not I find myself answering like this, “I work for a local Internet Marketing company that specializes in Search Engine Optimization”. Then I follow it up with “Essentially, it’s like an advertising company for websites.”

I am always prepared to get a puzzled face that may recognize the term ‘SEO’ but not have any clue as to what SEO is, what it means or how it works. I must also be prepared to explain in more detail exactly what is SEO. This is usually how the conversation might play out:

Me: The whole point of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is to improve your web pages and make sure that they meet and adhere to the search engine guidelines so that your website can be found at the top search engine results pages (SERPs).

Person: But how does SEO work? What does it mean to “optimize your site”?

Me: What search engine optimization does is …

“Improve your web pages and make them better, more useful
and more effective for everyone including the people who visit your site
and for the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.”

In other words, search engine optimization helps both the search engines and the visitors.

Person: Oh, you mean like you get the website at the top of the page?

Me: Yes but it’s a little more complicated than just “getting” it there. Websites don’t just magically appear at the top by following a secret formula or paying a fee to Google. There’s much more to it …

Most times, they’ve heard enough but sometimes the person is intrigued and wants to hear more. The rest of the conversation might be summarized below.

Understanding How SEO Helps the Search Engines

Search engine optimization works by making sure your web pages meet the search engine guidelines and become more relevant. SEO helps the search engines to:

  • Find your web pages easier
  • Review your web pages faster
  • Better understand what your website is all about
  • So they can Index your web pages properly (add your pages to their database)
  • Rate your web pages more favorably
  • And list your web pages near the top of the search engine results so people can find you easier

In summary, search engine optimization works to help your web pages:

  1. Be Found
  2. Be Understood
  3. Be Indexed
  4. Be Rated Properly
  5. And Be Visible to people who are searching

Understanding How SEO Helps Your Visitors

Optimizing your web pages to make them as good as possible will help your website perform better in the search engines, which in turn, puts you in front of the very people who are searching for what you have to offer.

Search engine optimization works to help visitors find your website faster and easier plus your website will:

  • Be more relevant for the terms people use to find your website
  • Be easier to navigate
  • Help visitors find what they came looking for faster
  • Help visitors make better decisions (sooner) about what you have to offer
  • Help convert visitors into customers

In summary, search engine optimization will help visitors to:

  1. Find your site faster
  2. Understand your offerings
  3. Make better decisions about what they want
  4. Convert sooner

Understanding How Search Engine Optimization Works

While you may not know how to do SEO, there are many ways to optimize your web pages to make them as good as possible for searchers and for the search engines.

During search engine optimization, improvement changes can be made to any of the following (plus much more) to help improve your web pages and your page performance.

So in answer to the question, “How does SEO work?” here are some of the many places SEO helps to make improvements to your website:

  • Web Page Content
    – Body Text Content
    – Keyword Usage
    – Page Titles
    – Sub-Headings
    – Link Text
    – Images
    – Meta Data (Meta Titles, Descriptions, Alt Text)
    – Content Management Systems (CMS)
    – E-commerce Systems (shopping carts)
  • Source Code
  • In-Bound Linking
  • Page Loading Times
  • Image Sizing
  • Site Structure/Architecture
  • Site Navigation
  • Social Media/Videos
  • Server Setup
  • Hosting
  • Performance Analytics

Learn More About How Search Engine Optimization Works

By the end of the conversation I usually like to look at the big picture again; In marketing, the primary goal is to get your message out to as many potential customers as possible so they will buy your product or services.

Online marketing can be very powerful because no other marketing medium has the potential to reach as many potential customers 24/7 as do the search engines. And search engines like Google simply want to give their searchers the best, most relevant pages that they think will match what is being searched for.

The purpose of doing search engine optimization then, is to try and do just that: Provide the best, most relevant pages for the keyword term that was searched on.

Still looking for more answers? Visit our detailed explanation of “What is Search Engine Optimization” or contact our Search Engine Optimization Consultants.

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Best Local SEO Tips and Resources for 2017

Local search has become a de facto standard for businesses that service consumers in specific locales. Your online presences is just as important (if not more important) than your offline presence.

If you are new to the scene of Local SEO and search optimization for your local or small business, here are five Google local SEO tips to help you navigate through the steps needed to ensure that your business has the presence it needs to earn the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) results you deserve.

1. Attractive and Click-Worthy Title and Meta Descriptions

This is often an overlooked opportunity by many local SEO campaigns. These HTML elements are customizable features which are used to represent your website in search results. Typically, titles range from 50 – 60 characters and descriptions can range up to 200 characters.

In years past these titles and descriptions were used to incorporate keywords and help with rankings. Current SEO best practices tell us to use these titles and descriptions as an opportunity to improve user experience and attract clicks. Your meta titles and descriptions need to be a clear depiction of your page content, be persuasive, and of course specifically unique. Including your city in the description is recommended. Targeted keywords should be as close to the beginning of the paragraph as possible but not at the expense of user readability.

Use this opportunity to set yourself apart – do you offer 24/7 service? Free shipping? 25% off for first time customers?

2. Keep a Consistent and Prominent Online Presence

Whether your business is brand new or has been around for decades and moved locations several times, it is extremely important to make sure that your business name, address and phone number is consistent and visible across the Internet, no matter where someone may find you.

This consistency instills consumer trust and builds your authority. The consistency also plays a large role in your local SEO performance. The Search Engines want to understand your company and have confidence that you are a legitimate company.

Here is a starter list for online business directories where you can establish your presence:

  • Citysearch
  • Merchant Circle
  • YellowPages
  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Houzz
  • Local Chamber of Commerce
  • BBB
  • Local Trade Affiliations

3. Claim Your Google My Business (GMB) Listing for Full Control

Over the years Google My Business and Bing Places for Business have built their database of business listings. Even if you have never claimed your business listing the Search Engines may still be showing a listing for you!

It is critical for you to claim this listing so that you have full control over proper categorization of your business, description, address, and business hours.

There is a simple verification process for your GMB listing. Google mails you a postcard containing a PIN number you need for verification purposes. This confirms to Google that you are whom you say you are and indeed own the business you are attempting to claim.

4. Manage, Respond To, and Grow Your Reviews Online

Nowadays, both personal word-of-mouth referrals along with online reviews can influence whether or not we stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant, hire a plumber, or even order a shirt from an online retailer.

The importance of controlling, managing, and growing customer reviews is finally catching the attention of businesses. A BrightLocal survey indicates that:

  • Online reviews are trusted as much as personal recommendations by 84% of those surveyed.
  • If asked, 70% of consumers will leave a review.
  • Positive reviews encourage 54% of consumers to visit a website.
  • Local businesses are trusted more when they have positive online reviews.
  • Less than 10 reviews are read before a consumer forms an opinion.
  • Reviews older than 3 months are not deemed relevant by consumers.
  • Over half of consumers agree that star ratings are important.

Seeking quality reviews on an ongoing basis is good business practice and keeps your brand in the forefront of consumers’ minds, helps you stand out from competitors, and also helps to minimize the one-off bad review you may get.

Don’t have the time or find it awkward to ask your customers for reviews? Consider our online Reputation Management Services that offer a fully automated software system that actually works behind the scenes to grow your reviews.

5. Structured Data Markup for Local

This markup language provides more information about your business to Google once it has been implemented in your website code. Most businesses use only the basic markup. This provides opportunities for business owners to outdistance their competitors by utilizing uncommonly used markup.

Google has a Structured Data Testing Tool you can use to determine if your markup implementation meets the required standards.

Want to learn more about how to win at Local SEO? Here are some additional articles by other SEOs in the industry as well as articles by our own team:

You can also call 1st on the List at 1-888-262-6687 if you have specific questions. We’d love to help you optimize your business for Local Search!

Additional Local SEO Marketing Tips and Articles:

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How Search Intent Modifiers Affect Google SERP Features

Did you know that one or two extra words in a search query can affect the type or types of SERP feature Google shows in its results?

The team at getstat.com recently posted an article titled How SERP Features Respond to Search Intent Modifiers which shows that swapping search intent modifiers can result in dramatic changes to Google SERPs features.

Before we take a closer look at STAT’s search intent data, let’s first define what we mean by search intent modifier.

What is Search Intent?

A basic search intent definition (also referred to search query intent) is determining what a searcher is most likely looking for when they type in a “keyword search” into Google. Often, they will use a search intent modifier to indicate their intent. For example, “buy” to indicate they want to make a purchase or “best” to indicate they want to compare products/service.

Some basic types of search engine user intent including:

  • Informational Intent Based Search – the searcher is looking to gain new knowledge on a topic.
    Search Modifier Examples: how to, what is, how big
  • Commercial Intent Based Search – the searcher is looking to gain more information before purchasing an item (ex. reviews, prices, warranties, etc.)
    Search Modifier Examples: best, compare, top
  • Transactional Intent Based Search – the searcher is ready to make a purchase.
    Search Modifier Examples: buy, coupon, price
  • Local Intent Based Search – the searcher is looking for something specific to their neighborhood or city.
    Search Modifier Examples: near me, close by, specific city names

STAT examined the 20 top SERP results (minus organics) for various search modifiers and compiled the numbers into extremely useful percentage points. For the purposes of this article, we have listed the top three types of SERP features based on their percentage in relation to the number of searches analyzed.

Search modifiers categorized by search intent were used to search on mobile devices in the US. The results provide some useful data for pursuing intent based search engine marketing and optimization. Let’s have a look.

1. SERP Features Triggered by Informational Search Intent Modifiers

No modifiers were used for informational searches, but the results are still interesting. News results came in a surprising 3rd, but given the keyword was found in the article title, this isn’t overwhelmingly unusual.

2. SERP Features Triggered by Commercial Search Intent Modifiers

The most common Commercial keyword modifiers for search intent purposes are found in the table below. I’ve selected the top 3 features for each modifier to highlight those with the most beneficial payoff.

Shopping Boxes led the entire Commercial intent category with the exception of the Compare modifier. What I found somewhat interesting is that Shopping snippets has substantial exposure for the modifiers “Deals” at 85.99% and “Used” at 74.92%.

STATS zeroed in on the potential of Featured Snippets (lists) for keyword modifiers “Best” and “Top”. These percentages are comparatively low and either Google is reluctant to present more of them in SERPs or there simply aren’t enough suitable Featured Snippets (lists) to present. This could be a golden opportunity for strategists focussing on such snippets.

3. SERP Features Triggered by Transactional Search Intent Modifiers

The most common Transactional modifiers for search intent purposes can be found in the table below. As with the Commercial modifiers, I’ve selected the top 3 SERP features found in the results using the modifier to highlight those with the best potential yield.

As STAT indicates, people want to quickly determine how much an item is going to cost – and likely search for the most affordable option. Google seems to feel that Featured Snippets (paragraphs) are an effective way to present this information for the Cost and Price modifiers.

What surprised me is that images were presented to such a large degree where the Price modifier was concerned. One would think at this stage of intent that numbers would supersede images.

4. SERP Features Triggered by Local Search Intent Modifiers

Because STAT only used Chicago and Dallas as local modifiers, there were few results. We see that Shopping, Places, and Images are the most popular type of SERP Feature.

We recommend that you do various searches with local intent for your own city. Search for local businesses, upcoming events, organizations, and so on in your area and see what type of results are shown.

Key Takeaways: Search Intent Optimization –  Planning Modifiers for Your SEO

  1. Examine the results of STAT’s research by focussing on Google’s propensity to post some SERP features above others for specific modifiers that were used. For example:
  • What modifiers do you think searchers could use when looking for your business and what SERP features are shown for those?
  • What modifiers show up in your Google Search Console Search Analytics reports and what SERP features are shown for those?
  1. You likely want to target Commercial, Transactional, and Local modifiers in your SEO Strategy. Be sure that you understand How Featured Snippets in Search Can Boost Your Website Traffic and How to Avoid Eliminated Featured Snippets.
  2. If images and videos are popular for search modifiers relevant to your business, be sure to have high quality and unique images loaded and optimized on your website. The same goes for uploading videos to YouTube and embedding on your website.

For more information about Advanced SEO Techniques such as search intent marketing and optimization please contact 1st on the List today by calling 1-888-262-6687 or email us at contact@1stonthelist.ca.