Morch Landscaping Ltd. needed a new website to market its services in the Cloyne area.
They help home and cottage owners design new paving stone walkways, retaining walls, and patios then professionally install the project. The company also performs precision backhoe excavating such as electrical and drainage trenches.
I suggested they use Squarespace.com as a website platform. It’s quick to set up and is user-friendly for business owners that may want to maintain the website themselves. In this case, I was hired to do the initial set-up which is quite often the case with business owners – they may be too busy or not comfortable with a new platform. Creating the site from one of many Squarespace templates is quick and with their package plans, a domain and SSL certificate are free the first year of hosting. Another benefit over a WordPress website is no plug-in or theme updates are required.
Squarespace has a Business plan that costs $23.00 US per month although you can save 30% annually if submitting the full yearly payment. Personal sites start at $14.00/month. Service is included. I found their chat line professional and willing to help with any problem. In Morch’s case, we didn’t need the e-commerce components available in the business package but it was included.
Their Help Center includes a ton of self-help videos for everything from formatting images to SEO to creating an e-commerce store. If business owners wish to maintain their sites this is a good platform to use.
Chip and Sharon have created many garden masterpieces with paving stones. Check out their website to see some of their projects!
Finally! A Full Color SEO Book for Canadian Business in 2021!
RANKING AT THE TOP OF GOOGLE IS LIKE MONEY-IN-THE–BANK!
Getting a #1 ranking on Google gets your business noticed, and research indicates the top listing receives at least 30% more visitor clicks. Quite simply, the top position gets more traffic. It doesn’t matter what kind of website you have; I want to get your business in that #1 spot!
This first edition is written by a Canadian for Canadians!
Filled with Canadian examples, this easy-to-follow guide will help you rank higher and beat the competition, no matter how big! Starting at the beginning, I will explain the myths of SEO and guide you through the SEO process in a step-by-step manner. If you are thinking about starting a website or if you already have an established website, this book can help you.
Have you asked these questions about your website?
1. Why does my site rank lower on Google than my competition?
There may be several reasons – least of all your business size! Often, small businesses can outrank much larger companies in search engine listings. Yes, David can beat Goliath – this book will show you how. Ranking is all about your website and your SEO!
2. Can I check my level of SEO? Is it poor and hurting my rankings? Can I check my competitor’s SEO?
There are several ways to check your website SEO – I show you how. A quick indicator is your meta-title on each webpage – the most important SEO element. Each meta-title should be unique and written in a specific format. I explain in detail about writing ‘killer’ meta-titles and meta-descriptions that can give you a SEO boost, quickly!
3. Has my website designer implemented the best SEO on my site?
Probably not. Most website designers only have a basic understanding of SEO. It does not take long to find major SEO deficiencies on professionally designed websites that are hurting business rankings in search engine results. However, most deficiencies can be fixed by business owners. I will show you how to take control of your SEO and website ranking!
What are some of the SEO topics this book covers?
Tailored to Canadian businesses – I list the top Canadian web directories to submit your URL
Google Analytics – the number one, free tool that tells you who is visiting your website, for how long, and even how they found you
Alt attributes – these are often overlooked, especially by website designers
Optimizing images – what does ‘optimizing’ mean and why this is important
Links – inbound, outbound and internal ones.
Page Speed – what it is and why Google thinks it is so important
SSL Certificates – why every website needs one today
Canonical tags – we use these because search engines do not like duplicate content
Robots.txt file – sounds complicated but really, it’s not
SEO and social media – SEO is not just for your website, but also for social media posts
Sitemaps – why these roadmaps to your website are key to getting your new content found quickly
How to list your business with Google My Business, Google Maps, Bing Places for Business and Bing Maps
Google Ads – if you have good SEO, do you need a Google Ad?
Once you know what to look for, implementing SEO is easy and can be done every time you create a new page or post.
If you wish to make your website the most powerful sales and marketing tool you will ever own –click here to order on Amazon and get found on the Internet! Kindle edition is available with paperback coming in April 2021.
his is an often asked question. It helps to know the answer early-on since it can save you a ton of work later. Conventional wisdom tells us to avoid using empty spaces and underscores in URL addresses and file names. This is especially true for image titles since we often describe an image with a keyword if it’s applicable for SEO reasons.
I have used underscores for years, but no more since I’ve learned there are better choices, namely the hyphen.
Let’s take a look at how empty spaces in URLs are viewed in Internet browsers. Let’s assume this webpage URL is: 45degreeslatitude.com/hyphens or underscores.html In a browser it would look like this:
Pretty unruly, wouldn’t you agree? Also, you should avoid special characters (*&^@!)as well as capital letters. Use lower case letters and hyphens instead.
Hyphens are much easier to read by humans too (easier than underscores). And, search engines love hyphens, and that is largely why we post content on the Internet – to be found. Google treats hyphens as word separators so words in a URL or file name can be read individually.
Underscores do the opposite, they combine several words together into one word which Google may treat quite differently. For example, if a filename was ‘yellow_porsche’ Google would combine the words to yellowporsche. If it was one of your keywords before it is no longer. If the filename was ‘yellow-porsche’ the division in words is retained having a different effect on SEO.
This is an old quote from Google’s Matt Cutts video way back in 2011 concerning hyphens:
“If you are going to make a site and you’re starting fresh, so you’ve got a blank slate to work with, I would probably go ahead and go with dashes. I would continue to go with dashes at least for the foreseeable future.”
Use hyphens instead of underscores and save yourself time in the future.
It is very important to have inbound links to your website in order to improve your search engine rankings. Think of inbound links as ‘likes’ on Facebook- the more you have, the more important the search engines think your website is however, there is a caveat. It used to be you could not get enough inbound links. Quality links are more important than sheer numbers. Having a high number of inbound links from meaningless directories can actually have a negative effect on your search engine rankings. Here is a selection of high quality web directories for Canadian websites. Submit your site for free and enjoy quality inbound links:
If you haven’t submitted your site to Google already, here is the sign-up page. Use all of Google’s free services to help increase your business listing’s ranking on this most powerful search engine. Use the above link to sign-up to Google then create a free listing in Google Places for Business and create a Google+ Business Page. Don’t forget to submit your sitemap through Google Webmaster which connects through the Google Search Console.
One of the 3 major search engines, submit your site here. Submitting your site to Yahoo! is also done through Bing so this is an important site submission you don’t want to miss. Don’t forget to submit your sitemaps through Bing Webmaster Tools.
3. Yelp Canada
This is a great place to list your site and receive input about your business from customers. Sign-up here: https://biz.yelp.ca.
4. Kijiji Canada
I’ve used Kijiji for years to create a quality inbound link to my website. Posting an ad about your business is free and will expire after a few weeks but you can repost the ad for free. To add your web url (very important) Kijiji charges a small fee- around $5.00 US. It’s worth it for this quality link. Sign-up and create your first ad here: https://www.kijiji.ca.
If you are a manufacturer this is an important location for listing your business. By submitting your business you can receive a powerful inbound link. If you are not a manufacturer you still may be able to create a free listing. Sign-up and create your listing: Create your listing here.
I recently purchased a responsive web template but wanted to include a Google Map of the website business being promoted. I wanted the Google Map to be responsive just like the site. Here’s how to do it in a few steps.
Go to Google Maps and search for the business and position the map the way you want it (see image above). To the left you will find a blue ‘share’ icon. Click on the icon to reveal the panel below. Notice I selected the ‘Embed map’ tab at the top. Again, position the business location as you wish it to appear on your site. It works best to center your business. You will need the iframe source code as it appears so keep your Google Map open.
Copy the iframe source code completely and paste it below where shown.
Next, copy the code above and insert it into your page where you wish the Google Map to appear.
One other adjustment is the upper blue line of code which I set at 50%. This is the aspect ratio. You can change this figure to your liking for example, if you wish to decrease the vertical dimension of the map, decrease the 50% to say, 40%. If you wish a wish to increase the map’s vertical dimension increase this to 75% or so. Tweak to your liking.
The debate is still out whether or not a favicon helps your SEO. Some specialists think it may give you a small SEO boost while others disagree. It does help with your branding and may even build credibility and trust to your site. Apparently it does no harm so let’s create one.
Favicon.cc is a site that allows you to create a free favicon without even registering. Follow the easy instructions: Create New Favicon> Import Image. However, before you Import your image you need to create it. In this example I am creating a simple ’45’ for use on my site. I included a black border which was created in Fireworks since the background on Explorer is grey and it shows up better. However, the background on Chrome is black so it doesn’t show at all. You may wish to keep these background colours in mind when designing your favicon.
Create a Favicon
You can create your image in any editor such as Fireworks or Photoshop. Create a square image 200 x 200 pixels. Keep it simple because the final generated favicon for your site will only be 16 x 16 pixels. Save your image to Desktop. Now you’re ready to Import it to Favicon.cc. If the image created is square you can select ‘Keep Dimensions’. Click Upload. You can now edit your image within favicon.cc however if your image was fine in your editor it should not require any further editing. A Preview palette is below which shows what your new favicon will look like preceding a url. Once you’re pleased with the results click Download and save it. Give the file a short name like ‘favicon’. The favicon will be saved as a .ico file.
Install Favicon On Your Website
First, upload the tiny favicon.ico file to your website. In most cases you need to upload the .ico file to your website’s main directory (the public_html folder). It will now appear along your other html files. Don’t put the file in your images folder. Next, insert this code in every one of your html pages you wish to display the favicon:
Replace the favicon.ico file name if you saved your image as something other than ‘favicon’. Insert the code in every page between the Head tags. I put mine immediately underneath the title tags. If you have a dynamic header you may need to insert the code only into the index page. Save and Upload your pages and test. Clear your browser cache to see the new favicons. That’s it!