When StepForth performs a website audit we look at many different aspects of a websites health ranging from onsite factors such as suitable content and site architecture, offsite factors like social media and inbound links, and various performance metrics like bounce rate and crawl errors.

The primary goal of an audit is to uncover any underlying issues that may prevent a site from achieving maximum visibility. A website does not need to be performing poorly in order to benefit from an audit, even strong sites are often missing some pieces that could improve performance once corrected.

Sometimes interesting findings occur accidently when there is an overlap of unique problems occurring on a website. When completing an audit recently a combination of high bounce rates and soft 404’s, along with proper ecommerce tracking, provided clues that a site may be seeing a leak in revenue that could be relatively easy to patch. Read more…

sub-domain-zombie-hunting.minLast week I wrote an article for The SEM Post on the hazards of zombie sub-domains and how your very own site could be affected without you being the wiser. I also used an example of Houzz.com which is the 177th most trafficked website in the USA yet it is suffering from zombie sub-domains; it can truly happen to anyone.

What follows is the introduction and a link to the full article here:

Google dislikes spending precious resources indexing web content on your site that is of no consequence to itself or its users. Inconsequential web content can be present in the form of duplicated pages and irrelevant or repetitive and/or thin text. Even worse, it is a waste of Google’s crawl budget on your site and such content will delay the indexing of legitimate content. In this case, however, the offense is greater than usual because we are dealing with unlimited duplicate versions of a website triggered by improperly installed DNS wildcards; I none to fondly call them zombie sub-domains.

DNS wildcards are used in a variety of ways but in this case I am focusing on the desirable redirect from a non-existent or miss-typed sub-domain to the appropriate URL (e.g. the root of the TLD).

Please continue reading my article “Why Google Dislikes Zombie Sub-Domains” at its official home on The SEM Post.

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Free PPC Account Reviews

Stepforth is offering a ‘Free Review’ of your current PPC account to help better optimize your campaigns!

If you have an active Pay-Per-Click account with either Google or Bing, or if you are just starting to consider one, StepForth can help guide you in the right direction.

Our talented team of experts are here to offer a ‘Free Review’ of your current PPC account to help better optimize your campaigns. Better optimization leads to improved quality scores helping drive your cost per click down while increasing conversions.

With a free review we take a look at your current account to find any opportunities and suggestions for better improvements. Google’s suggestions for better account productivity usually revolve around spending more money either as a total budget or an increased cost per click. StepForth is a bit different in that we try to find ways to optimize your account for better quality scores to increase productivity. Read more…

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

My Top 10 SEO Definitions

As I am new to the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) I have compiled a list of the top ten definitions I have found interesting learning.

Algorithm (algo) A mathematical formula used by search engines to determine what pages to suggest for a given search query.

Analytics A program which assists in gathering and analyzing data about website usage. Google analytics is a feature rich, popular, free analytics program.

Bounce rate The percentage of users who enter a site and then leave it without viewing any other pages.

Conversion (goal) Achievement of a quantifiable metric on a website. Ad clicks, sign ups, and sales are examples of conversions. Read more…

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Introducing Sarah-Hannah Bedard

We would like to introduce the newest member of our team, Sarah-Hannah Bedard.

Sarah-Hannah is our new Office Manager and Bookkeeper. Over the years Sarah-Hannah has managed many businesses including; a large phone company, a high end Home cinema and integrated media company, a Goldsmith studio and high end jewellery store as well as her own successfully run business of 19 years.

After moving back to Victoria to be closer to family, Sarah-Hannah met Ross and joined the StepForth team back in January. Among other tasks, her duties at StepForth include bookkeeping, project management, social media marketing, and helping to keep everything running smoothly around the office.

An excellent multi-tasker and problem solver, Sarah-Hannah is a ray of sunshine and a valued member of our team. Her sense of humour always keeps us laughing around the office.

When not whipping our office into shape, she enjoys spending time at home at her workbench making custom jewellery, reading, and exploring our beautiful city on her bike.

A few years ago Google publicly announced that site speed was now a factor in their ranking algorithm. Many had suspected this to be true for years, but back in 2010 Matt cuts made the official announcement.

A fast loading site does not help you so much as a very slow site can actually hurt you. Exactly how fast your site needs to load before you start risking organic rankings and conversion losses is debatable, but generally, if you can get your average load times to less than 2 seconds you should not have much to worry about. If your site takes longer than 10 seconds to load not only is this going to negatively impact your conversions, your rankings may suffer slightly as well.

An infographic produced a few years ago by KISSmetrics, http://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/ based on studies from Gomez.com and Akamai.com showed that 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less and a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. If that isn’t enough reason to speed up your site, I’m not sure what is! So where do we start to solve this problem? Read more…

Ross  recaps his presentation at the the Design Tech Summit at the International Window Coverings Expo at KBIS / IBS.

  • He discussed the 3 areas of web marketing from Audits and SEO to Analytics and lastly Reputation Enhancement.


The February 11th SEO 101 podcast is available now: listen or download (right click and save). You can also find all past shows on iTunes. Tune in to SEO 101 LIVE every Thursday at 1pm PST / 4pm EST on www.WebmasterRadio.FM

Online christmas shoppingAs an online retailer, you’re already ahead of the game for holiday sales. Last year, the Chase Holiday Pulse tracked early holiday sales from October 29th through November 15th and found that e-commerce sales volume was up 12.3 percent over the previous year, while brick-and-mortar sales were only up 1.0 percent. Consumers are obviously interested in doing at least some of their holiday shopping online, which is good news for your business. Make sure you take advantage of the holiday season by utilizing current digital trends.

Reduce Your Prices

While sales volume is increasing online, shoppers are also looking for better prices. The Chase Holiday Pulse discovered that the average online purchase amount went down 10.1 percent during the 2012 holiday season, compared to the year before, the second decline in a row. If you give online promotions, you might get more customers.

Choose Your Timing Wisely

There are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year for shoppers to buy gifts. The Adobe Digital Index suggests this could cause a $1.5 billion loss in potential online retail sales. The Index notes that to be successful this year, encourage customers not to wait for Black Friday and beyond, but to offer good deals before and let customers know the deals won’t get better later. Large brick-and-mortar retailers are already doing this, Read more…