We recently realized that Google has the wrong postal Code for StepForth on our Google Professionals profile page. Thinking this would be an easy task to correct the address, I looked into Google to make the trivial 1 minute change.

Apparently I should have put aside the whole day to do this.

Google had our postal code as “V8W 1J1″, but it is actually “V8W 1H9″. Thinking this would be simple, I opend up the box to edit the company office locations, it seems one can not change the address. I have to add a new one and remove the old.  Read more…

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Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Better than Link Building

Is there really something better than link building? It should, after all, only be a piece of your inbound marketing strategy. The fact is you still need to generate backlinks and you need to maintain a consistent link velocity (the rate at which you acquire links). StepForth has recently moved from offering professional link building services to something we like to call Better than Link Building. It’s a change that we’re all pretty excited about..

Better than Link Building is a way to actively engage with your company’s target audience, build brand recognition, monitor and respond to your niche, all while building natural backlinks.

Here are the problems with traditional link building methods: Read more…

A screenshot of a local iconLocal search is hot.  Apparently 2012 is The Year of Local according to National Advertisers.

Google says 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. Wow! But what about the other 3%? Do they ever leave their houses?

Google just revamped their whole local search business to embed it in Google+, so something must be going on around here and maybe they are after that other 3%.

If you ask me, I’ll whisper that local is pretty hot right now mostly because global is passé and people want their technology to be more relevant for their everyday local lives. This represents a huge opportunity for local business. I have a tendency to believe Google’s stats too because I always search for products online first before checking anywhere else. I never go to the yellow pages and hardly ever pay attention to the junk mail which I use to line the bottom of my parrot’s cage.

I know there are others doing the same. Checking online that is. Here’s an example: Read more…

Over the last couple years we have gained some clients that require work done on their Google Analytics account. When we dive into the audit of their account there are many things that we look for right off the bat which will help provide the best information available for their website statistics. These checks will look into whether or not the new asynchronous code is being used, going over the profiles and filters to exclude or manipulate the data, the common scenario of self referred traffic, as well as the goal and ecommerce tracking section of the account. We will look into these troublesome areas that we find with our clients to hopefully help them avoid some of the tracking issues that we have seen in the past.

Read more…

Today Google announced a dramatic change in the format of search results coming to your browser in a steady roll-out across English results. The change is called Google Search Plus the World which will present users logged in to Google with search results mingled with a myriad of socially derived results from friends on Google Plus.

UPDATED January 13th: this article is being updated regularly 

Haven’t we Seen this For a While Now?

This may sound similar to what you have seen over the past while where certain results had a profile shot of a friend next to them because your friend had recently given it a social nod (liked, +1’d, etc.) but this is far more intense. The new additions are opt-out only and include any of the following content showing in results if it is relevant: images, video, and websites. In addition, these results can also include semi-private and private content such as content shared with you via a limited circle in Google Plus or directly from someone in your network; note that does not mean this is visible to anyone else on Google so don’t get freaked about privacy unless you plan on leaving your browser logged in to your Google profile.

Here is the official (and rather cool) video Google used to demonstrate the functionality all Google users will soon see: Read more…

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Thursday, January 5th, 2012

The Importance Of Social Search

Social Search can be approached from two angles; both equally important for businesses. There’s micro-searching — this includes using social media to connect and engage with people based on keyword, location, and niche. And then there’s macro social search… essentially, how it’s affecting search engines like Google. In this article I will give you three areas of mirco social searching to focus on, how best ot use them, and give an overview of where I think social search optimization is going.

Micro Searching

Micro searching is a great way of connecting and reaching out across social media to increase your audience. These searches include different twists on the classic search and each of which will be explained individually.

Geo- Targeting: Being able to locate people and updates which have been sent within an “X mile radius” really does mean you can restrict your searches to only the most relevant distances and topics for you. Fantastic if you are holding an event in a town and want to get locals involved or if you have a product that you need local people to buy or use. MarketMeSuite is social media dashboard which lets you have all of your social network accounts in one place. And, most importantly, lets you target your tweet searches to location and using specific words using a feature called “Reply Campaigns”. You can target within 1000 miles of a specific location. All you have to do is type in either the city, county, zip code, postal code to get location of your choice. The keyword selection also means you can target the words that you feel will be most used in your niche topic. Read more…

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Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, 2011 is just about over. Thank you to all our clients, colleagues, and friends for making it one fantastic year!

Our offices will be closed on Monday January 2nd, and we will be back into the full swing of things on Tuesday Jan 03 to kick off another great year.

We at StepForth want to wish everyone a very safe and happy New Year!

Google LogoWhen people are searching for a business in their local area, more often than not they are going online rather than flipping through the traditional Yellow Pages.  Local businesses can use this to their advantage by creating a well optimized Google Places page.  Google Places gives your prospective customers the convenience of getting to know you in much less time than it would take to explore your website. It provides them basic information about your business including phone number, address, hours of operation, etc…

A Google Places listing is claimed and filled out by your business. However,  in order to fully optimize your profile, you need to acquire reviews from your past customers.

Read more…

Today Google’s Engineering Director Scott Huffman released the first of (hopefully many) monthly updates announcing the changes Google has implemented in its algorithms. Here is a run down of what was announced along with my thoughts on each and how they will/may effect the average website:

Related query results refinements:

Sometimes we fetch results for queries that are similar to the actual search you type. This change makes it less likely that these results will rank highly if the original query had a rare word that was dropped in the alternate query. For example, if you are searching for [rare red widgets], you might not be as interested in a page that only mentions “red widgets.”

What this means to you: theoretically this improvement in search quality would minimize unqualified traffic to your website if you happen to be getting some. For example, using the example above if you were selling “red widgets” but not “rare red widgets” (what the person searched for) then the traffic your site may received before this update would have had a high bounce rate or at least a nearly non-existent conversion rate. On the flip side, if you were making sales by selling users on another product while they searched for a competing product then your sales could be negatively impacted by this algorithm update.

More comprehensive indexing:

This change makes more long-tail documents available in our index, so they are more likely to rank for relevant queries.

What this means to you: this is excellent news for websites with Read more…

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Google is Getting a Redesign

The Google we know and love is getting a significant navigation overhaul. Introducing the new Google Toolbar which has Google’s CEO, Larry Page rather excited:

A screenshot of Larry Page discussing the latest changes to Google and the Google Toolbar on Google Plus

In short, the bulk of the navigation will now appear in a drop-down menu which will appear whenever you hover over the Google logo. The area which once Read more…