the logo for Search Engine Strategies Toronto, 2011StepForth is proud to announce on June 14th, our CEO, Ross Dunn is sharing his extensive knowledge of competitor analysis for online businesses in a session titled Competitive Analysis at Search Engine Strategies Toronto; Canada’s largest and most prestigious search engine and social media marketing conference.

Ross Dunn will be speaking alongside his two other esteemed competitor analyst peers Matt Van Wagner (President of FindMeFaster) and Marios Alexandrou (East Coast Director of SEO at Rosetta).

The formal description for the joint presentation on Competitive Analysis is as follows:

An essential component of any search marketing plan is understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This knowledge helps you comprehend what links to gain, ad prices to pay, content to offer and customers to seek. In this session, we take a close look at what tricks you can use with search engines to analyze your competitors’ game and also what free and premium tools are available to deep dive into their strategy. Join us for a candid discussion as panelists reveal their secrets for monitoring competitive forces and threats while sharing tips that can be successfully applied to any business intelligence effort. After attending this session, you’ll have the skills to easily discover what keywords your competitor is targeting, how much your competitor is spending on ads, and be able to identify opportunities your competitor is missing.

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I always wanted to work with charities and non-government organizations; I find their sincere dedication to causes they’re passionate about an inspiration. Last year I had the opportunity to pursue this interest and flew to Hanoi, Vietnam to work for an NGO (Non-Government Organization) called “Center for Development of Community and Children.” This experience made me realize locating funding and raising awareness is hair pullingly tedious, exhausting, and beyond frustrating. To get any funding from governments or private sponsors was painstakingly time consuming and rather impersonal. Of the several projects I was working on, my primary donation hunting efforts were for building a school in the rural area of Dien Bien, North Western Vietnam.  All of the funding applications I spent hours filling out consisted of budgets and past organization reputation.  Understandably, these are important but I never felt like the reality of the project was communicated to the reader which was how badly these tykes wanted to learn how to read and get a basic education.

When I started working in online marketing, I realized quickly, these barriers I’d faced didn’t need to exist.  An online presence is so powerful for charities. It makes them visible, allows them to engage with their donors, and acquire donations faster than if they were to wait for government assistance.  Below, I’ve put together 5 tips I’ve found to be most significant when a charity is trying to build a presence online. Read more…

Some Relatively New Feature for Google AdWords makes it easy to promote your website and/or products. For those who have never heard of Google AdWords, it is their paid search marketing platform that allows you to bid on keywords to have your ad shown on Google. Search engine traffic is the most relevant source of traffic to get to your site, and your leads/sales will show it. Today, we are going to go over some new features within AdWords that help you get your ads shown to your target audience. Read more…

If your site collects data from your site visitors and you do not have a privacy policy then you definitely want to read this post.

It doesn’t matter what the data is that you collect. If you simply have a basic form for a mailing list subscription, contact us form, forum, or a comprehensive shopping system, if you collect ANY data, be sure your privacy policy is fully up to date with FULL details about how you plan to use this data.

Here at StepForth Web Marketing we have suspected for a long time that having a valid privacy policy on your site can influence organic rankings, but now it is also a definite that it can influence if your paid ads are even able to run at all! Read more…

In parts 1 & 2 I have already discussed much of the onsite SEO factors, as well as some off site stuff such as inbound links and algorithmic updates. Here are some factors that are only slightly contributing today, but show a very strong probability of being major aspects tomorrow. If Google rankings are important to you, these are a few items you will want to consider seriously. Read more…

Well, its official. You can now add the Google Plus One button onto your website.

Back in March after rolling out the Plus one into Google Search Results, it was much anticipated that the functionality to add the same button directly onto your site would be added – and now it has.

Why should you pay any attention to this? Read more…

I have been with StepForth Web Marketing for just over two months now working as the Sales and Marketing Assistant. I had just graduated from university and thought I knew a thing or two about Marketing. Little did I know the Marketing being communicated in university classes was really more of a “History of Marketing.” What was taught was interesting: concepts, theories, ideas and maybe it’s great to learn how things were but if you don’t understand how things are then what use is it to you? It’s like taking lessons on how to use a DOS program or program a VCR. You know how to do what used to be relevant. Staying with the times is difficult in this day and age. Especially because what people did yesterday is SOOOO yesterday. How are you supposed to know what bandwagons to jump on? Read more…

How To Optimize for GoogleIt has been nearly 3 years since I wrote my original 3 part series on “How to Optimize for Google”. Since writing that article some things have certainly changed, while others have remained exactly the same.

Here is a redux adjusted to follow some more recent changes over at Google. Note that this is by no means a full-out comprehensive list, That would take a book, not an article.

I Part 1, I will discuss the basic SEO & on-site elements. Parts 2 and 3 will talk about links, major algorithmic updates, and the impact of social media. Read more…

a picture of a man making the shape of the letter L with his hand for "Loser" and the rest of the picture says "Comment Spam"

Every day simpletons who think they are very clever visit our web site marketing blog and post completely useless, and often amusing comments. Their goal is to get links back to their website (or their clients) by making the post look personalized and legitimate. Sadly, they are almost always painfully daft, nonsensical, grammatically retarded posts. What is even worse is if they had half a clue they would have discovered our blog comment area blocks all outgoing links; thus they are wasting their time to start with. Anyway, over the past year I thought it would be fun to collect some of the best postings before I nuked them from our database and here is a selection of the 10 best.

WARNING: Reading this article may cause impairment of mental ability!

StepForth’s “Top 10 Most Rediculous Spam Comments Received” may be associated with fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting or blurred vision. Please exercise caution or avoid operating machinery, including automobiles, following the visual digestion of this article.
>> Minor List of Side Effects

# 1. I wish I remembered which article this was sourced from. Whatever it was, it clearly had relevance.

“Blog looks really good mate, keep it up! I keep shedding the pounds thanks to information like this and my studies on resveratrol.”

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If you are at all involved in web marketing or follow a single online technology source then you have heard a million comments and discussions about the sting Google used to prove Bing is copying some of its search results: here is the original press release from Google with their evidence. (Just here to vote? Vote here)

The following quote summarizes the Google opinion on how Microsoft did it and the result:

As we see it, this experiment confirms our suspicion that Bing is using some combination of:

or possibly some other means to send data to Bing on what people search for on Google and the Google search results they click. Those results from Google are then more likely to show up on Bing. Put another way, some Bing results increasingly look like an incomplete, stale version of Google results—a cheap imitation.

What came of this very public wedgy from Google was, inevitably, a shit storm of enjoyable proportions between the two competitors. Here are some of the highlights along with some of my own thoughts on the matter:

Bing denies the copying allegations:

We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop. We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting.

We do look at anonymous click stream data as one of more than a thousand inputs into our ranking algorithm. We learn from our customers as they traverse the web, a common practice in helping to improve a wide array of online services. We have been clear about this for a couple of years (see Directions on Microsoft report, June 15, 2009).

Not only does Bing deny the allegations but Google’s hypocritical stance allows Bing’s Yusef  Mehdi (SVP of Online Services) to take a righteous stab at Google and draw blood: Read more…