An image of Micheal Blumenthal - aka Professor Maps because he is a Google Places ExpertOn their radio show, SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM, Ross Dunn and John Carcutt had the opportunity to speak with Mike Blumenthal (AKA, “Professor Maps”); the guru of Google Places and blogger of “Understanding Google Maps and Local Search.”

If you are a business owner with a local presence, you are sure to find this 60 minute interview invaluable. Below is a summary of what was discussed. To listen the entire show, you can download it for free on iTunes at

Important note: These interview highlights have been paraphrased unless quotes are used.  

Ross – Mike Blumenthal has spent the last 6 years studying Google Places; how it works and how it affects the entire local ecosystem.

John – He is known as Professor Maps because he literally knows everything there is to know about this. I am really excited to pick his brain today. Read more…

A photo of John Mueller - Google Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst

Ross Dunn and John Carcutt had the opportunity to speak with John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst from Google Switzerland, on their popular radio show, SEO 101 on WebmasterRadio.FM. In their exclusive 60 minute interview they covered topics including Google Webmaster Tools, the Plus One button,and Google+. Below are just some of the interview highlights.

To hear the entire show (it is well worth the listen) download it on iTunes at

Important note: These interview highlights have been paraphrased unless quotes are used.  

Dunn: John, you are a Google Switzerland Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst. What exactly does that entail?

Mueller: My primary role is to connect Webmasters with engineers at Google. I try to make sure everyone is speaking the same language and all the feedback we get from Webmasters  is communicated effectively to our engineers.

Dunn: How did you start working at Google? Read more…

The logo for the Victoria Web Marketing MeetupIn the latest Victoria Web Marketing Meetup we chose to do a night featuring live reviews of websites owned by attendees. The idea was to answer any pressing questions for at least 3 site owners while educating (or refreshing) the rest of the Meetup crowd. It was a lot of fun and although we had fully planned for a break half way through the 2 hour session the questions just kept coming and I decided to keep up the momentum… I would like to think attendees got a lot out of it. Anyway, below are a few of the issues I noted on the reviewed sites along with some answers provided for anyone who missed the evening or wants access to the URLs mentioned. I hope you find it useful.

1. How to optimize your website for local search

In this situation the website provided a local service but did not have its address located in the footer of each page on the site. I strongly recommended updating the footer to include the name address and phone number (AKA N.A.P) for the company because it would increase the odds the site would appear in local search results on Google. I also stressed the importance of using the same formatting for the address everywhere on the site and the Internet to maximize the likelihood Google & Bing would give them credit for their address. Read more…

Being that the +1 button from Google came out a few months ago in organic search, we are now seeing this +1 button with AdWords ads. Similar to how this button works in the organic listings, when a person who has visited and likes your site clicks the +1 button, your AdWords ad will now show a little +1 next to your display ad. This gives the users a chance to give some input on how they feel about the click they had made, and the visit to your website.


Will this change how people click on AdWords ads?

We feel that this will definitely change the way people click on ads regarding paid positions. For example, if a site in position 3 or 4 has many +1 clicks and is liked very much, a surfer may click on this ad first over the ad in position 1. We feel this will increase the click through rate on lower positions in AdWords, which is great because these positions are cheaper than the top position. Currently we are recommending all of our clients who use AdWords to at least try the +1 button on their site. Read more…

An image of the Google +1 button The following is a quick heads up to any designers out there who like me may wish to protect what little hair they have left from being pulled out. It turns out the Google +1 (aka “PlusOne”) button conflicts with the Javascript onMouseMove(event). This is not my cup of tea but I know our in-house programmer has a headache from this and there is a handy thread at Google for interested parties to follow who may be facing the same issue. I know John Mueller has received notice of the issue so hopefully there will be a fix soon.

To quote “Fine Art America” who started the support thread at Google Webmaster Central, this is the issue: Read more…

Learn how to create a list of links that are benefiting your competitors so you can obtain them as well. This competitor analysis tutorial focuses on the incoming links portion of offsite SEO competitor analysis. Taught by search engine optimization (SEO) industry veteran Ross Dunn (of WebmasterRadio.FM’s SEO 101 Radio Show) this tutorial will provide you with the tools and tactics you need to improve your competitiveness in search engine rankings.

Elements of this analysis include: how to find your competitors backlinks, how to determine why your competitor is succeeding online (from an offsite perspective), how to check if your competitor is spamming Google, how to beat whois privacy protection (legally), how to conduct a link popularity analysis, and much more.
Read more…

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.

Read more…

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…