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Tactics Can Increase Web Search Ranking

If a tree falls in the forest and no one can Google it, does it make a sound?

The tree might not care, but lots of companies do.

A great Web site or page doesn’t do much for a business unless potential customers can find it with a keyword search through Google (GOOG) and other online search engines. And the site must not be just anywhere in the results — which often run for pages and pages — but near the top.

Scott Wilson faced that problem in 2002 with his fledgling video-production house, eMotion Picture Studios.

After blowing out a big chunk of the marketing budget on a flashy Web site, the site still attracted scant visitors. Investigating and solving this problem led to a new business, It’s one of the many firms that have emerged that try to help Web sites rank high in search results — an art/science known as search engine optimization.

Wilson recently spoke with IBD about winning the SEO game.

IBD: Starting with the basics, how do search engines rank things?

Wilson: Let’s primarily speak about Google.

The original logarithm (Google co-founder) Larry Page came up with (measured) two things. How many links does (the page)

have, and what are the quality of those links? And then of course there’s the content on the page. You’re reading the content and trying to find a match on the page with the searcher’s intent.

We study how Google measures Web sites, and we try to create the best page on the planet for a specific search term.

We promote that page so it gets ranked on the first page (of Google search results).

IBD: What is the “quality” of the links?

Wilson: For example, a link from CNN would have more value and trust than a link from somebody’s blog or some small-business Web site.

IBD: If you’re talking about a small business that wouldn’t typically get a link from CNN, how do you help it boost its ranking?

Wilson: The first thing we try to do is build trust. We have (our clients) try to create content that people will want to link to.

And our clients will contact their network — companies they do business with, companies they have a positive relationship with — and request links from those companies. All these links bring trust toward their Web site.

IBD: What’s the role of a third party such as yourself in this process?

Wilson: What we’ve just talked about is just one factor in search. There’s several hundred factors we actively watch and measure.

Knowing one or two tips absolutely can help your Web site (ranking). But to really do well, you need to do a lot of things.

One of the things is that each individual page on a Web site has certain levels of trust.

So if there’s a company that has agreed to link to (a client), then we’d look for the best page on that Web site, the one that’s the most relevant, and put the link on that specific page.

Internal linking on the Web site also is important. We want to make sure we utilize the trust on our home page intelligently and promote the right pages for the correct keywords.

It’s important to data-mine the keywords properly.

I’ll give you an example. We have a client that is a discount brokerage. What we found by doing data-mining is that nobody Googles the term “discount brokerage.”

What people are Googling is “online trading,” and this client did not rank even in the top 100 results for “online trading.”

The next step was to change the marketing message to talk about online trading. You can still have discount brokerage information on the page, but that page needs to be well optimized.

So it should discuss, in detail, online trading.

No. 1, your Web site must earn Google’s trust.

No. 2, you must make your text readable. For Web sites done in Flash (a common standard for creating animation) and some older content management systems, it’s very difficult for Google to read the texts.

A simple way (to fix that) for small Web sites is to build it in HTML (the common Web document authoring language). Google can very easily read HTML. There’s some newer content management systems Google can read very easily.

No. 3 is a laser-beam focus. A company brochure will talk about a wide variety of products or services the company offers.

That’s fine in a brochure. But if you write a Web page and talk about your 15 or 20 products and services, it’s too diluted. Because it’s not focused on one specific thing, you don’t stand as good a chance of getting ranked on the first (search results) page.

So instead of having a page about investment and stocks and bonds and index funds and mutual funds and a whole pile of things like that, you want one page that’s all about online trading, then a different page that’s all about mutual funds, then a different page about stock analysis.

Anything you can do to support that page — like having photos on the same topic, or PDF or Excel files, or any type of supporting materials that people can download from the page — is very helpful. For a page that only has a little bit of text, it’s harder to win rankings. We recommend at least 300 words.

IBD: Can you give an example of the newer content-management systems that Google can read?

Wilson: Our first choice is called Drupal. We feel that’s the best. There’s a second one called Joomla, and this one is getting better. The good thing is they’re free, because they’re open source.

IBD: Obviously getting a high ranking on Google is important, but are other ways of navigating the Internet getting more important, like Wikipedia?

Wilson: One of the things we do for clients is write valuable content and submit it to Wikipedia. Quite often it gets published.

There’s ways to do it where the company gets some promotion value. The key is not to make a sell page, but more of a valuable information page.

Present yourself as a leader in a topic, and present really valuable information.

And Google’s got some new tools, such as its Local Business Center (so that a business will appear on Google Maps). It’s a great way to get some exposure online.


Making your company stand out on the Internet can seem like a daunting task. With well over a billion Internet searches per day and billions of pages to choose from, how is one company’s Web page able to come out on top? According to Scott Wilson, CEO of, there are a few simple ways even small companies can top the page in their next potential customer’s Internet search.

Get Read. It’s important that search engines are able to read your site content. Create content that is easily read by creating your Web page in HTML. Avoid creating sites entirely in flash as search engines like Google have difficulty reading the content and it may not appear in search results.

Gain Trust. Until the Web site has earned the trust of the search engines, it will not rank in search. Earn trust for your site by receiving links to your site from other trusted Web sites. Getting a trusted Web site to post your link is like getting an academic citation – the more citations (links), the more trusted your content will become.

Get Focused. Often a single Web page will contain information on many different products or services offered. This can pose a problem, if the Web page is about ten different things, then the search engine will rank it for all ten. For example, the first product could appear on page 100, product two could be ranked 1000, and so on. This keeps your Web page from appearing on the first page of a search result. To avoid this, each page on your Web site should be dedicated to a specific product or service as it will attach a specific keyword to your page and result in better search results.

Using these simple tips can help companies get noticed and gain business. “The Internet is filled with fantastic content that no one can find,” says Wilson. “I call these web sites ‘billboards in the forest’ because no matter how attractive or great your Web site content is, it’s not going to help you gain business if it doesn’t show up on a simple Google keyword search.”


Paul Brent, Financial Post
Published: June 2008
The Google Advantage

Google has proven to be such a dominant search that Microsoft Corp. has been forced to introduce a plan to pay consumers to search the Internet in an effort to gain more attention. The pay-for-search model may gain Microsoft some eyeballs, but it seems unlikely the scheme will topple Google from its lofty perch.

Because Google is perceived to be the search engine of choice for North American businesses and consumers, companies pay big bucks to Internet search experts, or search engine optimizers (SEO), to ensure their products and services appear at or near the top of its search list. “Winning search in the dot-com space is getting so competitive for major keywords like golf or shoes, It is hard to win. Said Scott Wilson, president of a Burlington, On., SEO consultancy. As Google’s power grows, getting its attention is getting more expensive, consultants say. “Search optimization is becoming more financially unreachable for small U.S. companies but Canadian companies can still compete,” Mr. Wilson argues. “ is the default in Canada and the search engine recognizes domestic web sites as Canadian. This means small to mid-sized companies here can seriously get into search and win some major keywords without having a six figure budget. Mr. Wilson’s company eMotion Picture Studios, counts U.S.-based Home Depot Supply among its clients. It works to ensure the contracting giants products and services rank high in Google’s searches. The ultimate goal is to come up on the first 10 searches. A customized program from eMotion starts at $10,000 Mr. Wilson says he can “win” key search terms for Canadian clients far faster than for U.S. clients.

For small businesses to win the Internet search game, Mr. Wilson’s firm has stumbled on a free SEO option called Google local business center. Tied in with Google maps, it allows businesses to list their address and products or services into the search giants database. The only requirement is the firm setup a Gmail account. On Google maps main page, the user clicks “put your business on Google Maps,” and fills out all the forms provided.

Google then provides a pin number to activate the listing, or it mails a post card with an enclosed pin that must be used to prove that listing is for a real business at the address provided. “The nice thing is you can sign up for Google Local search without even having a website,” Mr. Wilson says, “You just open a Gmail account for free and get listed. For small business that can’t afford $12,000 for search engine optimization, this is a free and easy option.”

To illustrate how wide open the Google local search tool is, Mr. Wilson taps out a few examples on his computer. Searching out “tattoos Guelph,” yields three results, not surprising considering the Ontario town is full of university students much of the year. Searching “tattoos Oakville,” a city near Toronto, yields just one location, giving it premier placement in Google search, all for signing up with the Local Business Center service. The tactic is especially effective for companies that count heavily on customers being geographically nearby.

Another loophole is the ability to add a coupon to a small business listing. (The example Google gives is 10% of any medium pizza, free delivery.) “We don’t know if the coupon helps you stay on the first page or not,” Mr. Wilson says. “it’s getting harder and harder to rank on the first page….Google wants to get all the local businesses signed up and anyone who signs up early is getting top treatment,” he notes.


Mississauga Business Times
Published: April 2007

Each year the internet is grabbing a bigger chunk of business marketing budgets. A new seminar, held last month at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre, gave senior executives a top-level view of strategies they can use to compete, and win in this dynamic marketing medium.

“SEO for the CEO™”, presented by Scott Wilson of Burlington firm eMotion Digital Marketing, showed how companies can take advantage of new search engine optimization techniques to attract more customers to their websites and keep them there longer to make a buying decision.

In 2004, an Encarta study found 63.9 percent of business purchasing decisions were search engine based. The business owners and senior executives at the morning seminar were briefed on steps their staff could take to ensure that websites were found and listed by search engines, including these common website setup do’s and don’ts.

1. Don’t have flash or JavaScript on your opening page as it makes ir more difficult for search engines to read your site.
2. Instead, build websites in HTML and embed flash into an HTML page. This can give you a great look of flash but is still readable to the search engines.
3. Your website server file structure should be shallow and the pages should be loose. Only go one folder deep for photos and movies. Stay away from sub-folders containing sub-folders.
4. Develop as many “incoming links” from other websites as possible.

“Over ten billion dollars will be spent specifically on SEO marketing in the USA this year,” said Wilson. “The internet can produce amazing sales results.” A second SEO for the CEO seminar at the Living Arts Centre is planned for the fall.

For further information call 905-631-5899.

PROFIT Tips – Google grabbers 2.0. SEO Paint by Numbers

The May 2009 issue of PROFIT magazine includes a story, “Google grabbers 2.0,” that presents five proven search-engine optimization (SEO) tips from shared exclusively with PROFIT’s readers.

As promised in that story, here are the details about how you can boost the Google rankings of your company’s website if you post a video on your site, provided it uses the Flash player. Following that is a bonus SEO idea to help your firm gain a competitive edge in local markets.

1. MAKE A SPLASH WITH FLASH: how to insert your keywords in a video that uses Flash

Please note that this tactic will be effective only if the video’s content is highly relevant to the keywords for which you’re trying to win a high Google ranking. Also note that there are limits to what you can achieve by using a single SEO tactic; your best results will come only by employing several effective tactics in combination.

Flash videos include a text box with a message such as “buffering buffering buffering” or “loading interface elements” that runs while the video is loading. If you replace those words with your keywords, you will see a substantial boost in your Google rankings. A Flash programmer can do this for you in less than an hour by following these instructions:

In order to effectively insert keywords into a Flash player for video, you must have an original authoring file. If you are using a generic player from the Web that uses XML or any other method to stream your FLV or H.264 file, it is impossible to insert your keywords into your player.

Instead, you should use components from Flash or custom-build your own player that can play in FLV or a H.264 file. Have the Flash player components or custom actionscript and video object on the _Root level of flash, keyframe number 2.

Build your pre-loader for the SWF (Shockwave Flash file format, i.e., the player that will stream your video from the server) on keyframe number 1; the player controls will load before the SWF navigates to keyframe number 2 and streams the video.

Insert a static text field somewhere on keyframe number 1, then write your keywords into this text box. Google can index this text. Do not put any other text in this keyframe. Most people will never even see this text — or the pre-loader message, for that matter. The graphics on keyframe 2 are of minimal file size, and the SWF loads quickly.

Open up the Document Properties for the authoring file. You will notice Title and Descriptions text boxes. Fill in your keywords here, where Google will see it.

2. BONUS: how to use Google Places to stand out in local markets

Many people prefer to do business with a company that has a location close to them — and not just if they’re ordering in a pizza. So it can be an important competitive advantage to make prospective customers aware that you have a store, office or other location in their community.

More and more of those customers are finding local businesses using Google. But few companies have realized the importance of ensuring that their firm ranks highly when customers use the search engine to seek out a given product or service from a business that’s close at hand. Here, we explain how to maximize the chance that when potential clients go looking, they’ll find your firm.

Google gathers information on businesses from numerous websites, such as the Yellow Pages directory, to populate the Google Maps search results. However, individual businesses can easily enter their information in Google Places. The best part is that it’s free!


  1. Visit Google Places at
  2. If you already have a Google Account, sign in with your e-mail and password.
  3. If you don’t have a Google Account, sign up for an account at
  4. Follow the instructions to create a listing.

Points to Remember:

  • The street address you enter will be shown in the Google Maps search results.
  • If you already have an AdWords login address and password, you can use it to log in to Google Places.
  • Once you’ve submitted your business information, you’ll need to verify the listing before it goes live. You can do so using a touch-tone phone, text message or personal identification number (PIN) that will be mailed to your business address. Once the listing has been verified, your information will usually appear in Google’s search results soon after.
  • You must be able to receive regular mail at your business address if you are unable to verify your business information by phone or text message. You can register using a post office box. The address you enter in Google Places will be the address it will send your PIN to.
  • Once you have verified your listing with a PIN, you’ll be the only one able to edit the information displayed about your business through your Google Places account.

Want to add more than 10 business locations? You can submit your information as a bulk upload through Google Places. For information on creating a bulk upload, select “Upload a Data File” in your Google Places account, then follow the instructions. There’s no charge for Google Places listings, and Google doesn’t accept payment to include listings or sites in its search results.