SEO in Toronto for Local Businesses
Toronto is Canada’s most competitive market, and local brick and mortar stores need an effective campaign to rise above the competition. A good SEO strategy is less expensive than you think and it delivers the best stream of warm leads.
In Easy Terms
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and has a metro population of 6 million according to stats can 2016. In fact, it nearly has as many people as the three Prairie provinces combined. As a result, Toronto has an excellent market but it is extremely competitive, so specialized and aggressive marketing is needed for businesses that want to climb to the top of the competitive ladder.
There are great opportunities for businesses in Toronto due its large and diversified economy and population. It is home to more national head offices than any other city in Canada. that to economies of scale and it is possible to have great organic rankings and other exposure on the Internet for the Toronto, the GTA, and within specialized local markets.
Business Improvement Areas (BIA) in Toronto have been developed throughout the city and are good opportunities to give your business more exposure. These days however, local search marketing has out placed these groups and effectiveness because a person in your neighborhood with a cell phone can see exactly where you are and the listing they see can be customized to appeal to their interests or needs.
Toronto has 83 business improvement areas! If your business is located within one of these areas, you should take advantage of it. It will certainly help to establish or enhance your position with one of these areas.
These business improvement areas are made up of local businesses that joined together to promote the area and develop its economy. BIAs can provide some additional structure and resources to market your business. The greater Toronto area is diverse, so there are opportunities for niche marketing to local specialized market within Toronto.
Because the Toronto area is so competitive you may want to consider a strategy of optimizing for searches that are more specific than broad based searches where someone will type in bathroom store. The search that you would target would be more product specific and it will funnel down to people searching for your subcategories. For example, when someone types in bathroom store the top 10 listings are generally large and developed competitors, but you can get around this by optimizing your keywords for bathroom vanities, bathroom sinks or toilets. You’re throwing out a smaller net, but you will be receiving leads from better qualified leads and you’re dodging larger competitors.
Letting Google and visitors know where you are located is key to succeeding online. The old days of listing 10 or 20 cities in your website in hopes that you will appear in searches for your product within those other cities is no longer possible. Google is really tightening the local results so that searches within a specific area will yield local businesses specifically within the tight area. Go three or four blocks away and you are likely to see search results for other companies and not your own. Having multiple locations within Toronto helps greatly in this regard.
Mobile search results have been refined by Google so that only the businesses in the small areas that you are at will be displayed. You could drive 34 blocks away from your store and not be listed in the local results.
A way to rank higher in search engines is to optimize your business for the neighborhood your are in rather than the metropolitan area. For instance, if your store is in Mississauga you could rank at the top of Mississauga area searches. Many businesses are tempted to try to get top rankings for multiple areas but Google is changing this.
OUR SEO PROCESS
Below outlines our SEO steps and the work is the same for those wanting local results in Toronto, national results in Canada or global rankings.
- INITIAL DISCUSSION
We will work with you to understand your business, your goals, your audience and whether you are looking for local results here in Toronto and other cities around the GTA or if you want to reach nationally or internationally as well.
- INITIAL ASSESSMENT
We will assess your site and look for any issues it may have that will impede rankings such as old code, not being mobile friendly, low on page count or word count. If there are any issues with your hierarchial structure and more.
- KEYWORD TO PAGE MAPPING
We will perform full keyword research for Toronto and the regions around Toronto such as Mississauga, Markham, Richmond Hill, and more. With this we also look at the competition in the top ten to make sure the keyword you wish to target are realistically obtainable as Toronto has become a highly competitive city for rankings.
- ON-PAGE OPTIMIZATION
Once the keywords have been approved we will then work on optimizing your pages with meta tags, h tags, image optimization and content optimization.
- CONTENT OPTIMIZATION
This is key because “content is king!” Google has a lot of requirements of your content such as to be of a certain word count, include intent for Rank Brain and to of course make sense to human readers too, oh and it has to mention the keywords we’re targeting too. We can do that effectively and so that you don’t lose the voice of your business either! In addition to that, you need to be sure you are mentioning all the areas of Toronto and have page specific pages to target them.
- MONTHLY SEO WORK AND REPORTING
Monthly SEO work begins with submitting and monitoring a Google XML sitemap with search console and we’ll build quality inbound links. We will also work on your Google Business Listing to help support map-based results. We will also provide you with a monthly report that tracks the progress of your keywords and can even be specific to the area of Toronto when tracking results.
SEO FOR TORONTO BUSINESSES FROM A TORONTO BUSINESS
There are over 9 million people in the Greater Toronto Area to reach as a small business owner and what better way than to show up in the top of Google for all the relevant keywords for your business. Adding to that landscape are all the people searching on mobile devices while out and about in Toronto. So not only is it important to show up in searches, it’s important to show up in mobile searches as well.
You need to work with an SEO company that understands Toronto as much as it understands Google and all of Google’s requirements. There are different tactics depending on whether you want to rank locally, rank locally for multiple cities in the GTA or if you also want to target the Toronto area as well as the rest of Canada or the rest of the globe. Our company brings that expertise to your door.
With over 15 years experience we have worked with hundreds of small business and entrepreneurs in the Greater Toronto Area to help them rank for thousands of keywords related to their business for not just Toronto but also the various areas around Toronto like Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Aurora & Newmarket and more. We’ve also helped companies rank nationally and globally in addition to ranking locally and we’d love to help bring your business to the forefront.
Why not contact us for a free SEO analysis and we will provide you with an honest, hand created report that will let you know what you can realistically expect from SEO, or better yet call one of our sales staff and we’d be happy to discuss your needs with you!
What’s Included In Our Toronto SEO
Website optimization is a broad term but we’ll begin by working with you to identify what terms people might use to find your website for local Toronto searches which could include targeting specific neighbourhoods and GTA cities like Markham, Richmond Hill, Mississauga etc. If you also want national or multi-national rankings we can include this in your planning. After this, we complete the keyword research and draw up a plan to optimize your website pages for the best keywords to target.
Once the best keywords are determined and you agree with them as well we will optimize the best website pages for those keywords. If there isn’t a good page to target keywords we will recommend creating a page to target it.
We also audit your website and look for any code and speed issues that can cause issues with rankings in Google or pose problems to your website visitors.
Chances are you may already have a business listing but it may not be properly optimized and underutilized. It’s important to not spam the listing, not lose the listing and update your listing. Many businesses have the “set it and forget it” thought to a Google business listing but keeping it current, and updating it with sales, specials, notices and help it to bring value to your business and drive more traffic to your brick and mortar location.
It’s also important to never lose ownership of your listing. Not only do you lose the ability to update and control your listing, if you can’t regain ownership and have to create a new one it makes map result rankings harder to achieve as Google’s strongest ranking factor is your listing’s age to make sure those spamming the listings can’t ever rank before the duplicate listings are caught.
Its the one thing that most business owners hate to do, write content for their site. But “Content is King” with Google so it’s imperative to not only have the right amount of content and right keyword density for what is being targeted and talk about Toronto and the areas you serve or sell to, but you also need to write content to it appeals to humans and Google’s Rank Brain artificial intelligence and meets the standards of E.A.T. An update they implemented in August 2018 that now measures you on Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.
So if writing wasn’t your favourite task before… it probably isn’t now and trying to marry your content with all those requirements will make your head spin. So why not let us optimize that content for you, oh and it’s included with your monthly SEO price!
We will work with you to expand your content on the pages we’re optimizing (and we can do others for a small fee) and make sure it provides context to Rank Brain, marketing to humans and keyword density for the algorithm and in a way that won’t make your content sound repetitive or weird by remembering that humans will be reading it too!