SEO – Ottawa Style can help get more customers for your small business

Laptop showing Small Business Google Analytics and coffee cup in the background. How can local Ottawa SEO help your small business?

Your local small business needs local Ottawa SEO to grow

Are you using Ottawa SEO techniques to help your small business website bring in more customers? Or, are you still mostly relying on word-of-mouth?

Look. You’re an entrepreneur. You started your small business because you love what you do, whether that’s being a mechanic, an optometrist, or a baker.

Or, maybe this is a side-hustle, and you have a website to promote your side hobbies and passions.

Chances are, you didn’t even realize that getting to the top of Google was a thing. You have a website, and you figured people will find you.

Let’s be honest. You do have a great product. So word of mouth will spread and your business will grow. Eventually.

But, what if there was a way to speed up this process? Get you more new customers, who become raving fans, who spread the word…

You do have a great product. Now it’s time to get you the traffic you deserve.

Google is kind of like the Olympics.

In the Olympics, we celebrate gold, silver, and bronze medalists… and then there’s the rest.

Check out this “heat map” of a Google Search result page. It shows where people look. Red spots are where the eyes are looking at the most. Notice how we look at the top left?

Screenshot of a google heat map showing where people look on search engines

Where does your Ottawa Small Business website rank on Google?

Try this little experiment.

  1. Pretend you’re someone looking for your product or service, but they’ve never heard of your business name or brand. What would you type in Google?
  2. Now, search for that phrase in Google. (Use a phone if possible because that’s the way the world is heading, and Google does mobile-first search results.) If Google suggests a phrase as you type, and you think a new customer would click on that phrase, go ahead and do that.

Where is your website on that search engine results page?

  • Option 1. I’m at the very top of the search results.
  • Option 2. I can see my webpage without having to scroll down on the search page
  • Option 3. You have to scroll down a little, but I’m still on the first page.
  • Option 4. I’m not on the first page. (Each page shows 10 results. How far down the rabbit hole do you have to go before we find your website? No judgements here – we just have to know where we’re starting from.)

Bonus Question

  • Look at the blue title text, the green website link, and the black text snippet in your Google search listing.
  • Is that something that a new customer would want to click on to visit your website?
  • (Did you know that you can change that to something more meanigful? You can control how your google listing snippet shows up.)

How can you get your Ottawa Small Business Website to bring you more new customers?

Your small business website needs to bring you more traffic and new clients from people searching on Google.

The way we do that is by getting to the top of the Google search listing for people looking for strategic key phrases connected to your business. (Keywords matter. We’ll talk more about that later on…)

Getting to the top of Google can be tricky. There are over 200 factors that Google thinks about in their secret sauce when they figure out how to rank the websites.

Some of these keywords are very competitive and tough to get to the top.

Other phrases can be equally lucrative, but have a lot less competition, so it’s easier to rank at the top. These are the keywords we want to target.

Are you ready to run a marathon, or do you need to build up your running skills with a few shorter races first? And then, once you build up some endurance, you’ll be running longer distances.

You need some SEO (Ottawa style). You didn’t know you needed it until you saw it.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.

  • It’s the art and science we use to give our small business websites the best chance of ranking at the top of a search page.
  • It’s also what we call people who do Search Engine Optimization.

SEO is an incredible metaphor for life.

I’m not saying Google is God, but hear me out. (No comment about the Google Home I have listening to my every breath and reporting back to the mothership. Not unlike the Elf on the Shelf that I have. Hmm…)

Ottawa SEO as a Metaphor for Life: 1. Life can be hard.

Sometimes everything is going well. You’re on top of your game. You love your job. You have your health. You’re living the dream.

And sometimes, life sucks.

There are so many quotes and life lessons about perseverance for a reason. When life gets you down, you have to just keep on swimming. Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.

SEO can be hard, too.

  • There are certain “on-site” strategies that you can do to help your website rank better in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) – and even then, it might not be enough to get to the top.
  • You also have to do some “off-site” work and get links from good websites. Each link back to your website is kind of like a vote of confidence. Google then thinks, well, if other websites like your site, then it must be pretty good. And, up you go in the SERPs.
  • You have to weed out the bad links.
  • You have to look at what your competitors are doing, and think about how that might change your gameplan.

Life and SEO are really both lessons in grit and tenacity. We got this!

Ottawa SEO as a Metaphor for Life: 2. Things change.

Last year, as an Ontario teacher with over 10 years experience, my annual salary was $94,000.

Now, as of January 1, 2019, I have no job, and I make $0 from an employer.

So, yeah, I get it. Things change. And these changes can drastically change your income earnings.

And, so it is with SEO. Every now and then, Google changes their secret algorithm in how they figure out the ranking order on the search results.

And if you used to be at the top of Google, and now you’re not, this could result in a huge drop in traffic and revenue.

Think about it this way. Google’s job is to provide you with “the best” search results that meet your needs. Otherwise, you wouldn’t use Google to search the internet. And then, they wouldn’t make money from advertising.

And, quite frankly, they must be doing something right. In Oct 2018, Google had 90% of the worldwide market share for search queries. There’s a reason why “google” is a verb. Just google it.

Google knows everything. With aggregated information from Chrome web browsers, Google apps, and Android phones, they can use this BIG data to figure out patterns and trends about how people search, and which results people actually find useful when they’re searching for information.

And then they constantly tweak their search formula to try to improve their search results.

(Creepy thought for the day: Google knows how long people visit your Ottawa small business physical brick-and-mortar location because they can show on your Google My Business listing and Google Maps when your peak hours are. So, this means, they can probably tell who searches up your business, and then actually physically goes to your business afterwards. Crazy.)

So, the long and the short of it is that every now and then Google changes their search algorithms.

SEMrush has a sensor that monitors how volatile Google is. We can use this to predict when small or large changes in the Google secret sauce happens.

(Change isn’t necessarily bad, but if there’s seismic activity, you definetely want to monitor your Google rankings to figure out how you need to respond.)

Sometimes change sucks.

Here’s an example from SEMrush about a website that was hit by a major change in the search algorithm. Google called this the “Penguin” update. Can you see the massive drop in traffic this website experienced after Google changed their secret sauce?

But with hard work, strategies, effort, optimization, and tinkering, that website was able to get through the tough times.

Screenshot of SEM rush traffic analytics showing the impact of the Google Penguin update that dropped traffic to zero and how it recovered

SEO and Ottawa SEO need to be aware that things change.

In the past, SEO was really focused on the top four positions, recognizing that the number one spot got the lion’s share of the clicks. (Check out the 2005 heat map on the left)

Now, SEO is more complex because Google shows images, and thumbnails, and ads in different spots… We spend less time on a search result page before clicking, but we scan more of the page. (Check out the 2014 heat map on the right.)

SEO is basically a cat-and-mouse game. We do little experiments and tweaks and try to figure out the secret formula that Google uses… And then things change.

SEO is life. Things change.

Screenshot of Google Heat Maps comparing 2005 and 2014 and the difference in where people look when using Search Engine Results

Ottawa SEO as a Metaphor for Life: 3. Life is a process, not a destination.

Today is January 1, 2019. It’s the time for New Year’s Resolutions.

A lot of people resolve to go to the gym more often, take better care of themselves, and just generally be awesome-er.

Some people want to lose weight. My goal is to get a six-pack. (I kid you not.)

Sure, why not. Now that I don’t have a traditional job, I can go to the gym every day. I can watch what I eat. I can make sure to get plenty of rest. If I work at it and get some healthy advice along the way, I think I could sculpt a few ab muscles.

Getting to the top of Google is like getting a six-pack. It doesn’t happen overnight. But, if you do the exercises, and keep at it, eventually we can make progress.

And let’s say I do eventually get a six-pack. That’s not the end. It’s not like I can stop and suddenly binge on timbits and pop. You have to keep working at it to maintain that physique.

It’s the same thing with SEO. Sure, by the time you’re at the top, you’ll have developed some great habits and routines. But, you still have to work at it.

If my goal was to lose weight, there are definitely some unhealthy ways to do it. And with SEO, there are some unhealthy “black-hat” techniques that might work for a little while, but we know eventually Google will change the algorithms and these short-cuts will hurt us in the long run.

Ultimately, we need to find ways to enjoy the process. SEO is a process. Enjoy the game and the puzzle of getting to the top.

(Or, find someone who likes doing that, and let them take care of the heavy lifting for you.)

By the way, just because I get that six-pack, or you get that beach bod, it doesn’t mean we’ll feel better about ourselves, that our self-esteem will improve, that we’ll be better people, or that we’ll find true love and happiness.

It just means we have a six-pack, or a beach bod.

Likewise, just because you get traffic from Google to your website, it doesn’t mean that it will automatically convert into sales, or leads, or visits to your brick-and-mortar store.

You still need to work on your inner ninja… and improve your sales funnel. That’s where Google Analytics comes in, but that’s a conversation for another time.

Ottawa SEO as a Metaphor for Life: 4. No one knows for sure how life works.

This is a short one, but a true one.

No one knows the meaning of life and what lies beyond, although we have many religions and belief systems (and non-belief systems.)

It’s the same with SEO. All of us here outside of Google do little experiments, research trends, and chat about the proclamations from Big G.

There are a lot of fantastic strategies out there to help you be a better you.

And, likewise, there are a lot of fantastic SEO tools out there that can help your Ottawa Small Business website be a better… um, small business website.

You get what I mean. No SEO can promise you #1 rankings. But there are strategies and tools to help us do better.

What does “Ottawa Style” SEO even mean?

Ottawa SEO is different from regular SEO because it’s local SEO to Ottawa.

What does that even mean?

If you’re a small business in Ottawa, chances are, you’re not competing with the billions of other websites in the world.

(I mean, you might be, if you’re selling digital products across Canada, North America, and the world. In that case, we’re back to talking about regular SEO.)

Ottawa SEO means playing the local SEO game – so doing SEO to compete with the local Ottawa business websites in your hood.

How do you know if you need to use Ottawa SEO techniques instead of regular SEO?

Remember that little experiment we did at the beginning where you searched up a keyword that a new customer might look up? Do that search again.

When Google gives you the search results, does it show you a Google map at the top with a bunch of local businesses? If it does, chances are you need to think about local Ottawa SEO.

How do I do local Ottawa SEO? Well, for starters…

  • You need to make sure you have Ottawa in the headings on your website and with your keywords (Or Kanata, Orleans, Barrhaven, you get the idea.) – you do have your keywords in your headings, right?
  • You need to get links from other local websites in Ottawa to point at your website. (Remember, Google is a popularity contest. We need these votes of confidence.)
  • You need to work on your Google My Business game.

Ottawa Style SEO Bonus Tip: Keep an eye on your competition

One final thing before the call to action.

What if I told you, we can see how your competitor’s websites rank on Google.

  • We can see if they’re paying for ads to buy traffic, and we can estimate how much they spend.
  • We can see how much more or less “organic” traffic they’re getting from regular Google search listings compared to your small business website.
  • We can see where your website ranks and where your competitors’ websites rank for different keyword searches.

We can also see what keywords people use, and what other keywords we should be using. (We call this keyword research.)

  • We can see how popular these search terms are – as in how much traffic volume they get.
  • We can see approximately how much people are willing to spend on running Google Ads on those keywords. (Businesses don’t like to waste money, so if a business is willing to keep ads on a keyword, chances are, they’re bringing in enough new business to make it profitable. So, find those keywords and try to rank for them.)
  • We can see how much competition there is for specific keywords.

I use SEMrush. I have an annual membership and I’m using it to try to rank higher for specific keywords for some of my online ventures.

(I’m not only an Ottawa SEO for other Ottawa small businesses, I’m also a client!)

All of us SEO peeps are outside of the Google inner circle. It’s impossible to know how much traffic a website actually gets unless you have access to their Google Analytics page.

What SEMrush does is send out their own crawler that scrapes Google search pages for lots and lots of keywords. They use search volume data from Google’s API (keyword planner tool.) They crawl the internet websites and essentially they create their own massive database “guess-timating” Google’s actual database. (Source: Quora)

In other words, the actual numbers from SEMrush are estimates only – but we can use the SEMrush database to get an idea about relative comparisons between your business and your competitors.

Cool thing about SEMrush is that you can get 10 free searches.

You know the search phrase you looked up in Google yourself? Try typing it in here.

NOTE: By default, the search tool below will show you results from the US database ( – but once you sign up for the 10 free searches, you can switch the database results to Canada (or your own country). Ottawa SEO in gets very different results from Ottawa SEO in – who knew there was another Ottawa out there!

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Call to Action: You need SEO

So, we agree.

Word of Mouth advertising is still a cornerstone of your Ottawa small business.

But, we need to improve your online presence to drive more potential customers to your website, and ultimately have them become new raving fans.

Now what.

Option 1. I want to focus on my business, and I want someone else to help me with my digital marketing and website SEO stuff.

If you spend over $10,000 per month in advertising…

You want this guy. Heck, I want this guy. I watched his webinar, and I’m still learning tons of stuff from Neil Patel.

If you spend a few hundred dollars per month in advertising or on your website, and you’re in Ottawa…

You want me. We can get together for coffee, we’ll chat about what your competitors are doing online, and we’ll see if we’re a good fit.

  • You want to improve your Ottawa SEO game and get more customers from online sources at an affordable price.
  • I want to work with local Ottawa small business entrepreneurs and learn as much as I can about SEO by applying my skills in different contexts and industries

If you’re frugal and you don’t really want to spend money on an Ottawa SEO just yet…

I get it. I’m watching every penny I spend right now, too.

Visit to get strategies and ideas about Search Engine Optimization Techniques. (See what I did there?)

Option 2. I like this SEO stuff. It’s right up my alley. I think I want to DIY this.

Me too. I love thinking about this stuff and stay up way too late learning SEO and applying to my own online ventures.

If you’re in Ottawa… we can still get together for coffee and chat about possibilities.

If you’re like me, and pretty good with computers, I find sometimes a little bit of coaching can go a long way, especially if I’m learning something new. You might be in the same boat.

Also, visit where I share strategies I’m learning and mistakes I’m picking myself up from.

Let’s get together

Call me / Text me: 1-833-203-7368

Email me: [email protected]