SEO / SEM Freelancers in Vancouver? How About Canada?

Calling all experienced search marketing freelancers! We’re looking for folks that can work on contracts and can demonstrate a lot of great past results.

About Us

We’re a digital marketing business in Gastown, Vancouver, Canada. We’ve got about 15 years in the search marketing business and need to talk to folks that are as excited about the field as we are.

We need someone that:

  • Is a native English speaker
  • Lives in Canada
  • Does sharp PPC Management
  • Can plan and execute SEO campaigns
  • Report on ROI
  • Dig through Analytics
  • Run with some modern link building techniques

Email us at [email protected] to get in touch. Talk to you soon!

Google Analytics: Amazon AWS Bot Traffic from Ashburn

Everyone! Check your traffic!

Google Analytics hasn’t yet blocked Amazon’s AWS bots. I’ve been running through client accounts lately and it appears not a lot of people have caught this traffic source as fake. It’s been inflating a lot of reports without anyone knowing and it’s been active for a few years. The traffic comes in spikes as seen above which can really throw off the measurement of digital marketing campaigns.

Here’s where to find it, in Google Analytics:

Audience > Technology > Network

google analytics amazon


In the US, what you’re most likely to see is a few normal internet service providers such as:

• time warner cable internet llc
• mci communications services inc. d/b/a verizon business


In Canada you’ll find ISPs such as:

• shaw communications inc.
• telus communications inc.


And then you’ll find the culprits!

• amazon technologies inc.
• inc.


If you look at the Session Duration, Bounce Rate and % of New Sessions you’ll begin to see something very suspicious. All of those really bad numbers such as 99.9% Bounce Rate indicate that these are bots.

Why Google hasn’t caught this yet is beyond me. Usually if there’s a well known bot  Google will be able to filter it via your settings as seen below.

google analytics bot filtering


The problem is that even in you have this checked, the Amazon bot traffic is getting through as of now.

Some are saying it’s traffic from Pingdom, and some are saying it’s from Hubspot. The reality is that Ashburn is home to Amazon’s AWS servers which a ton of web services run off of. There’s no one service at fault, it’s the server.

The Fix, as seen here:

1) Go to Admin
2) Select your View
3) Click “Filters”
4) Add a filter to exclude traffic from Ashburn

ashburn analytics city filter

This seems like the easiest method right now as the city has a population of 43,000 people. Let’s hope Google catches this one!

2017 Update & Some New Client Love!

thumbs up

We’ve been entirely too busy to blog or to post on Twitter, Instagram of Facebook lately because we’ve been working for some new fantastic companies! Check these awesome folks out:

Counterpath – The makers of softphone solutions from downtown Vancouver.

DekoraHome staging company in Vancouver & Calgary.

Dignify – Sellers of Kantha quilts from Calgary.

Flock for Content – A new content auditing tool.

Momentum – The makers of dive watches in Vancouver.

Haida HouseEco-tourism specialty accommodations in Hadia Gwaii.

Procurify – Developers of purchase order software from here in downtown Vancouver.

Sonora ResortLuxury wilderness resort a few minutes from Vancouver Island.

TelusTheir new Fibre offering will change the internet in Canada.

The Urban PainterSome of the best interior / exterior painters in Calgary.

Westcoast Resorts. One of North America’s best Fishing resorts.



Searchlove San Diego 2017 Highlights

search marketing conference

We found our favourite conference. SearchLove San Diego was on point with speakers, tips and actionable tactics for technical search marketers. Also, and I cannot say this loud enough….it’s at a beach resort in San Diego in February!

Here’s a few of our favourite presenters and takeaways.


Larry Kim

This was one of my favourite talks of the conference. Larry took a look at quality in content marketing and how click rates influence organic position, decrease paid costs, and give you something to use for years. The payoffs of high-engagement content are huge.

One of his big points was about how one piece of content can sometimes do more than all of your other pieces combined. In the slide below, you can see how one of Inc’s pieces of content flourished while all of its others were left floundering. We’ve seen this a lot with heavy content sites and draws the conclusion that the ideal strategy should be to find the few winners, rather than think all of your content pieces will be winners.


Wil Reynolds

Wil is well known in the SEO world for being complete fire and he didn’t disappoint.

He focused on how digital marketers consistently throw users into buckets rather than treating them like humans. Ranking for keywords doesn’t matter much if you can’t match the user’s intent with what you have. Match psychology and decision making. SEOs should be marketing using emotions, not just click rates.

He put emphasis on visiting where your clients or customers are. Talk to them, understand them, and see what their real life pain points are. Then you’ll be able to understand how to fix them by giving them what they need online. Relying on search volume won’t solve human problems.

Further to the point of intent – if Google puts an image in the results that should be a trigger that people don’t understand the product or service. His example of how people looking for “cloud computing” are bidding extremely high on the search term, but the fact that Google is putting images in the results means that people are looking for definitions, not to buy something.


Rob Bucci

Rob’s the best. He runs the keyword ranking software STAT in Vancouver. His talk surrounded the research he did on consumer intent and where Google will place you based on that intent. Whether it’s informational, commercial or transactional. The results were fantastic and one of his slides summed it up nicely:

“Intent beats identity. Immediacy beats loyalty. “

There’s waaaay too much to mention here so I recommend requesting and going through the slides here if you’re a search marketer: Using Search Intent to Connect with Consumers.


Rand Fishkin

Rand’s been a long time supporter of 10x content. The idea is, in essence to stop churning out cheap and fast blog content and focus your attention on building stronger pieces that will get attention and last. It’s an ROI-positive method that I’ve been supporting for years.

His presentation focused on great examples of 10x content, along with some that have completely missed out because they ignored SEO. A little keyword research goes a long way.


Annie Cushing

She is famous for having extremely actionable talks around analytics. If she talks at a conference you’re attending, you get your money’s worth.

Here’s a few of the big takeaways:

  1. Always use “site down” notifiers such as
  2. Configure a few Analytics custom alerts in case of traffic drops or your site isn’t working
  3. Configure more of those custom Analytics dashboards that make sense for your business
  4. There’s low cost dashboards that take in several external data such as


Greg Gifford

Greg spends his days pushing local rankings for car dealers in the US. His presentation was around genuinely strong tips for local SEO. It was refreshing to hear tactics around hyper local targeting. Many of his tips debunked what industry experts recommend. For example, he suggests local links with low authority might actually be better than high authority links with no specific location attached.

Greg also dropped some Facebook ad tips like throwing a bit of budget at ads with tight a tight geo radius. That way you can advertise at an NFL game for $100.


Ross Simmonds

Ross’ talk was great because it centred around real examples of big success. His Instagram account currently sits at 114k followers. It’s nice to see someone talk about action and then show exactly how well it did. The takeaway from this was to market your content like a scientist: experiment, experiment, experiment.


Tom Capper

This may have been the most important talk of the entire conference. Tom had a really strong argument of how influential inbound links are, which several presenters debated. A lot of campaigns are driven only to acquire links, and Tom’s research found that they’re important, possibly important, or not at all. Crucial information for those of us SEOs that are digging for links day in, day out.


Adwords Will Now Show Your Phone Numbers Automatically

Adwords Mobile Auto Phone

Google has recently pushed out an email stating that they’ll begin scraping your landing pages for phone numbers and automatically putting them in mobile ads. This could be beneficial or possibly very detrimental if you’re unaware of this small change.

There are a lot of advertisers that want calls, and some that absolutely do not. Some businesses work really hard to cut down on phone calls because online cuts down on errors and staff workload.

The Fix! Follow these steps to turn them off:

  1. Go to the Ad Extensions tab
  2. Automated extensions report
  3. Automated extension options (advanced)
  4. Click “Edit”
  5. Uncheck “Automatic call extensions” under “Do not use specific automated extensions in this account”

Voila! No more automatic phone numbers placed in your mobile ads.

They’re implementing this for a good reason. From Google:

This year, mobile search engines are predicted to drive nearly 33 billion clicks-to-call to businesses globally, almost 19% more calls than from mobile landing pages alone. 

Getting phone calls are generally much stronger leads for companies in the B2B world. In the B2C world, this is rarely the case and they’re about to get a lot more phone calls if they haven’t noticed this change from Google.

Canada Mapped by Trails, Roads, Streets, Highways

⚡ Google’s New AMP Pages ⚡

google amp

Google has announced their modified html called AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – will be visible to users in results pages. The AMP pages are indicated by a little lightning bolt⚡. It’s an attempt at creating faster mobile load times and is not to be confused with ExactTarget’s AMPscript language.

The rundown:

1) It’s extremely similar to html with a few small changes

2) You define the document by using the lightning emoji ⚡ which is pretty great.

3) You can set what content gets loaded first. This is super helpful for the user, because currently many sites do not define whether ads or share buttons get loaded before content.

4) It sets the size of items on the page so there’s no resizing while reading content. This makes things quicker and prevents content from jumping around.

5) It doesn’t affect SEO rankings – but maybe it does? From Search Engine Land:

I spoke with Google’s VP of Engineering David Besbris yesterday. He told me that AMP pages will not receive a ranking boost, though Google has suggested in the past load time and page speed are (or will become) mobile ranking factors.

6) There will be two pages – one desktop and one mobile.

7) AMP pages are 4x faster and use around 10x less data than non-AMP.

This is a huge development for publishers with a lot of content and ads. Many larger publishers have already adopted it – eBay, Reddit, etc. Google, of course, sells and distributes a lot of display advertising for these large publishers, so it makes sense they want a more harmonious experience.

The only problem is that it is kind of taking a step backwards in order to move forwards. Responsive sites eliminated the need for a mobile version and a desktop version of the site which looks like what is happening again. Anybody in dev will have to take a close look to see whether the benefits will outweigh the need to manage two sites again. Then again, AMP pages are way faster and use way less data so it looks like it might happen no matter what.

Here’s Google Developer’s video Intro to AMP.

New Adwords Expanded Ad Format

Google announced yesterday that an update is coming for its Adwords ad format.


It may not seem like a momentous change, but the real estate that ads will take up in search results is going to increase. There will now be space for 10 more characters in total. This update comes on the heels of a graphic that is being shared a lot on Twitter by Ginny Marvin.


The rationale for the change is to cater to the mobile user. Using more headline space than paragraph text helps to optimize ads for handheld screen sizes.

As Adwords ad extensions have become larger and more frequent, this is probably a move to minimize the noise below the link and allow the user to make better decisions based on the first thing they see.

What to do about it? Simply write amazing headlines – it’s that easy!

New Adwords Price Extension

adwords price extension

Price extensions are coming! The above image shows an example of one advertiser using them in Adwords. This new feature in Google Adwords will be available to most advertisers in most countries very soon. Each product or service will link to a unique landing page similar to Sitelink Extensions.

Price comparison shopping is very common and knowing the price of something is a very strong reason to click. We expect this new feature to play an enormous role in competitive Adwords campaigns.

The list of Adwords extensions currently sits at:

  • Callout extensions
  • App extensions
  • Call extensions
  • Location extensions
  • Review extensions
  • Sitelink extensions
  • Callout extensions
  • Consumer ratings
  • Previous visits

Bing: The Laserdisc of Search Engines

bing seo dancing

(Bravo to the person that animated Chandler Bing on the Bing logo)

It’s the search engine that nobody talks about unless it’s brought up as a joke. It’s the Laserdisc of search engines. I try to bring up Bing professionally and the conversation quickly derails into questions about my sanity–even though it’s up to 20% of the market share in the US!

Here’s what I’ve found Bing to be completely helpful with.

  1. Older demographics.
    Younger, tech-savvy people have an easy time switching browsers and arranging preferences. Older folk seem to stick with the defaults on their PC.
  2. Bing Webmaster Tools.
    Why not have more data to comb over?
  3. Interaction Rates.
    Our Bing Ad campaigns have higher interaction rates than Google Adwords ones. Why is that? It might just be a more focused audience with less to click on.
  4. It’s Cheaper.
    Google Adwords is an extremely competitive marketplace for many industries. Many people can slide into a Bing campaign and benefit from low cost per clicks.
  5. Ad Demographic Targeting in Search
    This isn’t available in Adwords. Bing will allow (when available) bid increases for certain groups.



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