Search Engine Optimization :: Lyndsay Walker :: Toronto, Ontario

Using your budget for ORGANIC SEARCH

I’m starting some research regarding how a budget should be distributed. These are for the people who do the bulk of the work on a given site.

You’re given a budget. That budget is free to distribute as you please.

I’m looking for examples such as:

  • Conferences
  • Tools
  • Contract help
  • Social Media


  • Paid search budgets
  • Payments/containers to agencies
  • Media buys

For now, I’m just looking to compile a list. Once the list is completely, I’ll ask for % of time spent on each item.

Tell your friends!

Why Bing will make you audit your meta keywords tags

Where’s that time machine? Bing is using the meta keywords tag in its ranking algorithm again.


Danny Sullivan’s The Meta Keywords Tag Lives At Bing & Why Only Spammers Should Use It article offers awesome insight from Duane Forrester of MSN.

To summarize – the meta keyword tag won’t make a huge difference, but Bing may use it to identify spammers via tag stuffing.

If you’re like me, this doesn’t change a whole lot. Personally, I haven’t used the meta keywords tag in a long time; not worth the time and effort in my opinion.

However. If you’ve got some pages that have some stuffed-to-the-nines keyword tags (for whatever reason – automation, past tactics, etc), you’ll want to audit your site(s) carefully. It’s time to clean them up. They may actually be working against you now, as a signal to Bing that you endorse spammy techniques.

It’s just good practice to use meta keywords properly (if you use it at all) but this is just one more very good reason to ensure that your pages are utilizing this tag properly. No need to draw negative attention to your site.

Simply: audit your pages’ keyword tags and clean ’em up. Get rid of them altogether or use proper and relevant keywords.

SEO Columbus – Why SEOs NEED to know ORM


Every group has one. In the SEO industry, there are far too many – the folks who call themselves SEOs but are neglecting the knowledge behind on major factor – Online Reputation Management.


Read the story of SEO Columbus by my SEO friend Mike Halvorsen.  If you don’t read it (though you really should), here’s the coles notes version.


Mike is an SEO. He recently moved to Columbus so on his PERSONAL blog, he created a navigational link with the anchor text “SEO Columbus”.  Apparently there’s another SEO in Columbus (Joe) who is insisting he “owns” the term and is insisting that Mike remove instances of that keyword that confuse him with Joe’s business.


Except Joe doesn’t own the trademark for SEO Columbus.  In fact, you can’t even trademark the term SEO Columbus, SEO Toronto, SEO Canada, etc.


After a bit of back and forth (mostly forth), Mike did the sensible thing – reach out to the SEO community.  The result is many, many comments by Mike’s supporters and a few attempts at rebuttle by Joe.


Here’s the thing.  Now Joe has made some enemies. Now there are comments and blog posts and even spoof sites against Joe and his company (which, by the way, is KaLor Technology, not SEO Columbus).


Joe’s got himself a biiiig online reputation management (ORM) mess.  It’s one thing when negative comments are posted organically through user review sites, but when those reviews are coming from professional and proven SEOs… well.  That’s pretty much disaster.  If Joe didn’t realize that branding with a generic phrase wasn’t wise before, he needs to realize it now and seriously consider rebranding himself to a) escape this mess and b) avoid it in the future.


I’m sure we’ll all be watching the SERPs for any movement in the top spot for “SEO Columbus“.  Despite Joe’s exact match domain and years of reputation building, I don’t think it will stand against a community of search professionals banding together for the right cause. Stay tuned.


Google’s gone loco… I mean Local!

Google made a significant shift with it’s organic search results in the past few weeks.  Now, by default, you are served results based on your geographic location.

Signed in or not, if your search query qualifies, you’ll see that on the right a map appears over the paid listings.  See my search below for office furniture:

This is pretty handy if you’re looking to shop somewhere in person and for brick and mortar businesses, this is a fantastic change.  But what if you’re an online retailer?  How can you possibly compete with this?  This is an issue and needs to be answered.  I’d love to hear how you think this problem can be solved.

Google Profile – Personalized URLs and Crawlable Links

Google Profiles are a new and, in my opinion, underused resource. Perhaps you didn’t like it because of the unfriendly URL, but you can now get your very own vanity URL with your Google username.


And wait! What’s that? Adding links? And these links are crawlable?

Google Profile lets you add links with whatever anchor text you decide – and as of right now there is no rel=nofollow attached to those links. They do give you some guidances – “Examples: Online photo albums, social network profiles, personal websites” – as a fallback, I would assume, for those who may will try to manipulate it.

For now, I’ll going to sit back and wait to see how Google Profiles rank, and what kind of link juice their passing along.

Duplicate content no more

Today at SMX West, the three big search engines (Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft) announced a new tag to help reduce duplicate content on the web.

This new tool is called the “canonical tag”.  If you’ve spent some time learning about SEO before, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term.  Canonical refers to a page that has more than one URL.  For example, the www and non-www versions of your web site are considered different sites.  Google has had a tool through Webmaster Tools for some time to help with this, but the announcement of this new tag comes from all three search engines meaning that they *should* all obey it.

How does it work?

Simply enter the canonical tag within the head section of your web page.  Within the tag, you can declare the URL that should be indexed and crawled.  This will tell the crawlers that any other page with the exact or very similar content should not be indexed and link juice should instead be passed onto the declared URL.


<link rel=”canonical” href=””/>

Other Tips

  • Works on domains and subdomains
  • Does not work across domains
  • Relative URLs are okay, but absolute URLs are better

This is really exciting news… I only wish I had this information a month ago!

Does blogging make you a better SEO?

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that I’m not much of a writer, given the frequency of updates to this blog. In fact, I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a numbers girl. Absolutely left-brained.  Writing is not my strongest suit.

Does that mean I’m not as good at search engine optimization?  Not at all.  For all the time I could spend writing blog posts, I instead spend time reading up other people’s content, learning and absorbing as much as I can. I just don’t feel the need to repeat what’s already being said elsewhere.

It often seems to me that to be looked at as a respected player in the industry, one needs to be an active blogger.  There’s certainly more awareness of big name bloggers.  Maybe that’s just what the Internet is about – how can you prove your skills and knowledge if you’re not posting it for the whole world to see?

I’ll think I’ll just sum it up by saying that those of us that are not so blessed with words definitely still have skill and talent.   Just don’t expect some witty comments… and when we try… please laugh with us and not at us. 🙂

SEO Myths with WestJet’s Lyndsay Walker – 5 Question Interview

A couple of weeks ago, I was featured on the digital marketing blog I discussed SEO Don’ts Myths and Scams, the panel I will be speaking on at Search Engine Strategies Toronto on June 17-18. Hope to see you there – here is the interview.

One Degree: What is the biggest SEO myth – the one marketers fall prey to the most often?

One of the biggest myths I’ve encountered since day one is unsolicited emails praising their site’s great PageRank ranking and what a great partnership a link exchange can be. The worst are the emails that are so obviously form letters. Just yesterday I received a link exchange request for my SEO blog ( explaining how important PageRank is, and would I add their “Plus Size Dresses” site to my site? Don’t get me wrong – links are what make the web go round, but accepting every link exchange request from unrelated topics aren’t going to do any good for your site.

One Degree: How much can implementing an SEO “don’t” penalize a site? Is there an example you can share?

How much a “don’t” can penalize a site depends on the “don’t” being implemented. At a previous employer, I saw hours of work and thousands of dollars poured into an automated linking scheme that would take hundreds of microsites and interlink them in a “random” way. The problem is that anything automated is never random. The only penalty this company faced is the loss of that time and money – generally linking schemes like the one I’ve described don’t result in a search engine penalty – they just aren’t given any weight at all.

One Degree: Are there some search engines that are pickier than others about SEO “don’t’s”? If you’re following the rules for one, is it safe to assume you’re OK for others?

No search engine has the exact same algorithm, so it’s natural to assume that some are pickier than others. I would suggest Google as the pickiest and it shows in the quality of results. In my experience, I have found MSN’s Live Search to be least picky, at least when it comes to launching a new site. Sites seem to get indexed faster with Live, but the traffic isn’t quite there.

When optimizing a web site, especially a new site, it’s important to follow the Webmaster Guidelines set out by the search engines. One can follow a set of principles set out by one search engine and have success with any. Generally it is the “don’ts” that have different effects on the different search engines.

One Degree: “My friend who has a friend who works at Google said” … What is your advice to SEO marketers on how to identify myths or bad SEO advice?

My number one piece of advise to SEO marketers is to remember who the site is there for – the visitors! You can develop a web site that’s great for the search engines and ranks well – but if a person clicks on your link, will they find what they’re looking for? If not, what’s the point of ranking well? The key is to find a balance between search engine bots and visitors. For example, a person may be very excited to get a PR 5 link from a craft site on his sports site, but will any visitors be interested in that link? Probably not. And because the two sites are relevant, it won’t do any good for the search engine either.

If I may offer one other piece of advice, it would be to remind SEOs to optimize for a PAGE, not necessarily for a site. PageRank is assigned to a PAGE, not the entire site. If you’re looking at a link exchange with someone else, don’t necessarily look to see if the sites are relevant – look at the page instead. If your link is going to be listed on a page with hundreds of other links, and no content, it’s not worth it.

One Degree: What are your three favourite resources for reliable, trustworthy SEO information?

Only three? I’d have to say WebmasterWorld is fantastic, especially for the more “techie” SEO like myself… and PubCon (WMW’s conference) is extremely valuable! I also love seeing what Rand and the gang are up to at SEOMoz, and Search Engine Land always has articles of interest on a broad variety of topics. As a “bonus” resource, I have come to rely on Twitter to find out what’s hot up to the minute!

WestJet’s Hiring: Manager, e-Attraction Web Business

City: Calgary Province: AB
Category: Marketing/Sales Job ID: MK008-08
Posting Date: January 8, 2008 Closing Date: January 28, 2008
Duration: Full Time
Description:Looking for a great place to work? A place where an award-winning culture means empowerment, teamwork and a passion for what you do?
Then think WestJet. It’s a great place to land.
Purpose:Each Manager of the Web Business team has responsibility and accountability for People Leadership and Tactical & Operational Management of various facets of WestJet’s Web Business Team. Each Manager will lead a fast-paced team and work with other teams across WestJet as part of WestJet’s Web Business team. Each Manager will work with WestJetters on the Web Business team, other WestJet teams, and third parties, to drive change, grow successful programs, and prune challenged programs in order to support WestJet’s Web strategy and objectives. WestJet’s web strategies are:
1. Attract prospects to WestJet’s family of websites,
2. Convert prospects to Guests on our sites,
3. Add value to each Guest’s purchase (upsell),
4. Serve Guests on our sites, and
5. Get Guests to come back to our sites to buy from us again.

Each Manager on the Web Business team shares common attributes as outlined below in the Common Role Description. Additionally, each position will require specialization in either the the particular role. While each Manager will specialize in a given role, the Managers will each cross-train one another and will back-fill for their peer as necessary.

Common Role Description:

•Understand and pursue WestJet’s business, marketing, and sales strategies
•Develop tactical and operational plans that are designed to reach targets related to WestJet’s business strategies and the web business strategies
•Provide leadership and development of the team through one-on-one meetings, personal development planning, training, and the formal WestJet evaluation process.
•Ensure the right people are brought to bear on the right tasks to complete deliverables
•Communicate effectively.
•Help team members prioritize work, including working with internal clients to help set expectations as necessary
•Support and perpetuate WestJet culture and values through participation in WestJet events.
•Establish and maintain cross functional relationships throughout relevant areas in WestJet (e.g. Marketing, IT, Sales, Guest Services, Airports, Market Research)
•Understand and manage budgets, and participate in monthly budget reviews, including the investigation and explanation of any variance to budgets.
•Understand, manage, maintain, and mature Web Business reports, and make positive and lasting change happen as a result of analysis of the trends / patterns observed from these reports
•Manage, maintain, and practice Emergency Response processes to ensure continued business operations.
•Oversee the implementation of new ideas, innovations and opportunities
•Possess and pursue an understanding of how to serve target markets / customer segments through the right mix of process and technology
•Pursue interactive user interfaces that serve the target markets / customer segments and consequently support WestJet’s business and marketing strategy.
•Act as Project Director on projects, such as crafting a project vision, creating business cases, compiling requirements, testing enhancements, and reporting on each project’s success.
•Work on project teams representing marketing and the web
•Possess a strong understanding of web technology and web business / e-commerce
•Have an excellent understanding of WestJet’s web infrastructure
•Other related duties as required or assigned

Specific Role Description – Manager of e-Attraction:

This role focuses on working with our Attraction Team to get prospects to come to our site, and get Guests who bought from us to come back to us again. The target sites include (but are not limited to), Travel Agent WEBLink, Biz WEBLink,, and

•Plan and execute online advertising campaigns and actions, including (but definitely not limited to) banner ads, search marketing, affiliate programs, in-house email lists, contests, and so on
•Work with our Marketing team to ensure integration of advertising campaigns and actions
•Ensure consistency of creative with WestJet’s Marketing campaigns and brand
•Work with 3rd parties, including WestJet’s advertising agency and media purchasing agency
•Perform ongoing monitoring of competitor’s and other’s online advertising campaigns
•Pioneer new programs to attract prospects to our sites, tune programs that are working, and prune programs that aren’t meeting goals.
•Optimize campaigns to effectively reduce Cost per Acquisition and maximize WestJet’s profit


•Degree / diploma in business or marketing, or other related combination of education and experience.
•Minimum 3 years experience leading people and project teams
•Minimum 3 years experience experience in marketing and sales
•Minimum 3 years experience experience in internet/intranet strategy and communications.
•Understanding of principles of target markets and customer segments
•Understanding of web commerce in the travel industry and other industries
•Understanding and experience in building compelling business cases
•Excellent leadership and goal orientated skills.
•Enthusiastic personality that welcomes change.
•Excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
•Ability to present ideas, negotiate, facilitate and problem solve.
•Excellent analytical and problem solving skills.
•Proficient knowledge in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook.
•Proven ability to work independently and in group situations.
•Financial & Budgeting abilities.
•High energy
•Other capabilities that are desirable include:
oFrench language (written and spoken)
oExperience in WestJet
oExperience in the aviation / travel industry
oPrevious project management experience

WestJet is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals. WestJet’s hiring policy is to recruit and select the best applicant for employment solely on the basis of their qualifications for the position. WestJet does not discriminate against applicants based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability or a conviction for which a pardon has been granted.

Safety comes first at WestJet.

Submit Application:
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