The Importance of Local Website Design & SEO in Toronto
By Charles Moffat - July 2011.
Website design and Search Engine Optimization go together like ying and yang, but when your company is locally based and is looking for local clients it becomes infinitely more important to have designers and SEO experts working for you which are likewise local and know the area.
Would you hire a website designer from Vancouver to design a website about Toronto's historical places?
Or would you hire a SEO expert from Denmark to promote your website about your Toronto restaurant?
The answers are more complex than you think. True, the website design in Vancouver might do a decent job designing the website, but a Toronto website designer who knows the area could add more things to the site which make the website uniquely Torontonian.
Likewise the Danish SEO expert might be able to sucessfully promote your websites, but would they be promoting your websites on local Toronto websites and getting the best results? Or would they be promoting your website on a combination of large websites which are flooded with links, or worse, promoting your website on Danish websites that aren't even in English? If the restaurant you're promoting is Danish cuisine like Frikadeller or torsk it may not be so bad, but what if your restaurant serves poutine, Canadian bacon, trout or Kosher food? When it comes to knowing Toronto keywords, who better than a Torontonian?
Its also knowing what other words Torontonians search for. ie. GTA, Hogtown, Ontario, Mississauga, Scarborough, York, North York, Don Valley, Beaches, Rosedale, St James Town, Chinatown, Kensington Market, Little Italy and so forth. If you're advertising an Italian restaurant that is near or in Little Italy a non-Torontonian wouldn't even know the name of the place. Having such keywords on the website and also as part of the SEO process off-site will give your website a huge advantage over the competition which is not doing this.
Thus you really start to realize the importance of hiring a local who knows the area and what they're doing. A local Toronto website designer or Toronto SEO expert would be less likely to make mistakes. Especially simple mistakes like knowing Yonge Street runs north and south, various cultural tidbits like the names of local sports teams, or even political things like who the current mayor of Toronto is (Rob Ford).
There is also secondary side benefits of hiring a local. ie. You exchange business cards, they meet someone who needs your services, they give your business card to them. Or alternatively they can mention your site in passing to a friend or other clients, and this in turn helps to build your website's reputation via Word-of-Mouth. Imagine for example your business card or website being mentioned to other Toronto residents or Toronto business owners. This is a positive thing for you if you're trying to build your customer base locally.
Better yet a Torontonian would also know who your major competitors are (or if they don't, they wouldn't know how to accurately research your competitors). Then the Toronto Search Engine Optimizer can find out what your competitors websites are doing, what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong.
Its all about the home turf advantage. A website designer or SEO expert from overseas or even from a hundred miles away can't possibly know the region and its culture as well as a local person can. Thus its very good advice to think local when you're promoting your business.