16 Things to Do Along the New TTC Extension

By: Aiman Ghori and Faiza Akbar with an introduction by Oren Baum

Infrastructure projects like subway extensions are once in a generation in most parts of this country. They help connect all citizens and expand our knowledge of the place we live. As part of UpOnline's Canada 150 activities, we decided to send staff to visit the new Line 1 subway extension in our hometown, and take a different perspective: Instead of all the great sights, sounds, and other benefits that commuters now have in getting downtown (or anywhere along the way) quickly, what do midtown and downtown Torontonians, many without cars, now have access to by going NORTH on the new extension!

You might even find some new destinations for you and your families this holiday season. Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year from everyone at UpOnline!
  1. Downsview Park Station
  2. Downsview Park is the first stop on the new line one extension. Surrounded by an industrial area it is located in Canada's first national urban park of the same name. Its design uses a unique combination of colors and textiles to creating a dynamic atmosphere that reflects the surrounding area.

    There are several family friendly activities that you can now visit thanks to the construction of this stop.

Friday Five Roundup: From Net Neutrality to Cryptocurrency and Dental Benefits in Canada


Health Canada Doesn't Know if its Dental Programs Benefit Indigenous Canadians: Report

Inuit and First Nations people have nearly twice as much dental disease as other Canadians. The fall 2017 report of the auditor general finds that Health Canada does not know whether its dental programming for Indigenous Canadians is actually improving their oral health.

Read the article on cbc.ca>


The FCC Plans to Kill the Open Internet; don't count on the FTC to save it

Would you like the netflix/youtube/prime "video streaming" package add-on to your Internet?‎ You won't be able to access those sites without it(and that won't cover your membership fees.

Read the article on qz.com>

4 Outdated SEO Tactics to Avoid

By: Faiza Akbar

Effective search engine optimization requires consistent effort. You need to modify your approach and adapt to be in alignment with Google's constantly evolving algorithm (and yes other search engines too). While the algorithms are somewhat of a mystery that aren't completely transparent (both for intellectual property reasons and to avoid exploitation), there are a few tactics that while effective in the past, have proven to be ineffective today, and should be avoided as much as possible. Not only are they unsuccessful, but some also risk getting your business flagged and potentially blacklisted. Here are a few of those tactics, why you should avoid them, and better alternative approaches.

  1. Pages for Keyword Variations
  2. What is it?
    Up until four to five years ago, it was commonplace to create a separate page for each variation of an optimized keyword. This worked well for many businesses trying to cover all their bases. It ensured that if someone searched something, they would find a specific page for that term, and another page for another extremely similar term. This would increase the chances of ranking highly in searches.

    For example, a dentist might have separate pages for the following variants:
    • Teeth-whitening same day
    • Teeth-whitening at home
    • Teeth-whitening for sensitive teeth
    • Teeth-whitening take home kit
    Why should you avoid it?
    Search engines, and Google in particular, are smarter now in rendering this practice of the past excessive and unnecessary. Google is precise enough to detect when someone employs this tactic. Not only does doing so no longer improve your SEO ranking, but it can even make it worse.

    What to do instead
    A better, modern alternative is to create a page for each keyword topic, and implement any related variants into it, under subheadings. Going back to our teeth whitening example, you should instead create a page for "Teeth Whitening" and talk about each of the aforementioned subtopics under it.

  3. Exact Match Domains
  4. What is it?
    Just a few years ago, this was a widely employed SEO tactic. Multiple microsites were readily produced to reflect very specific key terms. Expanding on our teeth whitening example, a dental office trying to optimize their whitening service might have a URL that looks like this:

    www.teethwhiteningdentistmarkham.com (or

    This was used to allow for high rankings faster than a generalized domain name.

    Why should you avoid it?
    The glory days of exact match domains are over. Today, exact match domains do retain the potential to rank as well as any other domain, but they also seem to have a higher risk of being flagged for spam. Having excessive domains risks diluting the power of your rankings altogether. It also requires extra effort for potentially no extra results, and could appear confusing to users in addition to making your brand less cohesive and recognizable.

    What to do instead
    You want to combine and localize all your efforts under one domain to see optimal results, and minimize risk for being flagged as spam. It is best to choose one domain that encompasses your brand as a whole, and use pages and content to reflect specific terms. If you do intend to use multiple domains, ensure that one is made primary and that the rest properly redirect so as to not dilute your rankings or risk duplicate content.

  5. Writing for Bots
  6. What is it?
    This can take a few different forms, the most popular being "keyword stuffing", in which a web page or article overuses a specific keyword, but in a way that does not make sense to a reader. The repeating keyword is sometimes interspersed with a few other words, but still states the same idea over and over again. This is done to outline words to search engines by increasing how frequently they appear.

    For example:
    Our company provides software development and consulting services. We are the best software development and consulting services company. Our professional staff provides development and consulting services. We offer the best software development and consulting services. Our software development and consulting services is the right solution for your business. Satisfaction with our software development and consulting services is guaranteed. We build your business solution with our software development and consulting services. Contact us and you will receive quality software development and consulting services.

    Why should you avoid it?
    Catering your site to bots rather than humans diminishes the appearance of your website overall, making it appear messy and hard to read. As this is a black hat technique, it also puts your website at risk for being flagged and potentially blacklisted. Search engines are much smarter today, and better able to extract relevant information. A word does not need to be repeated hundreds of times aimlessly for it to rank highly. Similarly, natural learning AI algorithms are better at recognizing proper phrasing, which could flag keyword stuffing.

    What to do instead?
    Today, it makes much more sense to write for the consumers that will actually be visiting your webpage for information. Include your keywords in your content enough times for them to stick out to readers, but still flow well with the rest of your content.

  7. "Easy" Backlinks
  8. What is it?
    The more your website is backlinked on other sources, the more likely it is to rank highly on search engines for related keywords. As the name suggests, an "easy" link simply refers to a backlink source that is easy to get to. This includes but is not limited to comments on random unrelated blog posts and forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature. For example, if someone left the following comment on this blogpost,

    Thanks, this is great info!
    - Paul
    paul's pizza san diego pizza best pizza san diego

    it would be seen as an "easy" backlink.

    Why should you avoid it?
    As with all other facets of search engine algorithms, this too has modernized. If your website heavily uses "easy" backlinks, it is seen as spam, and is not highly regarded by search engines. In fact, excessive use now falls under "link scheming" which violates Google's guidelines, and can get your webpage flagged and potentially blacklisted.

    What to do instead?
    It is important to note that when done right, backlinks remain beneficial to SEO rankings. Not all blog or forum comments are seen as spam. If you are leaving informative, relevant responses that add value, others will naturally link to your website. Work on producing written content that is engaging, and thereby likely to be shared and linked to organically on credible and legitimate websites. If there are genuine webpages linking to your webpage, it is likely to rank higher, and evade the risk of being flagged for spam.

These are just a few of the many SEO tactics of the past that should be avoided today. To learn more about SEO best practices, and to improve your SEO altogether, contact UpOnline to speak to us about our search engine optimization services.

Friday Five Roundup: From net neutrality to threat from Amazon to dental suppliers & Canada's 1st Female Indigenous Dentist as Senator


Shares of Dental Suppliers Drop on Potential New Threat from Amazon

Dental supply distributors Henry Schein and Patterson Cos. both closed down more than 4 percent after analyst Steve Beuchaw said that Amazon is buying supplies directly from oral goods manufacturer Dentsply Sirona.

Read the article on cnbc.com>


Net Neutrality Protesters Take to the Streets

Protesters want Congress to step in and stop the FCC's vote next week to end net neutrality regulation. The FCC is expected to vote next week on a proposal that would repeal regulations prohibiting broadband and wireless companies from slowing or blocking access to the internet and banning them from charging internet companies fees to access their customers faster than competitors.

Read the article on cnet.com>

3 Rules for Creating Interactive Content

By: Aiman Ghori
Marketing on social media is not like marketing on legacy mediums like television or newspapers. Websites like Facebook and Twitter allow for heightened immediacy in interaction between buyers and sellers that the previously mentioned mediums do not allow. This has led to the development of a whole new set of rules when creating content for prospective clients.
Customer engagement, service visualization, and content customization are some of the few elements that can and should be refined as much as possible to incite customers to interact with your office.
Below we outline 3 rules to keep in mind when creating content for your practice.


By trying to cast a wide net and appealing to a large audience, chances are you won't appeal to many. Audiences are usually able to easily differentiate between meaningful content and content that is generic. Content that is personalized and contextualized for a specific audience is more likely to attract user engagement. Content, whether it's a social media post or a blog post, can be as broad as users who live in a specific country, or as narrow as targeting neighbourhood blocks. There is a heavy saturation of content online and users are constantly receiving an influx of information as well as ads telling them to buy their product or service. However personalization allows your practice to gain the attention of prospective customers.

There is plethora of variables you can use to identify the kind of audience you want to attract and ultimately engage with, but that is only the beginning of customizing your content. From there you have to decide what the best way is to use the information you have on prospective clients and how to make the content interactive to keep them engaged with your practice.

Read More: 9 Benefits of Having a Newsletter for Your Healthcare Practice


Now that you have an idea of who you want to customize your online content for, it's important to figure out how to implement it. After attracting consumers to your service, you want to keep them engaged and turn them into customers. This is where interactivity comes in. If your audience comes to your social media page or opens your e-newsletter and finds there is no meaningful content they value, they will leave pretty quickly and most likely will not come again. So, it's crucial to create a unique interactive experience that will keep them coming back every time you post or send an e-newsletter.

Some ideas to throw around are: online polls, infographics, and possibly the simplest, genuinely engaging with users through comments or emails.

Online polls allow you to ask your audience directly what is it they want from you or the industry in general. Polls are a great way to find out how you can customize your content further. Using the results from those polls you can create engaging infographics that can be displayed back to the contributing audience. In this way they will be connecting with you as well as others in our audience. Try mixing and matching different ways to interact with prospective clients to find the one that works best for your practice.

Read More: Are You Using Social Media to its Full Potential?


In the midst of all this content creation and interactivity it's easy to see your audience as a target rather than what they are, individuals. Individuals appreciate being valued and feeling that the service provider genuinely cares about their needs so the newsletter article you are sending them or Facebook post you're showing them should reflect that. Consumers in this time lean towards practices that put in extra time and effort to reach out to them and acknowledge their loyalty if they are a long time customer. This doesn't have to stop at a generic thank you, although that is very important as well, but goes beyond that. Personalization and interactivity should be interwoven in the way you appreciate customers/patients as well as in the content you create to attract prospective clients.

Read More: How to Capitalize on User-Generated Content

Making regular content for your online pages and newsletters is already a step in the right direction to gaining interest in your practice and the rules outlined above will only boost your image. Personalizing your messages to cater to your specific audience and keep them engaged with interactive content will build brand loyalty. Patients will appreciate the effort put in to give them meaningful information that is relevant to their needs.

To learn more about how to customize your online content and how it can benefit your practice, contact an UpOnline representative today.

Friday Five Roundup: From Dental Programs to Writing Styles

The Star

Dental Program Helps Holocaust Survivors Get Treatment

Most living Holocaust survivors were children during the war. They often lacked adequate nutrition and oral hygiene. Today, these lasting effects are compounded by the typical oral health challenges facing seniors. This dental program works by connecting North American dentists to financially challenged survivors, providing pro bono oral care, from emergency care to restorative, endodontic, periodontal, and prosthetic treatment.

Read the article on thestar.com>


Engaging Generation Z: Marketing to a New Brand of Consumer

Generation Z is widely recognized as the next consumer powerhouse. Now all 22 or younger, Gen-Zers are expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. Engaging this dynamic and young cohort may require some adaptation and tweaking to your current marketing strategy.

Read the article on adweek.com>

9 Benefits of Having a Newsletter for Your Healthcare Practice

By: Faiza Akbar

Patient communication is one of the foundations of any healthcare practice. In an ever-evolving digital world, it can be difficult to grab the attention of new patients, and keep the interest of existing ones. Newsletters offer a dynamic and personalized approach for you to keep patients engaged, and also promote and grow your practice in a trackable, strategic way. If you're looking to retain existing patients, and also acquire new ones, here are a few reasons newsletters might be the tool you've been searching for.


Email newsletters are one of the most effective ways of boosting your patient engagement. In fact, a recent study of 300 unique demographic target markets found that online newsletters generate a 70% higher response rate than printed counterparts. There are many ways you can encourage engagement through a newsletter. One way is to include informative articles in newsletters but instead of posting the entire article in the newsletter, include a "read full article" button right after an eye catching title and excerpt. You should also include links to your website and social media platforms, which after receiving and reading through a newsletter, a potential or returning patient is more likely to press, whether to book an appointment or just request to more information. Engagement does not stop after you have sent out your newsletter. Once sent, you should add past newsletters to a section on your website. A tip to keep in mind is to add past newsletters as text links, not graphics, making it easier for search engines to locate your articles and enjoy and increased SEO benefit. If there is an article in particular that might be of interest to a broader audience (not only applicable to your patients) someone might stumble across your website during an internet search. For those doing research on a particular topic, it is possible that they cite your article, further boosting your website back-links.

Friday Five Roundup: From Global Orthodontic Market to Location Sharing

Science Daily

A Focus on Dental Health Can Protect Children from Becoming Overweight

Talking about dental health with children and parents - about what is healthy and unhealthy for your teeth - can be one way to prevent children from becoming overweight.

Read the article on sciencedaily.com>

Marketing Tech News

Consumers Willing to Share Location Data with Apps Despite Privacy Concerns

Consumer willingness to share their mobile device's location data with apps has grown in the last two years, although many still harbour significant concerns.

Read the article on marketingtechnews.net>

Friday Five Roundup: From Dental Research to Apple & Google Updates

Science Daily

Telling Teeth: More Accurate Aging of Teeth Could Hold the Key to Identifying Health-Compromised Children in Africa

Researchers have investigated dental development for better estimations of chronological age in African populations.

Read the article on sciencedaily.com>

Marketing Tech News

The Future of iPhone for Advertisers

Years ago, Apple claimed it would completely redefine consumers’ relationships with mobile phones. And they weren’t wrong. The iPhone is arguably the device that kick-started the smartphone market, and put smart devices in everyone’s pocket – which in turn has revolutionized the jobs of marketers. However, following the release of the iPhone X and the year the iPhone turned 10, it looks like Apple has switched focus, and this means change can be expected for the advertising industry.

Read the article on marketingtechnews.net>

3 Ways to Optimize Your Practice for Mobile

By: Aiman Ghori

Mobile optimization is essentially setting up your site to be accessible and user friendly for visitors accessing it from various smartphones, tablets and other smart devices. 80% of internet users own a smart-phone so more searches are now done on mobile than on desktop, according to Google. Mobile platforms also host up to 60% of digital media time. This opens a up a whole new scope of marketing. Mobile marketing is the future and effectively using this could help increase new patients and elevate customer loyalty. There are several innovative ways to make your practice mobile friendly, and below we've outlined 3 specific ways to start.

Related Article: Why Your Business Should be Mobile Friendly

  1. Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?
  2. As of 2015, Google takes mobile-friendliness into consideration when ranking sites for search results. This means not having a mobile site is not an option if you want high search results. Google looks for high quality, relevant, and quick loading content to provide the best results for their searchers and has even put together a guide to help website developers build sites customized for mobile. There are two major directions your office can take to optimize your site for mobile devices:

    • Creating a mini version of your current site
    • Making your current site responsive

    A separate mobile site alongside your full desktop site can be fully customized, and for the sake of quick load time, hold the very basic information the visitor will need. This easy to implement option allows you to tap into the 95% of adults who primarily use their smart-phones to access content and information. However, it does come with its fall backs. Since the mobile site is on a completely different URL, extra vigilance is required to keep the content consistent, and properly code duplicate content for the full desktop site, making it more expensive to maintain.

Do your patients know which whitening you offer?

By:Faiza Akbar

Everyone wants a radiant and healthy looking smile. People often consider various methods to achieve this, the most popular being teeth whitening, a relatively simple cosmetic dental procedure. Teeth whitening can be a sensitive subject to bring up with patients. You want to remain informative, without offending anyone. There are many different whitening options on the market, some that patients can administer themselves at home, and others they can have done professionally in your office. With any service you offer, the first step to acquiring patients is providing them with information. If patients don’t know something is available, how can they pursue it? As teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure, with the industry expected to reach $7.4 billion by 2024, you want to make the most of it.

There is clearly patient demand for the service, so make sure to emphasize that whitening is not a one size fits all procedure - there are many options that patients can work with you to tailor to their personal preferences. So does it matter if patients know which specific whitening options you provide? Absolutely. If you want additional patient business, increased online and in-person engagement, and a stronger patient-dentist relationship, then including more information about your teeth whitening options could be a major way of achieving this.

Misinformation is rampant and many patients may simply be uninformed or unaware of the whitening options that are available. They might be under the impression that an over-the-counter whitening kit is the same as getting their teeth whitened professionally. It is possible that your patient previously had an unsatisfactory whitening experience, so it may be important to let them know that modern whitening solutions are faster, painless, more effective, and result in less sensitivity than procedures of the past. Some patients may also think you only offer whitening services in your office, and not realize that you offer take home whitening kits as well. Along with clarifying the availability of take home options, you should highlight the differences between those kits and the ones they can purchase from drugstores themselves to clear up any misunderstandings patients might have.

Just because someone hasn’t asked you about your whitening options yet does not mean they are not interested. Communicating with your patients and inquiring about their preferred level of tooth whiteness can get a conversation started. This conversation can begin with a consultation but carry its way through appointments and touch ups. A good time to mention whitening is around holidays and events, whether it be Christmas or back-to-school season, your patients are more likely to show interest in whitening solutions.

How you inform your patients is also important. You may choose to tell them directly during an appointment, or if you prefer a less direct approach, you can include information about whitening in a monthly newsletter, email, or through social media. Including more specific details about whitening options might also increase the engagement on your website. Does your website’s teeth whitening page contain a breakdown of different service options? This will make it more likely for patients to have the page open for a longer duration to read through the information, as opposed to briefly visiting the page to check for quick facts. Additionally, once reading the informative sections, patients will be more likely to press a call-to-action button to inquire further, increasing engagement even more. While most social newsfeeds will be saturated with quick facts and graphics, having the option of detailed information may foster interest for a longer time, and make click-through more likely, especially if you mention a promotion for the service.

Often times, patients are undecided about whether or not they will go through with whitening procedures and it is typically the uncertainty of results that is holding them back. They might be unsure of the following: If the results will be what they want How long the results will last How much of a time commitment the procedure will be. Providing your patients with information regarding the whitening options will alleviate any doubts or misunderstandings they have about whitening and make it more likely for them to follow through with the procedure they have been wanting.

You can mention that whitening exists on a spectrum, ranging from basic whitening toothpastes, to deep bleaching which you may provide. The key is to let patients know that there are many options available and you are willing to work with them to find the ideal one. Reassuring those patients who are undecided or skeptical will also lead to establishing trust, as they will now feel more comfortable relying on you to advise them on decisions regarding their cosmetic procedures. Patients may also shy away from whitening if they think it will be extremely costly and time consuming. However, most modern whitening procedures are cost efficient, quick, and non-invasive and can usually be included in a hygienist appointment. The different options may also vary in price, so patients could consider a less expensive option that still achieves their preferred results.

If you feel that your website and social media currently do not include enough information about the whitening options you offer, contact UpOnline to inquire about our social media, website, and newsletter services. We can help ensure your patients are informed and up-to-date about your services so they don’t miss out.

Friday Five Roundup: From Dental Findings to Augmented Reality and Online Reviews

Science Daily

Science Meets Archaeology with Discovery that Dental X-Rays Reveal Vitamin D

Human teeth hold vital information about Vitamin D deficiency, a serious but often hidden condition that can now be identified by a simple dental X-ray, anthropologists have found.

Read the article on sciencedaily.com>


How Augmented Reality is Changing The World Of Consumer Marketing

Augmented reality (AR) marketing was obsolete just a few years ago, but today, it takes the reins from virtual reality platforms to create a new, interactive consumer experience. Its growth is expected to reach $117.4 billion within the next 5 years.

Read the article on forbes.com>

Friday Five Roundup: From Canada's Healthcare Budget to Social Media & Dental Reviews

Dental Tribune

Neutrophil and Cancer Cell 'Crosstalk' Underlies Oral Cancer Metastasis

Approximately 3,600 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in Canada every year, yet the survival rates — 50 to 60 percent over five years — have remained stagnant for decades while other cancer survival rates have dramatically improved.

Read the article on dentaltribune.com>

Marketing Tech

Social Media is Not a Marketer's Silver Bullet – It is Only Part of the Solution

Why do you want to do social media? Here are some of the most common reasons given by business owners and why, realistically, they should not be core aims or goals for any social media user.

Read the article on marketingtechnews.net>

Five Ways to Spot an SEO Scam

By: Aiman Ghori

Search engine optimization can be complicated and sometimes difficult to understand, so you may be seeking help from an SEO expert to generate more traffic to your site, or, just as likely, those claiming to be experts may be seeking your business out, regularly. This creates the perfect opportunity for scammers to take advantage of you and your practice, potentially leading to detrimental results for your business. As with any hiring process, it's important to do research and ask probing questions to see if the SEO experts you're speaking with are legitimate and use ethical strategies/best practices, or if they're just scams. Below are 5 ways to tell if your SEO 'expert' is deceiving you.

  1. "We Guarantee First Page Results"

  2. Nobody can guarantee a specific result and if they claim to, chances are they're not following Google's guidelines. Some companies will claim they can increase traffic to your site incredibly in a very short amount of time but be wary of their promises. Due to the nature of how SEO works, there are no absolute guarantees and you should be aware of the methods they use. Despite there being no guarantees, there are certainly better chances of improving your SEO organically through ethical methods. Experienced SEO companies have spent years learning and refining what methods and work and which ones don't. Their techniques can guarantee that traffic will increase to your site but in a realistic amount of time. Plan to be in regular contact with your SEO service provider and their plan for improving your site's SEO.

  3. "Our Strategies are Confidential"

  4. Lack of communication between a company and client can lead to very bad results, SEO and otherwise. If your SEO expert is unwilling to include you in the planning process and won’t tell you how they’re going to improve your SEO, you should take action immediately. Chances are, they’re using unethical (or 'black-hat') techniques and the consequences could include your SEO falling sooner rather than later, or delisting, directly affecting your practice. If you're looking to hire an SEO company, make sure they are open to communication and provide references you can look into. Ask them for previous examples of their work and speak to their references on how they handled communicating their strategies. If you're currently working with an SEO provider, request timely updates or reports so you can monitor your practice's progress. Ask them to explain clearly the methods they're currently implementing.

  5. "We Know Google’s Algorithm"

  6. Any company or SEO expert that claims to know how Google's algorithm works is lying. Google's algorithm is private intellectual property and changes often enough for anyone to know it in its entirety. Even employees at Google's search department do not know how more than certain parts of the algorithm works, so it's impossible for an outsider to be privy to that information. Most likely, this is just a deceptive sales pitch to get your business. The best way to find out what works and does not work for search engine optimization is following Google's accepted guidelines as well as experimental changes refined over time. So, it's important to ask a potential company about previous experience and case studies. If you hear this claim or read it in a cold email, do not even consider them.

  7. "We'll Link Your Site on Hundreds of Websites"

  8. This is likely a 'black-hat', or unethical, technique where a company links your site indiscriminately on other websites and forums in order to trick Google's robots. Inbound links are great for building your SEO but Google will know almost immediately when those links are irrelevant and spam, and penalize your site for it. It's best to create meaningful and relevant content specifically curated for your target audience that they will be encouraged to share. It will also help to have your own active social media pages where you can link your content. So it's important to ask your current SEO expert or potential SEO company what technical as well as customized strategies they use to increase traffic to your website. Be sure to also ask them how they would use inbound and outbound links to improve your site.

    Read More: The Importance of Content-Based Marketing.

  9. "We Offer Free Trials"

  10. Never give your website's access information to anyone you do not trust, particularly someone offering a supposed free trial for their SEO services. SEO optimization and its results take time to develop, they cannot be curated overnight. So if an offer sounds too good to be true in terms of results or price, it probably is and you should do further research into the company before deciding to hire them.

Finding the right SEO expert for your business or practice sounds like a daunting task. However, with the right amount of research and awareness you can equip yourself with sufficient knowledge to hire the best one for your needs. If you're looking for experienced and professional SEO managers, contact UpOnline and ask us about our search engine optimization services.