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4 Outdated SEO Tactics to Avoid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>