Originally posted on Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA): Where Local Means Business.
Think Search Engines
Google is the most popular Search Engine in Canada. There are over 4.8 billion searches performed by Canadians each month. Using Google Canada (Google.ca), do a search for the business name that you are considering. Analyze the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) to determine the competitiveness of your prospective brand name. If you plan to target both official languages in Canada, do a search in English as well as a one in French.
Think Domain Name
Once you have a business name that you feel will play out well in the search results, then address the domain name. We recommend that you find an authorized Canadian registrar. You can find a current list on the Canadian Internet Registration Authority website. Next, do a search to determine if the domain name is available (for your brand name). If so, register it ASAP. In terms of your primary domain extension, think .CA. This country code tells Search Engines as well as web searchers that you are targeting Canada. As of January 2013, domain names containing French characters can also be registered. There is also a new domain extension .quebec that you may wish to consider (currently in the pre-registration phase).
It likely goes without saying, but a website is crucial in terms of search. Search Engines can send you qualified web traffic 24/7. They never sleep. Your website should be built using a responsive design that accommodates the various devices used for online searching (desktop, laptop, tablets & smart phones). Focus on user experience to ensure web conversions and low bounce rates (Google likes this). Your site must be crawlable by the Search Engines in order to be indexed – and have the ability to appear in relevant search results. Keep in mind that if you plan on advertising on the Search Engines, a website is a must.
In 2014 measurement is an imperative! There are many web analytics programs that can track and measure the performance of your website. The most popular one is Google Analytics – and it’s free. Spend some time determining what should be tracked (these days just about everything). We recommend measuring organic search (you don’t pay the Search Engines to be displayed) and paid search (i.e. ads on Google) as separate channels. Ensure that your analytics is set up properly in order to get clean data to analyze. Use it to improve website performance and web conversions.
The beauty of search is the intent (from a marketing perspective). When done correctly, prospective customers find you!
Remember that search continues to evolve. Keep on top of it. It can give your business a competitive edge.
Got a question? Just ask!