Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News

Time to go secure

Have you been working on your SEO and hoping to get your website to the top of the search engine?

Google is pushing for HTTPS

On August 6th, 2014, Google tested out using HTTPS as a Ranking Signal. They reported that their test showed positive results when they used encrypted connections as a signal in their ranking algorithm. HTTPS has since become a permanent search ranking signal on Google.

Google stated that the HTTPS is a very lightweight signal that only affects less than 1% of global queries and there has been no reports of ranking changes. So if two sites were the exact same, then the page using HTTPS may rank above the unsecured page. The boost will only be URL specific and not site-wide.

Watch Google’s video on why HTTPS matters:

High quality content on a webpage will still outweigh the HTTPS signal but it looks like Google is pushing for the switch and hinting that the HTTPS signal will become a bigger part of their ranking algorithm in the future.

Even if you are a non-commercial website, it may be wise to switch to a secure server anyway. For one thing, a secure server guarantees that your content cannot be altered, e.g. have unexpected ads added. It also allows your website to look more authentic, an important factor if the content on your website is intended to provide advice, e.g. financial or medical information.

Google may be pushing for HTTPS so that it helps identify site ownership and therefore eliminate spam. It could also be potentially harder for NSA to track the content users are consuming if we browse HTTPS sites.

Migration nightmare?

No, migration to HTTPS doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s relatively easy to purchase the Security Certificate from your web hosting company. But sometimes you may experience a 301 error code, which means the redirect from your HTTP domain to your HTTPS is corrupted. This happens when there is a potential for duplicated content and several other technical issues during transition.

To avoid potential problems during migration, site owners should avoid redirect chains, similar to this one:

  1. I click on your website at
  2. You redirect me to
  3. Then you redirect me to

If you’re building a new site, changing domain names or making a change to your URL structure (e.g. platform changes) then you won’t be experiencing the redirect issues.

It is estimated that we have two years to move to HTTPS before a non-secured website becomes a critical SEO problem. So you can take your time, but we are starting to see warnings generated on websites that tell visitors they are connecting onto a non-secured website:

Example of website warning/Canadian Web Hosting

So for a low annual sum, it may really be worth it to make the move now and avoid these privacy warnings that kill site traffic.

The different kinds of security certificates

These are the different types of secured/non-secured URLs you will come across:

On Google Chrome:

Non-Secured Connection

DV/OV Certificate Valid

EV Certificate Valid

DV/OV Certificate Error (cert invalid)

DV/OV Certificate Error (mixed content)


So which one should we choose for our website?

Google won’t factor in the different kinds of certificates into site rankings at this time, but they do affect user trust and conversion rates, so it is good to understand how to choose from the variety of security certificates available.

- Shared Certificates are commonly offered by web hosts. You use their certificate but the security certificate isn’t connected to your domain name. will contain your non-secure content while your shopping cart will go on This is less costly but takes away from your brand name and user confidence.

- Free Certificates are sometimes used for personal websites or forums. Companies may offer these free security certificates for specific reasons, e.g. if you are part of qualified Open Source project. These certificates will not be valid for businesses but may be applicable for non-profit projects.

- Domain Validated (DV) Certificates are the most common SSL certificates. It is often used by small businesses and covers a single subdomain, e.g. but not Users to this website will see a security icon by the domain.

- An Organization Validated (OV) Certificate requires both the organization and the domain registry to verify information. The OV certificate will check to make sure the business is legitimate and is therefore more expensive to get than the DV certificate. Users can only tell the difference between the two if they click the padlock icon.

- The Extended Validation (EV) Certificate is the most expensive and hard to get SSL certificate. It requires a business to include domain ownership and organization information, as well as show legal existence in their organization. The EV Certificate takes more time to process and are more expensive. Users of EV certified websites will see a green bar on their browser and likely be more confident in their shopping experience.

Hopefully by now you have learned more about security on websites and how to improve your business online.

Still confused or need help with getting a SSL certificate? Contact Canadian Web Hosting today by emailing


Sheila W.


Using Infographics As a Link Building Tool

In the past year, an effective but under-utilized search engine technique to bait other websites to link to you is to create infographics (short for information graphics). According to Wikipedia, "infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge". "These graphics present complex information quickly and clearly." An example of infographic is history of the food blender and combating global warming.

In exchange for the use of the infographic on a website, the creator requests a link back to their website. This can create an enormous boost in social medial signals generating tool and also Google PR. The only problem is infographics are very difficult to produce. It requires a great idea, strong research and fact gathering, great visualization and a decent graphic artist to create it.

There is a great DIY Infographic Process that's a great read for anyone wanting to create one. The graphic explains the process in detail but can be summarized in the following 6 steps:

1. Ideation - select an idea that will generate interest and research

2. Idea Selection - find and flesh out your idea

3. Research - fact gathering to support your idea

4. Conceptual Visualization - graphic direction

5. First Full Draft - self explanatory

6. Revisions - polish and revise as needed

See how much easier it is to look at a graphic representation:

The process of creating infographics

Another cool website to bookmark and review is the industry website, Cool Infograhics. It features daily new infographics created by companies worldwide. It's a great resource to generate new ideas and for thoese interested in understanding and correcting mistakes used in past infographics.

Then there's the Infographic of Ingraphics which assists with the topic of data visualization. It provides pointers on chart, font and color recommendations and how many words to use in the title. It's a great reference when you're creating your own.

Once you've completed your infographic, what do you do with it and how do you promote it? Well, there's a large number of infographic databases where you can submit for promotion.

Here's a quick list of a few of them (more can be found by Googling "infographics directories"):

Infographics are an effective link building option to add as one of the options in your link building toolbox in 2012.

But Matt Cutts of Google spoke on this topic, warning that many infographics are misused. He specifically pointed out that infographics are often on topics that are not relevant to the site they link from (example, infographics about babies but linked from a gambling site). He also warned that any information included within the infographic had better be accurate. There are so much infographics popping up as link bait and publishing poorly researched information. He went as far as to say that in the future, Google will start to discount these infographic-type links if they are abused.

He was quoted saying the following:

"Any infographics you create will do better if they're closely related to your business, and it needs to be fully disclosed what you are doing. The big key is that the person publishing the infographic has to know, and agree with, including an endorsement to your site as attribution with the infographic. Even then, there is reason to believe that the link is more about the barter to get the infographic than a real endorsement of your site."

Here's his recent interview on the use of infographics.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru
Canadian Web Hosting


Afternoon Recap: Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (Part 2 of 2)

Session 1 Workshops

Last week, I enjoyed curating the Healthcare 2.0 Social Media Camp (part 1 of 2) organized by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council (BCPSQC) and since then, they've compiled a few more posts including the panel and keynotes along with six reasons why a doctor should consider social media. Below are some of the sessions' recaps extracted with the use of the speakers' slides:

Social Media & Twitter 101

The "Poetry" of Tweeting

It was nice to see some familiar speakers and to be able to support them by being in attendance: Janet Madsen from the Positive Women's Network and Kemp Edmonds from Hootsuite, who's also the current Social Media Club Vancouver president, both covered the basics of social media.

  • Janet started by asking us if our audience understood our message and to figure out who they were, then to engage with them. The use of hashtags were useful to connect with topics or other chat communities on Twitter. Words matter. She emphasized how important it was to choose the right words and that reading a message out loud could help avoid making mistakes. The language should be concise, precise and engaging. Giving credits to others and thanking others in the social media community shouldn't be underestimated.
  • Kemp started off his presentation by saying that if you're going to be on social media, you should be helpful and create value. The first few tips were related to common sense and included being responsible, being transparent, taking ownership, respect, brand protection, and to not forget your day job [unless your job is social media]. He continued by warning beginners that you must understand the language for each platform. For example, a tweet will come across well on Twitter but most likely not on Facebook and/or LinkedIn. Relating the talk to healthcare, he went on to remind us that as our society starts to spend more time online, we also grow our influence to our family and peers; online reviews are becoming very influential. For health professionals, social media can help connect stakeholders, new apps can be preventative, and can even help manage our own health.

Video: How To + Success Stories

Videos for healthcare professionals can be extremely effective and this session helped us understand the basics, in's and out's on how to leverage this medium, and how to get started. The two speakers included Abisaac Saraga from Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Andrew Nguyen from Lemongrass Media.

  • Abisaac showed us several creative videos made by several health organizations. The first one was on prevention and showed an entire hospital staff washing their hands in different locations. It was playful, entertaining and with the music, the message came across well. Another one was a humourous rap song delivering another health message with several people playing different acting roles. Another way to engage with videos were to create video contests where your audience would be the one submitting entries and the public would be the ones voting on YouTube. Your communities will feel engaged and even get creative in their participation.
  • Andrew started off by having us consider three main questions: 1) What is my story? People remember stories, not facts. Consider the hero, the challenge and the triumph in a story. 2) Who is my audience? There are a primary and secondary audiences. You must find a way to make your story stick. 3) Who can best tell your story? They could be experts, advocates or actors. If you decide to hire a production company, it's important to ensure that they understand what you're trying to convey, so the story comes across clearly on screen and is received correctly by your own audience.

Understanding Web Analytics

For the analytics session, the two speakers were Ben Johnson from Frontier Consulting and Michaela Montaner from the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy.

  • Ben introduced social measurements by saying that your organization must choose its primary goals or purposes. Different digital strategies will lead to different behaviours. One way to track certain behaviours is to look at heatmaps and by running tests and experiments, heatmaps will show you where your users are clicking the most. If you want to test your creativity with search, you can experiment with Google ads by testing new ideas or concepts and by segmenting locations, interests, etc...He went on to go over Google Analytics where you can view advanced segments, visitor flow and multi-channels funnels.
  • Michaela discussed knowledge translation, how one of their stories that they ran got picked up by a Mexican media and how that translated into more hits. Two questions that she brought before even diving into the world of analytics were: 1) What's your goal? 2) Is social media a fit for you and your community? Once you figure those out, then you can talk about what you'd like to measure.

What are your hopes for a better health care system?

This was a full day of learning and you can also view the session highlights put together by BCPSQC or view most of the presentation decks from that day. In the world of healthcare, there is definitely a strong potential with the development and growth of social media and technology. In conclusion, this was a definitely a great way to connect with others in the healthcare industry and share your thoughts and ideas to further the progress of this industry as a whole.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Google’s +1 Button Gets Personalized

Today, TechCrunch came out with some very insightful news about Google Plus following our recent takeaways.

This is a great feature that truly makes sense to users. Here you are surfing the web and you want to share the information in that moment, however, you only want a certain group of folks to view this new online content that you found. Why? Because it only applies to that specific group thanks to the circles that help filter your own data sharing. Moreover, the snippets will make your content look more visually appealing as well like the way Facebook allows a user to share links with thumbnails.

You can learn more about it in this video or read the official Google announcement here:

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


6 key takeaways on Google+

It’s been weeks since Google+ has launched and there has been numerous articles on various tech blogs. By now, you most likely have received a Google+ invitation. In this post, we’re doing the heavy lifting, so that you don’t have to spend hours figuring out the latest beta Google project:                     

After testing this new tool within our team, we’re sharing our first take on this latest online buzz with the following 6 key components:

1. Circles
To make Google+ work for you, the first thing on your list should be to find your friends (or invite them first), then add them to circles. Some examples could include family, friends, co-workers, social media, tech bloggers, celebrities, etc… In other words, you can view these circles as filters to be used in your stream later on.

2. Stream
When you first log into your Google+ page, you land on your main stream which consists of all the information shared from all of your circles. However, by clicking on the category that you created earlier (see circles), you can quickly filter out information that you only want to view. For example, if you only care to find out what’s currently happening with your co-workers, you would simply hit your “co-workers” circle under the stream on the left hand corner and only their feeds would show up.

3. Sharing (+1)
Sharing information is similar to Twitter or Facebook when it comes to sharing what’s on your mind at the moment. The main difference is that when it’s time to publish it, you have the choice to pick the circles that you’d like to share it with. An example would be if you’re sharing a family photo, you might only want your family members to view it because it’s personal to you. You’re in control of who gets to view the data that you end up sharing.

As you are surfing the web, more and more sites are including “+1” sharing button and as you click on it, these +1’s will appear onto your own +1 timeline. This aggregates all of your internet findings similar to social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg, reddit, etc… Also, as your circles search the internet, your +1’s will show up in their searches with your name showing up saying, “Canadian Web Hosting shared this,” underneath the link. This feature socializes your searches and give you context as to whom in your circles have already come across similar content that you’re searching for.

4. Hangouts
This feature is fun to try with friends or perhaps when you want to collaborate live on a project. With this, you’re able to pick a circle and spend some facetime via video chat with anyone from that circle who happens to be online. You can even join current hangouts that are happening.

5. Sparks
Google+ already features certain categories such as soccer, recipes, cycling, movies, gardening and more. You pull up keyword searches such as “iPhone” and add them to your interest. When you click on any of your saved searches, news from all over the web are aggregated directly onto your Sparks page.

6. Business Pages
As of right now, Ford is the only company testing Goople+ on behalf of businesses. Compared to Facebook or Twitter, the white, very clean interface, makes it easy to view any content that they’re sharing. As more businesses get to test this new platform, it’ll be interesting to see how the public responds.

Closing Remarks
As most tech bloggers have concluded, it’s still too new to predict if Google+ will take over Twitter or Facebook. One strong sentiment seen from across the web is that Google+ needs more users for it to be beneficial for any end users including companies and when you put it side-by-side with Facebook, it feels harder to be heard when your audience is so small. Once we start seeing more growth in their user base, we might start seeing more momentum and even more buzz surrounding their new platform.

On the other hand, the circles appear to be powerful since it filters out all of the noise that Twitter and Facebook currently have. There is an overwhelming amount of content on the internet and with the help of the circles, we can be more productive in receiving all of this data.  It really helps categorizing the things that we’re interested in and the people that we actually care to follow.  The process of creating circles seems a lot less daunting that creating lists on Facebook or even Twitter; drag and drop is easy. Finally, it’ll be worth following changes that all of the other social media platforms choose to develop as Google+ refines its own features.

You may view their demo to learn about Google+ in more details too.