I am a full-stack digital marketing specialist with expertise in SEO, paid advertising (including search and social), web design & development and graphic design.
My first experience in web design was at 14 years old when I was introduced to HTML in grade 9 tech class. I recall feeling fascinated with the ability to create online experiences from simple code. My first order of business was to ask my my step-dad to use his credit card (I was too young…) so I could register a domain and hosting account. My next step was to create a hosting company, called [CD] – CanadianDude.com. Within a few months I had my first paying customer (which at least covered my hosting expenses.)
I soon became entrenched in the world of HTML coding and coded my first online game, .: Inside Tha City :. (yes “Tha”, not “The”.) Here is a screenshot of the site in case you are curious.
With that experience I was confident in my ability to code a website from scratch, create some PHP code to execute dynamic functionality, create and manipulate a mySQL database to store and extract data, put together some graphics for the front-end of the site, as well as the know-how to draw attention/visitors to the online project.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, with my grandfather leading the way with his own consulting business, my aunt with her various business ventures over the years including shared space rentals, health expos, and security ventures, as well as my uncle who runs a parking control company and security agency. It came naturally to help each of them with their website design, graphic design and social media. This allowed me to expand my skill set in web design and development and allowed me to make some extra money on the side.
In 2012 I launched SPIN Web Solutions with my friend and client Eddy Abounehme, who I had worked with over the years. Eddy founded Revolution Networks, a local IT services firm in Ottawa in 2004. I had done some freelance work for Revolution Networks including website design and management, some graphic design for their re-brand, as well as content development. With Eddy’s established network he was able to refer well known local clients to the business to help kick-start our operation.
In the first few months of SPIN Web Solutions we felt the extreme competition in the field of web design and development. In that time we were able to work with a number of great businesses setup and improve their websites. We noticed a huge gap in the market – many businesses had a fantastic website but didn’t have any knowledge on how to market it or to attract an audience. I had one person ask me about SEO and I knew what it was but didn’t really know how it worked. I quickly started doing a ton of research both online and through reading and picked up on the core SEO fundamentals – content and links.
The big shift in 2012 in the world of web was towards fresh content, social media integration and the rise of mobile. I knew that to be #1 for a given search query a website needed:
- tons of fresh, unique content (think blogs)
- social media pages (the big ones at the time were Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest)
- a mobile-friendly website
It became my mission to figure out a way to offer high quality digital marketing services at an affordable monthly rate. The key was to produce recurring pieces of keyword-focused content (ie short format blogs) to help increase crawl rates on a website and drive long-tail organic search traffic. With these ideas in mind we launched a new brand called seoplus+ in mid-2012. By focusing on our core values of great customer service, transparency, and a results-oriented mindset, seoplus+ has grown organically to be a well-known digital marketing agency across Canada.
In 2014 I was approached by Camp Tech, a tech skills training company out of Toronto, to teach classes in SEO, Google Analytics, and Google AdWords as part of their launch into Ottawa. I gladly accepted the role and over the next 3 years taught countless students (primarily small business owners and marketing specialists) the basics of SEO, Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
In early 2016 I joined Invest Ottawa as a business advisor. My initial role was to assist main street businesses in getting established online and get to help them get their SEO basics/strategy in order. Over the next few years I taught several cohorts of the Main & Digital bootcamp, and I have developed the content and taught the SEO peer-to-peer (P2P) group. The SEO P2P is an exclusive six-session bootcamp offered to Invest Ottawa’s high potential businesses. It covers the core modules of SEO including Intro to SEO, Website Audit & Analysis, Keyword Research, Link building & Outreach, Google Analytics & Google Ads, and Reporting.
All the while seoplus+ has grown at a very healthy pace and now employs more than 20 full-time digital marketing specialists in Ottawa, Canada. As the Chief Operating Officer, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations internally, overseeing the management and success of our clients’ digital marketing campaigns, as well as the continual growth of the seoplus+ brand.
Since it’s inception seoplus+ has won numerous awards including the 2013 New Business of the Year from the Nepean Chamber of Commerce, placed 3rd on Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Companies 2017, placed #36 on the STARTUP 50 by Canadian Business, highlighting Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies, named a Top Digital Agency 2018 by Clutch, and a Top Canadian Agency 2019 by Clutch.