Ontario Poutineries SEO Highlight: Smoke's Poutinerie
July 14th 2023
In June, we endured the mouth-watering process of reviewing 5 poutineries in Ontario for our SEO Showdown series. If you have not yet read this article, go check it out now!
In our SEO Showdowns, we take a keyword for a specific industry, test and score the highest ranking websites for that keyword, and highlight the website with the highest score. In the recent one, however, we didn’t just pick any old restaurant that offers poutine on their menu - we had to draw a line in the sand to be clear about what we were testing. We only reviewed poutine-focused restaurants that weren’t poutine restaurant chains. Unfortunately, that meant that the best-ranking Ontario poutine restaurant chain, Smoke’s Poutinerie, didn’t make the list! In this follow up to that SEO Showdown, we’re going to talk about what we liked about the Smoke’s Poutinerie website.
What is Smoke’s Poutinerie?
According to their About page, Smoke’s is the world’s largest poutinerie, offering a menu of poutine-only options. Their vision is to bring the Canadian poutine experience to the whole world. It’s a lofty vision that’s fun to read. Currently, they have franchises in most Canadian provinces. They’re mostly in Ontario and the maritime provinces, but have restaurants as far west as Kamloops, Kelowna, and Burnaby BC.
The Smoke’s Poutinerie Website
The website at Smoke’s Poutinerie bends so many design rules about user experience, but in a way that draws you in instead of pushing you away. It’s quite like a serving of poutine: it’s definitely not healthy, but something about it makes you keep consuming it. It just makes you smile. Here are a few fun, unconventional features of the website:
Smoke’s Mouse Pointer
Changing the mouse pointer is typically considered bad user experience - that’s why you don’t see it on most business websites. However, at Smoke’s Poutinerie, the mouse pointer changes into a small graphic of the owner’s face. When you hover over something clickable, the pointer changes again! It would normally be considered bad design, but here, despite a slight misalignment, it’s endearing.
Autoplaying Home Page Video
Our team has and will always discourage website owners from using autoplaying videos in their banners. There are many reasons why they’re a terrible idea. Despite that, and the fact that this video doesn’t autoplay on mobile, we can’t argue that it’s a bad idea to show a video in this case that effectively and quickly shows delicious poutine.
Don’t Click Here
The article area of the website is found by clicking the menu item called “Don’t Click Here”. It’s an unconventional, non-keyword name for an article area, but you’re definitely going to click it.
What Are You Wearing Option
In the Contact form, there’s an additional option to tell Smoke’s what you’re wearing. It’s an unnecessary option, but it likely projects the nature of the irreverent and casual nature of the company’s customer service to anyone looking to contact them.
Superior SEO for Ontario Poutine Websites
The Smoke’s Poutine website ranks highly for most poutine-related Google Searches in Ontario. Its technical SEO health isn’t perfect, but is much better than most websites on the internet - in addition to being lightyears ahead of the poutineries in our SEO Showdown. Its content is optimized, uses keywords well, and has multiple pages with simple, valuable, and optimized content. We’ve already discussed the design - we love it.
In the end, Smoke’s is doing enough of what Google wants to be seen as the authority in the realm of poutineries in Ontario and some other provinces, despite the quirkiness . Wherever they have a big enough presence, they rank.
Although competitors may want to stay unique by not copying the bold design principles and saucy tone of Smoke’s, they may benefit by paying attention to their content marketing and keyword usage. Smoke’s Poutinerie seems to know what they’re doing in SEO.
We hope you enjoyed this follow up to the Ontario poutineries SEO Showdown! Smoke’s Poutinerie didn’t make it into the showdown, but we couldn’t not write something about it. It’s a fun website that ranks well and is worth paying attention to as you consider how to get your own poutinerie website to rank better.