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Top Canadian Songs: an SEO Case in Point

Every once in a while I get an email from a complete stranger somewhere in Canada who writes to critique, correct or otherwise comment on my list of the top 100 Canadian songs of all time. While this search phrase is not horribly competitive, I still find it fun to get feedback on such a larky web page. When I put it up I made sure to mind all my SEO p’s and q’s and then I interacted with one of the most popular blogs in the country and created an idea that probably ranks as the most “viral” thing I’ve ever done online. (I’m not really a viral kind of guy.)

In any case, it’s fun to see that that page still ranks well and to see that canoe.ca or anyone else has not even thought of trying to come up with their own list. I get an email about once a month, on average. In some cases these are quite interesting. One of the most recent ones I got was from Sammy Kohn, drummer for the Watchmen, who wrote to lament that they were not included originally, which I admitted required correction. I just got another email from someone in Tampa Bay, in fact.

It’s a case in point that creating a unique web page and doing it properly can have rewards over many years. When you appear at or near the top of Google results, people believe you are authoritative… apparently whether you are or not. All this from simply throwing up a page that was simply optimized properly, even if it was highly self indulgent (and remains so).

Anyway, for anyone who wants to comment on the list (which I just updated) in the future, please comment below.


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  1. April 26th, 2010 at 22:40 | #1

    Thanks for the story of the “magic musical post”. I wrote a short post a few years ago on an aspect of social media – it was practical, not theoretical – and it just keeps coming up month after month as the most visited post on the site. Not so long ago I posted an update, linked to the original, and now they are together the most visited. Search is definitely interesting.

  2. April 26th, 2010 at 22:53 | #2

    I finally put G Analytics on this page and discovered that it receives a steady 500 visits per month, from a long tail of keywords related to “best canadian songs,” synonyms and combinations. Hilarious. Thanks for the comment, Des, I just started following you earlier today.

  3. May 4th, 2010 at 03:18 | #3

    What about the Spoons? Nova Heart should have cracked the top 50 for sure. I love the Hip too, but c’mon!

  4. May 6th, 2010 at 05:37 | #4

    @Chris K
    Thanks for the comment. I was there when the Spoons were as ‘big’ as they were and I gotta say…… nnnnnnnnnnoh. I appreciate the “old emotion’ of your myspace writeup but the list is subjective and to me Nova Heart is neither quintessentially Canadian nor… great. They were from Borington (suitably), where I was incidentally living at the time they were popular and I still say no. Sorry.

  5. Barbara Taylor
    May 11th, 2010 at 17:37 | #5

    Good list. However, I would have Edward Bear’s ” You Me and Mexico ” on the list.

  6. Somebody’s missing
    May 24th, 2010 at 23:26 | #6

    from Richard Gordon
    to jim.huinink @ gmail.com
    date Sun, May 23, 2010 at 5:40 AM
    subject Somebody’s missing
    mailed-by gmail.com
    signed-by gmail.com

    Hi there,

    Where did Sarah McLachlan go 🙂


    Sorry, Richard, you need to read to the bottom of the web page that contains that list where I discuss the absence of Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Nickelback and (yes, all in the same sentence here) Sarah McLachlan. I have great difficulty with her over-stylized singing, sorry to say. I did sort of like “Surrender” for a while but not for long.

  7. June 4th, 2010 at 20:42 | #7

    @Barbara Taylor
    You could also make a case for “Last Song.” The problem with a top 100 list is that there are only 100 spots. And as is apparent, there have been a lot of great Canadian songs.

  8. Kelly Allin
    June 4th, 2010 at 21:35 | #8

    Great list, obviously you are a hip fan, not enough blue rodeo

  9. June 4th, 2010 at 21:39 | #9

    @Kelly Allin
    That’s a fair complaint. I love the album Lost Together and really like Five Days in July.

  10. Julia Lafleur
    September 30th, 2010 at 14:58 | #10

    I believe that Jann Arden’s Waiting in Canada should have been included. It was used to promote tourism here and it gives me the most patriotic feeling. Just a great song all around and by a singer who has chosen to STAY Canadian. So many of them end up an American version of what they used to be and then spew Canadianisms when it suits them. I love Canadian talent and there is no doubt that we have alot of it here but when I drive past the sign for Napanee I notice there is no sign that says “Home of Avril Lavigne” because it’s not her home anymore. This is only my opinion and should be taken as such. Remember, opinions are like……..everybody’s got one. Kudos on the list though. There are some great artists on there.

  11. Les
    October 1st, 2010 at 01:41 | #11

    I aree in most part with the list, however, one band that I grew up with, is missing. Lighthouse is a band well deserving of your list. Just think of some of the great tunes they turned out. Someone missed the boat on this on.

  12. gene williams
    October 1st, 2010 at 15:47 | #12

    I don’t disagree with your list except you don’t go back far enough. The fifties and sixties,, “Little Darling” by The Diamonds, “Diana” by Paul Anka, “Clap Your Hands” by The Beaumarks, etc…and some of the country greats,,,, “I’m Moving On” by Hank Snow “. And what about a song I wrote in the ’70’s with Gilles Vigneault “From New York To L.A.” by Patsy Gallant. Look up these songs and you will see what I’m talking about.
    Gene williams.

  13. gene williams
    October 1st, 2010 at 16:11 | #13

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention some of the great French songs from, QuĂ©bec, Canada….. “Comme J’ai Toujours Envie D’aimer” by Marc Hamilton, “Linbourgh” by Robert Charlebois,,,”La Manic” Georges Dore…etc.etc…. It’s a pity that English Canada was not exposed to the exciting QuĂ©bec music scene of the 60’s and 70’s. However it’s never too late to look it up if you want to really present a TOP 100 Canadian song list.

  14. October 1st, 2010 at 17:24 | #14

    @gene williams
    Thanks very much, Gene! I’m going to revise this list to make it more inclusive. And I remember “From New York to LA” very well. Patsy Gallant was great but that was the kitschy late ’70’s, so it’s hard to take her seriously. It is a great song in its own right. Thanks again and nice of you to drop by.

  15. October 1st, 2010 at 17:26 | #15

    I missed the boat. Me. Thanks, I’ll consider revising. I am just not a fan of that band, though.

  16. Jim
    October 2nd, 2010 at 03:05 | #16

    not sure I agree with the list in whole….but a huge part of it is great, and some of it is stuff I’ve overlooked. But….no Leonard Cohen? No French songs? And what happened to the 80’s?? I realize they were mostly fluff, but you should have maybe included a Jane Sieberry, Cory Hart, Gowan, or Toronto to collectively represent the era. Plus I prefer Rainbow Butt Monkeys to Finger11, and definately not enough April Wine, and where’s Max Webster/Kim, and, and, and…isn’t great to have so much talent to argue about?

  17. October 5th, 2010 at 19:42 | #17

    Great list besides the Tragically Hip preference. I rememeber when disco and dance music had almost completely taken over radio…and then…4 cowbell hits from Canada changed the music world. Working For the Weekend. I didn’t see it on the list…hopefully I am mistaken.

  18. earl
    October 8th, 2010 at 02:45 | #18

    I Don’t see Teenage Head thay have some heavy duty tunes

  19. grant
    October 14th, 2010 at 16:58 | #19

    i read through your list and, unlike some of the others who have made comments here, i find it hard to agree with your list at all. you hit some of the high points only because you seem to have a very cursory knowledge of canadian music pre:1990. for the most part, it appears you know almost nothing about canadian music beyond “the hip” and maybe a neil young greatest hits album.

    if you are going to make a list like this, call it “my 100 favourites” or “the best 100 Canadian songs that I know about”.

    i know it sounds like i’m trashing you, and i don’t really mean it that way. there are some positives here. i didn’t see any bryan adams, which shows you do have some taste in music. on the other hand, where is Murray McLauchlan? ouch. anne murray? you personally may not like snowbird or the farmer song, but holy crap, man.


  20. Nolan
    November 16th, 2010 at 01:06 | #20

    Kim Mitchell should be shot for creating the tripe he named Patio Lanterns. You should be publicly shamed for supporting such an atrocity.

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