Google is somewhat of an enigma. We all know they’re around to help dental practices like yours get found. But very few doctors know how to get them to do it.
Even if you start to crack the code and your site climbs to Page 2 or even the sought-after Page 1, don’t expect to stay there.
See, Google’s algorithm – that hunk of code that tells them how to rank your practice name (not your website) and its relevance to people – changes dozens, if not hundreds of times PER DAY. They are constantly updating and changing that code so that they can provide the best service to their clients (users).
In that spirit, we wanted to let you know that, if you think you have Google marketing figured out, odds are you don’t. In fact, the whole focus and shape of search engine rankings have shifted over the last several years. That’s why I pay top dollar for the best engineers to come work for me, so we can have cutting edge “Google relevance” for our clients, because their results always come first.
So, let’s hit some of the basics. What follows is not designed to be an all-encompassing list by any means; rather something to help you understand the basic landscape of modern Search Engine Optimization (“SEO” for short).
And through it all keep this in mind: while Google’s algorithm may be a mystery, their philosophy behind it is not. They want to provide searchers with the most RELEVANT results to what they’re looking for.
Knowing that, let’s dive in.
“OLD SCHOOL” SEO
Go back 10 years or so, and SEO meant taking efforts to try and get your full website URL (www.YourSite.com) to show up as high as possible in search engines like Google.
There were a variety of methods to do this, but they mostly fell under two categories.
“On-page” SEO basically meant making the copy and images on your site as relevant to a searcher’s query as possible. For instance, Google would assume that if a user searched for a keyword like “implant dentist in Boise Idaho”, and the words on your site had the most mentions of that phrase, that you were the most relevant choice and should be listed at the top of the heap.
Now, add in “Off-page” SEO, which basically means other sites websites linking to yours. It’s the theory of social proof – if other people say you’re good at something, you’re more likely to believe it. Ergo, if lots of other websites are linking to yours, Google assumed your site was highly relevant and would therefore rank you higher.
Both On-page and Off-page SEO were considered important and contributed to high rankings.
However, times changed. Webmasters figured out how to game the system by stuffing their sites full of keywords to appear most relevant to Google’s algorithm. But it came at the expense of readability for humans.
So on-page SEO, at least that era’s version of it, became less important and was given less weight in the algorithm.
The other major change that was happening at that time was the massive rise of social media. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. were taking over and that’s where people started spending their time and interacting with others. I mean, there’s a reason why Google bought YouTube AND why it became the second largest search destination on the web.
So, Off-page SEO was no longer just about what websites were linking to yours. Instead, it became a conversation – who was talking about you on social media, and how important were those people in their own circles?
Think of it as a high school popularity contest. If the cool kids are talking about you, everyone else will start to think you’re important, right? If your practice is connected with people on social media and people are talking about you and saying good things, Google assumes you’re important.
In the meantime, Google started to realize that when their users typed in a search query, they didn’t want to have to dig through entire websites for their answers. Attention spans were growing shorter, and users wanted their answers NOW.
So, Google started listing pages within websites…not just the main site address. At the same time, “4-packs” and “6-packs” started appearing in search results. I’m sure you’ve seen these – it’s the listing that not only has the main website address, but 4 or 6 pages within the site (About Us, Meet The Doctor, Our Services, Contact Us)…all listed right there in the Google search results page.
Both Google and its users are instrumental in the changes in search engine results, the thinking behind it and the resulting algorithm. As times and tactics change, so will Google.
And if I can be honest with you, it’s not your job to stay on top of these changes. You’re a doctor and a business owner. Your job is to help people with their teeth and keep your practice’s doors open.
I would strongly recommend outsourcing this essential part of your business to someone who makes it their MAIN job to stay on top of these changes. Whether you work with us here at Local Search For Dentists® or someone else, take the load off your shoulders and give it to an expert so you can focus on what’s more important.
To find out how
Be Bold And Make Things Happen!
CEO Local Search For Dentists®; A 4X Inc 500/5000 Approved Dental Marketing Agency
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