How many emails have you received this week from companies offering you search engine optimization? I like the emails that say they will get you on page one of Google. These kind of email really irritate me because many dentists know that being on page one of Google can bring them lots of patients. If a company is promising you page one of Google for your website, RUN! Let me tell you why.
Deceptive Search Engine Optimization Practices
When a perspective patient is looking for a new dentist, they will open their browser and start searching. What are they typing into the search box? Is it “I need a dentist” or Dentist + City Name? Could it be “I need a dentist who takes Prudential insurance”? As you may have guessed, some keyword or phrases that people use to search for a dentist are more popular than others. In our experience, dentist + city name seems to be the most popular search term. How would you like to be a dentist in Los Angeles and then try to get on page one of Google when somebody searches for Dentist Los Angeles? The problem is that there are over 1,000 dentists in Los Angeles and every one of them want to be on page one of Google. Last I checked, there wasn’t enough space to fit 20 dentists. For example, if a company promises you page one in Google, do you think he is talking about the search phrase “Dentist Los Angeles” How can any company promised page 1?
What they do is get you on page one for a search term that will deliver little traffic to you. For any of my dentists, I can make them show up on page 1, position 1 for “I need a dentist for my pink elephant” How many people are searching for that term. That is why it’s easy to get on page 1 position 1 and this is what some of these companies do. They put you on page 1 of Google for search phrases that are unpopular and will deliver you no traffic.
How is Search Engine Optimization Really Done?
This is the interesting part. Each company that performs search engine optimization or SEO has their own methods. There are some guidelines we all use but it is really up to each SEO company to have a list of the things to do for you. In our industry, we have coined some phrases for different types of SEO work. We use the terms White Hat, Black Hat and Grey Hat.
- White Hat SEO – When working with a website, the developer is concerned about the long term strategy of the website. The developer is not constantly thinking about the search engines and how to trick them into getting better rankings.
- Black Hat SEO – The developer spends more time trying to figure how how to “game” the search engine system to get their client website to the top of the search engines. While these techniques many work in the short run, there is constant fear that the website will drop from the rankings altogether.
- Grey Hat SEO – Sometimes developers come across techniques that are pretty much in the middle of White and Black Hat. It’s kind of like a rolling stop at a stop sign. You only get a ticket if the police happen to be watching the intersection. These techniques are just chancy.
So who do you want working on your website? Somebody that is looking after you or somebody trying to get you ranked fast in the search engine regardless of the repercussions?
Here are the basic steps to search engine optimization?
- Keyword Research – Finding those keywords and phrases that will deliver users to your website. Some keywords are very competitive and some are not. Many hours of research can be done to figure out the best choices.
- Content – The search engines love content and they really love unique content. When we write content for a website, we don’t copy other peoples writings. Content must be great and exciting to keep the user on your website.
- Architecture – How does your website menu look? Is it easy to find content on your website? Can the search engines crawl your website. Many tests need to be done to make sure there are no issues here.
- On-page optimization – Does page design really matter? Should you have a call to action? There are elements that should be on your page and optimized. When you add images, are you concerned with image size? One big image can really slow down your website.
- Link Building – The goal is to get your website link on as many other websites as possible. But not low quality website. Do you donate money to a little league team? Maybe they have a website that has a sponsor page. Every time you add your website link to other websites you develop authority. The more authority you have the better you look to the search engines.
What Is The Cost of Dental Search Engine Optimization?
I know that dentists feel like they are paying more for services because they are a dentist. I’m sure in many cases that is true. In regards to SEO, we have developed our skills over the years and have adapted solid techniques that can optimize your website. With all the reading we have to do to keep up with the trends along with the constant shifting of the search results, it’s a wonder that we get any real work done at all! I have seen dentists being charged $200 per month on up. You just have to ask yourself, “How much work could a company really do on my website every month for $200.00? So when a company comes to you and says that they can optimize your website for $500 per month, how much work could they really be doing? As an SEO, I consider myself a CPA of online marketing. You pay your CPA good money to keep you out of trouble with the taxman. I get paid to keep you out of trouble with the search engines so that you don’t disappear off the map. This is an ongoing process that is alive and needs nurturing. This isn’t a “set it and forget it” thing. Expect to pay $800+ per month for somebody to do quality work. There are many other pricing methods out there so be aware of contracts that lock you in for more than 3 months.
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