Dental clinics have come to appreciate the value of search engine optimization in recent years but as much as quality optimization can help a website, bad SEO can hurt it. There’s thousands of SEO companies throughout the country but only some of them are consistently successful. There’s also plenty of dentists doing SEO on their own based off self-taught concepts and online articles. There’s no question that learning SEO is easier than ever before with the emergence of step by step YouTube tutorials, informative blog posts, and Google’s very own Search Console Help Center. But for every piece of quality information out there on the web, there is an instance of misinformation. Some of it is simply outdated while the rest of it is intentionally misleading. Nolen Walker is a nationally renowned digital marketing company known for its ethics and credibility. Here are 5 SEO mistakes that every dentist should avoid, told by us:
Who has time to write all of the content on a large dental website? Most dentists certainly don’t. So the choices become, hire someone reputable, hire someone novice, or scrape content. The 3rd choice is always the wrong one because Google discourages content duplication and will always favor the site who the content rightfully belongs to. For those unaware, scraping content means taking it from a similar website and pasting it on your own (sometimes with slight tweaks). The popular tool Copyscape checks whether or not content on a given webpage is duplicated anywhere else on the web. Websites can also have their content Copyscape protected so that anyone who attempts to scrape it will be forced to take it down. The bottom line is that there is no upside to copying someone else’s content, even if you plan to edit it. The best alternative is to hire an SEO company who writes original content. If that is not financially possible, at least hire a freelancer who can write you some original and valuable pages for your site.
Some say measuring keyword density is obsolete but that’s not entirely true. What is obsolete however is stuffing as many keywords as you can into a single page of content. Of course you want to rank for your target keywords but that should never come at the expense of user experience. Google’s algorithm is now smart enough to identify a keyword even if it’s only used a single time within the body content. You will still want to use it within your title tag, within your H1 tag, and within your meta description as well. You should also add it to one of your image’s alt text if applicable. But aside from that, you should not be repeating the word. Your goal should be to have a keyword density at 3% or less. If you have trouble finding synonyms to use instead of the word, try looking up your keyword on LSIGraph.com. This tool will produce a list of semantically related terms that users closely associated with your target term. Using these supporting terms helps boost the relevance of your entire page in 2019.
Back in 2012, Google’s Penguin Update specifically targeted websites that manipulated links. Dentists who are frustrated with their rankings might resort to manipulative link building strategies. Because Google considers inbound links to be votes of confidence from one domain to another, the presence of quality backlinks can help boost a site’s rankability. But one mistake websites make is manipulating the process and underestimating Google’s ability to flag it. Any site offering link exchanges is likely going to be less trustworthy than you would like. Google knows who’s participating in these kinds of schemes and likely devalues the impact of these links in best cases, while penalizing the participants in the worst cases. Any link profile that has spammy and irrelevant backlinks is going to look suspicious to search engines. If your website receives a manual action via Google Search Console you know that it has been officially penalized. Once that occurs, your site is essentially wiped off of search engines and your clinic fails.
One & Done Optimization
SEO is not a one-time task and any dentist who makes it one will fail online. There’s a misnomer that once a site is optimized it will continue to thrive on page one of Google for the rest of time. This is not accurate. To maintain top ranking position, your site must constantly be tended to. Whether it is ensuring that your design stays up to date with the latest standards (especially on mobile) or ensuring that Google continues to crawly and index your pages (regular blog posts can help with this), something can always be done to keep pace with the search engines’ evolution. The reality is that Google is constantly getting better and your website should be too. The latest emerging factor is voice search on devices like Amazon Echo and Google Assistant. Have you heard “Alexa, find me a dentist” yet? If so you understand that technology is not slowing down and the ability to optimize your website consistently is what will keep you on top of the SERPs for the long run.
Website Builders (Templates)
Most people don’t know how to build their own site from scratch using CSS, HTML and other microdata languages. But with the emergence of Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and others, making your own website is now possible for anyone. It sounds great in theory but in practice it leaves something to be desired. That something in most cases is an optimized website. Google can identify templates that have been used over and over again to build websites. While they look unique to you and your visitors because of these website builders customization features, the back-end codebase is almost a carbon copy. Design experts can diagnose templates inside of 1 minute and Google can probably do it in even less time. Aside from the problems with SEO, there are also problems with branding and customization. While the tools have gotten more feature-rich, there’s still a restriction to what you can and cannot do with your site. With a custom design, the designer can build the pages in your likeness and place CTA’s wherever.