Bad website?

Don’t start SEO until you’ve addressed the basics

mistake signToday’s blog is prompted by a recent conversation with a dentist who was looking for an SEO provider to boost his search rankings. On the face of it, this was an excellent opportunity to sell our services and use our skills to help get his website prominent in Google, but actually it didn’t play out like that at all. Indeed we advised against commencing an SEO campaign.

The reason we couldn’t actually make an offer to help with his optimisation and digital marketing was that his website was very poor, albeit less than a year old. Without having a good platform in place, it simply isn’t worth starting SEO, which is exactly what we advised the rather shocked business owner.

When we researched his website in detail, here is what we found:

  • the website was built on a free WordPress template which looked very poor and with limited “conversion” potential – any visitors would be unlikely to be engaged and make contact
  • the website had not been maintained for 8 months and the WordPress version was insecure
  • the website could not be easily maintained as the theme and plugins which had been used were no longer compatible with the latest WordPress core files (big problem!)
  • there was no on-site SEO – so no keywords, page titles etc. All of the fundamentals were missing
  • loads speeds were terrible, indeed some the pages timed out before they displayed. This was either down to poor web coding or perhaps cheap, overcrowded hosting

This is quite a difficult scenario as there are numerous fundamental issues with the website which render it almost beyond repair. You then try to have a discussion with a business owner who invested money in a new website several months ago which isn’t fit for purpose and actually needs re-building. But in a case like this, honesty is always the best policy, so here’s what we recommended:

3 step recovery to a viable website

Step 1 – review the site with the original designers and push to get the basic errors resolved. So bringing the site up to the latest version of WordPress and ensuring that its structure offers the best chance of upgrading without breaking, moving forwards. Also review the web hosting to make sure it is appropriate for a business website. Alternatively, have a new website built with a trusted designer.

Step 2 – once the basic framework of the site is stable and maintainable, carry out a program of on-site SEO to make sure that the site can be found and indexed effectively by Google.

Step 3 – complement the on-site SEO with an ongoing off-site SEO campaign.

Summary

Unfortunately too many dental practices are launching budget websites and thinking all will be well without realising that they are quite often throwing good money after bad. Whilst some marketing companies don’t really care and just want your monthly SEO fees, a reputable web design company knows that this is unsustainable and would not commence work unless an appropriate foundation was in place.

Your dental practice website is a critical business tool and should not be picked from the bargain bin. If you want to compete seriously, you need to pay as much attention to your web presence as to any other critical asset within your business. Fail to look after the basics and unfortunately you will likely end up with the same scenario as the poor dentist in the example above. Ultimately we will try our best to help out, but it’s much better to make an appropriate investment in the first instance, rather than try to patch up later on.

If you’ve recently invested in a new website for your practice and it’s not performing as you’d hoped, please call Dental Media on 01332 672548 and let our design and SEO team get you back on track.