Why your SEO isn’t working

Your bolt-on expensive SEO package isn’t delivering – here’s why….

minimise irrelevant search queriesI took a call from a dentist yesterday who wanted a review of his SEO campaign which had been in place for 8 months. His SEO company dedicated to dentists, were telling him that he was getting “2 to 3” new patients from his website every day, but his assessment at the practice didn’t support that. He was actually getting new patients, but his strong feeling was that they were coming via word-of-mouth rather than from independent searches in Google.

The dentist had access to Google Analytics but was frankly confused about the data he was looking at. When we researched further, we also noted that the data simply didn’t correlate with the (poor) monthly report his SEO service was providing. All in all, a bit of a mess and perhaps even an example of an SEO company deliberately trying to present data which simply wasn’t accurate?

Analytics data

The data for the dentist’s website showed that he was getting around 12 – 15 overall website visits per day with around 7 coming from “organic” searches in Google. So not much at all. Looking at the “conversions” data we were surprised to see that conversion goals had not been set up and consequently there was no measure of how many contact forms were actually being submitted from the website. And yet the marketing company were presenting data which showed that there were 2 to 3 new patients per day directly from the website? There was no telephone call tracking in place or any tracking from pay-per-click, so this is data which can only have been made up. However, without a working knowledge of the Google Analytics package, the dentist was none-the-wiser.

Google search positions

As part of the overview we also took a look at how the website was faring in Google. The dentist had been told that he was ranking “near the top of page one” for the “dentist in location” term and he thought that this was true. However, he was checking search results whilst logged in to his Google account and consequently was seeing a hugely personalised results. His real positions were a couple of results at the base of page one but with most on page two or beyond. This helps to explain his low level of traffic.

Misguided keyword targeting

Another major issue is that the dentist was based in a town around 5 miles away from a large UK city and had been told by the marketers that they could rank his site for prominent terms associated with the large city, not just his local town. This is nearly impossible given the huge competition there and also Google’s preference for showing local businesses for local searches. Frankly he had no real chance. To support this, the SEO company were trying to write very short blog posts stuffed with keywords and then hiding these from displaying on his website. Defunct SEO trickery from 2010! Techniques like this simply don’t work anymore and can easily get a website penalised. If you’d like to research in more detail, look up “doorway pages” in Google and you’ll see what I mean. The deeper we looked, the worse it got.

The website

A further major issue was that the dentist’s website was poor. So much so that even if he’d have been getting the traffic he’d hoped for, the chances of it converting into meaningful enquiries was low. We are not sure if the marketing company built the website or if it was a DIY job, but it certainly didn’t meet the requirements the dentist was aspiring to. A responsible marketer would have advised that the website needed a full overhaul if the marketing campaign was to stand any chance at all. We advised just that, as well as providing clear guidance on an appropriate SEO strategy.


SEO can be a murky world and there are still too many suppliers who are “chancing” it at the expense of their clients. The example above is typical of where dentists sign up to a service which they cannot validate and then spend thousands of pounds before realising it’s rubbish.

If this sounds familiar, why not let the team at Dental Media audit your SEO to see what is *really* happening. We have years of experience and are highly respected in the discipline; so why not let us bring that experience to bear for your own campaigns? You can reach us on 01332 672548 and we’ll be pleased to help.