5 things your dental SEO team don’t want you to know
Seeking transparency with digital marketing
The world of dental SEO can be quite murky as some of the dentists reading this blog will be only too aware. There are more stories of bad work and banned websites than good unfortunately and over the years I’ve tried to highlight some of the many pitfalls and ‘gotchas’ in this blog.
Last week we took on two new dental SEO clients who came to us explaining how they’d fallen foul of unscrupulous SEO practices which left them high and dry with effectively zero Google presence. It’s prompted me to revisit the subject in today’s blog where we’ll look at the top five things your SEO agency don’t want you to know. The more dentists know about these potential pitfalls when choosing an optimisation partner, the less likely that they’ll get caught out by poor work down the track.
There isn’t any SEO happening
This may sound odd but lots of dentists are actually paying for SEO when there is no, or extremely limited, work happening on their behalf. That’s right, in many cases they’re paying for nothing. This is usually the case when a marketing company insists that a client takes a monthly maintenance contract and then sweetens it by claiming that SEO is also included. But SEO in the real sense of the word i.e. a proactive campaign to significantly improve rankings, isn’t being done at all. At best, the dentist gets an automatically generated report each month and maybe the odd quick adjustment of web page titles. This certainly isn’t sufficient to move the Google dial.
If you need SEO, this isn’t for you, so please don’t waste your money on those misleading offers.
The work is being outsourced
Many dental marketing agencies in the UK are outsourcing some or all of their SEO work to off-shore companies. They do this to take advantage of cheap labour rates in certain overseas countries.
The key concern here is one of quality control and this is increasingly important now that Google comes down heavily on SEO work which contravenes their stringent guidelines. Take for example link-building. There are lots of overseas SEO companies who still insist on creating lots of really bad back-links which, given time, will simply get a website penalised. Yet UK agencies still outsource the service whilst disclaiming any responsibility in their small print.
Ideally any SEO work should be done in-house in the UK with complete transparency – if yours isn’t, then there could be trouble down the track.
The keywords smoke screen
Keywords are important for defining an SEO campaign but nowhere near as important as high-quality traffic and conversions (enquiries). Yet lots of agencies still sell SEO based on keyword lists, with many of those keywords actually irrelevant and easy to get to the top of Google. Dentists are still falling for this unfortunately.
If your SEO team is still running your campaign solely based on keyword positions, you need to ask why and get more appropriate metrics in place.
Localisation – thinking you’re top of Google (but you’re not)
This is a particularly interesting example and really common unfortunately. Google serves personalised search results with a heavy reference to websites you’ve already visited. So if you’ve visited your own site (and many do of course) then unless you clear your browser, launch incognito mode and other technical tricks, you may well see yourself at the top of Google. But in reality you’re not and this isn’t what your users will see either!
Quite often I’ve heard from new UK dental clients who were asked to search for results on their practice PC during monthly account reviews with their former SEO guys. This gave a completely false picture to the dentist who assumed they were dominating Google; but of course they weren’t. Please look out for this.
Paying for back-links
Back-links are still a main driver for good search positions and they are not easy to get without a lot of hard work and persistence. This is one of the main reasons why good SEO needs a realistic budget.
One short-cut is to buy links, but it’s a big red-flag for Google and clearly steps outside of their web publishing guidelines. SEOs know this but still they persist, either buying links directly or paying to have blogs posted on third-party websites with links embedded. All of this is a big “no no” and Google will spot it sooner or later – a hard manual ranking penalty can easily follow, from which a website may never recover.
If your SEO team is buying links by whatever method, you need them to stop and better still, have any paid links removed immediately.
Whilst there are numerous risky techniques in play from UK dental SEO companies, the five discussed above are some of the most common ones. All of them are a little bit grim and could result in you wasting money, your website being banned, or both.
Forewarned is forearmed so please keep the above in mind when you are seeking an SEO partner. It’s not a decision you want to get wrong.
If you need guidance on SEO or any other aspect of dental website design and marketing, please get in touch with the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548.