Is Your SEO Guy Pulling The Wool Over Your Eyes?

“Strongest SEO team in the UK” – says who?

confused dentistIf you’ve been a dental practice owner for a while and during that time you’ve purchased services in the area of dental marketing, you will possibly know what a minefield it can be. It’s not easy to find a reliable, consistent provider who is focused on getting results and totally transparent along with it, and unfortunately the number of bad guys out there is increasing.

When you’ve been in the business for many years, building a strong reputation for helping hundreds of dentists with their marketing, on and off-line; it can be quite frustrating when new teams appear with glitzy websites and making lots of bold claims about their ‘success’ with SEO and other methods. But it’s not just the new entrants who make these hugely over exaggerated claims; a number of marketing teams who have been around for a while try to bamboozle potential new clients with what can only be described as “smoke and mirrors”.

One such example currently claims to have the strongest dental SEO team in the UK, but when you look closely, you’ll see that this is pretty far off the mark. Their client results are at best very average and their own website was actually penalised by Google not too long ago due to using techniques way outside of Google’s publishing guidelines. If they managed to do this to their own site, what are they risking with dentist’s websites?

The problem here, and it’s a big one, is that your average dentist has no clue how to differentiate between good and bad and is easily duped by glossy websites which claim amazing successes. But if you are experienced and you look more closely at what they say and do, it’s very clear that their a lot of the claims are not based on substance but mainly obfuscation and misinformation. So how are they doing this and what do you need to look out for to ensure you don’t get duped? Let’s take a closer look at these questionable ways!

Presenting vanity metrics

For understanding’s sake, you can consider vanity metrics to be data which looks great on paper but has little beneficial effect when it comes to a business’s bottom line. Unscrupulous marketing companies take bits of data like this, make a big splash of it on their website and hook unsuspecting customers in. But how would you know what is meaningful and what isn’t if you have little experience? Unfortunately you likely won’t so it’s always best to seek a second opinion from someone you trust.

For example, it’s easy to secure thousands of website visits from social media and to rank irrelevant keywords high up in Google, but it won’t do you much good in terms of new patient enquiries!

One of the key stunts which you’ll see pulled concerns those irrelevant keywords which look great on paper but which few people search for. Let’s see what I mean by that.

Easy keywords

minimise irrelevant search queriesThe marketing team I mentioned above who claim to be the “strongest” in the UK, make a big play of the keyword rankings they’ve achieved for their dental clients.

But look closely and you’ll see exactly what they’re up to.

Trick one – they pick an area with low competition and then show that they achieved a decent keyword ranking e.g. “dentist Trumpton” for their client. However, when you look closely you will see that there are maybe only two or three dentists in that particular region and therefore relatively simple to achieve the top slot. Indeed it can often be done with good, initial on-page SEO without any external linking work. And yet they’re probably still charging hundreds of pounds per month for the privilege!

Trick two – in areas where competition is more significant and where they haven’t achieved a top result for trickier terms, they introduce a third or fourth term into the search phrase e.g. “family dentist Bilgetown”. This is way easier to achieve than the generic “dentist” term but of course far fewer people actually search for it. The term may be slightly useful but it certainly isn’t as grand or critical as they make out with the big splash on their website.

This is so important to understand as the presentation of simple achievements can make a marketing company look much more capable than they actually are.

Analysing the work

Looking deeper into these claims of success, we are able to deploy specialist tools to examine the type of SEO work these providers are doing for their clients. It makes for worrying reading. Far from being a strong SEO team employing class-leading, ethical techniques, what they are actually doing is very, very basic and actually quite risky. This stems from simple directory submissions to outsourcing link-building to offshore teams with no apparent quality control. These types of techniques can get traction quite quickly but they are outside of Google’s guidelines and are prone to being penalised. This is absolutely not worth risking!

So there is nothing good about their claims, indeed what they are doing is low-level and prone to problems down the track. Unfortunately this type of behaviour is widespread so you really do need to do your due diligence before subscribing.

Recommendations

Where some of these companies have been clever is being relentless in seeking recommendations and reviews from their clients. They understand that Google reviews are very powerful and so they do all they can to secure them. These techniques range from offering free training seminars in exchange for a review, offering some “freebie” (albeit relatively worthless) services and more. Whilst this is clever and may make those companies look top-notch, remember that most of those reviews have been extracted rather given independently – so please take them with a pinch of salt.

Summarising….

In our blog we try to highlight the types of questionable tricks that are widely in play in the field of dental SEO and broader digital marketing. There are way too many self-proclaimed experts who deploy all manner of techniques to dupe unsuspecting dentists and you really do need to be aware of falling into the traps. In particular, watch out for the exaggerated SEO claims which are rarely fulfilled and will leave you a long way out-of-pocket.

If you are confused by all of the content out there and simply need an honest chat to try to get to the bottom of it all, just let us know and we’ll be pleased to help. You can reach the team at Dental Media on 01332 672548. We’ll be pleased to demonstrate our success in detail so you will feel confident about what to expect. No smoke, no mirrors.