Technical SEO and your website

Why the technical performance of your website matters more than ever before – for users AND search engines

Have you noticed the proliferation of dental websites which rely on huge images to generate “wow” on the home page, typically presented via some sort of image switching mechanism or “slider”?

Most of the sites out there these days have something similar and it’s understandable why, at least from an aesthetic perspective. Such features are very appealing and as they say “a picture paints a thousand words”. Another website trend at the moment is something known as “parallax” effect which is where text moves on a page and the image moves behind it when you scroll. Also quite quirky and interesting.

Whilst these types of features are appealing and eye-catching for users, are they equally as good when it comes to satisfying the requirement of that other critical website user, Googlebot? This is the crawler which Google uses to gather data from your website to allow it to be indexed and then ranked in their search results. What Googlebot finds and how the data is interpreted, is incredibly important for how your website fares in the ranking index.

Why the technical infrastructure of a website matters for SEO

How your website performs technically has always been important for Google, but more so now than ever before. Pages which load slowly or use excessive javascript to load glitzy features like those mentioned above, aren’t always good from a technical SEO perspective and if not handled properly, can adversely affect how a website performs in search results. Google has increased the focus on these technical aspects along with their drive to make the web fast and mobile-friendly. Some suggest that making money is the key reason behind their initiative, simply because they want the mobile landscape to be as accessible as possible for supporting their advertising network. Others suggest it’s more to do with good house-keeping and being responsible custodians of the web – but I’ll let you decide!

The upshot is that all website owners, dentists included, now need to ensure that their websites are technically as well as aesthetically excellent, both to perform well on mobile devices and in the search results. However, many don’t actually know about the technical considerations and are happy enough when their designer presents a ‘whizzy’ website with lots of bells and whistles; but it would be a big mistake simply to accept this and neglect performance issues.

What you need to check

When you sign up to a website contract in the first instance, you need to make sure your website designer knows that you will be looking for guarantees that your new website meets certain performance criteria. These range from page load speed through to coding standards and more and are beyond the scope of this discussion. However, you can make a good start by looking up the Google speed checker and mobile-friendly tools on the internet and asking your designer to validate the design there and comment on the output. Essentially, it’s a simple traffic-light type system and you need to be aiming for the “green” zone to make sure you are meeting Google’s latest recommendations.

Checking your existing website

It shouldn’t just be new websites which are checked and you should validate the performance of any existing website too. Web performance standards become increasingly strict in relatively small periods of time and so something which was compliant even 18 months ago, may well not be now. So you should be going back to your designers for a website tune-up periodically. This may cost some money, but it’s well worthwhile.

Wrapping up

An aesthetically pleasing dental website is very important, but equally important is how well it performs technically, both for SEO and for user experience. Make sure your designer understands this and is prepared to demonstrate that your site complies with latest standards.

If you’re concerned that your dental practice website may be under-performing and you can’t get any help from your existing designer or they want to charge you lots of money, please give the team at Dental Media a call on 01332 672548 and we’ll carry out an audit and make obligation-free recommendations. Don’t get left behind in the website performance race!