There are many reasons why a website does not rank for search phrases that will give you leads, mostly due to the fact that the website code may be inferior or there may not be enough content on the topic. There are also penalties that Google may impose on your website if you have engaged in SEO practices that are against the terms of service. Sometimes, you as the business owner may be completely unaware of the techniques that are being used by your SEO company, and one day good rankings turn into horrible rankings. This is usually due to the fact that your SEO company was doing something that is frowned-upon by Google, and they finally caught you. Maybe you inadvertently answered an email that said that the company will boost your rankings by creating 1,000 links to your website for only a few dollars. Even though you had the best intentions, this is against the terms of service and may get you pushed down in the rankings, even though you had no idea it was against the terms. While there are a million different reasons that you might not have good rankings, there are a few that impact several industries significantly, simply because of the widespread use of specific services. The main industries that we see these negative impacts happening is in the dentist and lawyer fields, and this article will help you avoid a few mistakes that directly impact dentist websites.
Most dentists have very little understanding of SEO (search engine optimization) and their knowledge of it comes from either marketing that has been sent to the office by SEO companies pitching services, or through articles they have found online. SEO is the process of doing specific things to a website that will increase the positions the site holds on Google searches, thus driving clicks to the website and leads. Roughly 75% of decisions that involve hiring companies start on Google if a person does not have a reference from someone they trust. This means that roughly 75% of potential patients go to Google first to search for “Las Vegas dentist” in order to get a list of the best dentists around them, and they narrow that list by looking at a few of the top websites. More than 50% of clicks through Google will go to the first business listing, with about half of that number going to each website below it. This means 50% goes to number 1, 25% goes to number 2, 12% goes to number 3 and so on. By the time you are below number six on the page, you are probably getting less than 1% of the potential traffic that is out there searching. This means it is critical for your website to be shown on the first page in the top six if you are going to get any benefit from your website at all, when it comes to potential patients who have never heard of you but who are actively looking for a dentist. They are not looking for the name of your practice, they are looking for general phrases like “Las Vegas best dentist.” So you understood that you needed a website, and you understood that you needed to rank on Google for it to get you new leads. You got a call from a salesman who told you he could make it easy for you, and they would handle all of it. The price sounded reasonable and you signed a contract. That was a mistake.
That company impressed you with how many websites they had done for dentists all over the country, and how many other clients they have. They talked about how they specialize in “dentist SEO” or “dental practice websites.” They promised you that they would build a clean website for your practice and get it online without all the confusing stuff about servers and things like that. They even said they “would do SEO” for you, which helps to get your practice the new leads that you need from Google. They built the site and it looked great, but the rankings they talked about never made your phone ring. You probably started doing paid search through them or even a different company that “specializes in dentists” to drive clicks to the site. Little did you know that there are specific flaws in their systems that are causing this, and even though they are not specifically lying to you, they are also not telling you everything. They are not telling you how SEO actually works, and what is missing from your site.
SEO is all about convincing Google that your website is the authority on a topic. The websites that Google considers as the best information on a subject are the ones that it puts at the top. Gone are the days when you could trick Google into thinking you were the authority by stuffing a specific word or phrase into the content a bunch of times. Gone are the days when you could just fill in the titles and descriptions on the pages, or fill in the line that says “keywords” and Google would automatically put you at the top. In 2020, you need to actually present the best information on the topic, the information that people are looking for. With regards to “Las Vegas dentist” searches, your website is going to have to present the best information to the Las Vegas community about dentistry. There is no other way to push rankings up. This is done through a process of creating unique content about the topic and putting it on the website, or on other websites and linking back to yours. This is SEO.
Google doesn’t like people who steal content, and as a matter of fact it punishes people who do. A few years ago, SEO companies realized that they needed content on their client’s websites in order to get higher rankings, so they started stealing it because that way is cheaper than paying writers. They developed programs that would look all over the internet for new content about a topic like dentistry, and then copy that content and put it on the client’s website. This was called “content scraping,” and it worked for a while. Finally, Google changed the way their system worked, and it analyzed the content on websites to only give benefit to the ones who created it. Basically, the first website where Google finds some content gets the credit, and every other website that has that duplicated content gets punished for stealing it. The punishment is being pushed down in the rankings for the phrases you are targeting. So by now you are probably saying, “but I never stole any content, and neither did the company I hired to build my website.” So why do you think you are being punished?
When big companies who “specialize” in dentist websites do a project for you, they will almost always offer you a choice of several different templates that your website will look like. They will personalize it with your logo and business name, but essentially it is the same as other dentists who choose the same template. They will then fill in the pertinent information about your practice specifically, with names and pictures of your office. They will do their best to make the site your own and unique for your practice, but it is still pretty much the same as a bunch of other dentist offices out there. Then comes the big mistake, the one that stops you from ranking in good positions.
If the company who built your site offers you access to a “content library” to put articles and information on your website, or they use a content library themselves to fill in a bunch of specific pages on aspects of dental procedures, they are killing your rankings. These big companies have paid writers in the past to create this content, and then as part of the service you are paying for they put that content on your website. It makes seems to make sense because everyone told you that to get rankings you need content on your website, and now you have lots of content. The problem is that a bunch of other dentist websites also have that same content on their sites, and only the first site to have it gets credit. Now Google has evolved enough to understand the difference between stealing content and the content that is housed in the libraries of these big companies, so you will probably not be penalized for having duplicated content on your site. The problem is that you are also not getting any benefit from having it, and it is taking up space where unique content could be providing you with the benefits you need in order to gain rankings. Your website is basically real estate, and every page represents a section of real estate that could be used for the benefit of creating higher rankings. If you are filling your website with content that is the same as the content on other dentist’s websites, you are wasting your valuable real estate. Customers do not read those articles and choose you as their dentist because they are so well-written. It is basically a waste of time and space, marketed to you as something that is important for rankings.
Here is how you can check to see if the content on your website is duplicated. Go to the article on your website that you suspect and highlight a few sentences in the middle of it. Copy that text and past it into the search bar on Google. If your website doesn’t come up number one when you hit the return button, then someone else got the credit for that content. If this is the case, then it is not helping your website in any way. Only unique and hand-written content can help your website rank higher. If you want to get higher rankings for your dental practice, call us at 702-767-4637, or click here: SEO for dentists