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You’ve certainly heard the saying, “What you see is what you get.” As a dentist, you know that isn’t true: Veneers can make imperfect teeth look perfectly straight and white. Crowns look like real teeth. Implants support a whole jaw or two of real-looking prosthetics. The same is true with Google ranking. What you see IS NOT always what you get.
Google’s search algorithm is very complicated. In August 2013, Google entirely revamped its search algorithm. An algorithm means the formulas and inputs that Google uses to try to give you the best results it can to the search you enter. You’ll hear this new search algorithm called Hummingbird. With Hummingbird, Google is not only using the phrase you searched, such as “dental implants Los Angeles,” but it is also trying to figure out what you actually MEAN.
To figure out what you mean, Google is looking not only at the terms you used but also:
- other websites you have visited
- other searches you have conducted
- which websites you stayed on longer than others
- just hundreds and hundreds of pieces of information.
This is part of the reason it is so important to have good content on your own website, so that people will come, stay, read, and boost Google’s value of your page for lots of different search terms.
You want someone to find you after Googling a term as simple as “dentist St. Louis” or as complicated as “who is the best dentist to fix my smile close to my location.”
That’s what Google wants, too, and that’s why it keeps tweaking its formula for giving you results. That’s why so many factors go into returning your search results.
And that’s why simply stuffing keywords and keyword strings all over your web page is less effective than it used to be.
DENTISTS WHO PERSEVERE SUCCEED
Google changed its search formula more than a year ago to make Google searches smarter. But it kept many of the same sub-formulas (such as PageRank, Panda, and Penguin) that feed into your overall ranking.
PageRank, for instance, decides how important links to your page are.
Even though it KEPT some of the sub-formulas, it tweaked them. And it has KEPT tweaking them. That means Google is offering users super-specific, super-local, super-INDIVIDUALIZED search results.
So two people sitting next to each other in a coffee shop with the same search terms may not even get results in the same order.
As you can imagine, these changes make web marketing much more difficult.
But one fact is clear: Web marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
That’s why we ask for an 18-month commitment. Anybody who is willing to go short-term or no contract for your web marketing isn’t worried about your long-term success.
While you should start to see some uptick in web traffic within the first few months, you don’t really start to take off until 6, 9, or 12 months from the start, depending on how much you are putting into your marketing efforts.
Much like the stock market, those who ride the ups and downs, the changes and trends, have success.
IGNORE SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS
We recently got an email from a client with a laundry list of items to discuss. Among them was this:
“I seemed in early searches to be slipping in implants and sedation–any thoughts.”
Here was our unfiltered, unedited response back to him:
“We don’t watch search engine rankings very closely … they are less and less important, and Google provides less data.
Our focus is on great content, keeping your site fresh, video, optimizing constantly, but the metrics we optimize too are becoming more ambiguous.
Down the road, 1-2 years, ‘keywords’ will be obsolete.
I’m happy to look at any specific issues, but realize that Google is controlling ‘keyword data’ more and more, exponentially so from the SEO side (vs. PPC).”
KEYWORDS ARE BECOMING HARDER TO MANIPULATE AND TO TRACK
Let’s say you find that you are in the number 1, 2, 5, or 10 position in search ranking for a particular keyword string, but only a handful of people are using that phrase or keyword.
How much good are those rankings doing you?
Google holds websites related to health and finances to a higher standard than other websites for ranking purposes.
Google web crawlers and real live reviewers are looking for items on a website that will help real people:
- Contact Us pages
- About Us pages
- Clear knowledge and expertise on the subject discussed
Have content on your website that informs real people about things they care about, and you will get new patients.
ONLY ONE NUMBER MATTERS
We’ve talked about Google and its search algorithm, Hummingbird. We’ve talked about Pandas and Penguins, and what they mean to your ranking on a search engine results page.
We’ve talked about SEO, PPC and organic traffic, and online audience optimization.
Now, you can forget all that stuff because it doesn’t matter.
As long as you are converting new contacts into patients, THAT’S what matters.
Not your number of page clicks. Not average time on your website.
Not your PageRank. Not how high or low you are on a Google search for “dental implants” in your area.