We all want to show up on the first page of search engine results (not to mention the vaunted top spot). But, as with so many Google-related endeavors, that’s unfortunately easier said than done. No matter how much stellar content you put up on your site, how many PPC ads you purchase, and how modern your UX and site design, you aren’t seeing a rise in the rankings. This is probably the most universal problem small businesses encounter in their web marketing, and it’s because we all have the same goal: that golden first place listing.
Google wants to show searchers the results that are the best for their needs. What does this mean exactly? It ranges from whatever is closest geographically to whatever precisely matches their search inquiries to what’s getting the most traffic at the time. Search engines don’t give away their secrets, but with concerted effort, we can discover them, piece by piece. Of course, as soon as we get a good handle on what’s working, an algorithm change throws everything up in the air again – but that’s a story for another time. For now, let’s talk about what Google is currently respecting, and how you can help your dental website follow suit.
Solid Bets for Solid Rankings – This Year and Next
- Physical location – Probably the most frustrating component of current ranking factors, the searcher’s physical location now plays a significant role. This reduces the possibility of ranking in nearby cities, and makes it tougher to get a leg up on competition. But it’s a wise choice to view physical location as an equalizer – after all, unless you have locations across your business area, nobody can trick Google into thinking they’re everywhere at once. Make sure that your Google My Business listing is accurate, with the location pinpointed perfectly, and that your hours and day-to-day information are up to date. This is where Google draws its geographical info from, and it’s paramount that it be correct. If you have duplicate Google+ pages, this can also be a kiss of death, confusing Google bots so that they end up disregarding you entirely – let us know and we’ll help you trim them down to the real listing that represents your office.
- Popularity – It’s high school all over again. Your site needs to be popular, i.e. receiving regular traffic and creating positive experiences for users. This can lead to a tricky starting place for new offices or sites, as they need to break out of the early traffic lull to see improvements. Make sure that your site is user-oriented, with useful and practice-specific information that gives searchers the answers they’re looking for. Valuable links are also helpful, although link building is getting harder and harder to do the right way – who knows how Google will view it in the future?
- Onsite content – Google has been making strides since the early days of search engine optimization to value quality over quantity. This applies to the links leading to your website, the website’s pages, and the media within. Gone are the days when you could build 20 links a day and publish 100-word posts heavy with keywords. Instead, you want to craft content that leaves users satisfied and builds your practice’s reputation and message. Regular blogging is a must, and it’s never a bad idea to revisit your main services pages for tweaks.
- Reputation – With our clients, we’re a broken record: you need Google reviews. While sites like Healthgrades, Facebook, or Yelp can also build a beneficial view of your office for interested patients, only Google reviews are going to have a direct impact on your rankings. Services like our Reputation Management package will help you garner reviews from happy patients, and hear out those who are voicing negative experiences without them posting those thoughts across the web. We’ve seen excellent practices get dinged by an angry patient on a mission before, and review management helps keep those thoughts from being widely available to others considering your office.
- Consistency of information – Directories and local listings are your friends. Your business’ needs to be consistent across the board so that search engines know exactly what to report back to searchers.
- Meta tags – The meta title and description on your site’s pages do still matter, although Google ignores them in the SERPs (search engine results pages) as it sees fit. Make sure they’re written for humans, not robots, and that they both accurately describe the content within and provide an incentive to click.
Looking for a boost in your online presence? We offer customizable monthly SEO plans to boost visibility, generate leads, and revitalize your website. Just get in touch to learn more.
2016 Ranking Factors | SEO in 2016 | How to Get on the First Page of Google