Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between bad and good SEO for dentists? Understanding the differences in the SEO services you’re signing up for can make or break your business. This is why we thought it would be a good idea to address the following questions:
- What is bad SEO?
- What is good SEO?
- What should I look for in a good SEO company?
What is Bad SEO?
Let’s start by explaining what bad SEO is, and how you can help your business avoid it. Just to be clear, there are really two things you should avoid when it comes to SEO, a person or agency that doesn’t know what they are doing and “black hat SEO.” Black hat SEO can be summed up as the practice of gaming or cheating Google’s system. Google has a specific set of quality guidelines everyone should follow when it comes to inclusion in their search engine. You can read the full Google Webmaster Guidelines here if you’re really interested. We won’t go into detail on each item, but the key here is to make sure that you are not engaging in, nor hiring anyone who engages in, taking shortcuts for the sole purpose of higher rankings. The most common practices that can have an extremely negative impact on your Google rankings are scraped content (or plagiarism), buying or exchanging links for the sole purpose of manipulating rankings, and creating pages with malicious behavior.
Google fought the above spam tactics by launching rolling updates coined as the Penguin & Panda updates. The purpose of these updates was to help rid their search results of websites that have engaged in black hat SEO tactics. These tactics tended to include:
- Keyword Stuffing – Placing keywords unnaturally into metadata and content in order to rank for a given keyword
- Over Optimization – Very similar to keyword stuffing, placing the keywords into code and content unnaturally
- Buying Links – The act of purchasing low quality or spam links in order to achieve higher rankings
Buying links from other websites and participating in link schemes are absolutely the most common problem that we see on the web today. A couple of years ago it was extremely common practice to go out and purchase links in order to rank higher because everyone was doing it. It was extremely hard to rank if you weren’t doing it. Google caught on to this and has since launched quite a few updates to their algorithm that penalizes sites that participate in this behavior. So watch out for anyone that is selling “guaranteed 1st place rankings” or “rank super fast” products. They might follow through on their promise of getting you to the top quickly, but that top spot will be extremely short lived (if you actually get there). Google WILL find out that you’ve cheated and most likely ban your site from search results. Recovering from these types of penalties can be devastating, and it’s best to avoid anyone selling you these types of services.
What is Good SEO?
Good SEO is essentially the opposite of what I mentioned above for bad SEO. We want to make sure that when we optimize a website today, we shy away from using any black hat tactics. Instead, we want to focus on creating awesome “unique” content, that is mobile friendly, displays all location information properly and uses reputable sites to link back to it.
Creating Great Content
When writing website content we should research a topic and write great copy, rather than copy/paste from other similar websites. When writing unique content we want to create pages around a given topic and not focus on a specific keyword too much. This will help us not over stuff a web page with a given keyword. We also want to make sure that the site architecture is easy to use and that pages link well from one to the other (inter-linking).
We want to make sure that the website is coded properly so that it displays well on desktop and mobile alike. We also want to make sure that the site loads extremely fast because so many visitors will be viewing the website on their mobile devices.
Links Use White Hat Tactics
Building links to your website are harder today than it was a few years ago, but it’s not altogether impossible. When looking for websites that you want to link back to yours, make sure that they are in the same industry or share the same topics and that their website is reputable. For dentists, this can be sites like the American Dental Association, local dental association, local directories or local chamber of commerce.
Easy to Share Socially
The best thing about the internet in today’s day and age is social media. Social media can help you share the great content that you’ve created to the world and your followers. Your website should include easy sharing buttons to make your content easily shareable between your audience.
What Should You Look For in a Good SEO Company?
Answering this question is always tough. You want to ask your prospective dental SEO company or dental website agency about what they plan to do to get you to the top of Google. If that company doesn’t have a clear-cut answer, then you should probably take a pass on them. Having a clearly defined action plan on how an agency plans to get their clients to the top of Google is crucial. If an SEO company mentions that they have a secret system to get you to the top quickly, you should run the other direction. There are no shortcuts when it comes to SEO. The best SEO companies should explain that it takes time to show results because that is the absolute truth. An agency or company that doesn’t manage expectations properly might not be the best company to work with either. In the end, you’ll just end up disappointed and looking for new services.
Please feel free to contact us at Elevate DDS Dental Websites and Marketing with any questions about your past, present or future SEO status. We love helping our clients get to the top!
Thank you –