Google is the most popular search engine in the world by far and one of the most popular sites dentists use to promote their practices.
Google offers both free and paid options for dentists to market their practice. Free options include search-engine optimization, or SEO, which involves setting up your website, social-media accounts, and other aspects of your digital footprint to get search engines to see you as relevant and list your practice before others when people search for practices like yours. When done well, your practice will organically appear in the map Google includes on the first page of results as well as on the website listings below the map.
Google also offers pay-per-click advertising, or PPC, on a paid basis. With PPC advertising, Google highlights your practice on top of the organic search results, and you pay Google when someone clicks on your listing. (SEO and PPC are often collectively referred to as search-engine marketing, or SEM.)
Although Google and other search engines have become among the most popular ways to promote dental practices, many dentists have grown frustrated by how frequently Google changes the algorithm it uses to determine which websites to list first. Google changes the algorithm multiple times per year and this results in thousands of websites being penalized by Google because of their SEO practices.
I recently had the opportunity to host Grace Rizza of Identity Dental Marketing for live training about dental-practice marketing in my Free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook Group. Grace helps dentists develop custom marketing plans and runs SEM campaigns for dentists. Although change can be frustrating, Grace explained, there’s no reason to fear Google algorithm changes. In fact, Grace revealed that she’s never had a client penalized by a Google algorithm change in all her years of helping people.
Here’s what she said you need to know.
How to Algorithm-Proof Your Search Engine Optimization
One myth about Google algorithm updates is that each update essentially resets search rankings, undoes years of goodwill, and buries companies that once enjoyed first-page prominence.
The reality is most Google algorithm updates don’t change too much. Moreover, the updates that significantly change things do so with the goal of returning the most relevant search results.
In practical terms, that means if you’re conducting your search-engine marketing in an ethical way, you’re highly unlikely to notice any meaningful difference when Google updates its algorithm, especially over the long term. On the other hand, if you’re engaging in underhanded techniques designed to manipulate search results, you have reason to be concerned, because Google’s updates are designed to weed you out. Many times, this happens unintentionally, especially with dentists running their own SEM campaigns who unwittingly follow the advice of uninformed or untrustworthy books, blogs, or people.
How to avoid unintentionally violating ethical SEO standards.
Ethical search-engine optimization, or “white-hat SEO,” as it’s referred to in the industry, includes doing things like writing guest blogs and articles for other websites, building quality content on your site that other sites link to, and consistently updating your site with blog posts and other content.
Search-engine optimization that Google frowns upon, or “black-hat SEO,” as it’s referred to in the industry, includes things like keyword stuffing, which involves loading the content of your website with key search terms, or keywords, in an unnatural way to attempt to trick Google into thinking your site is most relevant when people search for those terms. Another black-hat technique includes filling your site with keyword-rich hidden text that visitors can’t see, but which search engines will index.
Here’s why the techniques you use for search-engine optimization matter.
Although many people express frustration with Google’s business practices, it’s important to remember Google’s in business to make money, just like most businesses.
One of the ways it does so is by selling pay-per-click ads to people. Google’s ability to attract more search users makes it attractive to advertising clients. The better it does at ensuring it returns the most relevant search results, the better it will be positioned to make money.
Because of that, the best way to protect yourself from algorithm updates is to create a robust digital imprint that accurately represents your practice to the world. Reputable search-engine-marketing companies can help guide you, letting you know what keywords to focus on, what content to include on your site, how to get guest-blogging and article-contribution opportunities, and more, in order to naturally rise up in Google’s search results.
On the other hand, be wary of black-hat SEO techniques, either on your own or with a search-engine-optimization company. Be careful who you take advice from when it comes to search-engine optimization.
Are you positioned to withstand the next Google algorithm change?
Have you been penalized by a Google algorithm change? If so, it’s possible you intentionally or unintentionally engaged in search-engine optimization techniques that Google frowns upon.
Making sure your search-engine optimization is consistent with what search engines such as Google consider ethical is the best way to protect yourself against algorithm changes.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
While Google’s search algorithm changes can have your office scrambling to keep up, there are simple, proven and effective strategies to keep your practice growing and your marketing effective. And over 300+ practices have experienced these strategies in our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. If you recognize the importance of having marketing that will work for you, and you want a simpler strategy than keeping up with Google, now is the time to save your spot here for just $47. Plus get 20% off when you use the code CHALLENGE at checkout!