Dummies’ guide to Google part three – SEO
You’ve built a practice website and filled it with information for potential patients. So where are they? Chris Baker explains all.
The best-looking website in the world will be utterly useless if no one can find it. Potential patients will generally find your website by using a search engine and typing in ‘keywords’ that are of interest to them, eg, ‘dental implant’ or ‘dentist Truro’.
Search engines use algorithms to find the most relevant content. There are quite a few search engines available but the key one is Google, as it receives almost 90% of all search traffic (according to statistics website statista.com) – the next largest being Bing, with around 10%.
It is clear that the nearer the top of the first page of Google that you appear, the more people will see your website. So, how can you achieve this?
Build and pre-launch
Build your website with Google and search engines in mind so that they find it easy to locate relevant information. You will have to consider many items, including:
- Header tags (the name of each page)
- Page descriptions
- Image tags
- Sitemap (so that users and search engines find their way around easily).
The content of your site should be unique, relevant and updated regularly. The reason that Google has become the number one search engine is that it finds the best and most relevant content. Ensure that yours is!
When your site is ready to be launched, it should be submitted to Google and all the other search engines so that it will be included on future searches. Google loves inbound links, ie, a link to your website on someone else’s – but only those that are genuine and from a reputable source.
Once your site is launched, there are two further avenues to consider. The first of these is organic search engine optimisation (SEO). Organic SEO is the ongoing process of optimisation of your website to ensure that it gets to the top of search engines and stays there. This is necessary, as search engines constantly change their search algorithms – it requires constant attention and knowledge to stay ahead of the game. We recommend that your website is reviewed and updated on a monthly basis.
The second avenue is pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. As the name suggests, you choose an amount that you are happy to spend per click and you then choose the relevant keywords that you wish your ‘ad’ to appear for. If you do pursue pay-per-click advertising then your ad really must appear in the top three (see my dummies’ guide to PPC – Dentistry vol 23 no. 2, 2 February 2017).
Pay-per-click advertising is so much more straightforward than organic SEO that many may ask, ‘Why bother with organic SEO at all?’ The simple reason is that many people do not click on the sponsored links as they know they are advertising – recent statistics suggested that searchers were 72% more likely to click on a natural listing than PPC.
A word of advice
One final word of advice. All of the techniques that I have touched upon are ethical and adhere to Google and other search engines’ codes of practice. Beware of techniques such as bulk link exchange programs or spamming that promise quick results. The minute that search engines realise what you are doing, your website will be removed from listings and your domain name blacklisted!
For more information call 0845 370 2211, email [email protected] or visit www.coronadental.co.uk. If you have any comments or suggestions for future dummies’ guides, get in touch with [email protected].