When I was approached recently by a member of our sales team to do a post on how doctors can choose an SEO company, my first thought was, “They shouldn’t choose an SEO company.” Instead, doctors should be looking to companies that offer comprehensive Internet marketing and not just SEO. Doctors need to be looking to companies that are looking at Internet marketing as a whole, because these days SEO is just one piece of a much larger puzzle and it alone won’t produce the results you need. So what should doctors be looking for, and what questions should they be asking?
Oftentimes Internet marketing companies claim to have a magic formula to earn rankings, traffic, and exposure for your website. The fact of the matter is, Internet marketing should include insight from you and your practice. At no point should an Internet marketing company keep you in the dark about what they are doing.
What To Consider:
Speak with an Internet marketing company in detail before you sign on the dotted line and get a solid understanding of what it is they are going to offer you. Some questions to start with:
- What is your process for helping me achieve my goals? Do they run baselines? Do they perform an overall site audit? Do they analyze content?
- How do you build links to my website? If they are unable to share this information, it’s possible they are involved in some sort of link scheme that may hurt your website. Link acquisition can come from outreach, PR, and content development if done naturally and ethically.
- Will I have access to analytics and reporting? If they refuse to give you insight into the performance of your program, this too may be a sign that something fishy is going on.
We recently started working with a doctor who came to us on the tail end of an existing program with an SEO company that had been managing their efforts for a couple of years. As we transitioned the client and integrated them into our services the client was still in contact with the previous company during the transition due to some difficulties we were having with account access. After speaking to the owner of the company the client was informed that the company was dropping out of the business because their SEO techniques were no longer working thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. The problem with companies that only do “SEO” is that they are only focused on rankings and backlinks, often ignoring the bigger picture when it comes to the needs of search engines and consumers.
What To Consider:
SEO is a foundation to build upon for all of your online marketing efforts. If you are only looking at the search engines for traffic and are ignoring all other online channels you risk living and dying at the hand of the search engines. You want to be as visible as possible and not rely solely on just one online channel for your efforts. When choosing an Internet marketing company find out if they are familiar with, or offer, services that can help you with the following:
- Local Search
- Social Media
- Content Marketing
These elements will not only help your SEO, but will help create safety nets in the event something does happen to your search engine presence, after all even a site doing things right can be unintentionally penalized.
Hundreds, Thousands…MILLIONS OF LINKS!!
If you’re familiar with SEO, you know that backlinks are definitely part of the overall equation when it comes to showing up in the search results for certain queries. However with Google’s Penguin update the game changed a bit in that Google was cracking down even further on unnatural link schemes. If an Internet marketing company promises you X number of links per month, run…run like the wind! The only way a company can guarantee link acquisition numbers is if they control the sites they are posting them on or they are doing a mass distribution via directories, blog comments, forum spam, or the like.
Large automated link schemes can give you some short-term gains, and if you wind up on top you’ll be loving life. But here’s the catch: If Google’s algorithm catches you, the time spent trying to get back to the top can be devastating to your business.
What To Consider:
The search engines are looking at more and more signals to establish the value and quality of a website when it comes to rankings. While links are still very important there are means of obtaining them through content marketing and other outreach efforts that can help you grow your online presence. As with anything in Internet marketing, its key to focus on quality not quantity. Three high-quality, relevant links can hold the same weight, if not more, than 1,000 spammy links.
Guarantees and Rankings
First of all, rankings are no longer the core metric you should be looking at for your SEO efforts. Putting all your effort into that one term that you think is the most important to your practice won’t bring you half the benefits of having an extensive catalog of terms driving traffic to your website. Second, no one can guarantee rankings.
What To Consider:
As I pointed out when I wrote about choosing an SEO a few years ago, Google specifically points out that no one can guarantee search engine placement and if an Internet marketing company offers you a guarantee in ranking, this should be a red flag.
Rankings are influenced by so many factors these days thanks to personalization, that what I see, versus what you see, versus what your best friend down the street sees can be drastically different. Because of this they are a) an unreliable metric, and b) hard to effectively track.
While it’s definitely valuable to have some insight to how your site performs from a ranking standpoint, if top rankings is the only thing your SEO team is preaching, you may want to start asking questions about traffic, referrals, and conversions. If rankings are the focal point, oftentimes link schemes and webspam are the only means of adding value to your website and more often than not these will not drive additional quality traffic to your website.
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At Plastic Surgery Studios we focus on the long-term goals of your practice and work to help educate you on the trends that are going to help grow your practice both online and offline. We want your practice to stand the test of time online and in the search engines. Our methods are not tailored for short term gains at the cost of long term benefit.
Oftentimes our doctors will get pitches from outside SEO companies claiming to get them better results for one or two hot ticket keywords, or promise them rankings for every term under the sun. But what these companies fail to realize is that we are looking at the bigger picture for our doctors and recognize that SEO is just the foundation of a strong Internet marketing effort. We take into consideration traditional marketing and PR, recognizing that the industry as a whole is moving in this direction and that the sooner our clients adopt these practices the longer they’ll stay on top.
Our goal is to help you achieve your goals by becoming an extension of your medical practice. If you’d like to know how Plastic Surgery Studios can help your medical practice, please contact us for information on some of our various Internet marketing services.