Is Your Website Really Working?
The world of websites and online marketing can be confusing. Dentists and their staff often feel like their website could be doing more for them, but aren’t quite sure how to determine this or what to do about it. The goal of this article is to provide some clear, easy to understand tips that will help you understand how to get more value and new patients from your website.
When analyzing a website it is useful to separate the analysis into sections: 1) website code, 2) website content, and 3) other search engine optimization (SEO) factors.
Many companies that build websites simply do not understand how to optimize a website so it performs well on search engines. The reason is because building a website, and optimizing it for search engines are entirely different topics. Although the skill sets somewhat overlap, most website developers have not been trained or do not understand how to do this. This practice of optimizing websites for search engine ranking is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
One common area that is usually an SEO problem with websites are the “tags” in the code. Tags are descriptions found in the web page code that describe what the web page is about. There are different types of tags such as the Title tag,Metatags, and Image tags.
In general these tags should include detailed descriptions about your practice name, featured services, and geographic area(s) of your practice. These tags help search engines determine what your web page and website is about. Most websites do not have these tags properly optimized for search engines.
Common mistakes with website tags:
- Title tag does not include dentist name(s), location(s), or featured service(s).
- Metadescription tag is either not present, or does not reflect the proper key words.
- Metakeyword tags are either not present, not targeted for the primary key words, or are too broad in scope.
- Image tags are rarely implemented properly. Image tags should reflect key words for that webpage instead of simply being a generic filename.
Another common SEO problem area is with the actual written content. Many websites do not have pages written to focus on certain key words. Often there is too little, or too much content on a page…both are a problem. Most search engines have a “sweet spot” for the amount of content, and percentage of key words they like to see on a web page.
Common mistakes with website content:
- Not enough content on a webpage.
- Key words do not show up frequently enough on the page. They should show up at a higher percentage than other words on the page.
- Too many topics on a page. Many dental websites list a bunch of services with brief descriptions on a single webpage. Multiple topics dilute the key word concentration for that page. Each webpage should be about one topic, and the content and key words for that page should be optimized for that one topic.
Other SEO Factors
There are literally dozens of other topics to take into account when optimizing a website. Here are a few other key items to understand:
- Incoming links – it is very beneficial for your search engine ranking to have lots of incoming links to your website, especially from websites in the same industry. Most dental websites have very few incoming links which really hurts their rankings.
- Site Map – many websites don’t have a site map. Having a site map will help the search engines find all the pages on your website. Without a site map you risk part of your website not being found by search engines which is detrimental for your search engine rankings.
- Social Media Integration – it is important to have a plan for leveraging social media beyond just having links to them on your website (consistent posts, promotions, etc). Active, fresh social media content helps your SEO, and online lead generation.
- Flash – if your website is built in flash, then it is basically invisible to search engines since the content cannot be read and indexed. This is worst case scenario for SEO. If you have a flash website, you should have it rebuilt in a standard programming language as soon as possible.
If you would like to learn more about how to optimize your website, online marketing, or social media efforts, I highly recommend you check out WEOMedia (www.weodental.com). They offer a free website and online marketing analysis.