An article in searchengineland.com reported that Google rolled out the second version of its mobile-friendly algorithm in mid-May.
Mobile-friendly websites might have seen a boost in their search rankings as a result of the roll-out, everything else being equal. However, the algorithm does a page-by-page search and ranking, so full indexing takes time.
The potential downside to the roll-out is that if your website or other online content isn’t fully mobile-compatible, you’re likely to take, or have taken, a hit.
The emphasis on mobile search isn’t new; I’ve been writing about it for some time. Searches from smartphones overtook searches from desktop or laptop computers in 2015, and the edge is increasing. Still, there’s a tendency for quite a few dentists to have a “fire and forget” approach to their websites. As long as they seem to still be getting patients through the website, they’re happy.
But the online search landscape is far more competitive than it used to be. Dentists who fall behind on what’s required to place high in search engine page results will fall behind on attracting the new patients they need to grow and prosper.
What’s required to remain competitive includes providing fresh, useful, and authoritative content and doing the search engine optimization (SEO) work to satisfy Google’s requirements. Both of those are time-intensive activities, so it’s not surprising that dentists often don’t make them a priority.
Today, your website has to be mobile-optimized to avoid being downgraded in search results. If you’re not sure whether yours is, check the Google mobile-friendly tool, and check Google’s mobile guidelines.
With some study and considerable effort, you can optimize your website for mobile viewing. You can also update your site’s search engine optimization, if you’ve fallen behind. But you won’t make any money by doing that.
Dentists make money by actually treating patients, not by doing their own SEO. And unless you have a particular aptitude for, and interest in, SEO work, you won’t do it as well as someone who specializes in that discipline.
After all, you wouldn’t hire an amateur dentist. Why would you hire yourself as an SEO specialist, particularly when you could be making more money doing what you trained to do?
There are plenty of SEO firms out there who will take your money, and most of them will do a creditable job with long-tail keywords, meta-titles and meta-descriptions, backlinks, and the whole array of optimization techniques. They’ll even make your website mobile-friendly, if it’s not already.
But SEO techniques are only part of the solution in being found online. Content is an area that dentists can’t afford to ignore. Your website has to provide expert, useable information to answer searcher’s questions. And the “fire and forget” approach to content no longer works, either. Google wants fresh, or at least frequently updated, unique content. Without it, you’ll take a hit in search rankings.
There are relatively few SEO providers who can also furnish the dental content you need. You’ll have to put in the time to produce it yourself, or outsource your content. That leaves you overseeing two vendors.
If you’d like me to evaluate your website and tell you how it can be improved, go to smartboxdental.com, go to the Learn tab, click Products, and then click on The Swift Kick Dental Website Review about halfway down the page. You can order a customized 30-minute video critique of your site, social media presence, online patient reviews, dental videos and more using our 131-point dental web marketing checklist.