If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a billion times: If you don’t play by the rules, Google will kick you to the cyber curb. Case in point, JC Penney’s was caught using black hat SEO tactics (this refers to outside-the-rules strategies), and Google “quickly crushed JC Penney in its SERPs,” according to www.b2cmarketinginsider.com. Penney’s apparently participated in unscrupulous link building practices. Backlinks to Penney’s site were widespread on spammy websites that had nothing to do with Penney’s products or services. In short, the black hatters tried to fool the Google beast, and Penney’s got eaten alive.
This news will probably do two things. One, it will make unethical SEO guys think, “Hey, if Penney’s did for a while and didn’t get caught, so can I.” Two, it will result in more changes from Google to thwart SEO black magic.
What a Google Wants, What a Google Needs
Google may be computer science, but it’s certainly not rocket science, at least on the most fundamental level. Google does not publish all of the criteria for indexing websites. However, the company doesn’t leave us without direction. The Webmaster Guidelines from Google clearly state that when a website is written for humans, meaning that it has good information, and the content is unique, it should do well. Sure, the content has to be searchable (live text), and respectable backlinks are of benefit. Google even publishes some simple guidelines to explain photos and SEO.
Multiple Listings on Organic Google SERPs
You may not have noticed, but when you do a keyword search on Google these days, in the search engine results pages (SERPs), websites only show up once each — and that includes the paid (Adwords) and unpaid (organic) results. In the past, one website may have multiple pages indexed and shown on a SERP. A well optimized dental site might hold five results on page one of Google for a keyword. This is no longer the case.
If you want your business to show up more than once for a particular keyword phrase, you need multiple domains with pages optimized for those keywords. This is where blogs and microsites come into play. There are experts out there who will disagree with me, but multiple, well optimized websites are the best strategy for long-term top rankings on Google. To those experts, I would ask where their proof is. To you, my client (dentist, physician, small business), I recommend multiple microsites or blog sites for the procedures or services you most want to promote — and this is particularly important in competitive markets.
What About Adwords?
Unless you are getting proven traffic from Adwords and you like the return you’re getting on your investment (ROI), ditch Adwords. Instead, go with microsites or blogs.
What’s a Microsite? What’s a Blog? What’s the Difference?
First, let me do a quick vocabulary refresher. A domain is the name of your website. The domain for this website is www.moderndentalmarketing.com. A domain, as stated above, can show up just once on Google SERPs for a particular keyword.
A microsite is a small website ( one to five pages) that focuses on just a few targeted keywords. It resides on its own domain. The content (text) on a microsite is unique, so it’s not found on other websites or blogs.
A blog is a website that features newsworthy posts, usually between once a day and once a week, depending on the owner’s preference. A blog can reside on a website (share the domain), but in light of Google’s one-domain-per-keyword SERPs rule, it’s in your best interest to host your blog on an independent domain.
Your microsites or blogs may focus on keywords like: cosmetic dentistry, porcelain veneers, CEREC crowns, Invisalign clear braces, dental implants, oral surgery, teeth whitening, dental braces, dentures, etc. True microsites focus on ONE keyword. Blogs usually focus on a group of keywords, like those pertaining to cosmetic dentistry, for instance. If you’re wondering whether blogs or microsites are better, no one really knows. I tend to think blogs are better since blog posts are considered news, and news ranks higher than webpages on Google.
How Many Microsites & Blogs Do You Need?
Honestly, this depends upon your market. A dentist in Chicago or Dallas my need 10 microsites and 5 blogs to get on top and stay on top of Google SERPs. A dentist in a suburb may only need one of each, in addition to his or her main website. A dentist in a rural town may need only a blog or website.
How to Make It Happen
If you’re seriously interested in SEO, call Modern Dental Practice Marketing and talk with Jill. She’ll evaluate your website and answer all of your questions. From there, our team of Internet marketing experts will research the best keywords, your competition (marketing-ese for your peers), and your current Internet presence. We’ll determine a strategy, put it into place, then track your success and adjust the strategy monthly, based on our findings.