October 2014: A Nightmare on Google Street
Is SEO the latest casualty?
Lately, it seems all anyone can talk about is the supposed demise of search engine optimization (SEO). Is there any validity to it? To make a long story short, yes and no.
Let’s start with the doomsday predictions.
If you talk to companies that focus on producing content, most will cheerfully tell you that SEO is “done.”
Search engine marketing companies are gleefully singing the same tune. Many SEM firms are recommending that clients focus their resources on ad retargeting and PPC advertising.
PR firms are also climbing on this hysterical bandwagon. Most of them claim that reaching out to the media is the key to Internet marketing success.
Let’s not forget the internal practice marketing squad, which would prefer to focus on print as well as internal programs, such as referral systems and teaching staff to more effectively answer phone calls and schedule appointments.
Reputation management firms believe that only reviews are sustaining SEO.
And then there are the social media aficionados who don’t believe in anything that doesn’t involve a “like” or a “re-tweet.”
Last but not least are the link companies, the traditionalists of the Internet marketing world. The purists of this group, of course, insist that SEO is alive and well, and that the key to top rankings and traffic is still (and always will be) a robust network of inbound links.
The frightening reality? All of the above are (partially) correct.
Trick or Treat?
Just a few years ago, all that was required for a strong SEO presence was a bunch of inbound links with moderately pertinent anchor text. The origin of the links was not important. Next came a period during which both the anchor text and the link origin mattered, but wasn’t a life or death situation. During this time, a strong link network was also enough to make up for a mediocre site structure or borrowed written content.
Obviously, this is no longer the case. In today’s environment, SEO must be balanced with other elements, and Google can no longer be fooled. If you think you’re going to get away with a package of links from mediocre websites, think again. You can also forget trying to repackage the content on your website for use on your blog and social media. And if you have manufactured an absurd number of positive reviews while your competitors have only a few, Google is on to you. It’s not worth it because, as we all know, Google has proven itself capable of reacting quickly and without mercy.
A New Solution Brewing
But enough with all the negativity.
Despite the ever-changing Internet landscape, you can still achieve online visibility and quality branding for your practice. As ever, your website’s content, design and structure remain critically important. Bolster this with reputation management, social media and some PR endeavors, and you’ll achieve success.
High-quality content is foremost among the abovementioned elements. Google wants to see that you are providing a unique resource to those seeking information. So if you haven’t already, can the canned content immediately. Your content should highlight the various procedures you offer and anything else you feel patients might want to know about you or your practice. It’s also important to update your website as you add new procedures and services.
The importance of your website design cannot be overstated. Specifically, it is imperative that you have a dynamic website that includes interesting graphic features such as slide galleries, infographics, quizzes and charts. Your site should be engaging, capable of holding your visitors’ interest and designed to convert visitors to patients.
As for social media, it’s true that Google responds well to likes, Tweets, followers and other social media elements, all of which demonstrate that people like your website and/or your practice. Reviews are also extremely important, as are links from quality websites.
Public relations has been and continues to be important. Google’s spider continually meanders through the websites of TV channels, magazines and newspapers, so if your PR firm can manage to get you mentioned, this will validate your existence to Google and boost your brand, not to mention your traffic and search engine rankings.
Search engine optimization is not dead; far from it. But there is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution, nor is there a silver bullet. In today’s environment, achieving and sustaining a successful and dominant online presence requires a combination of customized strategies and tactics that leverage your strengths in your market.
Ask the experts
Q What is Samhainophobia (sow-wen-o-phobia)?
A It’s a fear of Halloween. Many people who suffer from this phobia also have arachnophobia (fear of spiders) or coimetrophobia (fear of cemeteries). Here at Ceatus, none of us suffer from any of these phobias, but we are afraid of bad “Web”sites.
Events: Maximize Your Internet Strategy
Come by the Ceatus booth for a FREE website evaluation!
Meet the Ceatus team at Booth 2802 to learn how to maximize your Internet marketing ROI at AAO in Chicago!
Ceatus and Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery will be attending The Obesity Society (TOS) and American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) Obesity Week in Boston. Come meet the Ceatus team at Booth 217!
CEATUS Internet Marketing Tip of the Month
Cursed Links: The Chains that Bind You
All search engines, and particularly Google, have been aggressively targeting websites that have bad links pointing to them. As a result of major Google changes, such as the Penguin update, many sites have been penalized – and their online presence been dramatically diminished. The only course of action if you feel your site has been damaged due to bad linking strategies is to work with a professional company such as Ceatus, as the work involved is very technical and time consuming.
Enter if you DARE!
Find out why the Queen Mary is known as “the haunted ship.” Search for ghosts by candlelight in Charleston. Walk in the footsteps of the Salem “witches.” All this and more awaits you in our list of haunted houses and ghost tours!
They are dying to show you around…
Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Will You Commit Yourself?
Described by Belanger as “a downright creepy place,” the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY, was the spot where thousands of tuberculosis patients died. People report seeing shadowy figures and Belanger says he has even heard of a shadowy figure crawling toward someone on the tour. One of the most famous aspects of the Waverly Hills Sanatorium is the Body Chute or Death Tunnel, once used to transport the bodies of deceased TB patients from the hospital to the bottom of the hill to trains or hearses, according to The Waverly Hills Sanatorium site.
Every Friday & Saturday night September 26th – November 1st – 7:30 pm to midnight
For private tours and times visit the website below.
Patient Intake here: http://therealwaverlyhills.com
Salem Haunted Footsteps Tour
Would You Like to Hang Around?
Arguably another of the country’s most haunted cities, Salem has seen its fair share of scary phenomena. Home to the infamous witch trials in the 1600s, Salem was the site of at least 20 so-called “witch” executions. Voted one of the best haunted tours in the world, your witch hunt starts at Salem’s oldest cemetery then continues to the Witch Trials Museum and ends at the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion. This mansion is said to be haunted by Susannah Ingersoll, the cousin of Nathanial Hawthorne who presided as judge in the Salem witch trials.
Nightly in the month of October: 7:00 pm and 8:00 pm
French Quarter Phantoms: Ghost and Vampire Tour
New Orleans, LA
Would You Like Some Southern Hosfatality?
Disease, disaster, sinister spirits, and murder most foul: French Quarter Phantoms’ New Orleans Ghost tour and Vampire Tour combo is spooky fun! Join the walking tour for historically accurate tales of local hauntings and vampire lore. Your Ghost and Vampire walking tours are guided by master storytellers who are fully licensed by the City of New Orleans. It’s the French Quarter you want to know, as only we can show it to you!
7 days a week: 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm nightly
The Myrtles Plantation’s Mystery Tours
St. Francisville, Louisiana
Can You Hear the Pitter Patter of Feet?
Voted one of the scariest places in the world and one of America’s most haunted homes, the Myrtles Plantation is home to at least seven documented ghosts, including one very revengeful maid, Chloe. She was hung in the home after she poisoned and killed the plantation owner’s wife and two children. She is said to walk the halls every night at 3 am. In addition to Chloe, there are other spirits, including a man who was shot on the 17th step of the front stairs, a Civil War veteran and a murdered caretaker, who is often found at the gates urging people to leave. Enter if you dare!
Friday-Saturday: 6:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm
The Whaley House
San Diego, CA
Are You Dying to Visit?
Located in San Diego, California, the Whaley House has been called “the most haunted house in the U.S.” Built in 1857 by Thomas Whaley on land that was once a cemetery, the house has since witnessed dozens of ghost sightings.
Some of the other ghostly encounters include:
- The spirit of a young girl who was accidentally hanged on the property.
- The ghost of Yankee Jim Robinson, a thief who was clubbed to death and who can be heard on the house’s stairway where he died, and has sometimes been seen during tours of the old house.
- The red-haired daughter of the Whaleys sometimes appears in such realistic form that she is sometimes mistaken for a live child.
October 18: 10:30 pm – midnight
Start your ghost haunt here: http://whaleyhouse.org/tourghosthunting.htm
Charleston’s Candle-Lit Ghost Hunts
To See or Not to See?
As evening descends and the shadows of the night emerge, you embark upon the most unusual adventure of your life… an adventure into the unknown! This unique tour takes you through historic Charleston’s most infamous haunted locations. In the tranquility of the night, your guide explains the unearthly details of murder in cold blood, suicide, lost love, hanged pirates in the Provost Dungeon, voodoo curses and alleyway duels! All by candlelight!
7 days a week: 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm
Fridays and Saturdays: extra 10:45-midnight tour
Call or E-mail for Reservations: (843) 813-5055 / email@example.com / http://www.charlestonghosthunt.com
The Stanley Hotel
Estes Park, CO
Will You be Staying Awhile?
Host to the filming of “The Shining,” the Stanley Hotel is also the home of many haunts and ghosts of centuries past. Room 217 is still kept up by the ghost of Ms. Elizabeth Wilson, the chief housekeeper, at The Stanley Hotel in its very early days. Guests staying in that room encounter extra housekeeping services, including having their things put away or unpacked. Stay the night or take a tour of the various paranormal areas of the hotel. Come out, come out, wherever you are.
For tour times and dates call the hotel at 970-577-4000 or check in here:
The Queen Mary: Ghost and Legends Tour
Long Beach, CA
Do You Believe in Ghosts?
Find out why the Queen Mary is known as “the haunted ship” in this interactive, special-effects adventure. Watch your step as you are guided through the innards of the Queen Mary, because you never know what lurks. Explore the old boiler room where sweltering heat and tight quarters were a recipe for disaster. Visit the damaged hull that split the ship, leaving few survivors, and check out the old swimming pool where swimmers are regularly spotted despite the fact the pool has no water. Relive tales of paranormal incidents, accidents and ghost sightings. The Queen Mary is full of mystery and lore, and the Ghosts & Legends Show is sure to leave you asking the question, “If it wasn’t a ghost, what was it?” Summoning believers daily.
Monday-Thursday: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Friday-Sunday: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
Boarding here: http://www.queenmary.com/attractions-events/ghosts-legends.php