April 2015: Google Changes without Representation
“…Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and
taxes Google changes” —Benjamin Franklin
I once heard a surgeon compare a great SEO and online marketing firm to an effective tax advisor. The tax laws change on a regular basis and your tax advisor must be fully aware of these changes. And importantly, your advisor needs to understand your business inside and out so that he or she can help take advantage of tax changes to increase your take-home income and help protect you from an excessive tax burden.
Much like the tax laws, Google’s ranking algorithm code changes frequently – sometimes more than 500 times a year. Some of these changes are complete reversals of their previous positions and dramatically affect which websites they reward (with good rankings and visibility) and which websites they penalize. Therefore, all of Google’s algorithm changes, from relatively minor to potentially devastating, must be taken into consideration when planning and implementing an online strategy.
To stay competitive in this environment, you need a vigilant team with expertise not only about Google and the other search engines’ activities, but also about your specialty and your practice. At Ceatus, we stay on top of search engine changes and trends each and every day. We conduct numerous targeted activities throughout the month for every client to ensure our clients reap the maximum benefits of their online marketing, and so that they are protected from potentially damaging changes the search engines make.
Tracking Traffic and Conversions
As with many Internet marketing firms, Ceatus checks each of its clients’ search engine rankings search engine rankings for a variety of key search terms on the same date each month. But we don’t stop there. In addition, we capture the ranking information and construct a historical record of rankings so that progress can be monitored over time.
Reassess Your Content
However, tracking rankings alone is not sufficient, because, these days, rankings are programmed to change from location to location and computer to computer. Moreover, search ranking reports are unable to measure the traffic that derives from “long-tail” search terms. Many practice websites have hundreds of key words that drive traffic, but the ranking reports can check on only a few dozen of these terms. To get the full picture, our team does a variety of additional tests, including evaluating traffic and conversions, which are much better measures of online success than rankings.
Each month, we evaluate the traffic to our clients’ websites and compare this traffic to the previous months. Keeping in mind seasonality and holidays, we look for any monthly drop, or increase, greater than 10% and evaluate the overall change for the year. But traffic means nothing if prospective patients are not converting. We also monitor conversions and referral sources, again comparing these metrics to results in previous months and identifying highly converting referral sources that may provide additional opportunities for new patients.
Google Webmaster Tools
As soon as our clients come onboard, we ensure that Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) is connected to their websites. GWT offers a wealth of information about the status of the website and is the means by which Google communicates with the owners or managers of the website. Throughout the month we regularly check for any messages from Google in GWT and look for any major changes or red flags, such as an increase in 404 error page messages or a suspicious increase in the number of links. GWT also allows easy access to the site html data where we can look for opportunities to improve the html, such as modifying page titles or meta descriptions. Monitoring the html also allows us to ensure pages with similar or duplicate html are not excessively present on the site (as could occur if our client added multiple repeated pages to a blog or Q and A). With the swift and painful way Google applies penalties to websites for inclusion of “spammy” pages or low-quality links, these regular checks are critical to enhance and protect your rankings.
It is also important to check on a number of onsite factors each month. These checks ensure smooth sailing and, potentially, increased traffic and conversions. Search engines now focus much of their attention on website content and base their ranking decisions on their evaluation of this content. Each month, our team selects a number of pages on each client’s website to check for duplicate or highly similar content. This is very important because if other sites are copying the content from our clients’ sites, this duplicate content could damage our clients’ search engine rankings. Unfair? Absolutely! But unfortunately, the search engines currently do not distinguish between the original and the plagiarized content.
Also important is how many of a site’s pages Google stores in its index. If a site has too many pages with thin or spammy content, Google will punish the site’s ranking via the Panda penalty. We check to ensure that our clients’ websites (minus the blog content) have less than 125 pages in the index. If sites have a high number of pages, we look into why this is occurring and check to see if the pages have appropriate content. Adding multiple before and after photos with individual URLs or multiple procedure pages for various locations are examples of spammy content that can (and do) get a site caught in the Google penalty box. We also check that certain technical aspects of the website coding are correct, such as the schema markup and the embedded maps. These coding items can affect how Google renders a practice’s website in the search results.
Reviews have become a key component of online strategies for elective healthcare. We have recently introduced a Practice Review Manager as part of our standard SEO services. One feature of this package allows our team to track the number of reviews our clients receive each month and monitor whether or not the reviews are positive or negative. The Practice Review Manager also aids our clients in soliciting reviews from their patients. Each month we ensure that our clients receive proprietary reports about their reviews. We also ensure that our clients have the tools to solicit reviews in a professional and effective manner.
Each month we check to make sure that client listings are accurate on the main listing sites, such as Google+. We also check for duplicate listings. This process is extremely important because these listing sites are routinely automatically updated with incorrect information (which has to be fixed, sometimes repeatedly). Further, these sites play a vital role in a practice’s online strategy because they are used by Google to verify the authenticity of a business and to determine rankings on a local level.
If issues or errors are found in any of the above mentioned areas, our client’s dedicated Client Services Specialist creates a project to direct our writers and webmaster teams to update the client’s strategy. This process ensures that all Ceatus clients receive the constant care and vigilance needed to succeed in our online world.
Interested in a Website Audit?
Thinking about becoming a Ceatus client but not sure what you need? No problem. Many of these same tests are applied to potential new clients like you as our staff evaluates whether your website is a good fit for our SEO and online marketing services. If you would like to have such an audit performed on your site, please let us know.
Ask the experts
Q I’ve recently lost page Likes on my practice Facebook page. Why are people “unliking” me?
A Facebook rolled out a new policy on March 5, 2015 to update how Likes are counted, and many Facebook pages have lost Likes. Facebook provided the following explanation: “We’re updating the way Page Likes are counted by removing memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts. Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page Likes as a result of this update. It’s important to remember, though, that these removed Likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.”
Events: Maximize Your Internet Strategy
Come by the Ceatus booth for a FREE website evaluation!
San Diego, California
Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel
Visit Ceatus at AMO University™ at the Hilton Bayfront in San Diego. Stop by our booth to find out how Ceatus can increase your LASIK practice’s productivity and maximize your Internet marketing ROI.
San Diego, California
Bring your Internet strategy into FOCUS. Come visit us at Booth 2408 and get a FREE website evaluation from our Internet marketing experts.
Ceatus CEO David Evans, PhD, will be speaking on the importance of SEO, reputation management and ROI from Internet marketing. Also, Ceatus’ VP of Product Management will be speaking on maximizing and tracking ROI from online and offline Internet marketing efforts. So don’t miss it!
“Why Does that New Surgeon Down the Street Outrank Me on Google?”
Speaker: David Evans, PhD, CEO of Ceatus Media Group
Sunday, April 19
2:15 PM – 3:15 PM
“Learning How to Track and Maximize Your Online and Offline Marketing Efforts”
Speaker: Devin Butler, VP of Product Management
Sunday, April 19
2:15 PM – 3:15 PM
April 30 – May 2, 2015
Give your Internet strategy a smile makeover. Visit the Ceatus team at Booth 867 to learn how to increase your conversion and start bringing new patients to your door!
San Francisco, California
Join Ceatus Media Group at AACD in booth 1212 to learn how to maximize your Internet marketing ROI!
Meet us in Montreal for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’s 48th Annual Meeting. The Aesthetic Meeting 2015 will be filled with the latest news, technologies and trends in cosmetic surgery. Ceatus CEO David Evans, PhD, will be giving two presentations, so don’t miss out!
“Internet Marketing in 2015”
Speaker: David Evans, PhD, CEO of Ceatus Media Group
Sunday, May 17
7:00 AM – 8:00 AM
“Maximizing Your Online Marketing ROI”
Speakers: David Evans, PhD, CEO of Ceatus Media Group and Devin Butler, VP of Product Management
Monday, May 18
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
CEATUS Internet Marketing Tip of the Month
Do They Like Me? Do They Like Me Not?
You know you need to hire an Internet marketing company that is savvy with reviews, but what do you consider when looking for a company?
There are four reviews-related services that any good Internet marketing company should either offer directly aid in helping your practice manage: 1) Monitoring what is being said about you on the popular review websites; in particular health related websites like Health Grades, Vitals, etc.; 2) Surveying your patients so that you can be aware of any issues before patients feel the need to go public – and so that you can elicit genuine positive reviews from real-life patients; 3) Have a system to prominently highlight positive reviews on your website; 4) Provide a plan to encourage your happy patients to post their positive reviews on a variety of public review channels.
Sugar and Spice and All that’s Nice!
2015 Mother’s Day Gift Guide
Though mothers deserve to be showered with love and gifts all year, Mother’s Day (May 10th) is the perfect opportunity to show them how much you care. Don’t be caught empty handed!
Perfect for the mother who likes to be in the know with all the popular brands and up-and-coming beauty lines, Birchbox is the gift that keeps on giving with its monthly deliveries of personalized beauty, grooming, and lifestyle samples tailored to her preferences.
A wonderful option for the mother who loves reading, travel or audible books. Digital memberships include audiobooks, radio and TV programs while audio versions feature magazines and newspapers. All at her fingertips!
Perfect for…well…any mother! The Tiffany T Collection strikes the right balance between elegance and trendiness. Accent any outfit with a choice of necklaces, bracelets, and rings. How I adorn you!
A great gift for the mother who likes a little extra sparkle. Who says you can have a little fun while you’re on the phone. Swarovski also offers a collection of fun and flirty iphone cases. Bling! Bling!
Sweets and Bubbles
Treat her with Chocolates and Champagne. Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s intriguing chocolate creations are made with the finest ingredients from around the world. Other gift options are available on their website.
It’s amazing how scents can remind us of our mothers or memories past. These new fragrances for spring can help change things up a bit. Spritz on!
1.7 oz Eau de parfum
Channeling the aura of French actress and icon Brigitte Bardot, Brigitte is “whimsical and exotic,” with top notes of rhubarb and undertones of musk. (The top note is the first scent that you take in, while undertones are among the last.)
1.33 oz Eau de Cologne Spray
Perfect for both him and her, Bulgari’s white tea is soothing yet refreshing, largely due to the notes of white tea.
Spring is crisp and fresh, just like CLEAN Cool Cotton. Notes of light, refreshing mint blend with hints of sparkling mandarin, crisp green apple and lemon zest, resulting in an “understated,” “airy” and “sparkling” fragrance.