“Doctor, My SEO Hurts All Over”

doctor visitMichael went to see Dr. Holt, his general physician, because he was experiencing an increasing level of pain, but he was not in severe pain. At the appointment, the doctor asked what was wrong. “Pain,” said Michael.

“Where is your pain located?” Dr. Holt asked.

“Everywhere,” Michael said.

“Hmmm. Can you be more specific?”

“No. You’re my doctor. Just fix me. And since you’re my doctor, why did you let this happen?”

“Well, I can’t control outside factors, but I can help you get better. Let’s run some tests, get some blood work, and see what’s wrong. Once we know the problem, we can discuss potential therapies.”

Dr. Holt examined Michael, but was unable to determine where the pain originated. So, the doctor ordered blood work. Michael told the nurse, “I still hurt.”

“Yes,” explained the nurse, “these tests on your blood will help us determine what’s wrong so that we can help you get better.” She filled four vials with Michael’s blood, then placed a Band Aid on the puncture site and applied light pressure for a moment. “The results will be back in three days.”

Ashe was checking out, Michael told the receptionist, “I’m still in pain.”

“Be patient,” she answered. “We will get you all fixed up after the test results come in.”

At home, Michael called the doctor’s office to report that he was still in pain, but he still couldn’t pinpoint where the pain was. He called again the next day, and the next. Three days after his visit, Michael reached for his phone as it rang. “Hello?” he answered.

“Michael, this is Dr. Holt’s office. Your test results are in, and the doctor would like to see you this week to discuss the findings.”

“Yes, but I’m still in pain.”

“Noted,” said the receptionist. “We have an appointment tomorrow morning, will that work for you?”

“No. I need the pain to stop today, so please fix it,” said Michael. “After all, Dr. Holt is supposed to be the expert. I don’t have time for this.”

“Well, the doctor is booked up today, and he’s the only one who has the skill and expertise to interpret your test results and make a diagnosis. At your appointment, he can discuss treatment, and we can work on resolving your pain.”

“Okay, tomorrow, but I’m getting very impatient.”

“Has your pain increased?” asked the receptionist.

“No. It has not changed.”

“Then we would like to see you tomorrow morning at 10am.”

Michael went to his appointment, and Dr. Holt shared the test results. The doctor explained that there are various modes of treatment, ranging from aggressive, which can be quite costly but may offer the most relief, to homeopathic, which would take longer but might achieve similar results.

“I want to pay just a little and get optimal relief, and I want results today. This pain is affecting my ability to work at maximum capacity. I’ve had to slow down, and I need the problem corrected right now.”

Dr. Holt took a deep breath and smiled. “Michael, I understand your frustration and need for immediate results. I recommend you opt for the aggressive therapy, and we can talk once a week to see how you’re progressing. If, in six weeks, we see no change, then we can change treatment.”

“Unacceptable,” said Michael. “I’m going to a different doctor.”

Assessing the Situation

In this scene, we see that Michael has a nagging pain, but it has not incapacitated him. He’s not ready for the morgue. He has invested three days and probably paid a pretty penny for his visits with Dr. Holt, and for the blood work and tests. Dr. Holt is to the point where he thinks he knows the problem and can prescribe treatment, but he is not a magician. He practices medicine. He must work with his patient to determine whether treatment is effective, then revise his treatment plan for Michael until success is achieved, and the patient is pain free.

If Michael goes to another doctor now, what will happen? Will he save time? No. Will he save money? No. Is he guaranteed immediate results? Absolutely not.

The Analogy to SEO

Outside factors that can cause pain in SEO rankings: Changes in Google’s algorithm; changes in competitors’ websites and strategies; new competitors; patient reviews on public sites; etc.

Evaluating SEO pain sources: Tests must be run on many levels. Keyword research, current rankings, current traffic, competitive analysis, Google crawl errors, reputation management issues, out-of-date website design elements; etc. In addition, we have to know what keywords we want to address, just as a doctor needs to know where pain originates in his patient. In order to properly diagnose treatment, the doctor must understand the specific complaint.

Diagnosing SEO problems: From the above tests, a comprehensive analysis can be compiled to determine target areas for treatment. Each area will need to be treated, re-evaluated, and the treatment altered, if it’s not successful.

Treating SEO problems: Changes might be required to the website content, design, or code; link building may be necessary, through content strategies; reputation management may be an issue, in which case acquiring positive reviews is necessary; lack of social networking participation might be a factor. All of these issues can be treated with various tactics. After Google has re-indexed all the factors (site, blogs, links to the site, reviews, etc.), which can take one to six months, the pain sources can be re-evaluated. The hope of treatment, or a good SEO strategy, is that the SEO pain will subside, rankings will move to page one, and traffic on the site will increase, ultimately increasing new patient bookings.

The Point

SEOs are not magicians. They are data scientists, working with a set of known and a set of unknown factors.  A good SEO company will achieve first-page results for a doctor’s website, for both high-competition keywords and low-competition, long-tail keywords. A good SEO company will rely on continual evaluation, trials, testing, and re-evaluation to achieve ongoing success.

If your website is in pain, MDPM can evaluate, diagnose, and treat the problems so that your practice can succeed online. Call us today for a complimentary website analysis: 972-781-8861, or email [email protected].