Cater to the Searcher, Not the Search Engine

User experience and dental SEOMyth: Usability does not affect SEO.

Reality: The importance of usability to SEO cannot be overstated.

Many of the things we consider essential to creating a positive user experience also have a direct impact on your search ranking and visibility. It wasn’t always this way. SEO began as a method of catering solely to search engines to achieve higher ranking. Unfortunately, this left little room for user experience, as the goal was to manipulate numbers, links, and tags to attract web crawlers. The system was easily exploited, and its technical aspects were hardly intuitive enough to deliver high quality results to users’ queries.

Intuition is the key word here: Search engines don’t have it. There’s only so much they can do, and it ends once a user clicks your link. Google will lead users to your page, but it won’t hold their hand while they experience your website. What it will do, however, is use visitors’ activity on your website as a point of reference for future ranking. At this point, it’s up to your website to deliver content, navigation, and functionality.

Bad for Users = Bad for Ranking

Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who abandon your site after scanning only a single webpage, and it’s a critical factor in search ranking. This is the key to understanding why usability and SEO are so closely linked: A visitor who has a favorable user experience isn’t likely to jump ship within a matter of seconds; he’ll explore your website, click links, and (hopefully) improve conversion by performing a specified action, such as filling out an online form, viewing your blog, or picking up the phone to call for an appointment.

Common issues that contribute to a high bounce rate include, but aren’t limited to:

Slow page loading time: An unpardonable sin in the age of 4G and Wi-Fi. Fast loading time is a must-have for your website and blog. Users expect near-instant gratification, and most have no reservations backing out of a website that takes too long to load. This fact has not gone unnoticed by search engines; websites with longer loading times are considered to be of poor quality, which hurts ranking.

Vague anchor text: Vague or poorly worded anchor text makes it difficult to locate specific information. For example, a patient who wants information about teeth whitening would expect anchor text that clearly identifies a link to a page about cosmetic dentistry. If you look at websites we’ve designed for our clients, you’ll see that most feature separate menu links for preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry.

Poor keyword targeting: It’s frustrating to click a search result that links to a completely unrelated or very loosely related webpage. It may be that the information being sought is located somewhere on the website, but only a negligible percentage of users will continue searching your site to find it.

What You Can Do

The simplest answer is to leave SEO, website design, and dental marketing to the professionals. Mastering any one of these takes an enormous investment of time and energy, and the long-term benefits of hiring someone else far outweigh the short-term costs. Like SEO, dental marketing strategy as a whole is complex and requires agility to adapt to ever-changing best practices and trends. From responsive, user-friendly websites to blogs and social media, MDPM Consulting has your dental marketing needs covered—and that’s no myth.

As always, we encourage you to call or text MDPM Consulting at 972 – 781 – 8861 with your local SEO questions, or email us at [email protected]