Most dentists and doctors really aren’t that tech savvy. They’ve spent almost a decade in school learning their craft, and aren’t that interested in learning about the latest marketing tactics. If you fit into this category, it’s still wise to be aware of the general principles of quality online work.
How else are you going to be able to tell if the agency you’re paying tens of thousands of dollars to a year is the right fit for your business? Below I’m going to fill you in one the general philosophy of inbound marketing. We’ll talk a little bit about the history of SEO, and give you an idea of what to look for when evaluating a marketing provider.
The History of Medical Marketing & The Internet
Back before the Internet, The Yellow Pages where king. This was the place people turned to find a dentist or doctor. The World Wide Web stormed onto the scene in the late 90s, and everything changed.
Before Google took over search, websites like MSN, Hotbot, and Yahoo were the main tools people used when trying to find local businesses. Back then, the ranking algorithm was very simple. It revolved around the amount of keywords placed within the Meta information & onsite content.
This made it very easy for people to manipulate the results, thus the accuracy of the query was very poor.
The Rise of Google within Search
Google changed everything with how people used the web. Finally, there was a search engine that spat out exactly what people were looking for.
They were absolute pioneers in developing algorithms that correctly categorized and indexed web pages. The secret was adding another variable to the code. No longer would it only look at the content of a website to determine relevancy. It would include “links” as a core part of the formula for determining what websites provideded the best information.
This was the start of Google revolutionizing the Internet.
Traditional SEO Takes Over
Starting in the mid 2000’s people started implementing SEO tactics. After seeing this was an effective way to get top rankings, these people started forming agencies.
Traditional SEO companies made a ton of money, and serviced millions of businesses for two decades. The business model was based on very low quality work that was only completed to essentially trick Google.
These providers would optimize websites for a few important keywords, then spam the Internet obtaining as many links as possible.
These low quality tactics would prove to be very costly in the long-run, and be the cause of Google placing heavy penalties on these sites to atone for their SEO provider’s efforts to manipulate Google.
Google Implements the Infamous Penguin Update
April 24th, 2002 was essentially Dooms Day for traditional SEO companies. At the start of the year Google came out and warned everyone big changes were on the horizon. Matt Cutts (Google’s Messiah like representative) proclaimed websites practicing reckless link building tactics would be cast down to online purgatory.
When April 24th rolled around, the Penguin Update hit the world. Millions of websites where stuck with heavy penalties that pushed their listings out of the top 50 or 100 for lucrative keywords.
Businesses that had enjoyed top rankings for years and years were destroyed overnight. Google had drawn a line in the sand. If SEO practitioners were going to try to outsmart the system, they would pay dearly.
The Invention of Modern Inbound Marketing
Online marketers didn’t know what to think. Overnight, Google had changed the landscape. The business model based on low quality and large scale wasn’t going to work.
This is when innovators within the digital community started to implement “inbound marketing” tactics. This strategy was based on a principle that placed quality content, educational material, and social engagement over anything else. The theory was if you actually added value to the Internet you would be rewarded.
Rather than using links to manipulate Google, websites could prove they deserve top placement by creating amazing blog posts, eBooks, graphics, and other information that drives real engagement. There would also be a social aspect to the “New Google”. This would incorporate online signals from FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other networking platforms that show people were really interested in a business. The search engines could now use real time data that showed what businesses were driving the most engagement.
Where Does This Leave Us Today?
I wish I could say all marketing agencies see the light, and have adopted the new inbound philosophy. Sure, practically no one goes out and carpet bombs the Internet for links like back in the traditional SEO days. Most medical marketing agencies even know the right things to say. They speak all about content & social engagement, but as we all know what people say is much different from what they do.
The truth of the matter is if an agency isn’t providing at least a weekly blog post for their clients, they should be thrown off the Internet. Inbound marketing is really driven by content. Google is looking for websites that provide the best, most robust information about the target industry.
Google is also looking for consistency and quality. If the blog posts or social updates are being duplicated on other sites, you will receive absolutely no value. If that kind of work is done long-term, it will actually start to hurt the website’s performance. Isn’t funny how some businesses are paying for marketing that is actually hurting their standing with Google.
If you’re sick of a marketing agency that always has something to say but never produces results, we would love to chat. SMM is build on the theory of producing the highest quality work possible. If you’d like to discuss how you can leverage the web to find new customers, we’re only a phone call away. Also, feel free to request a free light audit. This is a scorecard that will tell you exactly what needs to be changed in order to prove to Google your website is as good as your medical or dental work.