Before we start going into detail, check this out!
Have you ever experienced the blue screen of death on your computer before? The above is pretty much the SEO equivalent. Ouch!
As you can see the website in question received a major telling off from Google, and consequently put in the naughty chair (zero organic traffic) in late August/early September. When this orthodontic practice joined us in May we began to resuscitate the once buoyant website. With that being said there is an insane amount of competition for the first page on Google for an orthodontist in New York.
However, we have made good and consistent gains with continued momentum month on month ever since we started to resurrect this site.
Check this out:
Update – Since starting this article in December we have actually broken the 500 mark in January 2018.
We are now very close to reaching an all-time high!
Okay, let’s rewind a little before we get into the nitty gritty of this post.
How could this Google Penalty have potentially been avoided?
First and foremost, not all SEO or online marketing agencies are equal, before we get into the finer details of our case study. Let’s cover a few questions you should ask yourself before hiring a marketing company to do your SEO.
- Have they been around a while? And do they have testimonials?
Not too different from when you look to book a hotel or seek an orthodontist specialist. You should always ensure they have a good track record. Fortunately for you, SEO leaves lots of breadcrumbs for you to follow. The best way to start is by reviewing past work and clients testimonials.
- Are they niche specific?
Would you want a vet straightening your teeth? Marketing firms are no different. The more niche they are, the more experience they have with what works and what doesn’t within the specific industry, ultimately giving you the path of least resistance, to get that all-important ROI.
- Are they a bargain?
Cheap SEO is expensive! Be very careful looking for bargain basement deals and catching a penalty, that can send your website to sandbox purgatory. Google is very unforgiving, and it may take quite some time to get in their good books again once your website has been marked or de-indexed.
- What are their contract lengths?
Any agency that wants to tie you into a lengthy contract, you should be weary of. If they have confidence in their abilities to deliver results, they should have no issue with a rolling monthly contract.
Be very cautious of any agencies offering you ‘pay on results‘. We spend countless hours in the lab running SEO tests, split tests and more tests. There is no shortcut!
The aforementioned agencies can often use unsavoury methods to speed things along for quick payment/results. However, a few months down the line your digital footprints may come back to haunt you putting you in a worse position than when you started.
Okay now that is out of the way, we’re guessing you want to know what we did right? Let’s start from the beginning.
Orthodontist in New York State
Our orthodontic client is based in New Jersey with a secondary office in New York City. After enjoying high levels of website traffic over the years, it became evident upon inspection that the erratic drop in traffic could have only been caused by an algorithmic or manual penalty. As there is no smoke without fire…
We also noticed there was a direct correlation with the loss in traffic and keyword rankings, which is often the case.
TIP: If you experience a similar situation and you are unsure if the penalty was algorithmic or manual, the first action to take would be checking the messages in webmaster tools. You can read how here.
Just as a side note from personal experience we have found manual penalties far harder to recover from. If you are paying for cheap SEO, or buying cheap links from Fiverr stop! Just remember cheap SEO is expensive, you can’t cut corners, you have to earn your trust with Google.
So, what was the Penalty?
No manual actions were recorded, which leaves us with the only other available option, this being algorithmic. We then proceeded to research over the dates of the drop, and gathered the following data, which indicates Google was busy making adjustments to their algorithms.
Unfortunately, we could not pin point the exact reason, as Google Analytics was not installed over that time period on this website. But as with all orthodontic clients, we find implementing some of our proprietary methods, soon edge our clients into Googles good books.
Our Secret Source
Just like Coca-Cola or Kentucky Fried Chicken, we don’t give away the full recipe, but here are some useful ingredients in making your website ‘tasty’ in Google eyes.
Content – Always publish great content, ideally no less than every 2 weeks. You can take some tips regarding the anatomy of a blog reading the following article here. It’s an old post but still rings true today, perhaps even more so than when we first wrote it.
Social Signals – These further enforce the content by showing Google that people actually like and share the given blog. Make sure you’re always pushing your content on various social media platforms. Try not to just post the link. Try and instigate comments, likes and shares.
Reviews – These were a particularly strong signal in 2017, and we envisage this being the same in 2018 and beyond, for some tips and tricks in acquiring more reviews that stick, click here.
Interlinking – Within your blogs try to link out once per 1000 words to an authority site, whilst also interlinking with your own site to other relevant pages. This will move the link juice around and support your blogs.
Rich Media– It’s never a bad idea where possible to add rich media in your blog posts such as videos and images, this will enrich your blog post and increase dwell time, which is a prominent factor Google are now taking into account.
Join – Blend: Local SEO & Marketing for Orthodontists [Private Facebook Group]
If you are an orthodontist and need help with your website and SEO or simply have some burning questions you need answers too, join our private Local SEO & Marketing Q&A Facebook group. Click here to apply. It’s FREE and invaluable! We are ready to help you succeed online.
Is Paying and SEO Agency Worth It? [Case Study Included]