19 July 2020 | 4 Minute(s) to read
One of the regular questions we are asked often about 24 hours after a website goes live is, ‘why isn’t it coming up on Google Search?' That’s actually out of our control, but what will dictate how well it ranks is how well the website is optimised and how often it is maintained, as well as other factors like how good is your Google My Business listing - that’s SEO - Search Engine Optimisation.
Let me tell you about a recent project
A few weeks ago one of our clients had a big shift in the services they delivered. They were a private doctors practice, only taking private patients. They had, within the space of a few months moved premises and decided to change the business model to become a General Practice as well as Private Practice. On top of that, the website needed some work to reflect these changes. Quite a lot of changes in a short time frame.
It all ran pretty smoothly.
Now I’ll skip to the SEO part
We had made a bunch of content changes to the website. We re-submitted the site to be re-crawled as the changes were significant. We also made the address change to their (underutilised) Google My Business account, added a couple of new photos of the new building and got them verified. It's important to keep track of changes that you make, so you can actually see the impact of them. We monitored this for a couple of months.
And this is what we found
Google search did not rank them any differently in the search results or on local maps. They were several pages down on the search results for search terms that they wanted to be ranked for. Keep in mind we did the best job we could in a short time frame and a set budget. A week later, still no change, nothing to get excited about, no new enquiries and no ranking on maps. There were questions raised about why they were not coming up for specific search terms.
So what happened?
Not one to be beaten, I dived deeper into some Keyword Research, Competitor Research and did some intense checking on what was going on about the town. I was determined to get their rankings up in my own time because I wanted to prove that SEO works and while you do it naturally as part of a bigger change, it needs a step back and a review on a regular basis. Spent another 8 hours or so analysing the information.
Google Maps got a lot of attention. A LOT. I filled in every single thing I could to help with improving their listing. I advised on getting reviews. I looked at their competition and what categories they were listed under. I added appointment links. I compared & checked that their company name was consistent with everything else related to that business online so it didn't confuse the search bots.
Now I don’t know if I just got lucky, but as I said before, if you are going to make significant changes, then you should set up some measurements to be able to follow the impact.
In 30 days, I have pushed their organic ranking up on Google 211 places over a set list of keywords. I’m pretty stoked, actually.
On Maps, they also now come up highly ranked for specific search terms.
Now you could argue that I didn’t do a great job in the first place to have such a significant effect. However, if it's not in the budget, or not something regularly maintained, then chances are your rankings drop off slowly but surely.
Now with all the local search and buy local focus at the moment, if you are not keeping up with your Google My Business Listings, and website content and your competitors are, then you are going to get left behind faster than you would have pre Covid-19.
5 Quick & Easy SEO Tips
- Follow the Google My Business Guidelines to ensure you have as much information available on there for the Maps listing - and that it is correct.
- Check out what your competitors are doing, what’s different?
- Review the structure of your website with your web developer.
- Name your images to describe what they are, not 1234.jpg
- Write original content which gives the audience what they need to know.
Most importantly, keep your website up-to-date with current information which is relevant, accurate, insightful and engaging to your audience. And share it. Regularly.
This will help you stay ahead in organic search.
Oh, if you want to go see some great doctors too - check out Healthspace, they are taking new enrolments.