How to Conduct Vision Exams on SEO Firms (Part 3)
Previously, we discussed an approach for determining whether a SEO firm passes your vision exam. Visual acuity (superior internet marketing knowledge) and stereoscopic vision (superior industry knowledge) are hallmarks of a firm that is worthy of your time and investment. Here is another component of the SEO firm visual exam: peripheral vision.
Though our central field of vision is crucial, you can’t ignore your peripheral vision without the risk of being blindsided. That can happen when a company fails to anticipate and adjust to a changing market, such as the change in consumer behavior with the rise of the Internet.
Peripheral Vision: Great SEO Firms Do Not Have Tunnel Vision
Internet marketing has undergone fundamental shifts in strategy in recent years, fueled by the changes in technology that have created the new comparison-shopping consumer. Of note for surgeons: 72% of Internet users search for healthcare information online. And they have plenty of websites clamoring for attention. As of this year, there are almost 1 billion websites to choose from.
Google, in turn, has responded to this explosion in website numbers by creating new algorithms to uncover and highlight quality content for these self-educating consumers. To ensure a good user experience, Google will ignore, or even penalize, websites with poor content. Google’s shift in rankings is a boon for consumers and businesses alike as it can connect consumers to the quality goods and services they are searching for.
Awareness of upcoming developments and how they may impact your practice will separate the winners from the losers as the Internet, consumer behavior, and Google continue to evolve. This is no place for tunnel vision. Your SEO firm's peripheral vision is crucial to your business success.
These shifts occur frequently and without warning, blindsiding businesses that have a narrow marketing focus.
How do you test for tunnel vision?
Find out whether a SEO firm sees the whole picture with these questions:
1. How is my practice impacted by Google's algorithm updates?
Algorithms drive Google's search, so keeping an eye on the ever-changing algorithms is key to staying on top of the pack.
Algorithms determine when and where Google will display your website in search results. But even if you have good rankings, you need to understand that what Google gives, Google can take away. When algorithms change, so can website rankings.
An adept internet marketing partner watches trends, anticipates changes and has an agile team in place to adopt new tactics as the marketplace evolves. Watching trends, anticipating changes and agility are key skills you should assess when selecting an SEO firm to help you grow your business using online tactics. When it comes to SEO, you can’t just “set it and forget it.”
For specialty businesses, like ophthalmology, there is an added level of complexity. A savvy SEO firm for healthcare professionals also needs to understand the nuances of your business and your customers, right down to how and where patients look for information, what information they want, and the terms they use to search.
When analyzing the vision of a potential SEO firm, find out if they have a process for tracking trends and an agile team that can respond quickly to changing algorithms and customer buying behavior. Then dig a little deeper to determine their depth of understanding about your specialty and your customers.
2. What internet marketing advances do you see on the horizon?
Websites and SEO are just a portion of a comprehensive online strategy. A successful SEO strategist needs a broad vision encompassing technology, Google and buying behaviors. Some examples of recent trends:
Customers are no longer tethered to a desk and computer. In fact, mobile surpassed desktop usage in 2014 - the biggest shift since the Internet began. Mobile phones, iPads, and tablets free customers to access the web wherever they go.
The shift to mobile also highlights another example of how technology changes behavior: Today’s consumers want what they want, when they want it … and in a format they like. And they want it right now.
For businesses, that makes responsive web design -- a website that looks good on a large-screen desktop and also on a small phone screen - an important component. In fact, starting this month, Google is adding “mobile-friendly” as a factor in its mobile search results.
Keywords have been the foundation of SEO strategy, but semantic search is joining the party too, adding another layer of complexity. Semantic search was introduced in Google’s 2013 Hummingbird algorithm update, and has overtaken keyword-based search. In semantic search, Google goes beyond individual search terms and attempts to figure out the user’s intent. For example, in keyword based search, New and York are just two words. But in semantic search, it’s “New York,” a place name.
In addition to understanding the interplay between keyword-based search and semantic search for content, your site should also incorporate semantic markup in the HTML code itself.
Optimizing content for search just got harder. As with most things on the Internet, when it comes to a successful internet presence, it’s all about the details.
What do you anticipate the impact of these advances to be on my practice in the next 1, 5, or 10 years?
The Internet has revolutionized buying behavior. Customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips and they will continue to use it. Consumers will continue to self-educate, turning to the Internet to comparison shop before buying practically anything, from a coffeepot to a car. And that includes services such as healthcare.
Ignoring these trends and the changing marketplace is akin to suffering from tunnel vision. It’s better to adapt, and flourish. Waiting will only lead to further deterioration in the marketplace. Enlightened professionals understand that today’s evolving technologies, though disruptive, open new doors of opportunity.
In this rapidly evolving environment, the foresight to see what’s happening next and the ability to meet those future challenges are the keys to securing an advantage over competitors and reaping long-term rewards.
Twenty years ago, Einstein Medical had the vision to see the emerging opportunities that the Internet offered healthcare professionals. Websites were the starting point, but not the endpoint. As the Internet evolved, so has Einstein medical, developing groundbreaking marketing platforms grounded on natural, trusted and verified results. The vision continues today with a team of IT professionals, SEO specialists and writers that create the type of original optimized content that drives online visibility for our healthcare customers.
Need help diving deeper into these questions? Give us a call at (800) 606-0003 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.