This is a question I receive frequently, and sometimes it’s an actual client emailing me with a report saying “see, look here, our SEO needs improvement!” Chances are, if you run an aesthetic practice you’ve been spammed by an SEO person or SEO company many times. In fact, for some unlucky clients, upwards of 15-20% of the “leads” that come in are from these spammers.
Let me first point out that no legitimate aesthetic digital marketing agency would ever spam your website forms to earn your business. None. Legit agencies don’t spam. At least have the decency to utilize a medium such as LinkedIn for a cold introduction.
Should you give any credence to these reports though? That answer depends entirely on the report; it very well could bring up some good points. However, more often than not I see reports that are auto-generated that bring up some of the following points:
- title tags are too long
- meta descriptions are too long
- meta descriptions are missing
- website uses re-directs
- content is not 400 words
Generally speaking, if you are fully focused on producing fantastic content on a regular basis (and you’re promoting this content on social media and on the web to generate engagement), you have an error-free XML sitemap, and your site is not being blocked or penalized by search engines for any reason, then none of the aforementioned points matter.
But Tom, I thought in order to optimize well we needed title tags exactly 60 characters, meta descriptions 160 characters in length, meta keywords, and our top keyword mentioned at least 5-6 times within the article?! Utter nonsense. That’s a great tactic for 2007 SEO, but in 2017 the focus is on quality, engaging content (here’s a great article from Moz about how the “old school” on-page optimization tactics simply don’t work anymore.) Bottom line, you literally could post a blog that has no title tag and no meta description, with the main keyword mentioned 1 time, and outrank every single site on the web for that keyword.
How is that possible? Google is now smart enough to see your content and make its own decision about the information, creating it’s own meta description and title as well. Google cares more about the quality and ENGAGEMENT of your content than any other on-page factors (or even backlinks). Here are some additional SEO tips for 2017.
So does this mean you should you ignore on-page SEO entirely? No. I think it’s still good practice to make sure you have an optimized title tag and meta description for every blog you post. Just don’t keyword stuff. If your title tags and meta descriptions run a little long don’t worry about it, just make sure the most important keywords aren’t cut off! It’s also worth pointing out that meta keywords have been irrelevant for over a decade, so you can ignore those. Don’t worry about counting your main keyword mentions either, but I would make sure the keyword you’d like to rank for is mentioned at least once.
As far as website re-directs go, the rule of thumb is to try to avoid them, but often times they’re absolutely essential. If you move your website to a new platform you might need to update the page names. For example, your botox page might be /botox.aspx or /botox.html, and after moving to WordPress the url is simply /botox. In that case you’ll need a re-direct so that search engines can see that the previous url has moved, so they can re-index the new page associated with your domain, and so patients don’t run into a dead page (404 error) if they happen to find that old page in the search results.
Lastly, we jump to content length. If you’re writing content just to get past a certain threshold, 300 words, 400 words or even 1,000 words, you’re going about it the wrong way. Think about the message itself and don’t concentrate on keywords. For example, as I type this now I’m already at 587 keywords and I feel like I’m not going to be able to touch on all the points I want to. That’s because I have a lot to say!
I realize that there may be other line items in your report that I haven’t mentioned, such as backlinks, and you’re welcome to email Turbo or call us directly (877-673-7096 x2), with any specific questions. Ultimately, it’s not about checking off each “SEO requirement,” it’s about producing amazing, unique content that’s visually appealing and generating engagement.