August 2022 was an iconic month for multiple reasons:
- Firstly, the FDA *finally* finalized their ruling on Over-The-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aids (after years of rumours, discussions and delays).
- Secondly, Google announced a new algorithm change that is incredibly exciting for hearing care leaders (as I’ll explain in this article).
- And thirdly, a baby goat was born Pakistan that had 22 inch ears (which has been endless fun for me and my 6-year old son).
Side note: if you’re wondering why I’ve not published any articles around OTC – the answer is simple. Our Inner Circle members are sitting on the front row and being the first to drive the smart strategic marketing decisions forward – I’ll share what they’ve done in the months that follow.
This article is dedicated to talking SEO, and what Google’s algorithm change means for your clinic, your website and your SEO. Plus, I’ll share the immediate actions you should take to start improving your SEO.
But first, let’s do some myth busting.
Demystifying The Confusion Around SEO
Okay, prepare yourself for a somewhat controversial comment…
That’s because, I believe that 90% of SEO is total bullshit.
If you’ve invested into SEO services in the past, or currently, then you’ll have noticed that the deliverables are often vague and it’s positioned to be some form of black magic.
- Agencies struggle to explain what they actually do
- The deliverables are full of acronyms that make little to no sense
- And the promise is always focussed on long-term results
The reason for this is because we all see Google as some form of mysterious creature that needs caring for and feeding in a highly specific way, and we’re prepared to pay big bucks for somebody to tame it.
Yet in truth, Google is actually incredibly simple.
That’s because, if we remove all the fluff, Google’s core model is ensuring that when somebody searches for something on their platform, they receive the best possible set of results that allow them to find what they’re looking for as concisely and simply as possible.
- If somebody is looking to buy a red dress, Google want the person to find a website that sells exactly what the person is looking for, that has a great reputation and will deliver the objective of the searcher.
- If somebody is asking Google a question like, ‘why is the USA the best country in the world’ – then Google wants to deliver a set of answers that give the searcher the information that he/she is looking for.
- If somebody is looking for earwax removal services, Google want to find the best local clinic that offers these services that has a great reputation that will be able to deliver the service the searcher is looking for.
This means that the strategy to WIN on Google is simply …
Create the best possible case of evidence that you’re the best possible clinic to answer the questions, solve the problems or deliver the service that somebody is searching for.
If you can prove you’re the best solution, back it up and have great content that delivers the answers that somebody is searching for, then you’ll out-perform nearly everybody when it comes to SEO.
This Is Why Dark Arts SEO Doesn’t Work
You may have been approached, or worked with a SEO company in the past that has big promises. They claim things such as, “I’ll get you to number #1 on Google”.
The problem is, their strategy to get you into the top positions is to not fundamentally help you to tell the best story, deliver proof of expertise through your website and create an ungodly amount of brilliant content…
…instead, they look to use something called ‘Black-Hat SEO’.
This is essentially, a set of practices that are used to increase a sites ranking that violate the search engines term of services.
They manipulate Google.
Common (and historic) examples of this is creating articles that are ‘keyword-rich’ where they essentially try to squeeze the term/word that you want to rank for as many times as possible into a page/article.
Others include hiding keywords in a font that blends into the background on the page to make Google believe that additional keywords are being listed.
The problem with these types of strategies is that they’re incredibly short-term.
They may trick Google today, but Google quickly learn of these manipulative strategies and often punishes sites that use them, which sees their rankings tank overnight.
It’s why the most effective (and timeless) SEO strategy is to create a website that delivers a great user experience, that helps patients find the information that they need and that is built with all the solid foundations in place.
What’s The New Google Algorithm?
It’s called ‘More content by people, for people in Search’
Yes, it hardly rolls of the tongue.
Here’s what Google say it is (in their words):
“Many of us have experienced the frustration of visiting a web page that seems like it has what we’re looking for, but doesn’t live up to our expectations. The content might not have the insights you want, or it may not even seem like it was created for, or even by, a person.
We work hard to make sure the pages we show on Search are as helpful and relevant as possible. To do this, we constantly refine our systems: Last year, we launched thousands of updates to Search based on hundreds of thousands of quality tests, including evaluations where we gather feedback from human reviewers.
We know people don’t find content helpful if it seems like it was designed to attract clicks rather than inform readers. So starting next week for English users globally, we’re rolling out a series of improvements to Search to make it easier for people to find helpful content made by, and for, people. This ranking work joins a similar effort related to ranking better quality product review content over the past year, which will also receive an update. Together, these launches are part of a broader, ongoing effort to reduce low-quality content and make it easier to find content that feels authentic and useful in Search.”
The key take-aways that I take from this are:
- They’re conscious that click-bait is ruining content – too many spammy titles/headlines that win attention but don’t actually deliver great content have emerged over recent years and Google plan to stop rewarding these types of articles.
- They’re going to reward articles/information that are genuinely helpful – if you have lazy articles with scraped content, then you’re going to lose SEO momentum. Instead, the articles that will be rewarded are the ones that answer the questions that people are looking for in as much detail as possible.
- Quality is so much more important than quantity – it doesn’t matter if you publish an article every day, if it’s not high quality then you might as well not bother. It’s much more important to create content that is well thought-out, custom written and gives answers (dare I say, like this one!)
This update is music to our ears and excellent news for hearing care professionals.
This approach to content has been a big belief of ours since the day we started the Inner Circle as it follows a key framework defined by Marcus Sheridan in his best-selling book ‘They Ask, You Answer’.
In summary, content that genuinely helps people or answers the questions that people are looking for help with will be highly rewarded. Content that is half-arsed, scraped and re-purposed or lazily put together will not be prioritized.
How Can You Benefit From This?
Firstly, if you have been creating in-depth articles/content on your website that are genuinely helpful and answers questions in advance, then congratulations!
You’re going to receive a SEO bump and a traffic increase by proxy. The work you have previously done is going to continue to reward you!
Secondly, if you’re yet to write helpful content/articles in your website, then this should be a big priority for you and allow you to get the ultimate upper-hand on your competitors.
There are two places that you should start:
- Go back to an article that I wrote in June 2022 that shared how you can create 6 months’ worth of blog content in 90 minutes This article outlined how you can utilize keyword research to discover what questions people are asking Google local to you, how to identify the keywords with the biggest opportunities and how you can quickly create in-depth answers to the questions through your site (even if you hate writing or don’t have the time). Click Here to Read.
- Earlier this year, we had content expert Marcus Sheridan join our Book Club to share how private practice hearing care can apply the lessons from his best-selling book, ‘They Ask, You Answer.This turned into one of the most popular Book Club interviews that we’ve had as he mapped out the framework for creating world-class content that Google loves (and will love even more with this new Algorithm update) Click Here to Watch.
My Final Words To You
If you take one thing from this article, let it be this:
There are no short-cuts in marketing. If a SEO company promises big results in exchange for little work – then they’re lying.
The way you win with marketing is doing the basics, to a high-standard consistently… and an ideal starting point is answering the questions patients are looking for in the best way you can.