Evaluating Dental Directories for Search Engine Optimization Value
As Internet marketing continues to thrive, it feels as if a new dental directory emerges nearly every day. It’s probably safe to say that most of you out there are participating in at least one. With the potential to negatively impact your SEO strategy through directory participation, I have decided to post my first entry in a series to come on evaluating Directories for Search Engine Optimization Value.
Most of us tend to think of SEO as a positive term, but there are some aspects to consider that may have negative consequences. Yes that’s right… dental directories have the potential to hurt your websites search engine placement. How you may ask? Well, the main offender is often times duplicate content. The following scenario is most typical: You sign up for a directory who in turn creates a profile dedicated to your practice. They may ask you to provide content about your office so you jump on your website and send over text you copied from the “About Us” page of your website… after all, this is your content. You want consistency in your message and are doing the right thing, right? Wrong! Duplicate content can be a search engine’s worst nightmare. Don’t believe me? Just read what Google has to say.
Why you ask? You have to consider Google’s mission which is to serve up unique content to its users in an effort to provide the best possible user experience. During the early days of the internet, spamming the search engines using the same website and content just under a different domain name was a common tactic of search marketers. For example, a search for “Cosmetic Dentistry San Diego” may have returned a list where 4 out of the 10 listings were the same website and content with a different dot com address. To eliminate this, Google gives authoring rights to the first website that publishes that unique content. You are probably wondering how this could affect your SEO when the content was published on your website first. Perhaps Google has not completely indexed your site but the profile page in the dental directory has been picked up as it’s a large resource that gets crawled by spiders frequently. If this is the case, you are in potential danger of being penalized because Google is giving the publishing rights to the directory and not your own website. In essence, your websites “about us” page is now viewed as spam by Google who could potentially penalize your search engine placement.
My goal is not to scare anyone who participates in directories or to say that directories are a bad idea. Just be aware of ramifications that duplicate content can have on your current SEO strategy and make adjustments accordingly if you suspect you have duplicate content issues.
For more on this topic please feel free to contact Rosemont Media.