If Google Can’t See Your Content, Your Prospects Won’t Find You

woman in eye glassesLessons from an Eye Doctor Website That’s Not Visible Enough for Search Engines

Of course, your website must provide relevant and compelling content for your prospective customers.

Ideally, that content should combine both text and images to grab your visitors attention and to keep them on your site long enough to get to know and trust you.

Here’s what is less obvious. Google does not see your site exactly the way your visitors see it. As far as Google is concerned, your website is a bunch of text whose structure and formatting make clear what is most important to the visitors who will benefit most from the site’s content.

Therefore, although you may have a beautiful website with strong visual appeal, it will fail in findability, unless Google discovers text information that it sees as truly relevant to a keyword search.

Google Needs to Find Text on Your Website Structured and Prioritized the Way it Wants

While I was doing competitive research for a doctor client, I uncovered  an example of a missed SEO opportunity by examining the website of one of his competitors.  I found it by doing the opposite of what real patients would do. I dug many pages down on Google search results. In fact, among the top keywords, this competitor’s best ranking is #32. For eye doctor, he comes in at #58 and for eye surgery he comes in at #113.  That’s much too deep for most patients who are looking for eye care solutions using the most popular keyword terms.

The problem boils down to failing to give Google the text and structure it needs to generate valuable search results.

Here’s where this eye doctor’s website went off the SEO tracks:

  • Critically important descriptive homepage information is contained only in images. There is no text for Google to read that provides the doctor’s name, the name of his practice or how he describes his specialties and his experience. From Google’s perspective, this information does not even exist.
  • His website gives low or no homepage visibility to the most important keywords for eye doctors:
    • laser eye surgery
    • eye surgery
    • LASIK surgery
    • vision correction
    • eye doctor
    • cataract surgery
    • eye care
  • Although interior pages of his website do include a good bit of information about topics such as LASIK surgery and cataract surgery, there are no direct links to either topic on the homepage either in the primary navigation or in core content. Finding this information requires too much digging for both Google and for visitors.
  • His HTML title tag does include does include ‘cataract surgery’ and ‘glaucoma,’ but these keywords arrive only after a long introduction with his name and the word, ophthalmologist. The result is that the title tag is too long and the highest-ranking key words come too late for Google to give them adequate importance.
  • His HTML description tag does not include any of the critical keywords noted above that visitors and Google would search for.  If this description excludes those keywords, Google naturally assumes that they are not important to the website or to the doctor.

This website is an excellent illustration of the importance of getting search engine optimization right. You may be the best eye doctor or plumber or construction company on the planet. But, if Google has trouble finding you, your target clients won’t be able to find you either.

The secret to search success begins with this: First, create great content that is relevant to your target clients. Then, design your website so that Google can find that content when your target customers are looking for answers to their most pressing questions.

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  1. Posted August 26, 2010 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Hey Newt. Great post. I think most people focus only on creating clear and relevant content and forget about the “mechanical” aspect of needing to be found by Google. Thanks for the clear and detailed example and explanation.

  2. Posted September 3, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Nice post. Im sure you already know this but a simple way to insert relevant and keyword rich content into a website is to attach a blog post. “Quick and dirty!” Google loves blogs. 😉 Cheers!