It’s a common occurance that we meet dentists and dental businesses who own multiple domains and have several websites.
The scenario normally plays out along the lines of the dentist having one main website at (for example) www.bestdentist.com, but also having other industry and geo-targetted websites including:
In addition there may be lots of other domain names that are currently set to re-direct to th emain site. This is generally done under the belief that the more websites owned, the better the chance of getting found online.
The intentions are great, but the truth is that all of these websites will, eventually, be the death of this online dental business. This scenario is more common than you think, and there are plenty of occassions where website owners (not just dental ones), believe that having multiple websites under different domain names will help them rank better in search engine results.
There are several reasons that having multiple websites is a bad idea. Here are four of them:
One of the most common complaints we hear from our dentists is that they don’t have enough time to keep their website up to date, both in terms of the design of the site itself and the on-page content. The truth is that most businesses don’t have webmasters and most small business owners aren’t marketing or web design experts. If they even know how to update their site, they are just too busy being a dentist to keep up with it.
Consider the issue of website design. The technology that powers the internet is constantly changing and what works today will most likely be out of date next year. It’s kind of like buying an iPhone. As soon as you get what you think is the “latest model,” a newer, faster, better version is released!
Case in point – sites built just five years ago are already out of date because they aren’t responsive and don’t adjust to display properly across multiple devices. Building a new site or redesigning an existing site can be both time consuming and expensive and when you multiply this across several websites, the cost can quickly kill your budget.
Your website’s design isn’t the only thing that takes time and effort to keep updated. With search engines increasingly rewarding sites that have fresh, keyword-rich content, a site’s on-page content also requires regular attention. An easy way to do this is to add a blog and to post regularly, but blogging (while incredibly valuable from an SEO standpoint) can be time consuming especially when you consider the amount of data that proves the more you blog, the faster your web traffic will grow.
While there is no doubt you’ll get better results from blogging 5 times a week than once a week, this also means putting in five times the effort. Now multiply that effort by the number of websites you have and you see the problem. The truth is, you are better off blogging 5 times a week on one website than once a week on five different sites.
Don’t think you’ll save time maintaining multiple websites by posting the same content on each site. Although this might seem like a great way to improve your SEO, search engines like Google see duplicate content as creating a poor user experience and as a result, they’ve adjusted their algorithms to penalise it.
What does this mean for you? Both of your sites on which the content appears will rank lower in search engine results – exactly the opposite of what you were hoping to achieve in the first place! The fix? Either create multiple sites each with their own unique content (see the problems listed under “Time and Effort” above) or concentrate your efforts on building and maintaining one really great website with top notch content.
Let’s say you DO have the time and energy to build and maintain more than one website and you put the effort in to ensuring there is no duplicate content. It’s still not a great idea to have multiple sites because they will compete with each other to rank in the search engine results pages (SERPS). Unless your sites are for very distinct business lines or products, odds are that you’ll be using the same or very similar keywords across both websites.
Using the example above, our dentist has pages for ‘cosmetic dentistry’ on both the www.bestdentistimplants.com and www.bestteethwhitening.com and as a result, the two sites will compete for attention when someone searches using this term. Our dentist would be better off focusing the SEO strategy on one site to whicha all the traffic possible could be driven.
Additional problems may crop up if you decide to list your multiple websites on Google+ Local (formerly Google Places). Google frowns on businesses having slightly different names but essentially the same services, location, telephone, etc. And, if you have the same contact information across multiple websites, you risk duplicates and merges in the Google+ system than can really harm your ability to rank.
In the example, although the websites appear to be for “Dental Implants” and “Teeth Whitening”, they both list the same business address and phone number. This is sure to cause problems with the Google rankings.
Another key SEO consideration is link building. When search engines decide where to rank you in search results, they consider several factors including the number of inbound links to your site. Inbound links (also referred to as back links) are hyperlinks on third-party web pages that point to a page on your site. The more of these you have, the better your site will rank.
Because links are so valuable, many businesses put a lot of time and effort into “link building” – the process of getting other sites to link to yours. This takes time, which is something most businesses don’t have a lot of. Bottom line? You’re better off putting your effort into getting 1000 quality links to one website than 100 links each on 10 sites separate sites.
Let’s go back to our example. What happens when a potential patient is researching dental implants online and comes across www.bestdentistimplants.com as well as www.bestdentistlondon.com? If they visit both sites, they are going to notice a lot of similarities, but they might not be sure if it’s the same company.
The potential for confusion is pretty large but even more dangerous is the potential loss of trust. With 9 out 10 people beginning their search for goods and services online, your presence on the web plays a big part in attracting potential patients.
The most successful online brands are those that seem honest, transparent, and genuine. If those prospects see your business listed under multiple websites, they may question who they will really be getting treatment from.
Rather than waste a lot of time, effort and money building and maintaining multiple sites, dedicate yourself to making one website that really stands out with an updated design, fresh content, high quality inbound links, and branding that conveys honesty and a genuine personality.
What to do with all those other URLs you’ve purchased? Place a 301 redirect on them and point them to your main site. The code “301″ redirect is interpreted as “moved permanently” by the search engines and will ensure that any website traffic your URLs generate is directed at your main site.
Dental Design can help any dentist who finds themselves with lists of domains and/or websites. We can tidy it all up, and ensure your resources are aimed at driving targetted traffic to the best one. Whilst at the same time advising on the best way to maximise SEO potential to maintain and improve your online presence. Call our team on 01202 677277 to dicuss more.