If you are looking to bring more qualified traffic to your medical device website, this post is a gift from me to you.
In this video, my SEO guy Chris Sharp critically evaluates my medical device site, finds my mistakes, and suggests simple fixes. Learn from them.
Watch the video and correct the errors on your site. Email me to meet Chris Sharp. And let me know when you’re ready to improve your online presence, win web traffic, and generate more qualified leads.
Joe Hage: Hey, this is Joe Hage and…Brooklyn (my dog). Hello, Brooklyn.
Chris Sharp: Hello, Brooklyn.
Joe Hage: Oh, oh, and also Chris Sharp! And Chris Sharp is the founder of SharpNET. And go ahead and tell us a little bit about you.
Chris Sharp: Sure. Yeah, SharpNET was founded over 15 years ago, actually a couple of months before Google was founded, as in the search engine optimization company, and I started it when I was, oh, I don’t know, 26, 27 years old? And now I’m 43, and I spent all that time basically doing SEO. So I had pretty good privilege to see the Internet explode and expand through that time, get into the dot-com boom and everything the Internet has to offer. So, there are a few people that have been on the Internet longer than I’ve been, not a whole lot, but it’s been pretty fun. I think maybe when I’m older and I reflect back at actually having gone through that A to Z process of the Internet, it might be kind of fun. Right now it’s just a fun job.
Joe Hage: I’m going to get the book, and maybe we can even write a chapter today.
Chris Sharp: [Laughs] Maybe we can, right.
Joe Hage: Okay. So before we start, so I asked you to do a critical evaluation of my site for SEO and I’m sharing it with my audience. So, you know, I probably couldn’t find any client who would be willing to show the back inner workings of their site and their strategy, but I’m happy to do that for my clients. So, that having been said, and I know I’m talking to the guy who knows, but here’s my in-going assumption: My in-going assumption is that there are things we can do that are good and things we can do that are bad, but ultimately Google makes its money by building trust among all web users that whenever they type in something they’re going to get the best possible result, and that, as smart as you and I are, all of their employees together working on this 24/7 are going to outsmart all of our tricks eventually. Eventually, they’ll be like a human brain deciding whether or not this is content worth surfing. Would you agree with that assessment?
Chris Sharp: A little bit off in your last statement there. I don’t think it’s about outsmarting Google. I think it’s more about…
Joe Hage: No, that we’re not going to be able to outsmart them.
Chris Sharp: Exactly, right, and there should not be the concept of tricks, and it’s the people that are doing the tricks or trying to incorporate tricks that are getting in trouble. Especially over the past three years or so, Google has been hyper-aggressive in really trying to have legitimate websites and good-quality websites. So you can definitely do things to outrank competitors or other people that aren’t aggressive but I wouldn’t call it tricks. I would call it more, you know, just abiding by the Webmaster Guidelines that, you know, Google applies. You can think of it as a trick, but it’s just more knowledge of really what Google is looking for, and some of that we’ll be able to cover today.
Joe Hage: Right. Okay. So I’ll tell you, and ultimately I guess my competition, that I make my living helping medical device companies with their marketing. So the terms that are most relevant to me is when someone is looking for medical device marketing or variations thereof, marketing medical devices etc. And also I lead the Medical Devices Group on LinkedIn, and while I don’t actively try to target that, I do host an annual conference for them. So, the term medical device conference, conferences, medical devices conference, medical device conference Minneapolis, which is where I typically hold it and perhaps [00:04:07] this year, these are relevant terms for me, not all of which I spend a lot of time here on this primary site, Medical Marcom which is what I started before the Medical Devices Group. And there’s our background, let’s get to work.
Chris Sharp: Okay, very good.
Joe Hage: So, I’ll go back into the dark underbelly here and you tell me where you’d like us to look. I’ll go to pages here.
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm. And keep that back end loaded up there, but let’s just visit the visual aspect of the website, just your homepage, without being logged into WordPress, and I’d go from there.
Joe Hage: Okay.
Chris Sharp: Alright.
Joe Hage: I’m going to look over here because that’s where my screen is. You’re over here. Okay, [00:04:54] where would you like to go?
Chris Sharp: [00:04:54] Alright, so let me…I’m going to actually pull it up here. So, your website, first of all, looks fantastic, and that’s really a major thing. People need to visit your website and it can look sticky, build confidence, and Google will look at that. Google will understand that people visit your website and they leave it real quick and they start searching for other businesses and other results.
Joe Hage: You mean bounce rate?
Chris Sharp: Your bounce rate, exactly. Now, bounce rate can be misunderstood, like, say if you’re a pizza restaurant and people just want that delivery phone number. They’re only going to go to your homepage, get that number and they’re off. So, there are a lot of situations where you have to take it with a grain of salt. What’s really important is bounce rates of your competitors and, you know, everybody’s pizza website has a bad bounce rate or what we [00:05:49]
Joe Hage: It’s all relative.
Chris Sharp: It’s all relative, exactly.
Joe Hage: So, relative to other, I guess, I hate to call myself an agency, but that’s the kind of the category, other medical device marketing agencies have higher bounce rates or lower bounce rates relative to mine.
Chris Sharp: Exactly, right, yup.
Joe Hage: And you used the term sticky, so for my guests, sticky means…
Chris Sharp: Staying on your website. That’s sticky. They’re there and they’re not leaving very easily. They’re getting engaged and just not bouncing off real quickly.
Joe Hage: Okay, let’s continue.
Chris Sharp: Alright. So, the homepage in general is in pretty good shape. There’s a couple of things I noticed and…for example, I saw, like, a broken link and I’m going to see if that’s still broken.
Joe Hage: Uh-oh, Joey doesn’t like that.
Chris Sharp: Yeah, let me see here, because I looked at it real quick the other day to just familiarize myself.
Joe Hage: Now, shy of clicking on every single link, is there a way for the average person to check on broken links?
Chris Sharp: Absolutely. So the way that I would go about it is through Google Webmaster Tools. And Google Webmaster Tools will identify 404 errors and other website-related errors and…
Joe Hage: Okay. So, I’m going to go to my Analytics.
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm.
Joe Hage: And here is Medical Marcom. Now, do I have to add something here for Webmaster Tools?
Chris Sharp: Well, you can link it. You’re probably not linked, so it would be a completely different resource that Google offers called Google Webmaster Tools.
Joe Hage: Okay. Well, for free presumably?
Chris Sharp: Absolutely free and very, very important for SEO. We’ll be able to talk about it a little bit more. What Google Webmaster Tools does is it plugs you more into Google’s mind as a search engine. So, you get to see your clicks through Analytics but Webmaster Tools will show your search impressions, like how many times your website comes up in search results, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone clicked it. But it has a lot of diagnostic information. For example, the links that are coming into your website, you can find your inbound links, you can find how often Google crawls your website, you can submit SiteApps to Google so it knows all the pages and various information like that, [00:08:11] problems, crawl errors, 404 errors, other things. Even if you have other issues like title tags, maybe five of your pages on your website have the exact same title tag or description tag, Webmaster Tools will highlight all that for you. Its Google’s…
Joe Hage: What’s a crawl error? A 404 is when you direct someone to a page that doesn’t exist. A crawl is what?
Chris Sharp: Yes. Basically, Google can’t find that page. The page no longer exists. But there could be several different ones. There could be internal server errors that are called a 500 error, for example. And there are several different classes of 400 errors. All of those are page-related stuff that…one could be “page can’t be found,” but there could be other versions of that page that are just…which is a diagnostic tool to the Webmaster that’s there. But that information will be in Google Webmaster Tools and it basically talks to the Webmaster, how they can make their website better in many different ways, not only from the search perspective but in a user perspective as well. Through the optimization process, this is actually more where we live rather than Analytics. Analytics, of course, is very important but Webmaster Tools will have some of that same data, but at the same time, the diagnostic information that you can’t find through Google Analytics. And it’s easy to set up. Sometimes just having your Google Analytics code on your website, if it’s in the top header portion of your website, that code can be used to authorize Webmaster Tools and it’s just as easy as you can type your domain name in there, it’ll create that account for you and be very diagnostic, so.
Joe Hage: By the way, let me ask you, do you have any sense of…is SEO Platform Agnostic… So I have a WordPress site. In fact, just about every site I’ve built for clients has been on WordPress. It’s perfectly functional, and I wonder if you have any perspective on that.
Chris Sharp: Not too much. You know, generally, from my perspective, when we inherit a website to optimize it, we’ll try and use the tools that the client already has. If they don’t have a tool, like an SEO plugin, we’ll install that for them. One of our favorites is the Yoast’s SEO plugin. We work quite a bit with the All-in-One SEO plugin, but there are all kinds that we see. Installing, like say, Google Analytics, you can do that through All-in One SEO plugin or put that directly into a template file or various things like that. So it really just depends on what’s the best fit for the website when we tackle it.
Joe Hage: So let’s see. I use…which one do I use? I used to do All-in-One.
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm.
Joe Hage: I think maybe even…oh, here’s, no… Well, let me go to page…
Chris Sharp: It might be in your settings as well.
Joe Hage: It might be. Let’s go to…I don’t know what page to go to. Here, website rebuild.
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm.
Joe Hage: And we go down here, Theme SEO Settings.
Chris Sharp: Okay, right.
Joe Hage: So that has to do with the fact that I’m on Genesis platform, right?
Chris Sharp: Yeah, it looks like it, and it’s just a functionality that comes with the theme. And that’s all good. Anything that can give you some ability to have a custom title tag, description tag, and various things like that, that’s really all you need.
Joe Hage: Okay. Here’s the description just for everyone’s benefit. Okay, where would you like to go next?
Chris Sharp: Okay, let’s go back to your homepage. So, from your homepage, one thing that I noticed was your title tag, and I got your page up here on my screen too so I can mouse over things.
Joe Hage: Mm-hmm.
Chris Sharp: Your title tag has medical devices marketing, Medical Marcom. The way the title tag needs to be formed is you really need your primary keyword at the beginning, which you’re doing, so A-plus for that. I also very much believe in the branding aspect and having your own company name at the end of the tag. Most companies will actually put their business name at the beginning. The reason why I want the keyword in the beginning is, number one, it will help your rank better. Google sees more relevance in the first words rather than the last words in your title tag. So always begin with your primary keyword. Now, what you have going on is your title tag is very short, which is okay, but it gives you an opportunity to elaborate a little bit more than you are right now, getting more keywords that you could target. Of course, everything has to be done in a very tactful manner. It needs to satisfy humans as well as Google. But for example, we can have medical consulting or medical sales leads or lead generation or some other kind of keyword in there. And, as we go through the content of your website, if you could reinforce that keyword, say medical lead generation or…and I’m just picking up some, you know, keyword ideas at random, but somewhere under your content, you want to make sure you reverberate what is in your title.
Joe Hage: Let me ask you a question. So, this is a simple example. So I have medical devices marketing, Medical Marcom – am I wasting characters by using the word medical twice?
Chris Sharp: Yes and no. In your case…
Joe Hage: I mean, in my case, it’s my name.
Chris Sharp: Yes, exactly.
Joe Hage: But let’s say I wanted to tell you that I do medical device marketing communication and strategy, lead generation, and website development – I don’t have to say medical devices marketing, medical devices lead generation. That would be a waste of characters.
Chris Sharp: Perfectly said. Basically, when Google sees a word in a title, it gets it and you don’t need to repeat it, and that is a huge area that we see regularly of wasted space. Your one scenario here where medical is in your name – completely acceptable in what you want to do. So, for example, medical device marketing and lead generation or medical conferences, or consulting, various phrases like that, you can integrate there in a tactful way. It would give you a little bit of an edge that you don’t have…a little bit more of an edge than you have right now.
Joe Hage: And, how many is the optimal number of characters?
Chris Sharp: You want to stay under 70. Google will begin to truncate your title in the range of about 67 to 69. Why it’s 67 one time and 69 another I’m not sure except for maybe just how fat the letters are. You know, if you have a whole bunch of letter I’s, maybe you can get more in there, I don’t know.
Joe Hage: Okay.
Chris Sharp: But that’s the range it starts to truncate. The other good reason for having your company name at the end is if truncation does happen, it’s just truncating your name and you still have all the value with the keywords and your title. But that said, you want to make sure and also have your company name in your description tag in case there is truncation. Your description tag will still reinforce that brand.
Joe Hage: Right. So, when we start to get down to how many characters here, I chose to spend an extra two characters on a divider and a space. Would you say…yeah, it’s important to look nice because that’s going to show up on Google. You don’t want to just have a string of nonsense. So would you say that if I were to put in, I’m not sure I will, but let’s say for now, I were to put in lead generation, now I’m up to 58. Is that the way you would do it?
Chris Sharp: Yes and no. I would probably use…space is very important and we’ve learned ways to really…literally saving one or two characters here and there can make a big difference in that truncation issue that we mentioned. If you use a comma instead of a pipe, you save one character space. So you can say, “Yeah exactly, drop a comma there and lose the pipe.” And then if you really need to get desperate, use a colon and then you only have one space instead of that pipe. So, lead generation colon and then you can have Medical Marcom.
Joe Hage: So, in this case where I’m putting in two concepts, would I put in Medical Devices, are you saying then, like that?
Chris Sharp: Nope, comma there, like you had, but then you put the colon after lead generation.
Joe Hage: Oh, I see, to save this pipe.
Chris Sharp: Yeah, exactly. So, it’s that second pipe, right. Now you’ve just saved one more character. Mm-hmm.
Joe Hage: Okay.
Chris Sharp: You know, just ideas.
Joe Hage: So, website development is the next concept for me. I clearly can’t fit that all.
Chris Sharp: Sure.
Joe Hage: So what would you say I would put in there? Just ignore it, good enough alone and…?
Chris Sharp: Let your web development page take care of that. So go after just a really…kind of the very general and mission critical keywords on that homepage, make sure the content reinforces those keywords, and then let your web development page take care of that. And we’ll get back to that. We can drive through the website and I’ll show us some examples of [00:17:58]…
Joe Hage: Now, I would call you and say, “Okay, Chris, given that I do marketing lead generation and website development, should I use up my homepage on highlighting website development or lead generation?” And that’s when you would do some magic to tell me which term was more often searched and how competitive that term was.
Chris Sharp: That’s true but the highest-demand keyword isn’t always the best one for you. It depends on how you want to market yourself, what your closing ratios are, the competitiveness of the keyword. Lead generation to me blends in better with medical devices. I would probably stick with that and let another page that can be more dedicated to web design on its own. So really it’s a very subjective call, but I do understand that web design is extremely competitive and you’d really have to change the manner…
Joe Hage: Okay. Yeah, I’m not about that anyhow so, yeah. My approach to web development is if we do a good job generating leads they’re going to want to come to a website, so let’s not have it look like crap [00:19:16]
Chris Sharp: Right, yeah. Absolutely. Mm-hmm. [00:19:18]
Joe Hage: So I ignore keywords because I think that’s equivalent to keyword stuff and Google gets that. So this is kind of outdated, am I right?
Chris Sharp: That’s absolutely correct. Google has never looked at the keyword meta tag. Most search engines don’t. There’s only one that I know of that even does in the United States and it’s just a little search engine. So, yeah, completely ignore [00:19:39] a waste of time.
Joe Hage: These URLs here…
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm?
Joe Hage: What about these?
Chris Sharp: Canonical is pretty important and the reason why is there could be www dot version and then just a non-www version. Sometimes, people in their domain names will have what’s called a wildcard domain name. So you could go to, like, Frog.MedicalMarcom.com and Bob.MedicalMarcom.com and all of those will render the same website. What the Canonical does is it just makes sure that your primary website path is the one that gets full credit; the other ones are kind of ignored. We see this as a development problem very frequently where there will be a development link. It’ll be like Development.Bob’sWebDesign.com…
Joe Hage: Okay. So that’s when you put something ahead of the webs…so it’s blog dot or dev dot or…
Chris Sharp: A sub domain, right. And that’ll stay live and…
Joe Hage: What’s the point of having…so instead of having Blog.MedicalMarcom.com, I have MedicalMarcom.com/blog. Can you help us understand the delta there?
Chris Sharp: There isn’t very much change at all. Matt Cutts as we mentioned before, sort of like an SEO spokesman for Google, recently had a pretty good video about this topic and he essentially says that there’s very little difference. The way that you want to check or to enforce that is whatever is just easiest for you to manage on your own, depending on who you are and what you’re comfortable doing. Now when we have the subdomain, that will act as if it’s a completely new domain. So, like, if, I don’t know, we had Blog.MedicalMarcom.com, that would be just as much of a new domain to Google as MedicalMarcomBlog.com is.
Joe Hage: If I didn’t have Canonical in there.
Chris Sharp: Right, exactly. So essentially what the Canonical does is it…if there’s different versions of your website through those subdomains and there’s wwws or even if you have like a domain forwarding to yours so that people can access your website for multiple different domain names, what it does is it tells Google, “Ignore all that other stuff, this is the one that I want you to really pay attention…”
Joe Hage: So this is not relevant for this site for me?
Chris Sharp: No, no, definitely not.
Joe Hage: Okay.
Chris Sharp: Because Google…the only issue there could be sometimes Google will see the www versus the non-www. But Google has that sorted out. It used to be a problem, it isn’t really anymore. So yeah, there’s nothing that you need to fix unless you have a development link out there that you don’t know. A lot of people, like a web designer, designs their website in a subdomain so that it can be viewed as they designed it, and sometimes that will stay live and you might have this ghost website out there that you’re not even aware of, so.
Joe Hage: Okay. Last thing I’ll ask you here on this homepage, and I’m sorry I cut you off, I’m trying to be mindful of our time. My title for this page is simply Medical Marcom. Am I wasting the opportunity?
Chris Sharp: Ideally, in a perfect world, yeah, you’re going to want to change that. Well, on this one it doesn’t matter because it’s not a page name. Medical Marcom doesn’t show up.
Joe Hage: Right, it doesn’t show up. I overwrite that under, you know, menus and such.
Chris Sharp: Exactly. But if it did show up it could be like an h1 tag, for example, and having keywords in that would be very important. And also your URL to your page, if it has a keyword in that URL, which, you know, you can see your permalink right there near the top of your site, if you can have a keyword in that permalink… So say this was your web design page and it’s MedicalMarcom.com/Medical Web Design, that would be very beneficial. And the way WordPress works is it will take that page name when you first create it for your URL. So here it doesn’t matter, but other pages, it would definitely matter.
Joe Hage: Now what’s interesting to me for a moment is on any other page I can edit the page name typically here, but not on this one?
Chris Sharp: Yeah, because it’s your homepage, it’s your default. You know, you could go /index.php and get the same page but basically, no matter what, it’s going to be that same…just your domain name is what resolves that page, so.
Joe Hage: Okay. So, I’ll go ahead and check for any broken links later.
Chris Sharp: Oh, I found one, or I found it. It’s the one that says “I Asked Four SEOs,” third from the bottom.
Joe Hage: And this is what they said…not acceptable. No, I didn’t even get the kind of 404 that I like.
Chris Sharp: Yeah, it was kind of strange. That’s something worth looking into.
Joe Hage: Yeah. Well, you know what, just because I’m that kind of guy, I’m going to do that right now. So I’m going to go into…I know it’s not the best use of our time. Forgive me everyone. I’m going into widgets and…no, primary sidebar, popular posts, I Asked Four SEOs. So, I don’t know what’s wrong here. Here, this is the…Here’s the URL, slash, I just have, “UTM source popular, UTM campaign popular, UTM keyword popular.” It looks fine to me.
Chris Sharp: Yeah, it looks fine to me too. We just have to…I would copy out that URL and just see if it works like if you directly use it.
Joe Hage: Something’s funky. So maybe it’s, you know, maybe it’s primary. So maybe I’ll have to check with my guy if I have a different setup for the homepage. I don’t know. I’m not seeing it here. To return to later. Okay, Joey’s taking notes.
Chris Sharp: [Laughs]
Joe Hage: Okay.
Chris Sharp: Alright. So let’s jump to where I did find an issue with your website.
Joe Hage: Uh-oh.
Chris Sharp: So, and this is a real good strategy pretty much everybody should adopt, and let’s put it this way: Functionally everything’s fine, but it’s a strategic thing. So jump over to your services page. So on your services page, what you’re doing is you have one page that’s trying to discuss all of the services you offer. However, it’s going to be very difficult to have this one page ranked well for all of those keywords. Every other paragraph, Google finds some major topic and it becomes a little bit schizophrenic. Is it about Marcom services, marketing communication, social media, web design? What is this really about? I can’t give you ranking for all of these things. And so what you really ought to do is turn this page into a brief summary of all of your services.
Joe Hage: All of which link out to other pages.
Chris Sharp: Exactly.
Joe Hage: I’ve been too lazy.
Chris Sharp: Yup, exactly.
Joe Hage: So this is what I did here—I’m sorry I interrupted—“How might we serve you? Hover over the question marks for a short description of each.” So here I have a “read more.” So for “discovery” I did make a page.
Chris Sharp: Okay, there you go. Alright.
Joe Hage: Now, the fact is I got lazy. This is not a very impressive page, nobody visits it, but it’s there. Actually, one of these, marketing strategy I think, does get…I know this page needs to be redesigned.
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm. Well, it’s not that bad.
Joe Hage: So, this page actually does get some traffic, and that’s because of this URL, I suspect. So I’m going to go to edit page and show you…medical device marketing. No, I wouldn’t use marketing again, so this is pointless. So I should’ve said perhaps strategy and communication. That would be better. Oops. You agree?
Chris Sharp: Yes and no. What I would look at too is diversifying the keywords that you’re targeting in your title tag. For example, every single page has medical device marketing. You’re already ranked number one for that, congratulations.
Joe Hage: Thank you. But I think…I thought that one of the reasons I do rank number one for that is because of my emphasis consistently throughout the site about medical device marketing. Really, I mean, yes there’s a long tail and all that stuff, but what pays the bills around here – medical device marketing, medical device conferences. Everything else is nice.
Chris Sharp: Sure, but you never know where that next client is going to come from either, and they might be looking at it in a different way and a different keyword, so it’s really about your audience and what they’re looking for. My suggestion would be to perhaps mix up a couple of your pages. For example, you know, you have those different service pages, you have a medical lead generation page – begin with medical lead generation on that, maybe medical, you know, web design services and medical social media, those types of phrases. You want to have that medical device marketing in a lot of areas too, but you don’t have to go all in. You can really spread it out and you have the opportunity of really broadening the audience that you’re reaching and getting those opportunities, because some people just will search different and you’re missing those people right now and it could be a very big world.
So try it, I would recommend. You have plenty of content and plenty of pages, and I bet you’re going to start getting a lot more ranking on some of these other pages by simply having that homepage title tag that really reinforces it. And then, like I mentioned earlier, always go through with the content, you do that as well. But you could easily, you know, in a few months from now, have 30, 40, 50, even double the traffic you have right now by just expanding that keyword strategy without losing some of the top medical communications and medical device marketing rankings that you have already. So it just will make your universe bigger.
Joe Hage: Now, folks watching this video might say, “Great, but what pages do I…what terms do I want to win?” So would they contact you at SharpNET to help them determine for their strategy which are the best keywords to target?
Chris Sharp: Well, for a client we would definitely engage in that. We don’t have a service where we just do keyword lookup or the research aspect of things, but that’s definitely a discovery process that we do at the beginning of every campaign. So we’ll go on a page-by-page basis and really understand what the client is serving, you know, what audience they’re trying to reach, and then also interviewing the client to really understand what’s critical for them. So we need to understand, you know, what pays their bills, how do they want clients to find them, prioritize those keywords. And then other opportunities, you can say like medical lead generation would be one of those secondary priorities that we would implement for you, for example, with medical device marketing being the primary one. So, it’s just a matter of just kind of cascading across each of the different webpages, optimizing for the keywords that make sense for that page, but do it in a way…we call it the money keywords.
The money keywords are the keywords that are going to make your phone ring. It’s not going to appeal to a do-it-yourselfer but it’s going to appeal to someone that’s looking for help. So, for example, as a search engine optimization company, I wouldn’t want to say optimize my website for SEO tips or SEO information or things like that. Those are people that want to do it themselves. However, SEO firm, SEO agency, SEO marketing services – those types of phrases, that makes people pick up the phone and want to call me. So when you’re looking at keyword research, you have to understand there’s a psychology behind it. What is the intent of that person? What are they most likely going to be looking for? You want to go for the money keywords, the people that are going to pick up the phone and call you.
Joe Hage: So as an SEO firm competing against other SEO firms, how have you done on the terms for SEO agency and the like?
Chris Sharp: SEO marketing services is our primary one. We actually nationally ranked on the first page of Google for SEO marketing services. It’s a very good go-to keyword for us and, yeah, there’s probably 10,000 other SEO firms that would love that keyword but we got it. There are a few others that share it with us.
Joe Hage: You’re the man.
Chris Sharp: [Laughs] Thank you.
Joe Hage: Alright.
Chris Sharp: But I’ve been at it for 15 years so, you know.
Joe Hage: Fair enough. Yeah, I get a kick out of the spam emails that I get that say, you know, “Website development, we are SEO firm,” broken English and the like, and I’m like, “Yeah, I never…”
Chris Sharp: Oh, I never understood why an SEO company really has to turn to email marketing to sell their services, so…
Joe Hage: I actually wrote a post on that once and I said, “Can I just delete this?” And I said, “Pretty much.” That was the conclusion of the post.
Chris Sharp: Yeah, we live on our own marketing services. If it doesn’t work, we would have been out of business a long time ago.
Joe Hage: And what I tell my readers is that, just as we’re doing here, I experiment with myself first and if it works, then I can use it with them.
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm.
Joe Hage: Where shall we go next? Oh actually, I will tell you, everyone, why I asked Chris to do this with me, is you taught me something really important about my blog homepage. So let’s do that. I think we made that change. And do you recall what you taught me?
Chris Sharp: Absolutely.
Joe Hage: Okay, tell us about that.
Chris Sharp: Okay. So, Google no longer likes duplicate content. Put it this way: Google has never liked duplicate content. However, with the Panda update, they actively are hunting it down and not crediting content that has duplicate. So something that’s very common to WordPress websites is to have, like you have here, a blog page that has one blog post after another after another after another in a chronological order. The problem is all the content on this comes from the actual blog…
Joe Hage: So here is blog. Now you click on…twice the impact for more, here’s more, and here is that whole post and I got to have used all these words already on the other page and now I [00:35:24] here, which is two different pages. So I’m getting penalized, kind of.
Chris Sharp: I wouldn’t say penalized at this level but I would say ignored. So you don’t know which page is being ignored though – is it your blog page that’s very general or is it your individual article pages? The answer is it’s whichever one Google finds first when they crawl your website and they decide it’s the original source of that content. But the problem is, the way that you have a separate blog page, you’re kind of protected because, you know, it’s just your blog page and this one particular page hasn’t got a lot of ranking. You’re okay because you have the individual blog pages that can get that ranking instead.
Joe Hage: I’d like to share with the audience. I’m going to edit this page, a blog, and you’ll see that I have absolutely no content whatsoever here. This is some magic that my web development guy made and it all kind of feeds in. So you can see all I have here is medical device marketing blog from Medical Marcom. You might tell me that’s not using it properly. And then you told me about this down here, so talk to me about robots, meta settings.
Chris Sharp: Right. So what the no index will do in that meta setting is basically tells Google, “I don’t want you to crawl this page.” So when Google will find that page, it will see it but it’s not going to crawl it, which means that Google will not count all of that duplicate content that could be applied against all the individual blog pages. So now what you’ve done is you’ve protected yourself from duplicate content [00:37:01].
Joe Hage: You protected me. I had this unclicked before you told me.
Chris Sharp: Yeah, but you had to agree to do it. [Laughs]
Joe Hage: Okay.
Chris Sharp: So, but one point that’s very important is it’s very, very common, not on your website but other websites where they will have that blog roll on their homepage, their homepage is really nothing more than a collection of content snippets from all of their other blog pages. What that means is that their homepage is nothing but duplicate content and really will have a difficult time gathering some significant rankings. So, if you’re doing this…
Joe Hage: Significant rankings on the what, the blog posts that are being referenced or on the homepage?
Chris Sharp: On the homepage, the homepage.
Joe Hage: So let me paraphrase what you just said. The homepage suffers when blog content is on the homepage because it also shows up somewhere else?
Chris Sharp: Exactly, but that’s when really all the content is just really the blog. Like if you have a good chunk of unique content on your homepage, you’re going to be okay. Google can see that. But all the duplicate content it’s just going to ignore like it wasn’t even there.
Joe Hage: In my case, and I’ll show you, let’s see, I have…go to pages…take a moment…I have 31 pages. I have 140 posts, so there’s a great way towards the blog. That’s where I teach and the pages are just kind of static inside. This is the kind of thing that I do, go check out examples. This kind of, I guess, imbalance is common, uncommon, good, bad – have you a point of view on that?
Chris Sharp: Oh no, I mean, what you have going on with a considerable amount of blog content, and there’s no magic whether it’s a page or whether it’s a blog post, Google doesn’t know or doesn’t even care. It just sees content. However, it’s introduced onto your website, so I’m indifferent to it whether it’s a blog post or a page. The bottom line is, you know, is that content duplicate or not? And how do you handle that? So the way you have it here with that no index being selected on that general blog page, you protected yourself. The fact that the content there is coming in from blog posts or widgets or other, you know, content blocks on Joomla or WordPress or other website, doesn’t really matter Content is content. Doesn’t matter…
Joe Hage: So I once read, and I know this evolves so quickly so it may be completely silly redundant at this point, I once read that the last words on a page are given some extra weight somehow, and like you said it doesn’t matter where it comes from, so that means your footer. I see websites that have this huge footer of lots of important words that click to other pages and are linked and all that stuff. This is not clickable, this is not clickable, but I have the words here. I have this clickable to the devices group that I lead, and shame on me that this doesn’t open a new window. I’m going to get on somebody as soon as we get off the phone for that. That is not what I expected or wanted. Come on down. And then I have medical device conference, let’s see if…okay, at least we have that one working properly. So have I done myself a real favor having medical device conference, a term that’s really important to me, as the last three words on every page on this site or am I fooling myself?
Chris Sharp: It is important but there’s nothing real magical about the bottom of it. Actually, the first content is more important. What you want is to make sure you have good keywords at the very beginning of your content. And if you understand how HTML is laid out on a website, Google is basically looking left to right, top to bottom. And so wherever it’s going to be resolving the first content, you want that to be, you know, your keywords placed there. Finishing at the bottom with a keyword is very good and at the very beginning is very good. So you got it in both places, what you want to do. And in the middle, you want a reference or two of course just to the normal readable content.
Now, one thing has changed though. Google, like if you’re familiar with the phrase, below the fold,” that means you have to scroll down to get to the content – that content is a little bit deemphasized in Google, and links in your footer are very much deemphasized by Google as well because they’re almost like they’re hidden or they’re not important enough to be on major parts of your website. And so for that reason Google doesn’t put quite the full credit on those footer links, but it still will. It will still crawl, and it’s a great place to put a few more links.
Joe Hage: Okay. With remaining 10 minutes, is there maybe…do you have other main things that you’ve observed or should we go to some kind of speed round of take a look at this and take a look at that?
Chris Sharp: Yeah, let’s take a look at a couple of other things. There are a few that I noticed as you were kind of clicking around, like your title tag of your blog was just blog. Putting something in there like medical news and information or, you know, something like that as the page name for your blog might be a little bit more effective.
Joe Hage: Now, I’m thinking, before I go ahead and start changing all these tags, I want to be smart about what words should I put there. Is that something that I can contract you to do for us?
Chris Sharp: Well, certainly. But almost anything [00:42:48] than just blogs, so even if [00:42:50], you’re still going to be doing yourself a favor.
Joe Hage: There’s some kind of tapping that started about a minute ago. What is that? Do you hear it?
Chris Sharp: Oh, it’s probably my headset.
Joe Hage: Oh, okay.
Chris Sharp: I’ll keep my head still. [Laughs]
Joe Hage: Oh I see, you mean this permalink?
Chris Sharp: Right. But I think if…just go back to your blog page live…and you can see your title tag there just says blog.
Joe Hage: Oh, up here?
Chris Sharp: Right.
Joe Hage: Now I’m not sure why that is because I thought that it would say medical device marketing blog for Medical Marcom. That’s my custom document title.
Chris Sharp: Yeah, I see that. That’s interesting.
Joe Hage: Maybe it’s because of the way that this page is an amalgam of everything else?
Chris Sharp: It might very well be.
Joe Hage: So, if I go to any page other than this one…sorry, I keep doing that. If I click on this article, you’ll see the blog doesn’t appear at all. In fact, medical device marketing appears, and that’s my subdirectory for the articles.
Chris Sharp: Right.
Joe Hage: In fact, you could see that up here then.
Chris Sharp: Mm-hmm.
Joe Hage: And that says, “Medical Device Marketing Repurposing Social Media on Your Site,” which is the name of the article.
Chris Sharp: Right. Yeah, that part looks right. We just got to see what’s going on with that blog and I don’t know why it’s not incorporating the title, but there could be something in your template itself that hard codes that blog page, but we’d have to get under the hood.
Joe Hage: Okay, what’s next?
Chris Sharp: Okay. Let’s see here. Well, the main concepts I think you got in terms of…
Joe Hage: Any comment about the about page?
Chris Sharp: My main issue was, like I mentioned, this would be a really good opportunity to integrate another keyword to target another keyword.
Joe Hage: So here I have medical device marketing and strategy.
Chris Sharp: Right. So medical marketing communications would be a good word to target, for example. And I got your page over here so I can mouse over things and go to your about page.
Joe Hage: So, should I lose the term medical devices in this page?
Chris Sharp: Yeah. I would essentially just kind of target another keyword. You know, as just mentioned, diversify.
Joe Hage: Let me ask you. This is really important for me and I expect an equivalent for our listeners. If they don’t type in medical device, I probably don’t want them because of the self-selection that goes… So here’s my anecdote. Way ago, this is three years ago when I started, a few months in, a visitor came to the site and he started chatting with me, and I said, “How did you find me?” Because I wasn’t number one for medical device marketing. I was number eight. And he said, “Well, first I typed in medical marketing, and that was a mess. It was ‘get patients to my practice,’ buy drugs, all sorts of stuff that was irrelevant to me. So I self-selected and realized I might get a better result if I type in medical device marketing.”
And I said, “Okay, I’m number eight, how did you come to me instead of the first seven?” And he said, “I clicked on the first seven and they did not resonate with me, but you had a familiar voice and seemed approachable, and I thought I could talk with you and you’d be responsive,” etc. Great. So from that day, pretty much, I recognized that medical device was going to be the filter through which anyone who should use my services should self-select, and therefore I said I better put medical device in these things because I don’t want to win the term marketing communication strategy. I could do it. I used to sell pudding and flowers and soup but I don’t anymore and I don’t wish for that business.
Chris Sharp: Sure.
Joe Hage: So taking out medical device here and putting in a whole bunch of other terms, what am I accomplishing? What am I doing?
Chris Sharp: Your answer was in that explanation. He first looked for medical marketing, not medical device marketing, and how many thousands of other people are doing that thing? If he found a competitor’s website that does the same thing as you in that first search, he would’ve never made that phone call to you. So the point is you’re already ranked number one for medical device marketing, so let’s get in the heads of other people that might be searching in a different way. Now, you’re absolutely correct that everybody that is the perfect client [00:48:07] is searching for medical device marketing, and it is true that you might get a phone call here and there. There are other keywords that just really aren’t a great fit, but there will be some people that are a great fit. Other keywords—medical device sales, people that are looking for sales help and things like that—receive 10 times the search demand as medical device marketing; medical device sales, 10 times the medical device marketing for example.
Joe Hage: I’ve never targeted sales.
Chris Sharp: Sure, sure. And just giving ideas of other things you can do, you’re still going to attract all the people that are looking for your medical device marketing because you’re ranked number one. All I’m suggesting is broaden that up and try and get people that are looking for medical lead generation, medical device, you know, sales, actually got some other things, medical marketing company. You know, a lot of people that do specifically, they’re trying to advertise a device, might not think device in that search, and broadening that might get more eyeballs on your website without losing what you already have, just making it better, not substituting one for the other.
Joe Hage: So, to understand, if I have a title tag that doesn’t have the word medical showing at all, good or bad?
Chris Sharp: Bad. That would be too general. Yeah, you’re going to get people communicating with all kinds of different things. So, definitely want medical. That is your thing. You can even explore, like…well, no, healthcare wouldn’t work real well for you. I would stick with medical, then mix up that other second and third phrase.
Joe Hage: So the word device you don’t think is…device is not a mandatory on my pages?
Chris Sharp: No, I don’t think so. I think you could go for just medical marketing phrases, you know, medical lead generation, medical marketing.
Joe Hage: So I have, as you saw, four major pages – well, five if you include the homepage. Should I risk losing the word device on these four? I mean, can I try out your strategy on blog posts and not on these major ones or…
Chris Sharp: Where I would do it is these pages you had in your services pages, and you have those individual pages for the services. Go all out for, you know, like you have a lead generation page, for example, do medical lead generation on that particular page. It was in your little checkbox.
Joe Hage: Yeah, I forgot that part. [00:51:01] and then I, yeah… It’s one of those, what is it, the cobbler’s kids have no shoes?
Chris Sharp: Exactly. But here you go, you already got your keywords. This is beautiful. You got marketing strategy, marketing communications. Just put the word medical in front and use that as your title tag. So, medical marketing communications, medical marketing strategy, medical lead generation, medical web development, you got it right there, and dedicate those pages to that phrase, the title, the description and through the content of your website, and all of a sudden you’re just going to get a whole lot more eyeballs going to your website. Because I know your website has enough clout and enough page rank that it’s going to be fairly easy for you to start capturing some really good keywords.
Joe Hage: I stopped checking what my page rank was. Can you tell me what it is?
Chris Sharp: Sure.
Joe Hage: Where do I look? Do I google what’s my page range? Page rank?
Chris Sharp: Nope, page rank. Yeah, basically there are tools that can do it. We have one internal, so that’s where I look, but there’s an Alexa plugin that will also do it, which is what I’m looking at right now and it’s page rank three, which is decent.
Joe Hage: But 10’s super great?
Chris Sharp: There’s only two websites in the world that are page rank 10 and Google is not one of them.
Joe Hage: What are they?
Chris Sharp: Facebook and Twitter. Google lost the battle about two years ago.
Joe Hage: Look at that. So, what is…is increasing your page rank something I really need to work on, do you think? Or that’s like, oh, that’s nice, it’s a three, it’s a four, it’s a two, it’s a five. Is it that big a deal?
Chris Sharp: Yeah, it certainly is. What page rank does is it is a representation of the volume and quality of your inbound links, and that can influence as much as…you can’t really put a number but I’d say 60% to 70% of your ranking potential can come from the weight of those inbound links. That’s all summed up in page rank. Page rank is a logarithmic scale going from zero to 10, which means a page rank four has 10 times more page rank than page rank three.
Joe Hage: Can you tell me how close I am to a four?
Chris Sharp: Can’t tell you that.
Joe Hage: Come on, man.
Chris Sharp: Oh no, no, I don’t know…
Joe Hage: Alright. No, I know you’d tell me if you could.
Chris Sharp: Yeah. [Laughs] I would tell you if I could, right. I’ll make something up though.
Joe Hage: So, I mean, I could be really far away from them. I could be like a 3.1 or a 2.9 that rounds up to a three.
Chris Sharp: Exactly. But Google knows, and so the work that you do to become from a three to four, it’s not…like Google ignores it. If you are, say, a 3.7, that’s going to be better than a 3.1.
Joe Hage: Right. So with five minutes remaining, one thing we didn’t talk about at all is what you just mentioned. Everything we’ve done here, we’ve looked at my site. Fine. What about all of the offsite search engine optimization stuff to be done? You want to talk us quickly about that?
Chris Sharp: Yeah, absolutely.
Joe Hage: And maybe I’ll have to have you back for another one of these.
Chris Sharp: [Laughs] Maybe so, exactly. So, the bottom line, the main offsite thing, I’d classify it in two ways. Actually, I’d classify it as one way but with subsets. It’s all about your inbound link. It’s your online reputation or authority, and the way that’s defined by is the volume and the quality of your inbound links. A single link from, say, a page rank eight website will have far more value than, say, a thousand links from page rank one. So the quality is very, very important.
Joe Hage: I have a link in from Forbes, how big a deal is that?
Chris Sharp: From Forbes?
Joe Hage: Mm-hmm.
Chris Sharp: Well, if it was on their homepage, it would be a really, really big…
Joe Hage: It’s not.
Chris Sharp: You’re probably a big player, so it’s still a big deal but way, way, way down from like a homepage link.
Joe Hage: Yeah.
Chris Sharp: Definitely, you wouldn’t have a homepage link from Forbes. But yeah, so if it’s buried, it’s still going to be good but it’s not going to give you that same weight as it would from, for example, like a homepage. So, essentially though, Google looks at every single link that comes in to your website as a vote of confidence, and the more votes of confidence that you have, Google sees that as, you know, your website is more an authority. So that’s what you want, is a bunch of votes of confidence. Your website is so enthralling to people that they actually will take the time and link to your website as a resource. And that vote of confidence from a big website, of course, is much more important.
So now there’s social medial too. So, Google looks at what they call social media signals, but there’s no magic in it. It’s just a link like anything else, and those links can have very low page rank and not a lot of weight to them but at the same time , they’re very easy to do. You can get them on your Facebook pages, LinkedIn pages, and every time you do a tweet you can have a link coming back to your website. So social media is a great way to link-build.
Joe Hage: That has a lot of value? If I get a hundred re-tweets on something that has a link to my thing, that’s a big-ass deal?
Chris Sharp: It would take a lot more than that. So, it’s a…thousands – yes, hundreds – no.
Joe Hage: Would it be thousands for a particular page or thousands in general to my site anywhere?
Chris Sharp: Both are good because page rank also passes from link to link, so your website’s internally linked. So if you have links coming all over your website, they’re all linked together so it just kind of flows from one to the next to the next. So spread out or all on one, doesn’t matter, it’s going to eventually get to the rest of your website.
Joe Hage: Should people spend a lot of time trying to get inbound links all over the…? I mean, I get solicited, “Can I pay you to put a link on my site?”
Chris Sharp: Right. Most of that is very mischievous, and the link that you get back from them won’t be on the website that you linked to. So they’re getting all these links from other people to go to the website they’re trying to optimize, but the link they give you back is going to be from some obscure website that there’s nothing but links or…and there might be 300 or 400 other things. So 300 websites pointed one versus one that points to 300 back – not very good, not something you want to do. So it’s difficult. Yeah, the link building issue is a very difficult one. A good place to start would be with business directories, Manta.com, MerchantCircle, Hotfrog, YellowBot, SuperPages, all those sorts of things.
Joe Hage: Sounds like something to hire you for. I don’t want to do all that.
Chris Sharp: [Laughs] No, it’s very time-consuming. And there are some shortcuts. There are some portals where you could submit and it will get you on a lot of different business directories, but you got to be very careful that that is a very good quality reputable network. Otherwise, you’re going to get yourself in trouble. Google will see that as unnatural links, bad quality websites, and instead of Panda update like we’ve talked about earlier, it’s the Penguin update that will get you for bad links. Panda – bad content, duplicate content. Penguin – bad links, you know, spam kind of SEO tactics.
Joe Hage: I think we’ll leave it here.
Chris Sharp: Very good.
Joe Hage: Chris Sharp, that was great. I’m sure we’re going to talk again. And in full disclosure to those watching, Chris is working with me on a client site, and I said, “Boy, we should get some of this available to my readers but let’s not do it for my client site because it’s a client, so why don’t we just switch over to mine,” and that’s what he agreed to do today. So my hat tip to you. And you’re taking new clients – people can reach you at?
Chris Sharp: SharpNETSolutions.com is a great place to start. We have all the content there, just to see if we’re a good fit for your company. But yeah, we’re absolutely taking on clients and would love to hear from anybody that is interested.
Joe Hage: Excellent. Chris Sharp, SharpNET. Thank you very much.
Chris Sharp: I appreciate the time. It was a pleasure.
Joe Hage: My pleasure. Bye for now.