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Why do number of pages on a site correlate to rankings in Google? - Medical Marketing Monday

In this weeks Medical Marketing Monday we are going to look at the results of our survey of the top ranking plastic surgery sites and why number of pages on the sites affects rankings.



“How many pages to rank in Google and why”, Presented by Marc Ohmann,

Hi Everybody,

It’s Marc Ohmann with MDWebPro.  Today we’re going to take a look at how many pages does it take to succeed at marketing your website and why does that even matter?  Why does the number of pages even come into play?   For those of you who remember, last year we did a little study of the top plastic surgery websites across the country, across the United States.  What we did was take a look at the top 200 major metropolitan areas and reviewed those sites consistently ranking the best in each of the major metropolitan areas for the top plastic surgery phrases.   We dug into each one of those sites and found 169 separate sites, after removing duplicates in each of those sites, and did a little study on how many pages each one of those sites have and how many of those pages ranked in Google.  What we found out is that of the 169 sites, they averaged each 409 pages.  So what that means is we can directly correlate the number of pages in a site to how high they ranked in Google.   As we looked through the number of search results we saw that the top site ranking #1 in Google consistently had more pages than #’s 2, 3, 4, 5 and on down the list.  Now why is that?  What we know for a fact is 409 pages is far above the average for common plastic surgery websites out on the internet.  It seems most sites averaged around 30 to 40 pages.   Those sites also don’t rank as well in the search engines and especially for highly competitive phrases and the phrases that drive the most traffic.  So why is that?  Does that make any sense?  Is this something you should be concerned with and capture as part of your marketing strategy online.

Well, let’s take a look at why this is.  If we take a step back and remove Search Optimization from our list of methods to drive traffic to our site and look at offline methods.  Offline methods being brochures, cards at the front desk, a yellow page ad, a sign out front, anything that is not on the web.  Through offline methods, they don’t click a link, or pay-per-click, or use search engines on Google.  Online, people click and you’re billed.  That person goes right to a page on your site, where you define the page and also the referral traffic.  Through those primary methods of driving traffic, you could still be fine with having a one page website.  You could still get that traffic because in each of those situations you’re defining what page they land on.  You actually get to say in the offline world through the yellow pages ad that you want them to go to your  Through pay-per-click you get to define specifically what page they land on, the same for referral traffic.

What changes in Search Optimization, is you get to sort of recommend pages to Google by how you structure the page.  You can say we think this page is about this, but Google still has to find this page and has to determine that yes this page is about this topic and Google thinks this page is an authority and Google is going to rank it.  So in Search Optimization you don’t have that luxury of determining which page that person is going to land onto your site through.  You can’t get away with only one page on your site because it only gives you one opportunity to target the phrase.  Now you can imagine that sites with 409 pages, each page having a chance to target another phrase and also in the post-Panda and post-Penguin era, not only is a page a chance to target a phrase, but it’s one more chance to reinforce with Google  what the topic of the site is strongly about.  Google, after the spring of 2012 and after the Panda and Penguin Updates, aren’t relying so much on simply phrases and phrases used in a site they’re getting very smart on how they textually identify the topic of a site and what topics the whole site is about.  Google won’t simply give you credit for using a phrase anymore, but it’s the same concept where 409 pages gives you that many more opportunities to target phrases and tell Google what your site is about versus only having 30 or 40 pages and your site isn’t growing.  You’re not showing Google that you have a voice in the marketplace and that you’re an authority.

Now as you can imagine in Search Optimization what happens as you grow your site.  You have your site here with the banner, the four box layout on the home page and sub-pages.  In Search Optimization the visitors are going to come through to these sub-pages and you can imagine extending out to 409 or 500 pages and what that’s going to do is cast a larger and larger net and drive more traffic deep within the site as you target topics throughout the content of your site.  So in Search Optimization you’re getting more traffic by having more pages targeting more topics becoming more of a voice and the search engines recognize that.

Now these are all great methods for driving traffic to the site, but simply getting someone to the site isn’t enough, now do more pages also help us keep people on the site or keep them coming back to the site?  What we look at here is Call-to-Actions.  When you get this visitor, when you pay for this traffic through pay-per-click, even if its offline traffic or referral traffic you get them to your site.  There’s very little value except for landing-value where people come to your site and immediately leave.  What we really want is for people come to the site and make some kind of conversion.  When the y come to the site, they give us a little bit of data about themselves or they connect with us in another manner.  Where that comes in is Call-to-Actions, some common Call-to-Actions may be:

  • Scheduling a Consultation:  A chance to get their first name, last name and email address
  • Ask a question or Ask the MD:  Submit your question, another chance to get full name and email address.  Now you’re finding out who that visitor was, so that you can profile them overtime and continue to market to them through other channels, specifically email.
  • Coupon Download:  Again another great chance to get a full name and email address
  • Surgery Guide Download: Resources or educational resources that they’re interested in.  They may be willing to share a little bit of personal information, full name and email address in order to download.

Again, now that’s data we can now market to as we build these visitor profiles.  We can market to them overtime and now we have value.  That visitor who may have bounced or had just come to the site and not given us any information has very little value that we can measure.  When they fill out the form and give us some information now we have something we can measure and base return-on-investment on.   These are generally our basics.  We want to collect the email address.   The email address gives us the power to market to them overtime.    Some people don’t want to give us their email address, so what we have is what we call micro-conversions.  A lot of times if they like us, they may follow us on Facebook, on Twitter, or through some other social interactions where you can get their permissions to show up in their stream.  You get the opportunity to market to them which is also a great opportunity to bring them back to the site.

So how does having more pages play into all of this?  Well, each one of these Call-to-Actions has to have a follow-up to it.  We need to promote to them and push the marketing of the brand of the services and products to the people after they converted.  One of the common problems we come across is people say what do I send?   I want to have an email newsletter, but what do I send?  They get into this blank paper state-of-mind, they can’t think of what to send.  They have the same concern with Facebook and Twitter.  We create these pages, we create these posts, but what do we say?  We can never think of what we can post.  What we should post shouldn’t be a struggle when you have a strategy in place that helps you publish 409 pages in content.  You just don’t buy 409 pages of content and you’re done.  This is a system these sites have in place for regularly publishing content and that is what the search engines are going to value and that’s when they’re going to send traffic to these sites that are publishing content.   This publishing of content is not only going to bring in traffic, but this feeds directly into what you’re going to post on your Facebook page.   You’re going to talk about your latest content.  What are you going to post on Google+?  You’re going to talk about your latest content.  What are you going to post on Twitter?   What are you going to send out in an email?  You’re going to talk about your latest content.  All of these alternatives are now bringing traffic back to your site.  Just as search engines are bringing first time visitors to your site, this content strategy is also bringing people back to the site, but in this case, these visitors have huge value because in many cases we know who they are.  We have their full name and email address, so that we can actually profile them, and see which one of these is responding the best to these campaigns.

Now imagine that compared to being blind and having absolutely no idea of who’s visiting the site and what they’re doing on the site, you can see how all of this feeds directly off of having more content and more targeted content published to the site.  You can even imagine this site with 409 pages, giving 409 Facebook posting ideas, maybe not quite so many, but it very well could be if you’re creative.  Same with Google+, same with Twitter and same with email marketing.  The great thing with email marketing, if you publish this surgery guidebook stating the top 10 things you need to know before your tummy-tuck,  whatever operation or whatever educational component you want to publish out there becomes an immediate email campaign, out to those users who are interested in that topic.  So does this make sense on why sites with more pages rank better?  I think it does!  Not only do those sites rank better and get more traffic, but they have far more opportunity to take advantage of these other mechanisms for bringing traffic back to the site, engaging with them, and nurturing them overtime to produce clients out of visitors.

I hope that was educational for you, again I’m Marc Ohmann with MDWebPro and we’ll see you next time!  Bye!

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About Marc
Marc Ohmann is president of Digital Solutions, Inc in Minneapolis. Digital Solutions is the company behind the MDWebPro blog and tool set. Marc was a computer science and engineering student at the University of Minnesota in 1999 when he started Digital Solutions. Marc, now a husband and father of 3, greatly enjoys the clients and creativity he is involved in each day through Digital Solutions. Follow Marc on Twitter @marcohmann and @MDWebPro and also on Google Plus

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