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What’s going on with SEO in 2022?

Posted on 7/25/2022 by Ralph Reynolds
As a Client Success Managers at WEO Andy and I see all the reports that go out for my teams, we have many conversations with clients about how their SEO is doing, and what we are hearing is new patients are down for all dentists, everywhere.

This is not something we take lightly at WEO. We have had many conversations with my team on what they think is going on. We talk to the Business Development team about what is going on in the industry. We talk to the Marketing Team about what's going on in the country. We look at the raw data for hundreds of clients and most importantly, we watch Google to see how they behave. Here are the primary factors we see affecting new patients in Q2 2022:

Google's Vicinity Update

In early 2021 we started seeing movement in how people were ranking. Their websites were showing up in less searches, but the website traffic and phone calls remained the same. Looking deeper we saw generic phrases like dentist, cosmetic dentist, and dental implants dropping, but localized versions of the same improving (ie. dentist portland, cosmetic dentist houston, and dental implants charleston). Google was moving businesses out of national search and giving them more clout in local search.

This trend continued through 2021 and in December Google announced the Vicinity update which they described as affecting the same things I mentioned above. Additionally, they took away value for having keywords in your business name and considered your proximity to related businesses.
More recently we have seen Google "spreading the love" to businesses that might not be spending as much energy marketing online by rotating their business into higher ranks on Google Maps from time to time. This has caused a general drop in the average number of searches all local businesses show up in as well as visitors to websites.

Covid's Affect on Dental Offices

2022 Inflation based on the consumer price index.We have a vaccine and people are getting it, however Covid cannot be ignored as a factor in new patients. Self-reporting and public testing are way down, but a rather silent section of disease monitoring has spoken up to tell us about viruses in our wastewater. The numbers found in wastewater across the nation shows we are doing nearly as bad as the last big peak. The virus load peaked in Jan'22 and has been constantly higher than any other peak since May. It's probably why you hear that everyone has Covid these days.

The Recession

Covid Wastewater Loads - Amount of covid in municipal wastewaters.So many factors to think about here. OPEC lowering production to keep global oil prices high; contributing to record inflation that makes cost of living high; increased corporate investment in current housing stock contributing to high house prices; people priced out of houses making the demand and price for rentals high; and a war with Ukraine who produces 40% of the world's wheat threatening food shortages. So many things, one general outcome: recession.

So what does it all mean?

The Google Update, the Covid, and the Recession are all contributing to consumer behavior. The global search volumes are still higher than ever so that means people are searching. Website traffic is either level or down on average, so people are still going to websites. Phone calls from websites are down, so people aren't calling. Dentists are reporting 50-75% of their normal new patient flow meaning that even though people are interested, searching, and visiting websites, they're not calling and scheduling appointments. They're afraid to spend money.

WEO Media continues to do work to keep our dentists at the top of search whether the consumers are willing to become new patients or not. We are always adapting to the market and when people feel comfortable spending money again, your websites will be where consumers can see them.

Evan Davis
Client Success Manager
WEO Media
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Dental Marketing Blog | Marketing for Dentists | WEO Media
WEO Media is a national dental marketing company providing dentists with a full range of services including custom websites, SEO, PPC, social media, videos, online reputation management, branding, and much more.
WEO Media, 125 S. 1st Ave, P.O. Box 249, Hillsboro, OR 97123 ^ 888-788-4670 ^ ^ 5/25/2023 ^ Tags: Dental marketing, websites for dentists, SEO for dentists, social media for dentists, online reputation for dentists