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It is becoming very competitive locally to show up on the first page of the search engines, especially the big dog…google. Dentists are finally realizing people are using the internet via their smart phones and desktop computers to find a credible practice that is conveniently located.
That awareness among the dental community is creating a need for proper search engine optimization, as well as search engine marketing (PPC).
The second goal of a website is attracting new patients. Your website has to display what you offer, where you’re located, and how to contact you “front-and-center” on your homepage.
For that information to get picked up by the search engines you need to have the proper formatting, including page title and description, map and address prominently shown, so people don’t have to look for them.
Not only that, but you must have content (text) on the homepage that further describes your services, location, and displays actual patient photos and testimonials (reviews). We see too many dental websites that are what I call ‘vanity” sites which have huge images of either the dentist, their building (office), or stock photos of beautiful people with great teeth.
This is a massive waste of valuable online real estate that will not have much value to the search engines of a visitor looking for dental work to be done on their teeth. Instead, think from the visitors standpoint and their needs. When they arrive at your website, what do they need to see quickly that will help them make an informed decision to call your practice?
Know Your Keywords
You know your practice better than anyone. You also know every service (dental procedure) your practice offers. Those are what we call in the search engine world keywords.
These are the terms your potential patient is typing into to google, bing, or yahoo to find a dentist in their locale. It is critical you have these keywords prominently on your website, your main ones on the homepage, with links to more content inside your website.
Not only that, you should also have knowledge of dozens and dozens of more terms people are typing in to find specific information for their dental needs. Once you know these, you need to create content (ie. individual pages, blog posts, etc.) to get them ranked and found on the internet.
If you don’t now how to find this out, you might want to hire an SEO company who specializes in dental marketing. There are many of them out there, but do you due diligence to make sure you are investing your money wisely. I have heard horror stories where a local dental implant dentist here in Scottsdale was spending $3500 per month and not getting results. So be aware!
Don’t Ignore Video
Google is now showing search results for videos. Mostly youtube videos as they now own youtube. We have seen many of our dental videos ranking on the first page of google, and bringing us a tremendous amount of new traffic.
If you’re not implementing a video marketing plan with for your dental practice, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for more traffic, and ultimately new patients.
The beauty of videos is people see you are a real practice, and as the dentist behind the practice, this is a chance to make a more personal connection with your visitors. When they see you on video, they’ll see your authenticity, and be more apt to want to call you and not your competitors.
You MUST Have A Dental Blog
If you want to have an advantage over your local competitors, you must have a blog that you write on consistently. This is your chance to position you and your practice as the authority in your marketplace. Having a dental blog like the one you’re reading now allows you many new opportunities to get your information out on the net.
This is what we call content marketing!
Providing valuable information that will inform and educate your visitors to better dental health. The more topics you can cover, the better. Google and the other search engines will soon come to realize you are the authority in your area and start ranking you higher for dozens, if not hundreds of terms, that will dramatically increase your traffic and calls to your practice.
Google is now showing more social signals in their results. Twitter, facebook and even Pinterest channels are coming up. What’s this mean for your practice? Either you need to have someone in your practice, or hire a firm to be active in these channels.
Having these social media accounts, and becoming more active on them will give you much greater exposure all over the internet. Facebook is over 1 billion users now, with many people spending huge amounts of time daily.
PInterest and Twitter are also growing, and more teenagers are now getting on Twitter, so with much of our practice being teenagers you want to be where they are at, which are these social networks.
It is said, google is ranking content that has more social signals (ie. facebook likes, twitter follows, and pinterest), so it’s more important than ever to have this working on every page of your website.
For the past few years (if not the last decade) people have been gaming the search engines with link schemes, and unethical methods to get first page rankings. Google is very smart, and will not put up with these methods.
They say there are up to 500 total algorithmic updates a year by google, but no one knows for sure. This should be a signal to anyone that google will eventually catch on and penalize your website for it.
One thing is for sure! Getting links for the sole purpose of achieving higher rankings is all but dead. This is also called Blackhat SEO
The better, more natural way is to create great content that is shared by your community of both peers, as well as patients. When you produce valuable content that people benefit from, it is very natural for people to want to share it.
There is much more I can cover, but I think I’ve given you enough to chew on to get started improving your website traffic and calls to your practice.
If you’re overwhelmed, don’t be…