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July 2016

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Website Design

Your Mom Was Right – Your Reputation Is Important

Remember junior high – those few years between childhood and adolescence (when things really got awkward)? For most of us, this period predated the ability to tame our pesky cowlick or find the right shade of cover-up. We hadn’t yet mastered talking to the opposite sex, and for many this era was further enhanced by such trends as feathered bangs and acid-washed jeans. Unfortunately, it also coincided with the establishment of our reputation, version 1.0.

Are you cringing yet at the recollection? Before we undo all of the therapy it’s taken to get past those impressionable years, let’s get to the point. We’re human and poor judgement plagues us all at one time or another. Things that seem reasonable in the moment, like getting glamour shots at the mall, later prove to be a mistake. In the past, the consequences of questionable judgment were relatively short-lived and limited to those in close proximity, but thanks to social media and the Internet, our brief lapses in judgement can now be shared with more people than ever…forever.

Embarrassing trends aside, unflattering publicity in any form can have a very real impact on the success of your practice and, just like Dep styling gel, it doesn’t take much. Every patient you see can potentially blemish your reputation with a few key strokes. One experience with a dental hygienist who’s a little overzealous with the pick can turn into trending hashtags that haunt you – #YourPractice #BleedingGums.

Think no one reads online reviews? We’d hate to call you wrong, so we’ll just say you’re mistaken.  According to a Nielsen report, opinions and reviews posted online are key influencers in the decision-making process – second only to recommendations from friends and family.

What’s a doctor in the age of rampant reviews to do? While you may be tempted to publically discredit critical reviews (#StopWiggling), we don’t recommend it. Instead, use negative comments as an opportunity to highlight your professionalism. You’ll benefit more from a caring response to those trending hashtags than a curt reply. In this instance, try conveying concern for your patient instead of contempt. “We’re sorry to hear you had a less than pleasant experience. #YourPractice has been treating patients for over 10 years and strives to deliver the highest level of care possible.”

So should you hang back and wait for an opportunity to defend your reputation? Definitely not. “The best defense is a good offense” certainly applies here. One of the best ways to counter unfavorable reviews is to proactively leverage your best asset – satisfied patients. ProSites’ recently released Reputation Marketing feature is designed to help you do just that.

Not only does ProSites Reputation Marketing make it convenient for patients to review their experience, but the feature also allows you to determine which comments appear on your practice website. Patients can submit reviews via your Patient Reviews page, but nothing goes live on your site until you hit ‘publish’. Unlike the bedroom wall you shared with your sibling, you get to control what gets posted.

Caution – use this power wisely or it could backfire. Only post glowing reviews with five-star ratings, and you run the risk of your practice coming off faker than Lee Press-On Nails. No one is perfect, including doctors, and setting unrealistic expectations is more likely to damage your credibility than enhance it. To add legitimacy to your Patient Reviews page, a good rule of thumb is to display a mix of three-, four-, and five-star ratings with a heavier dose of fours and fives.

Feeling iffy about online reviews? You’re not alone. Navigating today’s online arena while keeping your reputation in tact is harder than securing a seat at the popular table. Let ProSites help. Our online experts know the ins and outs of dental marketing. For more information on ProSites Reputation Marketing, or our other online marketing services, please call (888) 932-3644.

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Website Design

5 Reasons Why Mobile Site Speed is Essential to Your Dental Website’s Online Visibility

It’s no secret that we are now at a point where we constantly connect to the world using devices in our back pockets. As consumers, when we’re searching for local services, we are more likely to use our phones versus a desktop computer. Your current and prospective patients are no different. This change in consumer behavior has made mobile friendliness of dental website a top priority for search engines, particularly Google.

Over the years Google has made changes to their search results algorithm to push small to medium businesses (SMBs) into adopting mobile-friendly websites. That comes as no surprise since mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic back in 2014. In August of 2015, Google updated their algorithm (known as Mobilegeddon) so mobile-friendly websites were more likely to rank higher than non-mobile friendly websites.

Despite search behavior moving to mobile devices, many SMBs (including dental practices) have yet to prioritize mobile-friendliness of their website. Industry thought-leaders believe that “47.3% of SMBs do not have mobile-ready sites.” Meanwhile, nearly half of non-mobile-friendly web pages lost ranking after Google’s Mobilegeddon update.

Fast-forward to the present, it’s no longer enough to just have a mobile-friendly dental website – you now need a fast, mobile-friendly site.

Below are five reasons why:

1. Consumers Want Speed

They don’t just want it, they demand it. More often than not, potential patients are researching dental services like yours while multitasking. This means your dental website has to get their attention in a fraction of a second because they’re attention is likely focused elsewhere. Dental websites that take longer than three seconds to load are more likely to be abandoned by potential patients.

2. Google is Making Speed a Ranking Factor

Google wants to create the best search experience for users by giving them what they want. If searchers demand faster load times, it’s only logical that Google would write that into their ranking algorithm to incentivize SMBs like dental practices to make it a priority.

A year after Mobilegeddon and several research studies later, experts found that that there is a strong correlation between website load times and rankings. Google announced shortly after that it does, in fact, favor faster websites.

3. Google Sets the Standard

With over 60% of the market share, Google’s competitive advantage continues to be its knowledge of their consumer market. Therefore, they will also do whatever they can to enhance the searcher’s experience by giving them what they want beyond their expectations. Although some studies suggest that users are less likely to abandon a website when load times are shorter than three seconds, Google’s idea of an optimal load time is actually less than one second.

4. Other Platforms Are Embracing Faster Mobile Website Speed Too

Did you know that Facebook recently introduced a new way to upload content so links from Facebook show up quickly on mobile devices? It’s true! They’re called instant articles because the software they are built on loads content in under a second when opened on a mobile device.

5. Local Business’ Websites are Affected by Consumer Expectations

Potential patients’ expectations of their mobile online experience with your website will change based on their experience with other websites. As mobile becomes exponentially more popular, users will come to expect a mobile-friendly website from all businesses. That means that dental practices like yours have to adapt now by prioritizing your website for a mobile-friendly experience.

Tips to improve mobile site speed:

  • Avoid overloading your page with video or images
  • Rework copy on pages so less is necessary, without losing important keywords for SEO
  • Test your mobile site speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool
  • Update your current dental website design to a responsive design, now available for free to ProSites Members.

Want to learn more about other factors that can impact your dental website’s online visibility? Download your guide to 10 Best Practices for Dental Website Design.

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Search Marketing

How to Improve Your Dental Website Rankings in 2016 and Beyond – Part 1

When it comes to getting and keeping your website at the top of search engine results pages, it’s not an easy task. Doing so involves local search engine optimization (SEO), and with algorithms constantly changing and more dental practices being created and marketing themselves online, it’s hard to keep up!

That’s why we’re starting a five-part blog series where we’ll break down exactly what you need to know about optimizing your website to improve rankings in 2016 and beyond. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • Part 1: Understand overall ranking factors affecting your website
  • Part 2: Learn about ranking in Google’s top map listings in search results (snack pack)
  • Part 3: Discover how to get better organic rankings.
  • Part 4: Identify if your website has elements that are hurting your SEO, known as negative ranking factors.
  • Part 5: Understand how competition can influence your website’s SEO performance.

Before you get started, we’d recommend that you brush up on basic SEO lingo with your free guide to Local Search and How It’s Affecting Your Dental Practice.

Local SEO Ranking Factors Overview

Each year, industry thought-leaders analyze thousands of small business websites to understand and weigh the factors that have the biggest influence on your local search rankings. Local search is different from regular searches because users are specifically looking for products or services near their geographical location. Here’s what influencing your rankings:

  • On-Page Signals 20.3%
  • Link Signals 20.0%
  • Google My Business Signals 14.7%
  • External Location Signals 13.6%
  • Behavioral/Mob Signals 9.5%
  • Personalization Signals 8.5%
  • Review Signals 8.4%
  • Social Signals 5.0%

Now, we’ll cover each signal category and explain how they pertain to your practice’s website.

On-page Signals

On-page signals are keywords within your website’s copy and metadata. On-page signals are used by search engines to determine if a searcher is looking for services near their geographical location. It’s essential to include keywords in your website’s title tags and meta descriptions (types of meta data), because those appear on search engine results pages and will help searchers decide if they want to continue to your website.

Your title tags should include a list of your services, city, and business name while sounding natural. For example: Find a Dentist in Los Angeles | John Doe, DDS. Also, ensure that your practice name, complete address, and local phone number appear throughout your website so search engines know exactly where you are located.

Link Signals

Link signals are hyperlinks that connect from other websites back to yours, known as backlinks. Search engines scrutinize backlinks because they use them as a “reference” for your website, just like a reference you would provide to a potential employer. In order for search engines to deem it as a quality backlink, they should come from websites that are relevant to yours, such as being in the same industry or location.

Here are three types of links you should pursue for your website:

  • Location-specific links from directories, including:
    • Directory listings from a local chamber of commerce
    • Links from your local college or local news station website
  • Industry-specific directories like the ADA or your local state association
  • Authority sites like top dental blogs or magazines

Google My Business Signals

This refers to your Google Maps listing and is considered the most important signal for ranking in Google’s snack pack. Google uses the information from your website and Google Maps listing to triangulate your proximity to the searcher. It’s imperative to verify your Google Maps listing and fill out all the information to improve your chances of ranking in the first three positions of the snack pack.

External Location Signals

These are directories that Google looks at to triangulate your name, address, and phone number (NAP) to identify your location. The most common directories Google looks at are Yelp, Yellowpages, Manta, and CitySearch. It’s essential to ensure NAP consistency by using the exact same name, address, and phone number in each directory. Doing so helps Google avoid any confusion when they compare your NAP data from each directory, your website and Google Maps listing.

In addition to being consistent, it’s important to not have duplicate listings in any online directory. Duplicate listings can confuse search engines, as they won’t be able to differentiate whether you have multiple businesses or locations. You may have to go through a verification process for each directory to edit your NAP info and report any duplicate listings within the directory.

Behavioral/Mob Signals

This refers to how many visitors click your website from the list of organic search results. Remember, using the right keyword in title tags and meta descriptions influence a searchers decision to click your website. If a searcher recognizes their keyword within the blue text (title tag), they are more likely to click on your site. The more people who click, the higher your click-thru-rate, which signals the page’s popularity to search engines, and thus improves your chances of ranking higher down the road.

Personalization Signals

Personalization happens when a search engine customizes the list of results based on the users search history, physical proximity to a business, and past behavior with other websites. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to get around this with local SEO. What you can do is consider pay-per-click advertising (PPC). It’s paid ads on search engines that gets you in front of searchers who may not see your practice in the organic results. PPC is an excellent way for dentists to target prospective patients in different markets. Where SEO takes weeks to see results, PPC campaigns can drive traffic to your website within a matter of days.

Review Signals

While it is still largely debated whether reviews directly help your rankings or if they simply influence engagement, they are still important to your practice’s online visibility. From a marketing standpoint, potential patients are more likely to contact you if they see reviews for your practice. And, Google lets searchers to call a business directly from their results pages. Collecting reviews can be the difference of searchers immediately contacting you, or visiting a competitor.

Social signals

Do Likes, comments, and shares actually do anything for your rankings? It’s debatable. However, they do add credibility to your brand. Google takes into consideration how many times your business is mentioned throughout the Internet. Be present and active on social networks while including information about your services and location within your profiles.

Now that you understand overall ranking factors affecting your website, you’ve taken the first step to learning local SEO. Continue to Part 2 of How to Improve Your Dental Website’s Rankings in 2016 and Beyond, where we’ll cover ranking factors affecting your practice’s presence in Google’s snack pack.

Remember, you can always download Local Search and How It’s Affecting Your Dental Practice for a complete glossary on SEO terms.

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Website Design

Helping You Harness the Power of Patient Reviews With Reputation Marketing

Our new Reputation Marketing feature includes a Patient Reviews page on your website, and a Review Manager function that allows you to maintain control over patient feedback on your website. Together, these components allow you to use positive patient reviews to your advantage and manage less-than-stellar feedback. Read on to see how to begin using this feature today!

How do I get started?

Log into the website editor at www.ProSites.com and click “Sign in.” Once you log in, select “Add” next to Patient Reviews under Page Options.

If desired, alter the template text to fit your needs.

Scroll down to enter the email address where you would like to receive new review notifications.

Enter the full URL (website address) for the popular review sites where you have an account so patients can share positive reviews beyond your website. You must connect to your account for the review site to appear properly on your website.

Then add any additional review sites where you have an account.

That’s it – you’re ready to collect patient reviews!

Don’t feel like doing it yourself? No problem – submit a support ticket via the website editor or contact Member Services at (888) 932-3644.

 

 

Patient Reviews

Reputation Marketing makes it easy for your patients to share their positive experiences. Once your reviews page is created, a Patient Reviews tab appears in your website navigation bar. Patients are prompted to rate their experience on a scale of 1 – 5 stars and also have the ability to leave comments.

Clients who rank their experience 4+ stars are automatically prompted to share their review on a review site, which also helps to enhance your SEO.

Review Manager

All patient created reviews submitted on your website’s Patient Reviews page are stored in the Review Manager. When a review is entered, a notification is sent to your email address previously specified.

To access submitted patient reviews, select Review Manager under Website Tools in the ProSites website editor.

Within the Review Manager you can publish patient comments to the Patient Reviews page on your website, keep the review hidden so you can revisit it at a later time, or remove the review altogether. You can also respond directly to the reviewer via email.

Once published, reviews appear on your Patient Reviews page so you can sit back and the let the power of influence work for you.

If you have any questions, you can call us at (888) 932-3644 or email service@prosites.com.

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