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September 2016

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Search Marketing

5 Steps to Make Sure New Patients Find You Online

Many dentists, and small businesses, are turning to search engine optimization (SEO) to help them get better rankings on search results online. That way, when a prospective new patient searches Google for “dentist in [city],” their practice appears.

SEO is incredibly complex. Search engines have billions of websites to keep track of – so how do they possibly know which ones to rank at the top of search results?

Check out the infographic below to get an easy-to-understand guide on how search engines work.

If you’re interested in learning more, get our FREE whitepaper: A Dentist’s Guide to Local Search and How It’s Affecting Your Practice for more information and ideas on what you can do to improve your rankings and visibility to potential new patients today. Download your copy here.

Search Marketing

Selecting the Right Dental Marketing Tactics for Your Practice

When it comes to marketing your practice there’s a lot of information to consider. Is your website up-to-date? Does it look good on a mobile device? Is your content trustworthy?

What about social media? How often should you be posting? Are you engaging your followers or unintentionally annoying them? Does your practice appear on the first page of search results? Are you throwing away money on an ineffective pay-per-click campaign?

There’s so much to digest, which is why we created an easy-to-understand infographic that outlines the most popular online marketing strategies available for attracting new patients to your practice.

View the full PDF here or download our free Definitive Guide to Online Marketing for Dentists to learn more about these four key online marketing pillars and how to set them up for success.

Search Marketing

How Do You Know If Your Dental SEO is Working?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies available for dentists. It can also be the one the hardest to quantify. While there are many sophisticated tools out there, they can also be very pricey. Luckily, there are other ways to understand if your SEO efforts are working without an additional investment. 

Before you can quantify your results from SEO, you’ll need to have the right tools in place. We recommend using Google’s free tools: Google Analytics and Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). You’ll also need a Google account to get started.

NOTE: ProSites members already have Google Analytics implemented on their website. Please reach out to your Account Advisor to obtain access to your analytics profile.

Key Considerations Before You Start Optimizing Your Website 

You (or your website/SEO provider) should first identify your website’s benchmark data before implementing SEO. That way you can track how your campaign is progressing based on where you started.

We recommend gathering the following metrics via Google Analytics to understand the quantity and quality of your website’s traffic. You can set up a Google Analytics account yourself, or ask your website provider if they’ve set one up for you. 

1. Keywords with Ranking Position: Most dentists think that by searching for their practice on a search engine, they can find out how well they rank. However, what most don’t know is that there will always be some degree of personalization applied to your search results. Therefore, you may actually see results that are skewed to what Google thinks you prefer based on your location, search history, and even IP address.

The best way to get un-personalized results is through the Search Analytics dashboard via your Search Console account. This dashboard shows you the keywords that you are ranking for along with their position on the page (e.g. 1 = first result). Once you implement SEO, overtime you should see your positions move down to a lower number (e.g. position 6 to position 3) for the keywords that you are targeting.  

2. Keyword Clickthrough Rate: Clickthrough rate is the number of clicks that your website gets divided by the number of times your website appears in search results. For example, if your website appeared in search results 100 times, and it was clicked 10, then your CTR would be 10%. Over time, your click-thru-rate should increase.

3. Organic Traffic: Organic traffic is the amount of visitors who come to your website as a result of an unpaid search result. You (or your SEO provider) should take a look at your average organic website traffic month to month and then work to improve the number of visits. SEO works to increase qualified traffic to your website. 

4. Bounce Rate: Your bounce rate is how many people leave your website immediately after visiting the first page. For example, a bounce rate of 50% in a month means that out of 100 visits, 50 visitors may have chosen to hit the ‘back’ button once they were on your website. Having a high bounce rate could indicate a poor user experience on your site, or unqualified traffic going to your website. SEO should work to decrease your bounce rate over time.

5. Top Landing Pages: It’s also important to identify which web pages are attracting the most traffic to your website (known as a landing page). This information can help you determine if you’re attracting the right kind of visitors to your practice, and the information that people are most interested in. Being the most popular pages, SEO should work to enhance these pages to turn more visitors into new patients.

Key Considerations during an SEO Program

Whether you decide to do SEO yourself or hire a professional, you’ll need consider a few things first:

1. Amount of time. When it comes to SEO, results vary per each individual based on a variety of factors such as level of competition in their area and where the website is starting. For example, someone who is showing on page 5 for “dentist in Temecula” may take more time to optimize than someone who is ranking on page 2.

2. Align your keywords with marketing goals. Ensure that your targeted keywords are aligned with your marketing goals, and avoid optimizing any negative keywords for your practice. For example, a pediatric dentist may not want to rank for the term “dental implants.

3. Increase traffic from targeted keywords. Once you’ve obtained better rankings for targeted keywords, you’ll want to understand if people are actually visiting your website. If your SEO efforts are working, you should see a gradual increase in organic traffic to your preferred landing pages over time.

4. Remember, no two cases are alike. It’s easy to think that because a colleague saw results from SEO in a short amount of time that you will too. And, while that’s sometimes the case, the state of your website will vastly differ from another practice’s SEO. Rather than comparing your progress to a colleague, make sure to compare your performance to your initial benchmark data to track your performance.  

If you’re hiring an SEO provider, they should be able to provide you with this type of information initially, as well as monthly to give you a full understanding of your SEO strategy’s progress. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what is included in your program so that you can be sure that you are getting what you need for your website.

If you’d like to learn more about how SEO works, download our free SEO whitepaper Local Search and How It’s Affecting Your Practice or call (888) 932-3644.

Search Marketing

How to Improve Your Dental Website Rankings in 2016 and Beyond – Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of our blog series about SEO for dental practices. Before we get started, let’s review what we covered so far: In part one, we described the overall factors that affect your rankings on Google search results pages. Then in part two, we described factors contributing to your website’s presence on Google’s snack pack.

Now, we’ll cover localized organic listings, which refers to the actual list of results:

Why pursue organic listings? Two main reasons:

  1. The top organic listings have always been considered coveted real estate because searchers are most likely to click on the first few results, and people will rarely go the next page. Instead, they refine their search to try to get Google to understand what they mean.
  2. Google recently implemented several changes to their results pages that pushes organic listings further and further down the page. These changes include introducing the snack page near the top of the page and most recently, discontinuing ads along the right side of results from desktop devices and instead moving them above the snack pack.

Now let’s go over what you need to rank well within organic listings. Improving your organic ranking relies heavily on backlinks, content, metadata, behavioral factors, and geographical proximity of the searcher to your business.


A backlink is a hyperlink that connects from another website to your own. Both the quality and quantity of the websites pointing back to your own website matter. Google considers backlinks to your website a vote of confidence but will look at the relevancy of those sites to you in order to determine the backlink quality. This, and relevancy of your website content to the topic in the search, all helps Google determine your own website’s domain authority.

To be considered as a highly authoritative website, other highly authoritative websites must link back to you. But, having a range of authority from your backlinks is OK as long as the way the links connect back to your site is logical. For example, if you have someone pointing back to you from a website about stereos, but content illogically mentions your dental practice, then this would be considered irrelevant and therefore a low-quality link.

Remember, you can always use tools like Google Search Console and Open Site Explorer to find out who is linking back to you and what your domain authority score is.

Backlinks worth pursuing include location-specific links, industry-specific directories and authority sites.

A location-specific link refers to any directory that helps Google understand where your dental office is located. This is known as a structured citation. It can also refer to any link you may receive from a website that also originates from your general geographic location, like a mention from a local university or dental society. A link from a directory within a chamber of commerce website would fulfill both definitions since a local chamber of commerce is related to your geographical location and lists your NAP info:

An industry specific link includes websites that are relevant to you through your industry. For example, gaining a link from a state dental association back to your website.

Authority sites include major news sites and industry publications that may mention your practice. Admittedly, this type of link is difficult to obtain since these tend to be contextual and most often appear on content that is newsworthy.

Content and Metadata

Google visits your website pages to understand what it is about and how you relate to people’s searches. Crawlers will look at the actual copy and into metadata written within your website.

The best performing website copy is original, unique content. Prioritize your pages to update the Welcome, Services, and Contact pages with original content, containing keywords searchers might use to find that information.

Although implementing different types of metadata on your site (such as alt tags and header tags) is important, the first type of meta tag you should implement is titles tag on each page of your website.

Crawlers pay the most attention to the page’s title to understand the overall topic on that page. Your dental website should include the topic of each page, along with your city and state in each tag. For example, a dental office in Los Angeles would write Dental Office in Los Angeles, CA – John Doe, DDS. The title tag tells crawlers what the page is about (their dental practice) and where they are located (Los Angeles, CA). It’s especially important to include your city and state in the title tag of the page that your Google Maps listing is pointing to.

Behavior and Geographic Location

How often people click through to your website from a Google search results page is used as an indicator of how interested they are in your website.

Google uses this information as a trigger and will eventually rank pages who have a better click through rate higher. You can improve click-through rates through page titles and meta descriptions which are displayed on a search engine results page:

By writing your tags in a way that’s easy for people to read, along with a meta description that provides enough information to help searchers decide whether they want to click through, you’re more likely to incentive searchers to click through.

Of course, since these results could potential lead people to actual places in the real world, Google takes into consideration how close a searcher is to the “brick-and-mortar” business they could potentially visit. Because of this, search results may vary slightly depending on where the searcher is located. Because it is so important for Google to figure out where you are located in real life be sure to name the city where your practice is located throughout your content.

Now that we’ve covered overall ranking factors, and snack pack and organic listing ranking factors, you should be able to look at your website and start identifying areas that need improvement by:

  • Ensuring all page titles and meta descriptions with keywords and the city you are located in
  • Updating your content with contextual mentions of the city and state of your dental practice
  • Claiming and verifying your Google Maps listing, followed by Yelp and Yellow Pages

Stay tuned next month for part 4 of this series, where we will list things that may be hurting your accounting SEO! To learn more about backlinks for your accounting firm’s website, download our free guide “Get Better Rankings on Google with Backlinks

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