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.