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Search Marketing

Search Marketing for Dentists: A Guide to Getting More New Patients Online

SEO, PPC, CTR, CPC, SERP, RUSERIOUS? Online marketing for dental practices can be more confusing than ordering a drink at Starbucks. The difference is that while confusing venti (large) and tall (small) might give you heart palpitations for the afternoon, misunderstanding search marketing components is much more costly. To learn the Starbucks lingo we suggest befriending a barista, but if your concerned with successfully marketing your practice online read our recent whitepaper, Search Marketing for Dentists: A Guide to Getting More New Patients Online. Not sure you can fit the full whitepaper into the time it takes to slurp down a grande cold brew? No worries. We pulled out some key highlights to get you started.

The existence of a dental website alone is not enough to attract new clientele. You need to ensure prospective patients find it. Enter search marketing. Like a Frappucinno, this sounds more complicated than it actually is. Search marketing is simply actions that drive traffic to your website by increasing your visibility in search engines (i.e., pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization). Pay-per-click (PPC) is targeted advertising that appears at the top of a search engine results page when a user searches for specific keywords, such as “family dentistry” or “Invisalign.” You get to choose which keywords apply as well as target audience demographics and location.  Search engine optimization (SEO) also impacts your visibility in search engine results, but it is organic (i.e., unpaid). Still with us? Good – at the end of this article you’ll know how PPC and SEO work and the benefits of each. As a bonus, you might walk away knowing the correct way to place a Starbucks order.

Note – While Google is not the only search engine, it does have 90% of the search engine market[1]. Therefore, our whitepaper and this article focus on Google and its pay-per-click program, Google Ads.

Pay-per-click (PPC) is perfect for those of us who like our coffee just so (quad venti, non-fat, upside down caramel macchiato please). That’s because PPC campaigns are customized to deliver your message to people who match selected criteria at the precise time they need your services.

When creating a PPC campaign you bid on specific keywords that you’ve researched (for help getting started, see the full whitepaper for details on Google’s Keyword Planner) and when people looking for a dentist use those keywords in their search, they see your ad. You only pay when searchers click your ad and are subsequently taken to your practice website or landing page. And, unlike with traditional ads that often require a certain number of mailers or spots, Google Ads allows you to adjust your budget daily according to search volume and even gives you the ability to shut-off spend instantly. This means you’re never trapped paying for ads no one sees. How’s that for flexibility? No cup of regular here, friends.

The same customization that allows PPC to target the right patients for your dental practice at the right time also makes it easy to adjust your campaign as needed and track ROI. PPC campaign analytics allow you to track everything from how often your ad appears (# of impressions) or doesn’t appear (lost impression share) in search results to the number of times it’s clicked (click-through-rate or CTR) and what you actually paid per click (cost-per-click or CPC). Campaign results also include conversion rates and the average position your ad garnered on the results page. This level of transparency is great, but only if you stay on top of it. Remember, these indicators are in constant flux so even if your campaign has been delivering positive results, taking a break from tracking can have a negative impact.  Just like a barista who turns his back on a milk frother, failure to monitor your PPC campaign is likely to create a mess.

PPC Tips:

  • Include keywords in your Google Ad headline to make the most of your 30-character limit. Bonus – keywords that are part of a searcher’s query will appear in bold, drawing attention to your ad.
  • Ad body copy is limited to a single line of 70 characters on desktop or two lines of 35 characters on mobile phones. It doesn’t take long to run out of room, so make sure to use this space to describe your dental practice or promotion in enough detail to capture interest and build credibility.
  • Make your call-to-action strong! This is where you tell searchers what to do, so be specific (i.e., call (000) 123-4567 for info).
  • Use ad extensions to get more attention at no additional cost. Ad extensions are pieces of information that expand your advertisement to make it more useful to users. They typically include click-to-call telephone numbers, links to additional pages on your website, patient reviews, and call out text with key details such as, “Same Day Appointments” or “All Major Insurance Accepted.” You should select ad extensions that are relevant to your campaign and its goals.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about maximizing the number of unpaid visitors to your dental website by ensuring you appear high on the list of search engine results. These are visitors who get to your site without clicking on a PPC ad. This type of traffic is known as “organic” in the search marketing sphere, and though it’s essential to reaching prospective patients online it’s a lot like switching to almond milk in that it can’t be done overnight (but it’s worth it in the long run). Why? For starters, local search. Through the power of the Internet and a little Big Brother, just adding “near me” to a Google search automatically delivers results that are, in fact, near you even when you’re on the go. Another reason is that 51% of clicks to a website come from organic listings[2]. Similar to your friend who doesn’t trust the establishment and only buys her ethically-sourced cappuccino from the local café, some people simply don’t trust paid advertising. Ranking well in organic search engine results allows you to reach potential patients who might otherwise write you off.

SEO is comprised of on-page optimization and off-page optimization. Don’t get nervous, we’re going to break these down. On-page optimization is essentially anything you can do within your website to show the search engines that you’re relevant. Not only does this include what you say, but also how you say it. Is the copy easy to understand? Does it incorporate phrases and keywords that prospective patients would use? Is the page layout conducive to skimming? Though content may be king, there are also other factors that impact on-page optimization. One of the most important things you can do to help your SEO ranking is to ensure your website is responsive. Responsive sites interpret which type of device is being used (desktop, tablet, smart phone) and scales the site accordingly. In fact, Google places so much importance on the mobile user experience, it gives precedence to mobile-friendly websites in search engine results[3]. See the complete whitepaper for more ways to improve your dental website’s on-page optimization,.

Off-page optimization includes components that go beyond your dental website. These include business directory listings, such as your Google My Business profile, Yelp, Healthgrades, etc. As well as social media profiles and reputable backlinks (links from other websites that connect back to yours).

SEO Tips:

  • Within your website copy use phrases that prospective patients would use to find your services.
  • Avoid duplicate website content! Google defines this as “substantive blocks of content” within a website or across multiple websites “that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar.”[4]
  • Ensure your website is responsive (i.e., automatically scales to the device used).
  • Confirm your business contact information (name, address, phone #) is correct across all business directories.
  • Obtain qualified backlinks. These should be relevant to your website in terms of both location and industry.

We understand that there’s a big difference between knowing the basics of PPC and SEO and putting them to work for your dental practice. Just because you understand what goes into effective search marketing doesn’t mean you want to start crafting PPC campaigns and SEO-friendly content between patients. Hey, there’s a reason people spend $7 on a cup of espresso marked with caramel. There’s no shame in going to the experts, but in an age where everyone’s an “expert” how do you know who to trust?

Start by partnering with a provider who intimately understands the dental industry. This makes your life easier and expedites the ramp-up process. It’s also important to clarify how a provider measures campaign success and ensure you’re in agreement before signing. And, since the online marketing realm changes daily you can’t assume that all providers keep up-to-date. Check references and ask if they’re a certified Google Partner.

Search marketing isn’t something you should leave to chance – or your nephew who builds websites after school. For more information about pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization download the free whitepaper, Search Marketing for Dentists: A Guide to Getting More New Patients Online. For best results, read it while enjoying the delicious beverage you can now confidently order at Starbucks.

Have specific questions regarding how to put search marketing can help your practice? Our dental marketing experts are here to help.  Reach out to an Internet Marketing Advisor today at (888) 932-3644.

Article written by Heather Frechette-Crowley, a digital marketing expert with 5+ years of experience in the dental industry.

[1] Statista: Worldwide desktop market share of leading search engines from January 2010 to January 2019

[2] Search Engine Journal: 60+ Mind-Blowing Search Engine Optimization Stats

[3] Google: Prepare for mobile-first indexing

[4] Google: Duplicate Content

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Search Marketing

Don’t Get Fooled! Black-hat Dental SEO Techniques to Avoid

When it comes to dental marketing, many practices want to get better rankings on search results. The difficult part is knowing exactly who they can trust and hire to get the job done – correctly. And in today’s day and age, there’s much more to search engine optimization for dentists than what meets the eye.

To have a good foundation, dental SEO requires white-hat SEO techniques that will help dentists achieve long-lasting, measurable results. However, many white-hat SEO techniques do take longer and more time to implement and see results.

Many black-hat SEO techniques and companies may appease the world’s need of instant gratification, but it could be setting the practice up for short-term success and long-term failure. In fact, if you’re caught doing black-hat SEO techniques, your website could get banned from search results all together!

To avoid getting yourself unknowingly in trouble by hiring the wrong dental SEO provider, here are the top black-hat SEO techniques that you will want to look out for and avoid:

1. Private blog networks. Building a lot of backlinks (links on other websites that point back to your dental website) can be a very positive and strong SEO technique – when done correctly. However, a black-hat version of building more backlinks is participating in a private blog network (PBN). Participating in a PBN is a risky practice and it is expensive to join. Plus, it’s incredibly difficult to grow and maintain this strategy.

To avoid joining a company that makes you participate in a PBN – either knowingly or unknowingly – make sure to ask them if they participate in a PBN. If the answer is “yes” ask if they will share a list of links that they create for your website.

2. Resurrecting expired domains with high authority. Sometimes, a company will look for websites that have expired, but have a high domain authority and strong link profiles. Once they buy the domain, they’ll rehost the website and republish how the website was previously. This isn’t a good tactic because Google now automatically resets a website’s page rank when the domain expires.

Ask your agency to share the list of links they have built. If a link looks suspicious, go to waybackmachine.com and insert the URL there.

3. Keyword stuffing. It’s important to have keywords throughout the copy of your website that you want to be found for (e.g. cosmetic dentist in Chicago). However, there’s a fine line between being relevant and simply keyword stuffing. Instead of focusing on keyword density within a page, write relevant and timely articles and content pages that have search terms patients are most likely to use.

Ask your website provider to provide examples of pages they have optimized on other websites and ensure it doesn’t sound like keywords are being “forced” into the paragraphs.

4. Avoid paid links. Buying backlinks to your website goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines. This means if you’re caught, Google will destroy your rankings overnight. According to bloggers passion, “if you still buy or sell any links then make sure that the links contain the rel=”nofollow” attribute. It tells search engine that you are using for advertising purpose only and not for page ranking.”

Ask your website provider if they plan to buy backlinks to your website. If their answer is “yes” you may want to consider this a red flag and look elsewhere.

Want to learn more about hiring the right SEO provider for your dental practice? Click here to read the top questions to ask when hiring a professional dental SEO company like ProSites to help you rank higher and get found by new patients online.

 

 

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Search Marketing

The Importance of Google My Business for Dental Practices

If you’re not familiar, Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that helps local businesses, such as your dental practice, appear when customers search for your practice or practices like yours on Google search. On your GMB page, you can add pertinent information so potential patients can learn more about your practice. These include: a link to your website, hours of operation, address, phone number, photos, and more.

GMB results are then displayed in the Snack Pack which we explain in more detail below. Because GMB is free, you never pay for a higher placement within the snack pack.. Your ranking is based on a complex system that values the merit of your website while considering your location, the search terms used, and services or products offered.

If you’re in an urban or suburban area, it may be tough to get your practice noticed at the top of this list. That’s why we’ve outlined a few key steps below to help you work toward getting featured within the first-page of GMB listings.

The “Snack Pack”

The Google snack pack references the Google map listings that appear directly under pay-per-click (PPC) ads. These are displayed right above organic listings, making it prime real estate at the top of search results.

Though usually only the first three results are shown, many searchers will click “More Places” to get a comprehensive view of results, giving you higher visibility on Google through a popular portal with high traffic.

Having an established business listing with GMB also helps add credibility to your site which translates into higher rankings.

How to Claim your Google My Business Listing

First, you must have a Google Account for your practice. Once you have that set up, go to Google My Business where you’ll be walked through the process of setting up an account.

When setting up your GMB account, make sure the business name and address listed are consistent across your website, GMB listing, and all other online marketing platforms. This consistency adds credibility to your site and helps Google identify your practice. Having this information consistent will directly translate to higher rankings in search engine results.

In the final step, GMB will mail a verification code to your claimed practice address. Once you receive the code and enter it, you will have access to your dashboard. If you are having trouble entering your Google My Business verification code, follow these 3 easy steps from Google: https://support.google.com/business/answer/6161749?hl=en&ref_topic=4854193.

Optimize Your GMB Profile by Adding Pictures

To help prospective patients get a better idea about what to expect at your office, add photos that showcase your practice. Include both interior and exterior pictures, images of your team in the office or at team building events, and before and after photos (pending you have a patient’s permission to post).

Improve Your Online Reputation with Reviews

Good reviews are a great way to build trust among potential patients. In addition to building trust among potential patients, positive reviews build trust with Google. When a patient leaves a review on your GMB profile, it is recognized by Google as a positive signal. The positive impact that the reviews provide for your online presence depends on the amount of reviews you receive and your average star rating (1-5 scale).

Ask happy patients if they’d spare a few minutes to leave a review about your practice – and give them a link where they can easily leave one (don’t make them search for your practice on their own).

One quick way to encourage patients to leave a review on your GMB page is to post a QR code in your office that automatically links and directs patients to your GMB page.  You can print it out on a sheet of paper with a headline that says “Happy with your visit? Please leave us a kind review!” and have the QR code displayed underneath.

You can create QR code for your practice here: https://www.qr-code-generator.com/. Simply print the code and then place it in your front office for all patients to quickly scan with their phone. This will send them directly to your page to leave a review.

New Google My Business Features: Product Collections and Booking
Recently, GMB added two new features that can be utilized to further improve your listing, online presence, and overall experience for visitors on your GMB page.

  1. Product collections: This new feature helps you further showcase and draw attention to the services you offer. Through the products tab in the GMB dashboard, your practice can add information about its various services (e.g. deep cleanings, teeth whitening, dental implants, etc.). This way, viewers can get a quick, at-a-glance overview of your services before arriving to your website to learn more.
  1. Booking feature: For practices that use software supported by Google’s booking feature, patients will now be able to schedule an appointment directly from your GMB page. This feature does require that you have an account with one of Google’s scheduling providers, but it further simplifies the process of patients making an appointment with your practice. Read more about the new features in this blog about optimizing your GMB profile.

Tying it All Together
The Google Snack Pack makes it easy for searchers to see dental practices nearby, their reviews, and quick, must-know facts. By opting not to claim your GMB listing and profile, you risk having misinformation about your practice and can miss out on ranking higher on search results. But by taking just a few minutes to optimize your profile, you could have a tremendous positive impact on your practice and website traffic.

ProSites helps dental offices optimize their presence across all of today’s top online directories. To learn more about GMB and getting your practice listed on other online directories, call ProSites at (888) 932-3644.

Article written by Angie Lussier and co-authored by Andrew Casellano.

Angie is a veteran of creating digital content to build valuable business to consumer relationships. Beyond being a professional writer for ProSites, she is a photographer, a poet and a grandmother.

Andrew holds a degree in public relations and is passionate about all things Google, staying up-to-date on the latest technology, and expanding his digital footprint as a LinkedIn influencer.

 

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Search Marketing

6 Mistakes Practices Are Making With Pay-Per-Click Dental Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can quickly attract more potential dental patients to your website. Tools like Google AdWords and Bing Ads help dentists appear on the top of search results, but they only pay when a searcher clicks the ad (instead of paying each time the ad is shown).

However, PPC can quickly become ineffective when not executed correctly – and if common mistakes are made, dental practices risk spending a lot of money without attracting new patients like they had hoped.

Below are the top costly and common mistakes to avoid when it comes to dental pay-per-click ads:

Mistake #1: Wasting precious ad copy real estate. PPC ads have character limits which forces the message to be brief.

Therefore, instead of repeating the same exact message in the headline (blue text) and description (gray text), have the copy compliment and build off one another to provide more information.

Mistake #2: Mispellings [Sic]. Misspelling ad copy can signal carelessness to potential patients (even if it’s not true!) which may skew them away from your practice. Make sure to thoroughly review your ads and run a spell check to ensure correct spelling and grammar. Grammarly.com is a helpful tool to check all of your communications, including ad copy.

Mistake #3: Bidding on keywords for services you don’t offer. Targeting every single dental keyword can be tempting, but it won’t be an effective use of your budget because those visitors are not likely to convert into patients. Instead, prioritize targeting keywords for services that you do offer and create the most revenue for your practice (i.e. veneers, replacing amalgam fillings with composite ones, etc.).

Mistake #4: Sending visitors to your homepage or contact page. While this may seem like a good idea, it may actually hurt your conversion rate (the number of people who click your ad, and then ultimately contact your practice). Why? Visitors need to get the information they initially searched for, immediately. If they click an ad about teeth whitening, but land on a contact page with no information about that service, they won’t be pleased. Instead, send visitors to a page that correlates with the PPC ads you are running. Be sure these landing pages include information about the service and provide a strong call-to-action near the top and bottom of the page.

Mistake #5: Failing to split-test your ad text. Part of improving your ROI on PPC campaigns requires ad copy testing. By testing your ads, you can learn which set(s) of ad copy resonates most with searchers and you can continually improve your ads. For example, you can test if showing a price in ad copy is more effective than not:

Test A

Test B

By testing the headlines only (“teeth whitening special” vs. “$99 teeth whitening”) you will be able to track the difference in results directly back to the change of headline. (If you change more than one part of the ad, it would be hard to pinpoint the exact reason one ad outperformed the other.) After a period of time, you’ll see that one of the ads outperforms the other – from there, use the winning headline and try testing something different (like the description).

Mistake #6: Not using negative keywords. Negative keywords are keywords that you do not want your ads to appear, such as “free cleanings.” By setting negative keywords, you limit unwanted clicks and traffic which saves money and helps you maximize your budget.

By using ad copy real estate wisely, checking spelling and grammar, monitoring keywords, testing, and creating landing pages are all ways to get more from your PPC budget, improve your return on investment, and win new patients quickly online.

To learn how we at ProSites can help you attract qualified search traffic quickly, fill out the form below to speak to an Internet Marketing Advisor or call (888) 932-3644.

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Search Marketing

5 Dental Marketing Ideas to Attract and Convert Patients Through Search

Online search has become integral to our lives. Want to know where the nearest coffee shop is? Google it. Looking for Sunday brunch but don’t know which restaurant serves the best mimosas? Look it up on Yelp.

The same goes for prospective patients who are looking for your practice. They’re looking for the best dentist in their area by searching online. That’s why it’s important to prioritize your dental website’s online visibility.

Here are five dental marketing ideas that your practice can implement to improve its online visibility and attract new patients.

1. Write blog posts. Publishing blog posts on your dental website serves two purposes:
(1) It provides fresh content that search engine crawlers evaluate to determine relevancy and authority. The more relevant you appear to people searching for a new dentist, the more likely you are to show up for searches by prospective patients. And (2) blog posts help you gain credibility and showcase your expertise on a specific topic. When people see that you care enough to talk through a procedure or answer common FAQs they will immediately feel a greater sense of trust with you because it shows that you care.

2. Collect positive patient reviews. Did you know that 80% of people would trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation? Therefore, your practice needs positive online reviews to stand out among patients who are comparing you to other dentists in your town. And, having more reviews can help you stand out and rank higher on sites like Google Maps and other major online directories.

3. Claim and verify online business listings. Confirm your practice’s identity on various directories online such as Google Maps or Yelp. It doesn’t take much time (15 minutes per directory) but can have an amazing positive impact on your practice’s visibility. Plus, verifying your listing provides you with access to a dashboard that allows you to edit your information such as your practice name, address, and phone number which are critical components in ranking within the Google snack pack.

Verifying your listing also allows you to respond to reviews, list business hours, let’s prospective patients call you directly from search results, and provides driving directions through GPS.

4. Advertise through paid search. The first three to four search engine results are paid ads. Paid ads are used by dental practices to target prospective patients at the exact moment they search for services they offer. This is much more effective than traditional advertising where you’re typically interrupting someone. And, since search ads always appear at the top of results pages, they have maximum visibility to your target audience. Because of their design, users don’t always identify an ad and may think it’s an organic result.

Paid Search Result

Organic Search Result

Paid search ads are cost-effective when managed well, can improve your dental website’s online visibility within days, and provide easy-to-track analytics to help you understand your return on investment.

5. Remarket through paid search. Remarketing refers to ads that are shown to people who have previously visited your website. Visitors are identified by placing cookies (tracking code) in their search history which then triggers your ad to appear while that visitor searches for other services online.

Remarketing is useful because allows you to engage visitors that didn’t take a desired action on your site (e.g. contacting you and filling out a form). Additionally, remarketing is more cost effective because you’re targeting people who have already interacted with your practice in some way, shape or form – instead of targeting people who have never heard of your practice yet.

Using these 5 tactics can help improve your website’s online visibility to attract and convert new patients. For more ideas on how to improve your online presence, download How to Attract New Dental Patients Through Search Marketing by filling out the form below.

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Search Marketing

How Dental Practices Can Utilize Google Analytics

As a dentist, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t working when it comes to your dental practice marketing. Knowing this type of data helps you continually make improvements and learn more about your target audience.

Google Analytics (GA) is a FREE online tool that’s easy to install on your website (especially if you’re a ProSites member) and provides quality data needed to evaluate marketing activities. Use the guide below to see all the things you can do once you install Google Analytics on your dental website.

  1. Segment website traffic by acquisition channels to learn which type of traffic is most valuable to your practice. You can use GA to find out how people arrive on your website in one of five ways: direct, referral, social, organic and paid search.
  2. Direct: the number of visitors who entered your website URL directly into the browser
  3. Referral: visits initiated from another website outside of search engines or social media sites (e.g. if your website is listed on the local chamber of commerce website)
  4. Social: visitors who came to your website directly from social media sites (e.g. Facebook or Twitter)
  5. Organic: visitors who came to your website from search engine results like Google or Yahoo
  6. Paid: visitors who came to your website from PPC campaigns (e.g. Google AdWords)

Learning how people get to your website is key and provides insights into which types of campaigns are driving the most traffic to your website. For example, if you’re spending a lot on social media marketing but aren’t seeing any social traffic, it may be a sign that you need to update your strategy. Similarly, if paid traffic is up, but organic traffic is down, it may be wise to consider search engine optimization (SEO) for better rankings.

  1. Understand and document fluctuations in website traffic with annotations. Over time, you’ll likely notice changes in your website traffic patterns. This could be due to intentional changes, like getting a new website design or investing in SEO, or something less obvious, like Google changing an algorithm that greatly impacts your rankings and organic traffic.

As you make changes to your website, online marketing strategy, or learn about new Google updates, use annotations to note these updates. This way, when you go back to analyze your traffic, you can better pinpoint reasons for the fluctuations.

  1. Identify “normal” traffic patterns by comparing date ranges. As traffic fluctuates, you can identify what is “normal” by comparing traffic over periods of time.

For example, if your website averages 100 sessions per month in Q4 of any given year, but this year you saw 50 sessions a month in the same time period, this abnormality may be a clue that something caused a change. Alternatively, if your website saw 200 sessions per month after a year of consistent marketing activities, it’s an indication that those activities are working in your favor.

  1. Use goals to understand if visitors are taking a desired action on your website. The purpose of most websites is to gain business and initiate contact from visitors. Creating goals in GA helps you understand if visitors are taking desired actions on your website, such as filling out a form for more information. Once you set-up a goal (e.g. completing a form) and a visitor takes this action, GA will trigger a goal completion which can be interpreted as a lead.

This data is helpful in understanding how effective your website is at converting visitors to new patients. You’ll learn how many times a form is completed and the percentage of traffic that takes action on your site, all while segmenting these actions by acquisition channel. A low percentage of people acting on your website may signal the need for more calls-to-action, additional content, or different offers.

  1. Access data easily and regularly by creating reports to reference and monitor your overall performance.

For example, say you want to compare traffic at the end of each month to the previous month to understand how recent traffic is trending. To create the report, select the date range you wish to analyze (current month), and then select previous period. Once you get the view you wished to see, hit save (on the tool bar) and name the report.

You will then be able to find the saved report under customization in the left hand column.

Implementing GA into your marketing toolkit is a must, as these detailed analytics will help you understand your accountant marketing ROI. As you learn more about your website and its performance, you can make smarter, more informed decisions about your practice’s overall marketing strategy and priorities.

For more information on accountant marketing, download the free guide, How to Increase Retention and Lifetime Value of Patients, by filling out the form below.

Can’t view form? Click here.

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Search Marketing

SEO for Dental Websites: A Complete Checklist

If you’re like most dentists, getting better rankings on search results to get noticed by new patients is a top priority for your practice. Whether your prefer to try search engine optimization (SEO) strategies on your own, or want to hire a professional off the bat, below is a comprehensive checklist of key items that should be part of your dental practice’s SEO strategy:

Best Dental Website SEO Practices

Do a little homework before starting any actual work. SEO for dental websites is not something you want to do on the fly.

  • Establish a benchmark. Note where you’re currently at by pinpointing key analytics such as rankings, visitors to the site, conversions (visitors who fill out a form), and bounce rate. Utilize free analytics tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to better understand your dental website’s performance and measure improvements as you implement SEO. (Click here to read our blog about using Search Console on your dental website.)
  • Identify goals. Best dental SEO practices dictate that your benchmark data should also be a window into where you’re doing well, and what areas you can improve upon. Whether you’re looking to increase reach, page visits, time on page, decrease bounce rates, or improve conversions, get clear about your goals and identify how you’ll measure success.
  • Optimize page titles and meta descriptions. Page titles and meta descriptions are within the code of each web page, and should be unique for each page on your website. This text is also displayed on search engine results pages to give searchers an idea of what your website is about.

Creating Unique, Descriptive Meta Tags is Vital to Effective SEO for Dental Websites To optimize your page title and meta descriptions, add relevant keywords and include your practice’s city and state within the copy. Note that the page title must remain under 60 characters and meta descriptions under 156.

  • Optimize website content. Optimizing content requires a balance of including enough keywords within your copy for search engines while also sounding natural to readers. Assign specific keywords to each page of your website and include them in headers, paragraphs, bulleted lists and in the call to action of the page.
  • Check name, address, and phone (NAP) data across all online directories. Consistency is key. Make sure that your website contact information matches all of your online directories, and vice versa. This is important because Google triangulates this information with other third party sites. Inconsistent information across various websites confuses Google and deters it from ranking your website in search results.
  • Claim ownership of your Google My Business (GMB) listing and other online directories.

    Local search is vital to your online marketing strategy when implementing SEO for dental websites!

    Your GMB listing must be claimed and verified by your dental practice to give Google confirmation of your location. This is critical since Google utilizes location and proximity as a ranking factor, so when someone searches for a dentist near you, you’ll appear higher than someone farther away.

Best Dental Website SEO Practices Stress the Value of Local Search, Particularly your "Google My Business" ListingIn addition to claiming your GMB profile, you want to ensure you don’t have two profiles with the same or conflicting information. Click here to read about removing duplicate listings.

Once you claim GMB, repeat a similar process across these top directories for dentists. Remember to ensure consistency with your practice name, address, and phone number.

  • Embed your practice’s verified Google Maps listing to your website. A minor, yet impactful step. Embedding a map on your site helps confirm to Google your true location. Note: this step must take place after you claim and verify ownership of your Google maps listing.

Don't neglect your basic dental marketing strategy when implementing your SEO. Include an interactive "Google Maps" window on your contact page!Dental SEO can be complex – but a at a minimum, exploiting these basic strategies can help you start off on the right foot. To learn more about improving your website’s rankings in 2018, download the free whitepaper about local search and getting better rankings by filling out the form below.

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Search Marketing

3 Ways to Leverage Your Marketing this Winter

When it comes to marketing your dental practice, there are countless options available. Here are three things that you can do to improve your marketing and make an impact on your practice:

1. Update your website design. When was the last time you updated your website design? If you’re like most small business owners, it’s probably been several years. However, design trends are constantly changing and it’s important to keep up with the times. Even little things, like not having a mobile-friendly website, can make your practice appear outdated – making potential patients question if you really are the dentist they should trust.

Ask your website provider if they have recently released new designs or features that you can add to your website. And, if you’re a ProSites member, you can easily update your website design at any time. Pick a design that reflects your practice’s brand, provides a thoughtful user experience, and is mobile-friendly (since most of your web traffic is likely coming from a smartphone).

2. Write a blog post one time a week. Blogging can play a pivotal role in how you interact with current and prospective patients. Your practice’s blog can be both be used as a controlled news outlet and act as the voice of the company in a less formal, relatable manner.

Plus, by adding useful and interesting content, it can help improve your ranking on search engines. This is because search engines love fresh, relevant content that’s updated frequently.

Use blogging as a platform to educate prospective patients on new dental technology and bolster your practice’s relationship with the community. It’s also an excellent way to encourage engagement on your social media profiles such as Facebook or Twitter. By sharing your blog posts on social media, you are creating a dialog between you and your followers (or potential patients).

Finally, blogging encourages search engines to visit your website more frequently because it’s fresh content on your site. Ensure to include search phrases prospects are likely to use when searching for your services when creating new posts.

3. Reach out to your most loyal patients. Write a thank you note, give them a call, or send them an email. Attracting new patients is much more costly than retaining loyal patients, so be sure to take the opportunity to go the extra mile – provide recommendations, touch base and let them know you value their business.

To get more ideas on what you should be doing to market your practice online, get 25 other ideas on this free infographic here. Or, request a free demonstration of our online marketing services by filling out the form below.

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Search Marketing

5 Tactics to Maximize Your Dental Website Rankings in 2018

As 2017 comes to a close, most of us take time to think about everything we’ve accomplished the last 12 months and what we can do to improve in the next year. One of the most common questions we hear from dentists is about how they can get better rankings, so as you prepare for 2018, here are some quick things you can do to maintain and potentially improve your rankings by the New Year.

1. Update Your Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Page titles and meta descriptions are coded into each page of your website. This snippet of text appears in search engine results pages to give searchers a preview of what your webpage is about.

When a searcher clicks the website from the results page and stays on the site, it signals to search engines that the webpage was valuable. Over time, search engines are more likely to rank the website higher in results. Providing a clear title and description incentivizes searchers to click on through to your website and therefore helps improve your rankings.

How to improve page titles and meta descriptions: There are two things you must consider when writing page titles and meta descriptions: character limits and keywords in the copy.

Page titles only allow 50 to 60 characters and descriptions only allow 150 to 200 characters (including spaces). Make the most of every character and eliminate any unnecessary text. For example, default names of website pages such as “about” or “home” don’t really tell the searcher much about the content on the page and wastes character space.

Additionally, identify keywords searchers may use to find your services and include these words or phrases in both the page title and meta description, as Google automatically bolds words that match the searchers query.

2. Add Your Practice to Online Directories

A local directory listing is any page or profile dedicated to your dental practice on third party sites like Yelp, YP.com, Angie’s List and Merchant Circle. It’s important to find your practice on these websites and ensure your practice’s name, complete address and phone number is correct. Dentists commonly find that their name is backwards (e.g. last name, first name DDS) because major data aggregators purchase business details and push them out to local directories. Of course, bots can’t correct the information, which is why it’s up to you to do so.

Search engines rely on online directories to understand your practice location and relay this information to searchers. Results are customized based on the searcher’s proximity to your practice. When search engines run into messy listings, they are less likely to suggest you to searchers and cause you to rank poorly.

How to improve your directory listings: Search for your practice in top directories for dentists and follow the instructions to claim ownership of the profile. Additionally, check data aggregators (Infogroup, Neustar, Acxiom, and Factual) for your practice and correct the listings.

3. Prioritize Your Google My Business Listing

Not to be confused with Google+, a Google My Business (GMB) listing is your dental practice’s profile on Google Maps. It includes your name, address, and phone number like your standard listing mentioned above, but because it’s a Google property, it deserves a mention of its own.

Having a clean GMB listing is important because it is major ranking factor on Google’s search results. A clean listing is more likely to appear in Google’s map results, which is almost always at the very top of the page and therefore more likely to be clicked on.

How to improve your GMB listing: Follow the instructions to claim ownership of your business on Google My Business. Additionally, you must remove any duplicate listings of your dental practice. Read this tutorial to learn how to clean up your Google My Business listings.

4. Collect Online Google Reviews

70% of dental patients said that online ratings and reviews influenced their choice of dentist. While we’ve touched on this in the past, having online reviews creates trustworthiness and transparency. Additionally, reviews on your GMB profile can impact your practice’s online visibility, implying that reviews are a ranking factor.

How to get more online reviews: While still at your practice, have your staff ask patients how their appointment went to create an opportunity for them to provide you with feedback. If the patient shares negative feedback, it gives you an opportunity to solve it right then rather than seeing a negative review.  If they share positive feedback, it gives you an opportunity to ask for a review which is likely to reflect a positive rating. Next, show them how to leave a review on Google by following this tutorial.

5. Insert Local Structured Data Mark-up

Structured data mark-up is what search engines use to gain more information about your website. It’s added directly to a page’s HTML mark up and makes it easier for web crawlers to determine basics about your practice such as reviews, services you offer, and hours of operation. Google then uses the mark-up to highlight that information directly onto search engine results pages like the one shown below.

Structured data helps your practice stand out in search results by highlighting your practice in a ‘rich snippet’ which is an enhanced Google result listing (example below). In this case, Google has also provided an aggregate Yelp review rating.

Test your website for structured data by using  . Then, ask your website provider to help you implement Local Business mark-up code using this generator. Copy and paste the code for your website provider to implement.

To learn more about improving your website’s rankings in 2018, download the free whitepaper, Local Search and How It’s Affecting Your Practice by filling out the form below.

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Search Marketing

Common Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising Questions from Dentists

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) can be a key component of a dental practice’s online marketing strategy. If you’ve been considering PPC for your practice, or have a simple interest in learning more to see if it’s a right fit, we highlighted the most common questions we hear from other practices to give you a better idea of what’s entailed.

Q: How much do clicks cost?

A: While a common question, it’s also the hardest to answer, as there are numerous factors that go into determining bids for certain keywords.

First, it’s important to understand that Google’s AdWords platform runs as an auction. Similar to how you would bid for a product on eBay, with AdWords, you tell the “seller” (Google) what you are willing to pay for the “product” (the keywords/location you want to target).

You’ll typically pay 60-80% of your bid, depending on what others bid and what the competition in the targeted location is. For example, AdWords Keyword Planner shows a suggested bid of $3.63 for “teeth whitening” in San Jose, CA and $1.63 in Omaha, NE. Since keywords and competition vary in each market, it’s important to have a somewhat flexible budget when beginning your initial campaigns.

Q: What is a typical PPC budget for a sole-practitioner?

A: As outlined above, it depends on various factors, however, we typically recommend that dentists put at least $400 per month toward AdWords. Distributed evenly throughout the month, this equates to $13 available daily for clicks. Therefore, if one click on your AdWords ad costs $6, you only have enough spend for two clicks (potential new patients) daily. Running out of budget during the day will cause AdWords to stop your ads until more budget is available the following day. This is why dentists in highly-competitive markets can easily hit their maximum daily spend, while dentists in less competitive areas may only reach the max once or twice a week.

While expanding your budget is one way to obtain more leads, optimizing your campaign can help you stretch your budget even further by analyzing metrics such as impressions, clickthrough rate (CTR) and conversions for targeted keywords and/or locations to learn where your money is best spent and get the best return on your investment.

Q: Do I need another website set up for PPC, in addition to the website I already have?

A: No. But you should create landing pages for your PPC ads. A landing page is different than a normal web page because it is created specifically for an advertisement. When someone clicks your PPC ad about teeth whitening services, you don’t want to send them to your website homepage where they have to dig for more information about teeth whitening. Instead, you want to send them to a landing page that is specifically about the service. Make sure your landing pages have a strong call-to-action and help the reader understand what they should do next (e.g. fill out a form for a free consultation).

Q: How are web pages set up so that AdWords recognizes when someone want to be contacted?

A: Once a landing page is created, a form is added to the landing page. That form will then gather information submitted by a web visitor on the form so you may contact them about your services. After the web visitor submits their information, they are directed to a “Thank You” page, which should thank them for their interest and let them know what next steps are, such as how long it will be until they hear from you or someone at your practice.

Once the “Thank You” page loads, an AdWords conversion pixel (usually added by your PPC expert during your campaign setup process), is triggered. This communicates to AdWords that a “conversion” has occurred. The pixel will only be triggered if the person lands on your website through search engine advertising.

Tracking your conversions from pay-per-click advertising allows you to track your return on investment on the channel. It also helps you identify where you can improve your content to maximize the effectiveness of your campaign. For example, AdWords will show you how many clicks your ad has received, but also how many people contact you once they visit your landing page. If you’re getting a lot of clicks, but not a lot of conversions, you may want to revisit the messaging on your webpage.

Q: When should I add PPC to my online marketing strategy?

A: Now! PPC ads are a quick and super-targeted way to get your practice noticed by new patients. PPC setup typically takes 5-10 business days (1-2 weeks).

Do you still have questions? Let ProSites help by reaching out to one of our Internet Marketing Experts at (888) 932-3644.

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