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Practice Marketing

How to Choose the Right SEO Provider for Your Dental Practice

Looking for a dental search engine optimization (SEO) provider can be painful. With everyone from local agencies to online marketing behemoths offering SEO, the process can be as unclear as online dating. Compound this with the added pressure of having your dental practice’s reputation on the line, and it might seem tempting to skip the hassle. Since that’s definitely not in your best interest, we’ve compiled a list of red flags and questions to make selecting the right dental SEO provider easier for your practice.

Here are the red flags and areas to keep in mind when choosing an SEO provider:

  1. Get to know them. First things first – look the company up online, visit their website and check out their social media pages. How do they come across? Do they appear professional? Trustworthy? Caution, this one is tricky because, as anyone who has ever dabbled in online dating can tell you, things are not always as they appear on the Internet. An appealing online presence is a huge component, but it can be subjective, so don’t base your selection on looks alone. It’s also important to consider how providers interact with current and prospective clients. When responding to client feedback online are they professional and courteous, or do they respond to any less-than-stellar reviews with hasty, defensive comments? If you feel uncomfortable observing how a provider communicates with people online, imagine what it would be like to be on the receiving end.
  1. What’s their MO? You’ve done some cyber-stalking, but that’s not enough. Now’s the time to dig a little deeper and, unlike the second date, playing coy isn’t advised. When considering a dental SEO provider, it’s important to know how they operate because your practice’s reputation is on the line.

In recent years search engine ranking methodologies have become more stringent, but not all SEO providers have updated their practices accordingly. Black-hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and link farming, target search engines rather than a human audience, which results in a poor user experience. At first you may see a jump in your website’s ranking but, like a short-lived romance, you’ll soon learn it wasn’t worth the effort. That’s because search engines base rankings primarily on user experience, and your site will be blacklisted faster than you can say “au revoir.”

  1. Some things are too good to be true. We’ve all been there – blinded by love at first sight (or something like that) – our general discernment momentarily disabled. Don’t worry, we’re not judging! There’s an entire genre of reality TV based on the premise. Sure, it’s easy to raise an eyebrow when this season’s bachelorette, a former-model-turned-pediatric-neurosurgeon, says she’s looking for a soulmate who shares her dream of creating a haven for abandon three-legged dogs. But, potential red flags in the realm of SEO can be a bit more subtle.

Some red flags to look for include promising you Page 1 results or claiming to be Google SEO Certified.  Spoiler alert – Google does not offer certification in SEO (though companies can be Google Premier Partners) and the sheer number of algorithm changes alone (500-600 times a year) make it impossible to guarantee a first page ranking. Plus, when you consider the amount of revenue tied to Google’s algorithm, sharing how to crack the code would be the equivalent of Colonel Sanders handing out his fried chicken recipe. So remember, sometimes when things look too good to be true, it’s because they are.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Dental SEO Provider:

Knowing what to avoid is important, but so is knowing what to move towards. The questions below can help suss out a legitimate provider from the fly by night variety.

  1. What strategies will you implement to improve our rankings?
    1. Make sure the company is able to go into great detail about their plan on how they will work to get you better rankings. SEO strategies are very involved and a transparent company will have no problem explaining what they plan to do both on and off your website to improve your rankings.
  2. How do you plan to create backlinks?
    1. Backlinks are big parts of search engine rankings, but they’re difficult to obtain. Low-quality or spammy backlinks can actually hurt you in the end. Make sure their backlinks are coming from reputable companies.
  3. How often will you report on my progress, and what will that report look like?
    1. SEO companies should provide some type of benchmark data and reporting each month. You also want to see how often they share these reports with you, and how often you will have a call to check-in with them to go over results and adjustments to strategies.
  4. Can you share experience of other clients?
    1. Look for companies who can provide reviews, testimonials, and case studies from their clients to show success.
  5. Can you guarantee that we will rank #1 for a major search term?
    1. If a company says “yes” – run. No one can guarantee page 1 placement for a SEO search term.
  6. Is there a contract and what happens if we cancel early?
    1. It isn’t uncommon for SEO companies to require a contract for at least a few months, as SEO does take a lot of work before results and search ranking improvements are shown – however, it is important to go into the agreement understanding all of the rules around it to protect your dental practice.
  7. Why should we choose your company as a dental SEO provider?
    1. This is open-ended and there isn’t a “right” answer – but you do want to listen to their answer carefully. Do they intentionally make false claims or outright bash competitors? This may be a defensive signal and potential red flag. Ideally when someone answers this question, they’ll simply explain the success of their clients and how they can help your practice.

With thousands of websites launching daily, SEO has moved from the nice-to-have column to the must-have side of the board. But, that doesn’t mean you should jump into the proverbial bed with the first dental SEO provider you come across. There’s a lot on the line, and a bad judgement call up front could mean the difference between growing your practice and burying it somewhere in the black hole of search results. When looking for a dental SEO provider, take your time and keep the red flags we’ve outlined in mind. Don’t be shy about using the suggested questions above and let the answers guide your decision.

Questions? Reach out to a ProSites Internet Marketing Advisor at (888) 932-3644 to discuss how SEO can help you meet your practice goals.

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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

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

What Dentists Can Learn About Marketing from 2016

If you’re on the Internet (and who isn’t?), chances are you’ve stumbled across one of the hundreds of memes that mock how *interesting* of a year 2016 has been. From Bradgelina splitting to the very intense (dare we mention it) election, 2016 has been a year of change for many.

Back in the beginning of 2016, we wrote an article that discussed the top three anticipated social media trends. As we wrap up the year, we’re taking a look back to see which took flight and where we were not-so-right.

1. We predicted that social networks would adopt new algorithms making it more difficult to reach new patients for free; thus, increasing the need for paid social media advertising. 

The verdict? 

It turns out that we were mostly right about this. Facebook introduced an update that prioritizes content differently on people’s newsfeeds depending on the source. For example, posts from friends and family members will always have priority over content that originates from sources that are not personal connections. Forbes.com predicts that this will drive content publishers and small businesses alike to use Facebook’s ads, potentially causing ad bidding to become increasingly competitive. Naturally, when there is more demand for ads, bid prices are driven up, making advertising more expensive.

Whether this becomes a reality has yet to be seen. In the meantime, if you’re advertising your dental practice on Facebook take heart in knowing that it is still a relatively inexpensive option compared to more traditional marketing methods. Especially given its targeting ability.

In the Twitter world, now your current and prospective patients will see “tweets they might have missed from accounts they engage with the most” instead of seeing tweets purely in real time. This means the more your followers engage with your practice Twitter page, the more likely they are to see it.

Bottom line: These updates are proof that content is important in getting in front of your current and prospective patients on social media. These networks are increasingly watching the habits of your followers, and delivering the content they favor. The more they interact with your page, the more often they will see it.

For more help on creating a social media management strategy that incorporates the changes made in 2016, download this free guide to social media for dentists.

2. We predicted that content would remain king and search engines would reward great content with higher positioning in search results.

The verdict? 

Not so right. While it is still important to optimize your website’s content, this year we actually saw a greater emphasis on mobile and off-site (external) ranking factors.

Here are two major updates that Google made this year that may have impacted your rankings for the better – or worse.

    1. May 2016: Google’s update benefitted mobile-friendly sites, ranking those websites favorably in search results from a smartphone. Therefore, if you had a mobile-friendly dental website before May 2016, it likely impacted your search rankings for the better.
    2. September 2016: Google’s Possum update was released, impacting local listings (the list of businesses on a map in search results). Early analysis suggests local businesses that fall outside of the physical city limits are more likely to show higher in local listing rankings than before.

For example, a dentist just outside of Hollywood isn’t likely to rank in the local snack pack (set of the top three local businesses that match a search query, displayed on Google’s search engine results page) even if they are located in West Hollywood. Now, dental practices just outside of the designated city are more likely to appear in search results. This is encouraging since it has been a common pain-point for most dentists that need to expand beyond the neighborhood or city in which they are located.

3. We predicted that visual marketing would become even more important in 2016 (i.e. including photos and videos in your posts). 

The verdict? 

We were mostly right, with one slight adjustment – native video (videos uploaded directly to the social platform, instead of linking from YouTube) is surpassing images in terms of engagement.

Surprisingly enough, Facebook is closing in on YouTube as the number one source of video content. That’s likely because YouTube is so saturated that people now use it as a resource, rather than a way to kill time, making it less integrated in people’s daily lives.

While we’re not saying you should only post videos of your practice on social media, we do encourage you to think about adding video into your follower engagement strategy. As we mentioned above, the more engaged your followers are, the more likely they are to see your posts.

One way you can integrate videos is by experimenting with Facebook Live or Periscope (on Twitter). These allow you to broadcast instantly to your followers. Looking for broadcast topics? Consider:

    1. Community events
    2. Dental association shows and meetings
    3. Public speaking events
    4. Volunteer events, such as Dentists Without Borders
    5. Office celebrations

The list goes on and on. Check out these 30 ideas that dental practices can post about on social media, and adapt some of them for live broadcasting.

So there you have it – a rearview look at our 2016 predictions. Not bad, given that they were written without psychic ability or a Magic 8 Ball. With technology advancing faster than ever, we can say with certainty that you better buckle-up for 2017!

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Search Marketing

How to Improve Your Dental Website’s Rankings in 2016 and Beyond – Part 5

Up until this point in our five-part blog post series on search engine optimization (SEO), we’ve explored all of the factors that help and hurt your SEO. However, search engine optimization does not happen in a vacuum; your competitors are likely doing the same things that you are to optimize their online visibility. If you’ve been following and implementing the recommendations outlined in this series, yet find yourself just outside of Google’s Snack Pack or still not ranking to your liking on search results pages, you’re probably up against some fierce competition.

To get an edge over your competition, prioritize the 6 following items:

1. Generate high-quality backlinks. Claim your business on online directories, put your website on social media profiles, and ask your professional associations and societies if they can list your website on their membership directory. Ultimately, the more credible and authoritative backlinks to your website will help you see better rankings.

2. Have a consistent name, address, and phone number (NAP data) in your online directories. Remember that searchers and search engines use NAP data to learn who you are and what you do. Look for hidden duplicate listings that may appear under an old address, name or phone number by taking advantage of free tools such as Moz’s Local Listing Scanner, which will give you a consistency score. It will also tell you where you could add more information within your online directories, where your NAP data is inconsistent, and if you have duplicate listings so you may report them.

3.Improve your website’s domain authority. Your domain authority (DA) should gradually increase over time, but it will largely depend on the quality and quantity of websites linking back your site. Here’s how you can increase your website’s DA:

Ensure technical SEO is in place – improve aspects of your website such as site structure, ease of navigation, breadcrumbs, URL structure, meta tags, header tags, word counts, keywords, and alt tags. At times, some of these items may be difficult to implement depending on who your website provider is or your level of comfort with website design. If you’re with ProSites, these aspects are taken care of for you.

Link internally – linking internally on your website from one web page to another creates a network that searchers and search engine crawlers can use to get around your website and it helps keep your content organized. For example, on your services page, have a link that goes to your pricing page (where it makes sense).

Remove bad backlinks – your website is scrutinized by search engines based on your backlinks. That’s why removing bad backlinks from your website is important. Although time-consuming, it’s worth taking the time to remove these links so that you reduce the risk of being penalized. Identify which links are pointing back to your website with free tools such as Open Site Explorer or Search Console and identify any that are pointing to your site that may not make sense. For example, a website from another country that does not mention a topic related to your business is an irrelevant link and should be removed by disavowing it – which essentially tells Google that you have an unwanted backlink and they should disregard it when evaluating your website.

4. List your most important categories first on Google My Business.  Google categories largely dictate which keywords your practice will show up for within Google’s snack pack. Ensure to include the correct categories on your page, listing the most important category first.

5. Increase your number of Google reviews. Implement a strategy to garner more online reviews from your patients, naturally over time. Regularly encourage patients to leave reviews for your practice online through email, after you’ve helped them, and on social media. Make sure that you respond to any and all reviews in a professional and genuine manner!

6. Improve your click-through rate from search results. Click-through rate is a behavioral factor that Google will look at to determine interest in a specific page i.e. how often searchers choose to click on a listing from a search engine results page matters. You can influence whether someone will click on your webpage by optimizing your each page title and meta description across your website’s pages.

Remember, the larger your market, the more work it will be. Check out our previous posts in the series for more information on optimizing your website. Read part 1 to understand overall ranking factors affecting your website. Parts 2 and 3 examine how to optimize your website for Google’s snack pack and organic listings, respectively. Finally, part 4 lists pitfalls to avoid that could negatively impact your website’s online rankings.

If you would prefer help with optimizing your website, ProSites can help you. Learn more about our SEO programs here or call (888) 932-3644.

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Search Marketing

Decisions – How to Choose the Best SEO Provider for Your Practice

You already know that search engine optimization (SEO) is key to driving prospective patients to your practice’s website. And, to ensure it’s done correctly, you’ve decided to go the professional route – but how do you pick the right SEO provider for your practice? The selection process can be daunting because it’s not your area of expertise. Nevertheless, you’ve invested in your office’s online presence and SEO has the power to either expand your reach or hide you on page eight of search results.

The questions you should ask are not too dissimilar from those involved in choosing an undergraduate school. Back then you knew there was a lot riding on your decision, but you didn’t exactly know what to look for. To help you select the best SEO provider for your practice we’ve created the following tips – no admissions interviewed required.

1. Get the inside scoop – Client experience is a central component in selecting an SEO provider. To ensure you know what you can expect from a company, take your research beyond their website. Search the Internet for reviews and reach out to users for feedback. After all, there’s a reason that college brochure showed polo-wearing students engaged in mind-broadening conversation, instead of the quad littered with red Solo cups. Sometimes you need to do a little digging to get the full picture.

2. False Promises – Beware of SEO providers that claim to know Google’s algorithm or promise to remedy your SEO woes in six weeks or less. Similar to assuring your parents that pledging a sorority/fraternity won’t affect your grades, providers that make these claims are simply saying what’s needed to get a ‘yes’. Google’s algorithm changes between 500-600 times a year and given the amount of revenue tied to it, we can safely assume those in the know are few and do not include SEO providers. These changes, combined with an ever-evolving online landscape are also why successful SEO takes time. If you’re in the market for immediate results, consider adding pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to your online marketing strategy.

3. What’s your major? For some of us our college short list criteria was simple. On-campus Taco Bell? Done. Others took a more formalized approach – how much will it cost to graduate dental school? Just as you wouldn’t attend a school for culinary arts if your interest was dentistry, don’t select an SEO provider that doesn’t specialize in your field. SEO and content are closely linked, so the more dental practice knowledge your provider has, the better able they are to optimize your content.

4. What’s the tuition refund deadline? Don’t forget to check the fine print. Ensure you’re familiar with the provider’s cancellation policy and what it means for your practice specifically.  For example, if the optimized content is “owned” by the SEO provider and your practice loses it, your search engine ranking will suffer. Also, in the event of cancellation, be aware of synced content sources, such as your blog and Facebook feed. Remember, if your blog is no longer updated, neither is the synced feed.

5. How about a degree from International Correspondence Schools (ICS)? Many of us are still haunted by Sally Struthers’ ICS commercials from the early 90’s – “Do you want to make more money? Of course, we all do.” Struthers voice of desperation would then tout a long list of learn-at-home programs practically guaranteed to catapult you into success, like TV/VCR and gun repair. No word on the number of injuries sustained by those majoring in the latter. Obviously, things aren’t always what they seem and ignorance can cost you. In recent years, search engine ranking methodologies have become more stringent, but not all SEO providers have updated accordingly. Black hat SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and link farming, target search engines rather than a human audience resulting in a poor user experience. At first, you may see a jump in your website’s ranking but, just like those who spent time learning TV/VCR repair, you’ll soon learn it wasn’t worth the effort. That’s because search engines base rankings primarily on user experience, and your site will be blacklisted faster than you can request your academic transcript. Remember, like a good education, there are no shortcuts to quality SEO.

Just like large universities are a good fit for some and small liberal arts colleges work better for others, there’s an SEO provider for every dental practice. A little due diligence up front can save you a headache down the road, but remember, it’s always better to transfer than drop out altogether.

To learn more about search engine optimization and common terms used, download our free whitepaper, The Search Engine Optimization Dictionary for Dentists today by filling out the form below.

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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.

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Search Marketing

Online Dental Marketing Advice with Dr. Tippins

It’s great to read about what you should be doing to market your dental practice, but listening to advice from your peers is even better.

In our latest podcast, Dr. Tippins tells us what he’s observed over the last few decades as the world of dental marketing has evolved. He covers the importance of having an online presence, the value of search engine optimization (SEO), and tips on how to monitor your competition.

Listen to his full interview with our VP of Products, Keith Washington, below. A full transcript has been provided below for you as well. Special thanks to Dr. Tippins and Urbandale Family Dentistry for taking the time to talk to us!

 

If you’d like to learn more about marketing your practice visit our dental marketing resources page for free whitepaper downloads and on-demand webinars on SEO, website design and social media.

 

 

Full Transcript:

Keith: Welcome to this edition of the ProSites podcast. I’m Keith Washington, VP of products here at ProSites. And I’m here today with Dr. Thomas Tippins. Dr. Tippins has a dental practice in the heartland of America – in Iowa. And he has agreed to spend a few minutes with us today to talk about online marketing for the dental practice and give us some tips about online marketing in the dental practice. Welcome Dr. Tippins.

Dr. Tippins: Hi, Keith. Thanks.

Keith: Thanks for joining us. So first, why don’t we just start simply- tell us about your practice – a little bit about you and your practice.

Dr. Tippins: Well, Urbandale Family Dentistry – It’s located in Urbandale, Iowa. It’s a population of about 43,000. And we have two dentists on staff and then 9 team members. And we specialize in general dentistry but my associate, Dr. Miller, she also does some oral surgery, endodontics and Invisalign.

Keith: Well that’s great. It sounds like you have a really good, booming practice. And you’ve been in practice for how long?

Dr. Tippins: Uh, approximately 38 years.

Keith: Well that’s great. So this is really good for us to talk about because you have seen, personally, the transition. First from dentists really not doing marketing to dentists doing marketing really traditionally – offline marketing we call it today – and now the trend to move to marketing your practice online to the Internet. So tell me your thoughts on online marketing.

Dr. Tippins: I think online marketing – it’s 99% of everything. It’s very important. Many of the prospective patients are young and middle aged. And they’re using the internet for their searches. I mean, I haven’t used a phonebook in over 7 years.

Keith: Right, ha.

Dr. Tippins: A few weeks ago, my office manager was checking the Urbandale Family Dentistry telephone book ad and she noticed the paid ad we had was missing. So, long story short the office manager called and cancelled the paid ad for ever and received a full refund. And we kept the free listing but, you know, no one ever tells us at Urbandale Family Dentistry that they found us, uh, on the phonebook. Never.

Keith: That’s a great point. Even though most of us still have a phonebook, I guess, you know, it’s continuing to decline. So, what are you doing to currently market your practice?

Dr. Tippins: I do a lot of SEO – search engine optimization. And my SEO goal is to make Google happy. And to keep up with the changes they make all the time.

Keith: Right.

Dr. Tippins: And it’s important in the SEO rankings to have good, fresh content for the patients and Google. And I use the secondary business directories like Manta and Vitals – they’re free. And I also participate in the social networks like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest. And even Google+. Google+ is dying a slow death but I still use it because Google owns it and Google also owns YouTube so Urbandale Family Dentistry has a YouTube channel with over a 100 dental videos on it.

Keith: Wow.

Dr. Tippins: And as of today it has 118. And I do social media and have fresh, new content for one reason only, and that’s to help boost my rankings on the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Keith: That’s great! So that’s exciting to have all of that but what about results? Are you seeing any results from these efforts?

Dr. Tippins: Um, a lot of results. I mean, before I had the ProSites website I wasn’t even on the first page of Google. I was still using a phonebook. And, now after having the ProSites dental website for a few years when you search for “dentist in Urbandale” I’m usually number one organic – first page Google. And number 1 on the three-pack local map.

Keith: That’s great and what about actual patients coming into your office? Do feel like the marketing efforts that you are doing online actually bring patients not just to see your website but actually come into your office?

Dr. Tippins: Yeah, I’ve been getting a lot more patients since I’ve risen on Google. Now I’m usually number 1 – we usually average about 30 new patients a month now.

Keith: Wow, that’s great. That’s really good, you sound like you’re certainly a big fan of online marketing. Maybe you could tell us, you know, do you have any tips that you share? Really the bulk of this – really the whole basis of this podcast is “hear from dentists like you with tips that may help other dentists.” Do you have anything you’d like to share on marketing a practice?

Dr. Tippins: I would look at your competitors are doing. There’s websites out there to help you with that. I use seomastering.com and ahrefs.com. SEO is very important so you need to read up on it and you need to just do whatever Google recommends you to do. Or, you could have ProSites do it all for you.

Keith: Oh that’s very nice. Yeah, go ahead, sorry.

Dr. Tippins: My first website was terrible. It was built by my computer guy and he knew nothing about SEO. And after I started with ProSites, I slowly started to creep up on the Google rankings. And now I’m ranked number 1 organic, number 1 on the local map when you search for “dentist in Urbandale.”

Keith: Well that’s very exciting I’m really happy to hear that, well, first of all from someone who’s so well-versed in online marketing and showing the importance of  – if you’re running your practice to know who you’re doing in online marketing and is it key component. I certainly appreciate and thankful that you think of ProSites as positive too. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we close?

Dr. Tippins: No, not really, Keith. I thank ProSites for being a great company and helping me get to number 1 on Google for most of my searches.

Keith: Great, thank you so much Dr. Tippins. I really appreciate you taking the time. And hopefully everyone who hears this podcast can learn a lot from Dr. Tippins’ comments on online marketing. Thank you again.

Dr. Tippins: Thanks, Keith.

To learn more about how ProSites can help you accelerate practice growth, visit our Dental Marketing page or call (888) 932-3644 to talk with an Internet Marketing Advisor.

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Search Marketing

Where does your dental practice rank on Google?

Google – it’s a noun and a verb. Want to know who JFK’s Secretary of State was? Google it. (Dean Rusk) Wondering what the highest grossing movie of all time is? Google it. (Avatar) Where does every computer science major want to work? Google. (Good luck) Where did your mother-in-law find those unique animal figurines? Google. (Sorry)

Google is today’s “go-to” tool. There are 2.3 million Google searches done every second of every day, so how do you use the reach of Google and other search engines to your advantage? By employing search engine optimization (SEO).

Simply put, SEO brings visitors to your website by helping your dental practice appear high on the list of results when prospective patients search for a dentist online. Over 85% of searchers do not go past the first page of results, so where you appear is critical. As far as SEO is concerned, if you’re not on the first page, you may as well be on the last.

Just because you have a dental practice, it doesn’t mean your website is ranking on the first page of results for “Dentist in _______.” There are over 140,000 websites launched each day, so search engines developed algorithms to quickly match likely answers with specific search terms. While search engine algorithms are proprietary (think Fort Knox level security) and include a number of factors, keywords are at the core. These are the terms search engines use to find and rank your practice (e.g. family dentist, cosmetic dentistry, etc.). Before you can create a strategy to boost your search engine ranking, it’s important to know where you currently rank for popular search terms.

Determining how you rank is more complicated than simply searching for your practice in Google and seeing where you appear in the results. That’s because there will always be some degree of personalization factored into your search. To deliver the results most relevant to your search query, Google also considers your search history, geographical location and search behavior.

Luckily, there is a way to get impersonal keyword results. While there are a number of tools that can help you do this, the most accessible is Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Note – prior to use you will need to authorize your website in Search Console. Learn how to add your website to Search Console here.

Once you have added your website to the dashboard, you’ll want to let it run for about four weeks so that it can collect data. Once sufficient data is collected, follow these steps to find out which keywords you rank for, along with other information.

 

Log-in to Search Console and navigate to your website or “property.”

Then click on Search Traffic to expand, and then Search Analytics to find your keywords (queries).

 

This report will default to show the number of clicks you received for a list of queries in the last 28 Days.

You can customize the report by selecting the box next to the metrics you want to view, such as:

 

  • Clicks: Number of times someone clicked through to your website after searching with the specified query.
  • Impressions: How often your website shows for a specific query for the average position displayed.
  • Position: Average ranking position your website shows up for the listed query. Positions 1 – 10 are on the first page, 11 – 20 are on the second page, and so on.

 

For example, our report shows that we received 420 clicks, out of 996 impressions in the first position of search results for our brand name:

 

After you’ve selected the information you need, it’s recommended that you export the data to Excel for future reference. Unfortunately, Search Console only lets you see data for 90 days, so keeping a record of where your website is appearing on search engines is important.

Once you know how your website ranks for popular keywords you can develop a strategy to focus on areas of need. Remember, while keywords are central to SEO they’re not the only factor. For more information on creating an SEO strategy for your practice, check out our free online resources.

SEO is an inroad to prospective patients but it does not produce results overnight. To realize results for 2017, it’s important to put an SEO strategy in place now.

Still not sure you’re ready to tackle SEO on your own? ProSites has you covered. Click here to download our search marketing flipbook to get answers to the most common questions that dentists have when it comes to getting better rankings online. Or, let our in-house team of SEO experts handle it for you. For more information, call 888-932-3644 to speak with an Internet Marketing Advisor.

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Search Marketing

Google’s Announcement about Improving SEO

If you haven’t yet heard, Google has officially stated that mobile-friendly sites will be favorably ranked in search engine results, effective April 21.

In Google’s official webmaster blog, they wrote, “we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.“

That wasn’t the first warning…

For years Google (and other search engines) have been nudging, prodding and not-so-subtly telling us what they’re looking for in terms of good ways to optimize for search for mobile devices.

We had to know it was coming. Back in 2007-2008 when the first iPhones and Android-based phones hit the market with “mobile” browsers, it was clear that regular sites just didn’t work well on a tiny screen.

In late 2009, Google published three separate articles about “making the mobile web faster” and designing sites for mobile platforms.

These initial, gentle reminders that mobile devices have different requirements than desk and laptop computers were followed by 13 more announcements and articles between 2010 and this past February.

They were all posted to Google’s webmaster tools page – so it seems like they want people to take notice.

Normally, Google isn’t this forceful about their upcoming changes.

Understandably, they keep their preferences a well-guarded secret. For Google, how they run their search engine is the core of their business and the fact that consumers prefer Google to other search engines is their prime competitive advantage.

They don’t make their rules for websites explicitly known very often, but the message is now clear: Google is done with sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. They’ve spelled it out in black and white – and we need to take notice.

So we’re taking this message seriously. Over the past 6 years, Google has begged, said please, pretty please, and now, they just added sugar on top.

Making sites mobile-friendly is all about making your site as look and operate appropriately to rank well in Google – but it’s more than just search. It’s about making your site look as good as possible in every format.

The point is: We should follow Google’s lead and optimize for mobile.

Further reading:

If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, there’s never been a clearer signal that it’s time to make the change. Over the next couple weeks, we have a big push to ensure our client websites get upgraded to mobile-friendly. If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you get in touch with one of our consultants to begin this process.

It will take just a few minutes on your end – and the sooner you get signed up to make the change, the better the chance your site will be mobile-friendly ahead of the April 21 deadline.

Click here to email us or give us a call at 888-932-3644 to get set up.

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