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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

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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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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Social Media

California Dental Association: Post-show Recap

If you live in California or surrounding states, it’s likely that you attended CDA Presents Anaheim last weekend. We love tradeshows because it gives us a chance to meet with our members and dentists face-to-face rather than our typical conversations over the phone.

This year we had a lot of excitement at our booth, which was packed with educational tips and ideas for dentists to grow their practice.

Check out the video below to see our VP of Products talk with Dr. DDS about the latest in online marketing:

Have a bit more time to catch up on your online marketing education? Our Founder and Co-Chairman, Lance McCollough, gave a full-day presentation on today’s top online marketing trends. Topics spanned across all-things dental marketing related and, best of all, you can get your own copy of the slides here.

Watch Lance’s lecture to learn:

  • Top 10 trends in dentistry and marketing
  • Online marketing best practices for your website, social media, and search marketing strategies
  • Common mistakes dentists make when marketing their practices
  • How to effectively manage your online reputation
  • And much, much more!

To learn more about how ProSites helps dentists like you grow their practice, call us at (888) 932-3644.

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Search Marketing

5 New Year’s Resolutions You Should Make to Grow Your Practice

Every year, around this time, people think about their New Year’s Resolutions. Then they wonder how long they can keep them. According to Statistic Brain, around 45% of Americans make resolutions. Only about 8% successfully achieve them (statistic brain). This year we’ve got five resolutions we think you’ll want to make and keep.

1. I will grow my presence on social media and stay engaged with my followers.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all about connecting with your community. Sometimes you will be connecting with people who are already your patients, and other times it’ll be potential new patients. What matters is that you represent your dental practice in a professional, approachable, and friendly manner.

Social media is also one of the key ways that you can gain more referrals now. Facebook is commonly used for status’s requesting recommendations on service providers from friends. If your practice is on social media, someone can reply by “tagging” your practice, making it super easy for people to instantly visit your social media page to learn more about your practice.

Begin the New Year by reviewing what your practice has been doing on Facebook and other social media channels. See what has been working and what has not by revising analytics data available to you. Set goals as to what you would like to accomplish with your social media pages and use your analytics data to support those goals. Eliminate whatever doesn’t represent your practice the way it should by defining what “working” means to your practice. Perhaps you had more engagement on Instagram over Twitter and determined that next year your practice should prioritize your time on Instagram. Then think about ways to engage your community better. One way to do this is by asking more questions and consider the answers.

Post content that is likely to engage your audience such as images, memes (if appropriate) and articles that can be easily shared with others. If you have a good photo, ask your community to supply captions and monitor the engagements well.

Want more ideas on social media marketing for your dental practice? Read this whitepaper.

2. I will increase positive reviews online.

According to a recent study, over 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews.1Therefore, it’s more important than ever that your practice has as many reviews as possible!

Start by asking your patients during their appointment to leave a review on your website, Google My Business, Facebook, and Yelp pages. It also helps to have a sign in your office that points patients to the direct link where they can leave a review. Remember, the easier it is for patients to leave you a review, the more likely that it’ll happen.

You can also write follow-up emails to patients that request them to leave a review on your website and/or other third party sites. With ProSites, your website also includes a Reputation Marketing feature, which makes it simple for patients to leave a review right on your website and then share it on other sites. Plus, you have full control over which reviews are showcased on your actual website.

Make sure to respond to any and all reviews, too! If it’s a positive review, thank them for their time and let them know how happy you are to hear about their good experience. If it is a not-so-great review, make sure to thank them for expressing their concerns, apologize if necessary, and work toward a resolution while taking it offline as quickly as possible.

3. I will have a mobile-friendly website.

As of 2014, more than 50% of online searches occur on a mobile device. In addition to providing a better experience for visitors, mobile-friendly websites are also now favorably ranked by Google, when a user searches from their smartphone.

Make sure your website loads quickly on smartphones, avoids the need to zoom in or out on text, and has thumb-friendly buttons with navigation that makes it easy to find the information someone would be looking for.

4. I will start blogging.

Blogging provides tremendous benefits for your practice. First, it’s a great way to educate current and prospective patients on the various services that you offer. It also gives you an opportunity to convey your expertise in dentistry. Whether you’re writing an article on the newest equipment that your office just got, or expressing your thoughts on a new method of dentistry, by creating a blog with meaningful, relevant, and educational content – you’re building trust among current and prospective patients.

Blogging is also one of the best things that can help your website’s search rankings. Search engines like Google love to see new content on websites. Therefore, by consistently posting new content on your blog on topics related to dentistry, it’ll help your website have more fresh content that includes key terms and phrases that will help your rankings.

5. I will experiment with search marketing techniques.

Whether your practice prefers to start with a solidified search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to help your organic rankings or wants to experiment with pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, testing is key to finding out which marketing methods work best for your practice.

While there are many differences between SEO and PPC, you will never know what works best for your practice until you try. Make it a goal to test at least one of these search marketing techniques for at least 6 months to see which one provides the greatest return for your practice.

While each one of these resolutions can help you build a healthy growing dental practice, they each take a good amount of time and effort. As a successful dentist who needs to remain focused on patients, don’t be afraid to hire a trusted marketing provider to take care of your online marketing needs. A quality internet marketing firm can tailor a marketing strategy to your dental practice’s expectations.

To learn more about marketing your practice online, call ProSites at (888) 932-3644. You may also be interested in this whitepaper which takes you through the best practices and key items to consider for each main pillar of marketing your dental practice online.

Sources:

  1. Moz: New Study: Data Reveals 67% of Consumers are Influenced by Online Reviews
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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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