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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

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

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

Q: How much do clicks cost?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Search Marketing

PPC for Dentists – How to Define Your Budget

Many dentists (and other small businesses) are trying pay-per-click (PPC) more and more. It’s a great way to reach a targeted audience, and you only pay when someone clicks your ad. Plus, it’s a quick way to get noticed on page 1 of search results. If you’re considering PPC as part of your marketing mix, you’ll soon come to ask “how much should my dental practice spend on PPC?”

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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

Dental SEO: Do It Yourself or Hire a Pro?

The purpose of working on your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) is to move your dental practice to the top of the search engine rankings – to be near the top of the first search page. While no one can guarantee your practice’s ranking, if you implement a good SEO marketing plan you should see movement in the right direction.

Here is why it’s important.

SEO is the most cost-effective marketing avenue for bringing new patients into your practice. Millions of searches happen every day and your placement in the search tells people how relevant you are to the questions they are asking. It may not be fair, but searchers feel more confident calling the practice listed on the first page of their search rather than the sixth page. That is why your SEO strategy should create value for searchers that are looking for your expertise, which then incentivizes search engines to endorse your business by increasing your website’s rankings.

Now that you understand the importance of SEO, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to attempt SEO yourself or seek out a pro? Optimization is not easy. To begin with, you need to understand Google algorithms and how they impact your strategy, Google Analytics data for your website and what it is telling you about searcher, website and traffic behavior, and troubleshoot your strategy when you’re not seeing the results you were hoping to obtain. Then you need to turn your search campaign objectives into tactics that will help you obtain the results that you are looking for like creating user-friendly landing pages on your easy to navigate website. The list goes on and on and SEO is not something you can learn only once. The rules are changing almost daily. SEO marketing is an ongoing process that takes time, money and skills to do well.

Does all of this mean you can’t do your own search marketing? No, but there are a couple important questions you should answer before making the decision to either do it yourself or hire a pro.

Q1: Do I have the knowledge and skills to do my practice’s SEO?

While on the surface SEO may not seem that difficult – use hot keywords, get relevant links, post regularly – there are often technical aspects that can be tricky. Not to mention the time-consuming efforts needed to keep abreast of critical knowledge. Take a strong look at your current skill set and how much it meets your SEO needs. Are you a talented content writer? Do you understand HTML, CSS, or any website coding? Is your background in marketing? Do you understand how SEO tactics should be applied so that they align with your overall marketing objectives? If so, you may feel more confident in your ability to perform SEO for your practice.

Now look at you knowledge of new technologies. They often affect search engine strategies which may actually vary from engine to engine. The long-term success of your campaign depends on your ability to stay up to date with search engine rules, changes in SEO algorithms, technical coding details and trends in your website analytics to identify weaknesses in your strategy. Not keeping up could mean using an outdated optimization strategy or becoming too specific with your keyword plan which could potentially set your campaign back permanently, and even erase your website from search engines completely. Are you still confident in your SEO skills, or is this a job that may be better suited for a professional?

Q2: Do I have the time to handle both my patients’ needs and my practice’s SEO marketing?

Look at how much time you have for your practice and remember there are only 24 hours in a day. Your dental practice is your first priority and your patients are the heart of its success. Running your business and offering quality patient services takes a considerable amount of your time. Do you really have the hours to devote to your practice’s SEO as well? Assuming you put together a successful SEO strategy you’ll garner new patients and increase your workload. Will you have time to provide the quality services your patients have come to expect if you’re spending extra hours on SEO?

SEO is an ongoing process. The SEO environment is constantly evolving. You can’t just pick a few keywords and be done with it. Performing well in this environment means digging in, researching and updating your knowledge every day. You will need to test keywords, metadata and test tactics based on changes in your rankings. That’s right, SEO marketing implements a lot of testing and retesting, especially if something goes wrong. Before deciding to do it yourself or hire a pro, take an honest look at your time and skills. Then decide where your time and skills make the greatest impact and give the most value to your practice.

It’s probably not a question of can you, but should you.

You’re a smart person. You’ve mastered many difficult things in your career and SEO could be your next conquest. The question is: should it be? While you may be able to learn the ins and outs of ranking factors and understand how to apply SEO best practices, you have to decide if that is where you get the most value from your time. Do you have time to do the hours of heavy lifting an initial campaign requires, the recurring weekly or monthly proactive optimization, as well as ongoing maintenance in response to insightful analytics and changes dictated by the search engines? How many patients could you have scheduled with those hours?

Moving forward, SEO will be the most important marketing effort your practice can make. Users trust Google, Bing, and Yahoo and other search engines to answer their burning questions, provide solutions and give a list of the businesses that best meet their needs. You want to put your SEO in the most competent hands possible.

If after answering all the questions, you decide to do it yourself remember that the SEO process will take your time, skills and knowledge. If you decide that keeping up with your SEO and website management is not where you should be utilizing your skills, you may be better off hiring a pro. A qualified digital marketing firm can tailor an SEO strategy to your dental practice’s goals and expectations. To learn how ProSites can help you boost your online presence and move your search rankings in the right direction contact us for a personal consultation at 888-932-3644.

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Search Marketing

How to Choose the Best SEO Agency

Want people to easily find your dental practice in an online search? You may have heard that search engine optimization (SEO) can solve your problems. Unfortunately search engine marketing is an ever-evolving beast that can make doing it well very difficult and time consuming. Where does that leave you? It’s time to find a SEO provider to focus on your business’ needs which will give you time to focus on your patients and simultaneously help you grow your business.

Finding the best SEO agency for your dental practice can be difficult. Before you begin you should first learn to separate SEO fact from SEO fiction.

FICTION: SEO can guarantee specific results. First page here we come!

FACT: If a company guarantees you first page placement, they’re lying. SEO cannot guarantee specific results. However, a legitimate SEO firm can implement white-hat SEO strategies based on your business goals, specialties, geographic location and competition.

FICTION: Optimize keywords and add meta-tags – you’ll be at the top of searches in no time.

FACT: First, there is no such thing as a quick fix in SEO. Second, it’s important to find a SEO provider that stays up-to-date with SEO standards. While updating meta-tags won’t hurt your visibility, search engines don’t place as high of a priority on all meta-tags. The ones that do still carry weight are title tags, H1 (heading) tags and alt tags.

Hire a SEO firm that can speak to changes in search engine algorithms and the associated impact on your SEO campaign. They should be able to communicate in layman’s terms the essential components of their strategy and what are the associated key performance indicators. You should expect to receive regular reporting that shows you metrics on traffic, visits, referrals, bounce rates, keyword ranking, and top performing pages. They should also be able to explain positive or negative trends and actions taken or recommended to achieve strong performance.

Remember, SEO is not magic. Rather it is part art, part science. A solid SEO strategy takes three to six months to gain traction with the search engines, reveal trends, and produce competitive results.

FICTION: SEO is SEO. If we did it for one company we can do it for any company.

FACT: One size does not fit all. Every industry has different clients, competition and regulations. If your agency doesn’t understand one of these, how will they understand your practice? Your SEO agency should grasp the specifics of your industry and your business goals. Don’t waste valuable time bringing them up to speed on what is, and what isn’t, acceptable in your industry. If you choose a SEO agency that’s well versed in your business niche they can show you case studies from businesses similar to yours and clearly explain what it takes to get results.

FICTION: The more links the better.

FACT: Yes – links are good, but an improper link strategy can actually get you banned from Google. Your SEO agency should have a plan to engage appropriate third-party sites. Blindly blasting out links, spamming forums and making comments on blogs will only raise red flags and could get you penalized by the search engines. Make sure links are relevant to your business, and then accumulate them naturally. It will take time to do it right.

FICTION: Cool site. It looks like a winner!

FACT: Looks can be deceiving; they can also be wasted unless you have relevant content, written for the user experience, not just to attract the search engines. The search engine algorithms place incredibly high value on relevant content. This also makes the difference in terms of site visitor engagement. First you need to get them to your site, then you need to keep them. Make sure your pages include appropriate calls to action and multiple methods of contact.  After all, what’s the point of increasing traffic to your site if you can’t convert that traffic into new patients?

The more users engage and click through your site the more your SEO will improve. These are measurable indicators.

BE CHOOSEY

Don’t put off finding a SEO firm. You’ll only be putting off business growth. Do your research and ask direct questions to gauge whether they’ll meet your expectations. A qualified SEO firm won’t be intimidated. If you’d like to learn how ProSites can tailor a SEO strategy for your dental practice, contact us to schedule a personal consultation at 888-932-3644

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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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Search Marketing

How Do You Measure Up Against Competition?

A competitor analysis is one of the most important – and often one of the most forgotten – elements of an effective online marketing strategy. So what is a competitor analysis and how do you perform one for your practice? It’s easy.

The ultimate goal of a competitor analysis is to identify the strengths and weaknesses in your marketing efforts. In scrutinizing the tactics used by your competitors, you can determine what works and what doesn’t within your target market.

The following processes will help you perform a complete competitor analysis:

1.Start by investigating who your top competitors are. You can input “related:www.yourURL.com” within the Google search bar to see competing services within the vicinity of your practice.

2.Create a simple comparison chart to measure your techniques vs. your competitors.

 Competitive analysis sample chart                                                                                                         

3.Analyze the results by comparing your practice to top ranking competitors.

Want even more visibility into what your competitors are doing? Check out 13 Competitor Analysis Tools And Resources You Need To Stay Ahead >

After you determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie, you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. If you notice that your website needs more content, you can hire a content writer or add content to your website in your spare time. If you notice your social media profiles are way ahead of the competition, you can encourage your staff to continue their outstanding efforts.

What are you waiting for? Start using your competition to increase new website traffic and new patient referrals.

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