If you want your website to be able to be searched, you better plan to use one or more of the various internet dental marketing programs available. How else will a prospect looking for a new dentist find you?
Your website is the hub of your digital world and pretty much the hub of all dental marketing in 2017. It is your virtual store front and is open 24/7 to anyone searching for dental services. In certain situations, your website can be enough to show up on page 1 (e.g. small town) without a lot of competition, or with killer on-page optimization (SEO) on a large site!
But in most cases, you need some or most of the following internet dental marketing programs to create pathways to your site and make your site relevant in the eyes of the search engine algorithms. Search engines like to see your site changed a couple times each month, at a minimum.
If you have built your site on a CMS, Content Management System (e.g. WordPress), every time you publish a blog (online article) you add a page to your website. Google and the other search engines like this. They will send out the crawlers to index the new page so it can be loaded when people search for that subject. The more subjects you write about, the better opportunity you have to be found.
As a dentist, practice personnel or hired writer, you want to write about terms people are searching and want to learn more about. Here are a few good ones:
|Keywords are in bold||Difficulty||Number of Monthly Searches|
|How to find a good Kansas City Dentist?||31||170|
|How to quickly assess an emergency dentist?||19||22,200|
|Does full coverage dental insurance even exist?||43||6,600|
- How to find a good Kansas City Dentist? 31/170
- How to quickly assess an emergency dentist? 19/22,200
- Does full coverage dental insurance even exist? 43/6,600
The keywords are in bold and most stay in the same order to show up for the search numbers that follow. The first number is the difficulty to appear for the topic; a low number is easy and high number is difficult to show up for. The second term is how many people search that term each month.
Social Media is another way for the search engines to measure your interest in your internet dental marketing and improve your relevancy. They like to see activity on the major social mediums, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Each one of these mediums needs to be posted to in a specific way to capture the reader’s attention and get read.
Facebook is the main social media channel for most dentists; however, the more channels of social media you use, the better your chance of ranking higher.
Social media is primarily used as a communication vehicle. The way it works best for dental practices is by leveraging referrals through shares, comments, offline conversations and connections. If friends see that you have liked or commented on your dentist’s post, they may reach out to ask you about the practice if they are in search of a new dentist. Bingo! A referral is made!
It is important to write posts that fit the format of that social media channel and also about topics that have value through awareness, humor, or connections. Nobody wants to read a technical post or sleazy promotions on their social media.
Directories or Citations:
Not as en vogue as they once were, it is still important to have a consistent profile listed on directories. Once again, the search engine algorithms measure your participation in the directories and primarily through the consistency of your profile. This has two parts:
- Are there old listings lurking about, with past doctors, moves or big changes such as address changes or phone numbers that are incorrect?
- Is the profile consistent? Did you use the same abbreviation for KS or Kansas? Did you include an area code in brackets (816) 223-1400 or with periods 816.223.1400?
If not, the search engines will become confused and not load your listing. Instead, it will load another practice who has correct, consistent information.
There are bazillions of directories to choose from, but you need to make sure to list on the main ones. HubSpot gives us the Top 50 Directories, here are the top 10 from that list:
- Better Business Bureau
- Angie's List
- Merchant Circle
Google My Business:
Google My Business is a directory, but it’s even more than that; it is a super directory. It has an entire section in every Google search, under the top 4 Google ads – the 3-pack map including: authority panel, website link and review rating.
It needs extra attention to be a marketing tool for your practice. To show up in the map is a bit of a mystery, but a few things help. First, you have to claim your listing and it is best you do it using the address and phone number of the actual location. Next, having a large number of positive Google reviews and a certified Google video helps. Also, the longevity of the listing is said to have some bearing as well.
Reviews are particularly important for certain industries, dental being one of them. People are inherently afraid of the dentist and don’t like to have their mouth worked on. Because of this, they like to read the reviews to make sure they are safe to visit this dentist and have a high probability of not being hurt.
There are two types of reviews, external and internal reviews.
- The external reviews carry more importance than the internal reviews because they are typically unsolicited. The patient's experience has had a great enough impact that they actually take the initiative to leave a review.
- The internal reviews are generally prompted by a service purchased by the practice and the patient is asked to leave a review after their visit. The positive reviews, usually 3 stars and above, are allowed to be listed. The negative reviews, heaven forbid, are rerouted to an email, chosen by the practice, that allows them to respond and defuse the situation. Most negative reviews I have seen, seem to be rants and often time the person is not even listed as a patient of the practice.
- A bonus to these reviews is the ability to attach the scroll bar to the website, so readers can look through them and get a feel for the practice. I have read many of these and most seem to be legitimate. These internal reviews are generally a part of a patient communication system, including Solution Reach, Revenue Well, Rubix, Lighthouse 360, Demand Force, and Sesame to name a few.
Another benefit to these programs is they will let you monitor and respond to any reviews or comments someone may leave. That way you can manage your reputation by neutralizing an unsatisfied patient with your comment to fix the situation. It is always best to be positive and never defensive in your response. A bonus is to thank positive reviewers and post them on your social media for a big splash.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important component to internet dental marketing, because it is a part of many of the other methods and algorithms. There is on-page optimization that is built into your website with proper HTML: title tags, meta-descriptions, meta-tags, alt-tags, headers (h1-5) and keyword term usage throughout your site’s content. But there are other factors as well, that include quantity and quality content, load times and CSS format.
But there is also off-page SEO that includes backlinks from blogs, social media comments, shares, directories and influential people in your industry. Your site is kind of a popularity contest to see how well people like you and engage with your site.
Neil Patel is an industry leader and has written a great article on off-page SEO.
This is a broad subject and with a lot of material, so I am not going to get in to the particulars of Google AdWords. However, a very efficient campaign is to market your practice’s uniqueness for words people use to find the unique dental services you provide. Many offices try to do it themselves, but I believe they waste a good deal of money trying to learn what works and what doesn’t through trial and error.
It can be done, but is best left to companies that have the advanced software and experience to bid and purchase the correct words efficiently. None the less, with the proper landing page and process in place you can capture over 20% of your traffic for as little as $20 for a patient lead.
I hope this helps you better understand the ins and outs of internet dental marketing and is what you were looking for to start marketing your practice. For more information on the subject go to: http://www.redstarmarketing.com/dental-marketing/internet/