For dentists and orthodontists, I want discuss what is effective Search Engine Optimization in 2016. Search Engine Optimization commonly referred to as SEO.
I know many of you have gone down the rabbit hole before of SEO, but please read this today; because, I know you will have a better understanding of how to implement effective SEO to grow your new patient numbers and more importantly revenues.
If then done correctly, SEO can bring in 10-20 or more new patients for a dentist or orthodontist in a competitive area. We know because we have seen it with our clients. No one has a crystal ball with Google. Even the best SEO professionals in the world. There are no guarantees of ranking and in fact it is against Google guidelines.
But a credible SEO company can do is to optimize your dental website to be up to date regarding Google best practices, as well as position each of your pages to have a chance of getting more visitors and ultimately more phone calls.
Also another critical issue is fixing all the inconsistency all over the internet. We see an enormous issue as many of you have purchased and sold dental practices. So the practice name for sure will be inconsistent as well as maybe the address and phone number of the practice. If you relocated and combined 2 into 1.
One thing I want to cover is KPI (key performance indicators) and I want you have kind of a mindset shift. Old school SEO is focusing on keywords. Let’s says you are dentist in Chicago, so you want to rank for what we call ego term or vanity term of “Chicago dentist”.
Well that’s not necessarily a good one to try the rank for if you are 30 miles outside of center of Chicago, which would be an hour or more drive. People are not going to drive that far, so even if you did spend all that money on SEO to rank number 1 and somebody found you searching google, they most likely will not choose your practice.
We found that most people will not drive more than 30 minutes to get to a dentist. And I know all of dentist out there are gonna say, “Well we have patients that drive an hour.” “They come from a different state”… and all that good stuff. And that’s awesome, and I am sure that is true. But we are talking about averages here.
If they are looking for a specialty like cosmetic dentistry, or oral surgery, they might go on a referral and be willing to drive further. But to have a dentist on a regular basis, we feel confident to say that they are not gonna drive more than about 30 minutes and in traffic you are talking about a mileage distance of maybe 10, 12, 15 miles. If you are that far out of city center it’s not really worth going after those big keywords anyway.
So, the mindset shift I want you to have is thinking more of how many unique visitors your dental website or orthodontic website is getting per month. Is that number increasing? That’s a big one because the more unique visitors you get the more potential phone calls you are gonna get.
The second indicator…but it’s really the more important one is your practice getting phone calls from people searching the internet? That’s a big one and you can use call tracking if you want… but please do not mess with your phone number on your website.
But I want you to get away from being obsessed with local rankings. I know you think… “why I get an SEO company if I am not worried about my rankings?”… but as I mentioned earlier, we can not control nor can we guarantee your rankings, so don’t focus on it as much, or be obsessed with it.
As an SEO company, we can position your brand on the internet (which I will discuss brand in a minute), which is looking at your entire practice… all the services that you offer. That’s your online presence, your website, and listing across the internet. That’s what you consider your online brand.
And it’s really really important that an SEO company focus on your brand. And I want to discuss that now… which is basically picking keywords and it could be “cosmetic dentist portland”, “teeth whitening portland”, “dental implants portland” getting keywords like that throwing some content out there and then throwing back links at it hoping that it’s gonna rank. That is what we call old style SEO and it is not nearly effective as it used to be a couple of years ago.
Now, I know another thing that you are going to say… “isn’t a service considered phrase?” Yes it is… but Google has now again please let me renovate Google is ranking brands more than they are individual pages now. So, the focus is now building out authority websites if you want to get more visitors to your website and then near future especially when it comes to Google.
And again don’t get me wrong services pages are very very important. But service pages, the most important thing with them is they need an answer the visitors question in the best most effective way possible. And if you do that with good uniquely written content, Google will love that page and of course indirectly you will have a very good shot ranking that service page in Google. Again no guarantees… but with good, valuable content and maybe even an embedded YouTube video stand point answers the question that’s what we consider an authority page.
And fortunately most of the dental websites we see have what we call Thin Content and its duplicate content. And what I mean by Thin Content, let me explain that again is that its maybe picture a service page that has maybe 300-350 words on it. That’s a very thin page that Google page will give no value to.
And if Google doesn’t give you a value to it, then you is gonna have a chance to ever get picked up in their rankings for that service anyways. So really be focused on developing more dental content that has answers all the questions of your visitor. That’s gonna give the Google the best chance providing value for your visitor and for your Google to wanna rank you higher.
Also, another big thing with Google moving forward they want to see your involvement in the community. Google is really big on community. We have lots of strategy we use with our clients Picture your community and what’s going on. Can you be involved with it? And if you are… make a mention of it on your website via your blog. The strategy we can implement with you to become a bigger presence in your community . Sit down with your team and have a meeting and think of how much can you get involved with your community. That’s a big one moving forward with Google.
Google want to see social signals. And social signals would be Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. Those are signals that just improve the overall brand experience of your dental or orthodontic practice. If you are not posting regularly on Facebook and Twitter and linking back to your website with specific pages…(I am giving you a little bit of advice and a secret sauce here for SEO)… you are not providing the social signals on a consistent basis that Google wants to see.
And same with Pinterest, if you are orthodontist this is a great opportunity to launch a Pinterest page that have your before and after. And have your Damon braces, and invisalign treatments in there as well. But before and after pictures of patients for an orthodontic practice on Pinterest is a big one.
So if you are orthodontist listening out there and don’t have a Pinterest page, I would strongly recommend launching a Pinterest page and putting a lot of your before and after to make sure you get a sign off from the patient. That would be a big conversion factor for your practice; because, a lot of women are on Pinterest.
If a mom is on Pinterest and they have a child that they are looking to get braces for they might spend two or three minutes on Pinterest and instead of looking at what they normally do, might look at orthodontics in the area. And if you are on there and your competitors aren’t, then you have got the advantage and you are most likely will get the phone call. So, I think that’s very very important to have those social signals showing from Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
Again we talked earlier about duplicate content and if you have listened to any of the podcasts I have been on as a guest. I have talked in depth about duplicate content where most of the dental (and orthodontic) websites had been created out there on the internet (no companies mentioned) have duplicate content on them.
What I mean by duplicate content is…they were produced by certain companies that provide the content for you as part of their design package. If that is a case, I am going to make a bold statement and can confidently say the content has been used over and over again.
We have done some internal studies and found several companies that have produced duplicate content on over 500 dental (and orthodontic) websites. Remember… when Google crawls your websites they are crawling all of your competitors websites and they crawl the website all over the internet and they will know duplicate content the minute they see it.
If they crawl your website and you have canned duplicate content, that is not going to be a very positive impact for Google; therefore, effecting your potential to get more visitors from higher ranking in Google.
What I want you to do is after reading this is go take a look at your website and just see the quality of the content on all of your service pages, on your blog posts, and I will bet you, you are going to find two things: 1) You are not going to find very many words – the current word count.
Just to let you know… Google wants to see is nothing under 800 words. Now you hear all across the map where people other experts will say, “Oh that doesn’t matter, you can do 300 words… 400 words. “We can throw a lot of links at it and it doesn’t really matter”. But it does matter.
We are now creating service pages (ie porcelain veneers, invisalign, dental implants, sedation dentistry) for our clients that are up to 1200 words, with our dental content writers, and they are doing well in google.
But the great thing about that is just imagine if we do an invisalign page for you and its 1200 words. We can cover all the secondary terms within that “teen invisalign adult” and “invisalign clear braces”, “clear aligners”.
We can cover all that in one page, and when Google crawls that new page on your website for “invisalign”, you are gonna get a huge bump, because they are gong to see this new, freshly written piece of content that’s 1200 words long that covers everything under the sun regarding invisalign.
It is also optimized with a few images as well. Google likes to see images on content pages and most of the websites do not optimize their content with images. We want to make sure that we have a minimum one image per content page on your dental website or orthodontic website.
So, that’s hugely important moving forward to get rid of all that duplicate content on your website. I urge you to do it. If you have not updated your website in a while, maybe even consider doing an update or redesign of your website.
Shameless plug as we build, custom dental and orthodontic websites here at AZ Net Marketing. So, hit us up if you want to look at some of our websites. You can schedule a strategic session with me. Personally via phone call so we will go over your website and talk about what we see, what we don’t see and how we can improve it.
One thing I want you to think about when it comes to SEO. It’s a long term marketing strategy. It is not something that happens overnight. Depending upon the competitiveness of your area and the position you are in now. Let’s say you are on page 5 or 6 for some of your service pages.
You will not get to page 1 anytime soon, as I mentioned early on in this episode there are no guarantees. But we are very confident, if we see you in a position that we know not a lot of good work has been done from an SEO standpoint and content standpoint, we can make some big improvements for you.
You are probably not getting too many visitors to your website if your rank page 2, 3 or beyond. And that’s a huge opportunity for your practice to get more visitors and more phone calls, if we can bump you up to page 1 and the end near the top of page 1.
But again… the bottom line is focusing how many unique visitors you are getting currently and seeing that number go up. It is imperative you have a mindset of 6-12 months for SEO to really kick in and make a difference. We have done it much quicker, but we are always trying to manage our clients expectations during this process.
A lot of times a dentist will say, “Well SEO doesn’t work. We are in small area. Or, “we get most of our patients from word-of-mouth or direct email piece”. How about the people that are newly moved into your area? And if you are in an area that’s rapidly growing then SEO is a great approach because people are gonna hit the internet looking for all of their services.
They will be looking for doctors, landscaper, plumber, babysitter, housekeeping, and others to build up their list of service people, if they are new to the area. So, if you are in an area that’s you know kinda have transient or people come and go a lot this is a great opportunity to leverage SEO for your practice for sure.
Don’t think that just because you are in an area that’s maybe well established and it’s all word-of-mouth that Search Engine Optimization won’t benefit your practice. That’s not a good way to look at it.
It’s only going to get more competitive, and if you have new dentists coming in your area, I can virtually guarantee they are gonna be doing some kind of SEO and digital marketing. If you don’t keep up with them you are gonna bury even in their dust and they are gonna be getting all the phone call. So you really need look at that way for sure.
It’s definitely not a dead. I have come across some articles and even on social media where it says “SEO is dead!” Well that’s not true. SEO is not dead. People get on the internet all day, everyday searching for services and researching information. So for a dentist..we might be researching “dental implants” or “cosmetic dentistry” or “wisdom teeth”.
If you have a website that’s got great content on it for all of those services, then you have got a good chance of getting those people finding you and not only finding you picking up the phone and calling your practice. So, the return on investment for SEO long term is really really good.
That is gonna be it for today for SEO in 2016 for a dentist or orthodontist. And I hope you get a lot of value out of this.