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You probably are at least briefly aware on the importance of building links to your dental practice’s website using articles and blogs. Google likes it when you have a high number of links from other websites, including the so-called Web 2.0 sites used for article submission. If the content from various websites is related, such as with a particular dental procedure, Google and other search engines will view your website as having serious enough content for its viewers. Remember that the search engines job when someone looks for you is to provide strong, relevant content that will satisfy the user. If your website has keyword laden content and strong links it will be moved up in the rankings.
There have been abuses of this system, however. “Link farms” or services that “buy” links, look suspicious. If the trail of links looks artificial and has no relative use other than for the links themselves, Google will take a dim view of the offending website.
Articles and blogs are still a great way to increase the ranking of your website but you need to know how to do it well. So instead of using blog posts, article submissions and press releases with a single direct link between all of them and your website build a link wheel with a single gap in the train. The gap or break within the wheel reduces the artificial look of incoming links to your site.
To search engines it will look very natural and your website will look more relevant, i.e. more important, and they will love you for it. So will you when your website keeps showing up at the top of the rankings!
Here is a sobering fact out promoting your dental practice online with a website: It takes work. Sorry, but the truth is that a website still requires viewers to be effective. That means you must drive traffic to it.
There are a number of ways to do this. First is with proper SEO or search engine optimization. This is the process by where not only does your website show up in organic searches by Mr. or Mrs. Prospective Patient, it shows up at the right time and for the right people. Content is king and through blogs you can create content to match your audience and keywords.
If you fancy yourself as somewhat of an author you can also promote your site through the use of articles. Not only can you post your articles on article sites for others to view your expertise, the article sites will allow you to add links to your website. Putting a list of articles on your website with links to the article site creates a two way communication system. Search engines like that and your website ranking will climb.
You can also drive traffic to your site using social media and Pay per Click advertising. These methods can all be done on a local level. Finally there is email. One simple trick very few dentists use is to place a guest book on the front desk. Ask for email addresses of current patients. Use these addresses to build a list you can email for promotions, news or highlight expertise featured on your website.
The point is that a website by itself won’t do you a lot of good. But a website with traffic driven locally and organically or with emails will make you an internet celebrity.
The web has become the undisputed leader in efficiency and effectiveness for advertising your practice. Numbers and studies have proven that when someone is searching for a new dentist they turn to the internet first. Furthermore, those that use the internet are more likely to call your front desk to ask for more information or make an appointment.
This would suggest that the more traffic you have coming to your website the more calls you’ll get. In the internet world, however, not all traffic is productive traffic. Which would you rather have; 20,000 visitors to your website and no calls or 10,000 visitors and booked appointments? As you can see the trick is in initially reaching people who are more likely to reach out to you.
The first and foremost place dentists turn to for Pay per Click ads is Google. Google is in first place in terms of size and usage. But as stated above, not all traffic is good traffic if you can zero in on another audience who is more likely to call and who is more likely to buy the big dental case.
Take a look at Bing. This search engine is a claiming a growing market share. It has many of the same features in its advertising interface as does Google, but here is the good news for you as a dentist: Microsoft’s Bing often attracts users who have stuck with Internet Explorer rather than Firefox. These users are demographically older. For you, older means these are the very same people who are more likely to have money and will spend it on big case procedures.
Some traffic is better than others. The smaller Bing just might provide you with the market you want to attract the patients YOU want.
If you are advertising your practice with Pay per Click on the top search engines you may want to look at alternative options. Second-tier search engines may not be as popular or generate high numbers like Google, Yahoo and Bing, but places like Ask.com and Business.com can have some advantages.
Take your best performing PPC campaign. Put it on Ask.com or another second-tier search engine and let it run. Check your Analytics and see the results. You may have just picked up some traffic you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.
You can reverse this and use second-tier search engines in preparation for larger campaigns as well. Because they are second-tier they are often less expensive places to experiment with new Pay per Click ads or new keyword groups you want to explore. Set up your new ads on the second-tier engines first and run, test and tweak them. Again, the numbers overall might not be as impressive as on Google or some of the other giants but you can look at click-thru rates, bounces and other Analytics in a less expensive but just as effective way. Then when you think you have a winning ad move it to the bigger search engines and run it again. If your ad produces the same percentages you should be getting more traffic just because of the size of scale. In the meantime you’ve saved some money.
Your goal in all of this is not necessarily to top the return of the leading search engines, but to make your ads more profitable. In the meantime you will hopefully pick up some traffic on your dental website you would not have otherwise.
Next week: Are your advertising on the right platform?
Like a child in a candy store, all buggy-eyed with excitement, you’ve set up your website to display everything great about your dental expertise. As launch day approaches you drool with anticipation as you picture the phone ringing off the hook.
Ok, reality check. After a few weeks the phone is not ringing off the hook like you thought it would be. In checking Google Analytics you discover that a lot of people have clicked on your website but very few calls have come in. Even more disheartening is the cost of your PPC campaign. Lots of click-thru’s but your bounce rate looks like a super ball. Is that the way it’s always going to be?
Did you remember to use negative keywords? As you know, using the proper keywords in your website can help boost your rankings in local searches. You can even promote your more profitable services and drive high end patients your way. Unfortunately not using negative keywords can wreck your best efforts.
Negative keywords are simply terms that prevent your ads from showing up during certain searches. Let’s assume your practice is located in a large metropolitan area where suburbs or neighborhoods are fairly self-sufficient. People from one neighborhood do not frequent others for dental services. If the internet user searches “dentist, my city” you might show up in the listing. But because you are in the wrong neighborhood that person will never call you. In the meantime you’ve wasted a click-thru.
“Dentist” is a pretty broad term. “Your city” might be another. Narrowly define yourself for the traffic you want both in positive and negative keywords. Your website might get less traffic but it will be more targeted traffic, the kind that is more profitable.
In this series of articles we’ve been talking about web based business directories and how they can help your practice. We’ve shown you a string of things you should and shouldn’t do to boost your local ranking using these directories. Here is the absolute worst thing you can use if you have multiple locations: a single phone number.
It’s not uncommon for a dentist to have multiple locations. In the city you or your colleagues may have an office downtown and one out in the suburbs. In more rural areas dentists frequently maintain offices in two towns. Pre-internet it was not uncommon for the Yellow Pages ad or newspaper ads to list a single phone number ringing into a live person in one of the offices. But that was then, this is now!
The old Yellow Pages ads were confined to a local town or, if covering a broader area, multiple locations could easily be combined into a single advertisement. Readers knew which location was closest to their home.
But people are smarter than search engines such as Google. The algorithms search engines use are based on addresses and phone numbers to sort out who to show your ad to and which location to display. When there are multiple ads with the same phone number Google’s brain melts.
Some suggest Google has done this on purpose so that spammers can’t create multiple business listings with one phone number in an attempt to beat the competition. Whatever the reason, having multiple locations with one phone number signals a death toll to all of your listings. Use multiple phone numbers in your online business directories. They can still ring into a central location but they won’t confuse Google.
Here’s a quick history review: Remember the land rush in U.S. history of a few centuries ago? Settlers were encouraged to stake their claims in the broad expanse of the new American territory. In many places land was given away or sold for pennies on the dollar so that it could be developed and the U.S. could push expansion westward.
Today there is a new land rush and the valuable real estate is on the internet. There is good news and bad news in this as it applies to your dental practice. The good news is that you can list your dental practice in local searches so that new patients can find you. More good news comes from the fact that Google and other places probably have already done this for you. The bad news is that if you don’t go online to “claim” your dental listing the information will be incomplete, possibly inaccurate and your competition will crush your listing every time.
Claiming your place is nothing more than going into the listing and making sure it is accurate. Here, however, is the secret to beating your competition every time someone searches “dentist” in your area; expand your listing.
There are plenty of tools within your listing you can use to expand on the default content. This allows you to give your practice a more helpful profile and target keywords you wish to promote, such as special services you provide. The benefit to all of this is that once you do it the local search engines will rank your dental practice higher in the search pages. A higher listing means more visibility which means more traffic to your practice.
The rest becomes history!
Imagine you are a 007 spy. Counter-spies know you’re out there but they can’t find you. It is as though you have vanished off the face of the earth. Now snap back into reality. You’re a dentist. Letting the world find you is vital to your business. But can you be found?
If you want your practice to drop off the face of the earth don’t include an address in your web based business listing or directory. Experts all say that this is one of the most common factors in poor ranking performance during online searches. Not only can the public not find you but Google won’t even try. One webmaster went so far as to say that not using an address in your online directory is like buying an iPod and never turning it on.
Another way many dental listings inadvertently hide can be with the street name itself or how it is entered. Using “Rd” for “Road” or “Hwy” for “Highway” confuses the search engines. Leaving out the North, South, East or West as a leading tag on a street name can also destroy your ads effectiveness. Finally, if the street or road you are located on goes by several names you might have a problem. If “Johnson Road” turns into “Decker Street” and then back again your address may show up in one location during one search and in another to someone else.
To correct this, first make sure you enter your street address as completely as possible spelling out everything. Secondly, test your listing. Look online for yourself. Does your practice show up where it’s supposed to be? If not, go back and change your listing and try again.
Fact: Your dental website is a tool used to attract the patients that YOU want.
We talk to many dental office’s have a #1 Google ranking, a beautiful mobile website, and done everything right, but their phone still isn’t ringing…
My Advice: Don’t look for Magic Bullets.
Instead, concentrate on:
1. The specific result you want to achieve
2. How you can improve the lives of your targeted prospective patients
3. What one specific action you want to motivate your targeted prospective patients to take
Getting people to visit your website won’t make you money.
Increasing the sheer number of people who “visit” you online can not be expected to increase your bottom line.
The purpose of dental web marketing shouldn’t be “to drive traffic to your website.” It should be to get the prospective patient to DO something that is likely to result in you making money:
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How does that become profitable for a dentist?
1. It builds an opt-in list of your prospective patients
2. While providing genuine value, the free book includes subtle, irresistible offers & upsells to your paid dental services
3. Within the book is another offer of something valuable for free – something that brings the prospective patient closer and closer to becoming a paying patient.
4. Educating your prospects sets you up as the Expert or Celebrity Dentist in your marketing area. You “wrote the book” on that.
“Check out the services we offer” is NOT a good enough call to action.
On the other hand, “Download your coupon for a $1 Initial Exam & X-Rays” might well be a compelling incentive.
Successful advertising solves the consumers problems.
Most dental websites fail because they’re all about the dentist and what the dentist wants to sell (crowns, bridges, veneers, etc).
Make your prospective patient aware of how and where their problem can be solved.
Tell them what the first step to take towards improving their lives as a result of solving that problem.
True Solutions, not Tools.
Quickly, where is your practice? Did you think of a suburb, a city, or something more broad like a township? Hopefully you were immediately able to give a definite description which matches where most of your patients are coming from. Now think about your web based business directory. Does the location listed there match where you are drawing your patients from?
Put yourself in the shoes and actual location of someone searching on the web for “dentist”. When they search locally they will be entering “dentist, city name”. Do you want them to see your listing? That may seem like a stupid question but it’s really not. Obviously if they are in Des Moines and you are in Kalamazoo you don’t care if they see your listing. If you are on the outskirts of Des Moines in a suburb with another name you may very well want a person who enters the keyword “Des Moines” to see your listing.
This is one area in a local business listing where you can target your audience. Where do most of your patients come from? Is it the suburb you are on the border of or is it from the city? Narrow your local listing to where you actually are or, if on the border, where you want to be associated with. In a local search your directory will show under the local name you have entered. Doing something cute, like NYC for New York City, should never be done. Use the full and proper name. If you do the search engines will display your listing when your ideal, prospective patient is looking for you.
In the next issue we’ll talk about one of the worst things for SEO many inadvertently do which destroys their business listing effectiveness.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the keywords from two clients, one here in New Albany and one in New Jersey. The keywords that actually generated phone calls.
Here’s a follow-up from the past 7 days of tracking to further illustrate why you want to be going after long-tail keywords.
Phone Calls From Keywords
Total 83 Calls
Reporting period 3/11 thru 3/17
Client in New Albany, Indiana
new albany implants 10
“teeth in your pocket” site:newalbanyimplants.com 3
ronald receveur dds 3
dental implants in new albany indiana dr rivera 2
dont die with your teeth in a glass 2
dr ronald receveur new albany indiana 2
+can a mini implant get tight again 1
affordable dentures dental implants 1
affordable implant dentures 1
all on four dental implants louisville 1
cost of four miniimplant partials 1
dental implants 1
dental implants louisville ky cost 1
dental implants new albany indiana 1
dentist new albany indiana 1
dentists who do dentures in new albany, indiana 1
denture implants 1
dentures in southern indiana 1
dentures you don t take out 1
doctor offices near new albany indiana 1
does sleeping without dentures affect sleep apnea 1
dr ron receveur 1
how long is the watrsnty on mini dental 1
how much does all on four cost 1
how much does an all on four dental plate cost 1
how much would implants for upper and bottom teeth cost the surgery and whatever else 1
i have bad teeth where can i get chep dental mplants in indiana 1
i need bone reconstruction in lower mouth for inplants 4 of them what is this procedure and how much 1
implant dentures 1
inexpensive implants 4 n one ny 1
mary gettelfinger 1
mini implant 1
new albany implant center 1
perment dentures ky 1
physicians 47150 1
positive affirmation dentist 1
www newalbany implants.com 1
Are you using a web-based business directory for your practice? You should be, but if you are having trouble getting your practice seen on the web it could be the result of a problem you just don’t realize is a problem; multiple offices which share the same location.
This happens when a dentist is located in a professional building or office complex with many professionals using the same address. As you know there is a field where you simply enter your address into your listing generator. Easy enough, one would think, except when there are multiple professionals using the same address. In that case search engines don’t know which business to display.
Multiple offices at the same address create a very real problem with your listing directory. Search engines cannot sort you out from your next door neighbor. You all have the same address so search engines assume you are the same business. The result will be that either multiple listings will become merged or internet users will get an error message from the search engine saying “address not supported”. SEO experts have seen everything from information swapped between listings to accounts deactivated.
The fix is simple. Include a suite number in your address. Make your address stand out with something like, “123 This Street, Suite 4”. Also, take the extra time to dig deep into the free tools included in your listing generator and fill them up. Extra content keeps you separated from your neighbor.
Assume the search engine is much like a patient standing in front of your office building. Don’t make either one ask, “Which way do I go?”
Next week: Where does your practice live?