It can be tough to keep up with the ever-changing world of SEO and digital marketing.
Where is the best place to begin for dentists who want to generate more traffic, leads, and business?
In this post, we’ll look at ten strategies that you’ll want to focus on first when using the power of digital marketing to help your business thrive and grow.
Formally known as Google My Business, creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile is one of the first strategies you’ll want to focus on to gain more online visibility.
Having a local SEO strategy is essential for any place-based business, and dental practices are no exception.
When you make a Google Business Profile, you are creating a verified source of information about your office that patients can easily find while also helping drive more traffic to your site.
Setting up a Google Business Profile means you gain a free business listing on the most dominant search engine on the web, Google. On your profile, you include vital information, including your location, services, hours, and phone number. Prospective patients can also look at reviews left by your existing clients and scroll through photos you upload to get a better sense of the services and experience they can expect from your practice.
Creating your GBP is also an important part of your local SEO strategy. When users search for local queries, such as “dentist near me,” the top of the Google search results will include the “map pack.” You’ve likely encountered this before as a searcher on your own, where Google displays a map with the most relevant local results on the right side and a list of top businesses on the left.
In order to set up your Google Business Profile, you’ll want to use your Gmail to create a Google Business Profile. If you have multiple locations within your practice, you’ll want to make a GBP for each physical location. You’ll then go through the location verification process, which can take several days or even weeks to complete.
Once Google can verify the legitimacy of your claim to your business, it’s time to fill out and optimize your GBP. It’s important to include as much information as possible and fill out every section. When entering the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your business, it’s vital that this info is identical to your contact info across the web.
Your website is the hub of all of your online activity. When you cast a wide net across the web, you’re ultimately working to bring traffic to your website from social media sites, directories, Google searches, and other pages.
When a patient is searching for a new dentist, your online presence will have a major impact on whether they choose to make an appointment with you or one of your competitors.
This means that you want your site to be functional, intuitive, visually appealing, and full of useful information.
People typically make a decision about which dental practice to set up an appointment with through information they encounter online. In order to drive as much high-quality traffic to your site as possible and increase your online visibility, you’ll want to implement both a local SEO strategy and a more general SEO strategy.
Creating a well-optimized website and Google Business Profile is a great foundation to build off of, but you don’t want to stop there when it comes to SEO.
Here are some of the essential elements of a successful SEO strategy for dentists:
We’ll discuss a few of these points at greater length later on in this guide. One of the great things about building an effective SEO strategy is that it is easy to replicate if you open new practice locations or decide to run a campaign in order to meet a specific goal.
Does your website really need a blog? After all, isn’t there already a lot of content out there that answers user questions?
The answer is a resounding yes to both points. The truth is, having a relevant, up-to-date, and genuinely useful blog is a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your niche and location, give valuable information to potential patients, and increase your search ranking.
Starting a blog or revamping a neglected blog can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be too overwhelming. You’ll want to create a plan incorporating keyword research, topic concepts and clusters, and a publishing calendar. You don’t have to write a new blog post every day– it’s more important to publish consistently than it is to publish daily.
You can either write these blog posts yourself, have someone on your staff create them, or hire a digital marketing agency or content writer to produce the work for you. It can be tempting to try and save money here by hiring the cheapest writer or service you can find, but you want to be careful that you aren’t sacrificing the quality of the information.
This is particularly true for healthcare websites. Several years ago, Google released the Google Medic update, which consists of a combination of the E-A-T and YMYL initiatives pushed by Google. E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness,” while YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.”
The result is that Google puts a greater burden of truth and accuracy on medical sites (and some other niches, including financial) than other online content about fashion, travel, etc.
When working to create a list of topics for your blog, you’ll want to think about the types of questions your patients are most likely to have. It can be useful to build an ideal patient persona to let you tap into who your patients are and what type of information they would find valuable.
Blog articles can range from addressing common dental problems and discussing specific dental procedures to introducing potential patients to your staff and providing oral health tips.
It comes as no surprise, then, that engaging in social media marketing is one of the best ways to attract new patients and stay connected with your current patients.
There is a long list of benefits to social media marketing for dentists, including:
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should run out and make a profile on every social media platform. If you do, you’ll likely find it difficult to maintain consistent engagement on any page because your attention is simply spread too thin. Instead, you’ll want to determine which platforms attract the people that fit your ideal patient profile and focus your attention on those sites.
For example, looking at the same Pew Research study referenced above, we see that 71% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say that they use Instagram, while only 13% of Americans above the age of 65 use the platform. If your dental practice is in an area with a disproportionately large number of seniors, you might focus on building a Facebook page rather than an Instagram page, which is a platform that 50% of people over 65 use.
When you’re just starting out with digital marketing strategies for your dental practice, another place you’ll want to turn your attention first is toward citations and backlinks.
Building online citations by adding your dental practice to directories helps you two-fold: it can help positively boost your search results ranking and offers another avenue through which potential patients can find you.
Some of the major dental directories you’ll want to be listed on include:
You can also look to see if there are any relevant directories in your local area or at the state level.
When you’re building citations for your business, it’s absolutely vital that your NAP is consistent across the web. This means that all the essential information about your business should be identical to how it is listed on your website and your Google Business Profile. If it isn’t, it can hurt your search rankings.
SEO is an important long-term strategy for gaining more traffic and conversions, but it doesn’t work overnight. To help place your lead-generating content at the top of search results for specific keywords in order to get fast results, you can also engage in paid ad campaigns.
On Google Ads, PPC advertising consists of choosing relevant keywords you want to rank for and then creating ads targeting those specific keywords. Searchers then enter queries that include those keywords or closely related keywords, and your ad can then be displayed at the top of the search results.
If someone ends up clicking on your PPC ad, you’ll be charged a specific amount of money per click.
While you can run PPC ad campaigns on your own, consulting with a knowledgeable digital marketing agency is generally advised. You’ll want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to paid ads, as ROI is a major concern with this strategy. When you’re thinking about running a PPC campaign for your dental practice, consider advertising special offers or discounts to help you grab the attention of prospective patients.
What do you do when you’re looking for a new pizza place in town? If you’re like most people, you spend some time reading reviews other patrons have left.
When people are searching for a new dentist, they are even more interested in learning about the experiences of other patients. Not only do reviews help potential patients learn about the excellent services you offer, but generating reviews also sends signals to search engines about your business.
To help you gain more reviews online, you can ask for reviews in person, in follow-up emails, and make it easy for patients to leave reviews. You’ll want to create a plan for responding to reviews– both positive and negative ones. When you get highly praised reviews, you can repurpose them for use on your website and social media pages.
Another easy (and effective!) place to start when it comes to digital marketing is building an email list. When you engage in email marketing, you can access your core customers directly and are, therefore, less likely to get lost in the web noise.
You can use email marketing to nurture your relationships with existing patients and connect with new patients. There is a sweet spot when it comes to sending emails to patients– send too many emails, and they’ll unsubscribe due to junking up their inbox; send too few emails, and they aren’t as effective for brand awareness purposes.
Finally, you’ll also want to review your site’s overall user experience. The internet is a busy space, and people will leave websites when they are difficult to navigate or slow to load and head to a competitor’s site.
There are many different elements to user experience (UX), but here are some good places to start when auditing your site’s UX:
Depending on how old your site is and how many changes need to be made to improve the user experience, you might even consider a complete site redesign. In many instances, though, you’ll likely find that you can tweak your existing site to provide a better UX.
Engaging in your own digital marketing campaigns can feel like having a second full-time job. Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable agency like Blue Pig Media means that we take care of all of your digital marketing needs so you can focus on what you do best: running your dental practice.
Does that sound good to you? If so, contact us today to get started.