Dentists are always sprouting new practices across the country, and while it can be an uphill battle, their company’s ability to be found on the web should be an asset not a obstacle. Anyone can solidify the basics of an SEO campaign for their dental practice and make their website not only more search engine friendly, but also more user friendly in the process. In the first of our three part series, we are going to discuss the top-level approach that new and veteran dentists should take to ensure a successful search engine marketing campaign.
Define Your Brand
One of the largest mistakes dentists make is that they want to jump straight into marketing their business without clearly defining their brand. Your brand is your personality and culture, how you want to be perceived and more importantly how people actually perceive you. Branding is incredibly important for search engine optimization because you need to convey a uniform message and people need to be able to find you based on your brand, not just your products or service.
Research the Market and Competition for Dentists in Your Area
When starting a practice, chances are that you have competitors in your market. There are several free to use tools such as Google’s Insights for Search and Keyword Tool that you can utilize to accomplish basic research regarding search trends, competition, and relevant terms to your business. When doing research, you want to not only establish what the most popular terms in your industry are, but get ideas on how people search for your product or service. Matt Cutts has a great example of the semantics behind the flash (or thumb, or usb) drive that elaborates on the differences of how people search.
A common misconception is that search engine optimization is a service implemented after your website is live. Any search professional will tell you it takes time to remove bad or inaccurate information from Google/Yahoo/Bing’s index, but that doesn’t mean that positive changes by SEO professionals cannot be made to strengthen your presence and increase your website’s traffic. By planning your SEO strategy in advance and developing your dental website with it in mind, you lay the foundation for strong organic rankings in the search engines and save yourself a lot of headache compared to restructuring your entire site a few months down the road (source: Scott Keever SEO – Dentist).
Make Your Dental Website User Friendly
The flashiest website (pun intended) is great when you want to make a grand entrance into the market, but that doesn’t mean it is the most user (or search engine) friendly. A key part of your overall SEO strategy is to make your website simple to navigate and easy for the user to obtain the information that they want. Driving traffic to your website with a search engine marketing campaign is great, but if people get confused and quickly leave your site you are not only wasting their time but your budget. If you can, take advantage of a user experience professional when planning your site – they are wonderful resources that will help you get the maximum number of conversions for your web traffic.
In our next installment on SEO for dentists, we dive into the fundamentals of on-page, white hat SEO practices that create a solid foundation for more advanced search engine marketing campaigns. Hopefully this article has given you a better understanding of how to increase your online visibility, and if you have any questions, let us know in the comments!