One of, if not THE, most important things in your web marketing efforts is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. Here is why SEO is so important.
Most of the patients YOU want to attract are searching online for whatever dental problem they are having; research shows that 93 percent of consumers begin with a search engine. Most are going to use Google; 70 percent of people worldwide use Google. And 75 percent will never look past the first page of a Google search.
So how do you dominate that first page of a Google search? Keywords that link back to your website are what move your name higher and higher up a Google search results list.
Those keywords can be from your own web pages, from blogs you write, from articles you have published, from mentions in the news media and press releases you issue, from patient reviews on Yelp, from your LinkedIn profile … lots of places, as you can see.
The more ways you can link your names to the terms that potential patients are looking for, the higher you will rank when prospects search those terms. That’s because Google scours the Internet using complex computer programs and then ranks those keywords using complex mathematical formulas.
Now here’s where it get’s REALLY complex: not all links carry the same value. So just like when you’re fishing with your buddies, the person with the most fish doesn’t necessarily have bragging rights over the person with the biggest fish. So a mention of permanent teeth replacement on your site doesn’t carry as much weight as, say, an article in your local paper about you doing permanent teeth replacement.
The SEO value is even greater when someone reposts or shares that article within their social network. See how complex it all is?
What’s NOT complex is what Google wants you to do to move up the search engine rankings page. Google wants you to provide quality content that can really help people when they search for a problem they are having. That means the content should be useful even if it had no SEO value at all.
And what Google DOESN’T want is you stuffing a whole bunch of keywords into a web page that doesn’t really tell people anything when they find it. That is boring and unhelpful to anyone who reads it.
Our friends at SearchEngineWatch, which is a website devoted to this kind of thing and a site we read very carefully to stay up on the latest information, recently wrote a blog on this very subject. In it, they strongly encouraged small business owners to work closely with their SEO providers to provide higher-quality content. Doing so will not only help readers but increase SEO in the current search engine environment.
Well, as Bruce Willis said in “Die Hard,” “Welcome to the party, pal.” We’ve been telling clients that for years! In fact, if you regularly read this blog, you’ve seen me say it plenty of times.
So if you really want to optimize your SEO to get to the top of the Google search pages, write with readers in mind and make sure your SEO provider is doing the same.
Why dental practices are hiring companies to maximize their SEO
Before we get into this topic, I want to make a confession: I love doing these blog posts. I love talking marketing. I love breaking down the latest in dental marketing. But it can be very challenging not to turn them into an infomercial. So much of what I talk about is the same things I deliver to clients.
So I try to keep the blog content as objective as possible and give you great information that can help you grow your practice whether you ever become a client of mine or not. Most of the time I succeed. When I recently came across a survey by Constant Contact, I really wasn’t sure whether to use it or not. The survey is about why small businesses and nonprofits do or do not outsource their various marketing efforts.
I ultimately decided to write about it because that is a choice you, as a dentist, have to make. Which aspects of your marketing will you do on your own, and which, if any, will you pay someone like me to do for you? So I’m going to give you the three results of the survey.
According to these 1,300 businesses surveyed:
- 35 percent outsource SEO
- 23 percent outsource online banner ads
- 22 percent outsource their website
- 3 percent outsource their email newsletters and social media
None of this surprises me. SEO, as you have seen, is extremely complex. And some folks don’t know enough about computers or the web to manage their website and banner ads.
Here is what is surprising: when asked which aspects they would outsource if they could, the largest difference between those who are and those who wish they could are:
- Social media (16 percent)
- SEO (15 percent)
Why? Because those are the two biggest time sucks in a person’s day. You can waste a ridiculous amount of time on social media and get very little in return. SEO has a big return, but you have to take the time to do the writing.
Finally, the biggest reason those surveyed said they don’t outsource their various marketing streams is, wait for it, money. But here’s the funny thing: those surveyed said they or their employees spend about 33 hours per week on marketing.
Now ask yourself: looking at your current costs, how much would cutting 33 hours per week save you? I bet it’s enough to hire us, at least at an entry-level package. Then you and your staff are freed up to focus on what you know best.