If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know that effective search engine optimization (SEO) is absolutely crucial if you want prospective patients to find your practice online.
Here are five things that MUST be going on behind the scenes on your website if you want to maximize your search engine optimization:
- You must be using consistent URLs.
The URL that your website visitor sees, the URLs that you use to link pages internally, and the links you use in your XML sitemap MUST be the same. If they aren’t, update them, and when you change one, change them all.
- Use short URLs without a lot of parameters.
You want to limit the parameters so the Google spiders can crawl your website faster. It also makes it easier for the spiders to understand what is on the page if you use words instead of numbers, hyphens instead of underlines, and avoid subdomains if you can.
- Post important copy at the top of your page.
That doesn’t sound too technical, right? Well, that means not sticking it behind a div command or burying it under linked content or images. Google spiders index from top to bottom, and they consider those things at the top to be of higher value than those things at the bottom.
- Change your title tags to be more than just keywords.
Your title tag shows up under the link in a keyword search. Use this space as an opportunity to draw in the clients you want. A best practice is to use a call to action in your title tag. So that Minneapolis cosmetic dentist might use a title tag of “Come and see how beautiful your smile can be when you visit Minneapolis cosmetic dentist Dr. Smith.”
- Decrease your website’s load time.
Slow load times hurt you in two ways:
- It takes spiders longer to index your page and that hurts your ranking.
- Real people, you know, the ones you are trying to attract, won’t wait around all day.
Data shows that 47 percent of people expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or faster. So this means you have to get in there and delete everything you don’t need. Whatever it takes, speed up that page.
If this has been confusing, don’t feel bad. It is confusing. That’s why you hire somebody to manage your website.
You might balk at that suggestion. Look, if you’re really interested in the very technical aspects of search engine optimization, go ahead and bone up on this stuff. And then invest the time and energy to optimize your site, test the results, re-tweak, and so on. More power to you.
But is that really the best use of your time? Or why you went to dental school in the first place? I seriously doubt it.
Yes, you need to attract more and better patients, but once you have them, you make money by actually practicing dentistry. Do-it-yourself SEO is not the best use of your time by any means.