SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is easily misunderstood. The following basics can help clarify some things – especially related to your dental website, and using it to build your dental practice.
The question is often asked, “Is SEO dead?” Some wish it was and others wouldn’t know why they feel that way.
SEO has numerous levels and strategies, and can be cumbersome or confusing, unless you know how to incorporate it effectively into your online marketing.
A different (and better) perspective on SEO (Search Engine Optimization…or how people find you online)
It’s helpful to think of SEO as something other than keyword placement, keyword density, and a list of other strategic approaches. Rather, begin to think of it fundamentally as how you or anyone else would “search” online for the services, information, and solutions you provide as a dental professional.
Virtually limitless data can be accessed once you start typing what naturally comes to mind in the search-bar whitespace on your smartphone, tablet, or computing device.
Most searches begin with “how,” “what” or “why.” People, including your current and potential dental patients, are looking for answers to questions and solutions to problems.
They ask, you answer. Keep your dental SEO that simple and uncomplicated.
Why today’s strategy could be obsolete tomorrow
Whether you understand it or not, SEO is already part of your dental website in some form. But there’s more than a one-and-done approach that merely stuffs a few regionally focused and dental-centric keywords into your webpages, hoping to hit the page-ranking jackpot.
According to digital marketing consultant Ryan Stewart, “Google shows search results based on what’s best for the user. We can’t just rank for whatever keywords we want.”
How to think about and use SEO (and all-things-online) to build your patient base and grow your dental practice
1. Think solutions and answers
Define the problems your “audience” is experiencing and the specific questions they’re asking. Research what create webpage copy and content that solves (problems) and answers (questions).
There are various listening channels. Explore Google keyword tools and other online “discovery” strategies.
Now’s a good time to practice some intuitive search of your own. Type “how do I find keyword data” into your search bar and do some research based on the results (It helps to know what it feels like to sort through “ranked data” so you can better understand how your “patient audience” feels doing the same).
2. Use “Main Street” – but don’t park there
It’s common for dental websites to “park” all their information on their main home pages. For example, lengthy and wordy “Services & Procedures” pages can significantly reduce a reader’s on-page time.
Page design, graphics, and images can help. But few people want to navigate high word count pages full of keyword-heavy copy in order to find an answer to their question.
Main webpages promote your expertise. Subpages create influence around your expertise.
3. Start a blog – and keep it updated
Consistently (weekly or bi-weekly) publish solutions to problems and answers to questions that you hear via your listening channels (online and offline).
Explore other content-rich paths. Launch a podcast that shares an audio version of your solution-answer strategy. Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) to post links back to your website content, and share images and video that compel and inspire patients to seek treatment.
This isn’t the last-word on SEO. Subscribe to our blog for more dental marketing and dental industry influence strategies.