Unlocking The Secret To Google’s First Page
The past decade has seen search engines become an essential tool in our daily lives. We've grown accustomed to turning to Google for guidance on everything from where to eat to where to send our children to school. Google's vast database of information has become a primary source of knowledge and greatly influences our decision-making.
Why would the process of selecting a dentist be any different?
As a dental marketing company with over 30 years of expertise, we've seen firsthand how important a dental practice's online presence is in today's digital age.
Google's search results page (SERP) displays millions of business listings worldwide, and the results are tailored to the user's location and search history. Businesses use filters to target specific audiences and show up in the most relevant search results.
According to the American Dental Association, there are over 200,000 practicing dentists in North America. That's a lot of competition! With so many dentists vying for patients' attention and an estimated 7% of Google’s daily searches (a billion a day) being health-related, it's more important than ever to have a strong online presence. And when it comes to online presence, website ranking is key.
Think about it: How often do you click through to the second or third page of Google results? Not very often. In fact, studies have shown that the first page of Google results gets 91% of all clicks. This means if your dental practice isn't on that coveted first page, you're missing out on a lot of potential patients.
If you’ve been concerned that your website is sitting stagnant and missing out on important new-patient traffic, we can help. Our website and SEO programs have been exclusively developed for dental offices. As an exclusively dental marketing agency, we understand how to improve both your website ranking and new-patient conversions.
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Insights and Strategies for Elevating Your Dental Practice's Search Engine Ranking
The importance of a strong digital presence for dental practices cannot be overstated – especially when it comes to search engine ranking. As the first page of Google results garners the majority of clicks, it's crucial that dental practices aim to secure a spot on that page.
Simply having a website is not enough – your website must be continually optimized for search engines in order to show up. That’s the work we web developers do behind the scenes specifically for search engines like Google and not necessarily visitor-facing elements. Factors such as search history and online activity are taken into account by Google when determining the most relevant results to display, highlighting the importance of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that will signal Google effectively so that it recognizes the relevance and chooses to present that website in the search result.
Have you ever run a search from two different devices and seen different results? This is because Google reads your search history and online activity before determining the most relevant results to display.
Search engines use a complex algorithm to determine the most relevant search results based on a variety of factors, including a person’s search history, location, and keywords used in the query. For example, if you search for "dentist near me" from your mobile phone, the search engine will use your location data to display a list of dental practices that are geographically close to you. Similarly, if you search for "teeth whitening" from your laptop, the search engine may use your laptop search history to display results most relevant to your previous search queries on that device.
Now, the longer you neglect the SEO component of your website, the longer competing dental websites in your local market have to win more keywords and relevance to local search. Website ranking is a long game of technical and creative tactics to improve effectiveness. When approached consistently, results should improve.
Understanding why and how search engines use all the various factors in play to display search results can help you optimize your website and online presence to better align with the needs and preferences of the ideal potential patients in the market area you want to attract. At the end of the day, SEO is a points game. The more points you have, the better your ranking. So how do we gain points, make your dental website stand out against others, and win the search war?
- Use relevant keywords: We work with clients to identify keywords potential patients might use when searching for dental services and incorporate them into your website's unique content.
- Optimize your website: We ensure that your website is user-friendly, fast, and mobile-responsive, with easy navigation and clear calls to action.
- Build quality backlinks: Using 100% white hat methodologies, we acquire backlinks from reputable websites to establish your practice as an authority in the field.
- Leverage local SEO: We optimize your website for local searches by including location-specific keywords and ensuring consistency across all online listings.
- Create quality content: By publishing informative and engaging content that is unique to your practice, we help showcase your expertise and provide value to your audience while demonstrating to Google that your website is relevant for dental-related searches in your area.
- Encourage patient reviews: Positive reviews can enhance your practice's online reputation and increase your visibility in search results. We present patient reviews on your website, and our reputation software, Review BOOSTER, makes getting more patient reviews easy.
- Monitor your analytics: We regularly track the website’s performance metrics to identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategy accordingly.
What Really Matters When Patients Choose a Practice
While there are several factors that influence a patient's choice of dental practice, it's important to remember that your online presence plays a significant role in this decision. A well-optimized website not only helps you rank higher on search engines, it also helps build trust and credibility with potential patients. Think of it as a virtual handshake – the first impression that can make or break a patient's decision to choose your practice!
Here are some key factors to consider when optimizing your dental practice's website:
- Mobile Optimization: In this day and age, almost everyone uses their mobile devices to search for services, including dental practices. A mobile-friendly website is no longer a luxury but a necessity. That said, desktop still battles it out month over month, with research reflecting higher conversion from a desktop search
When it comes to optimizing a website for both desktop and mobile, it's important to keep in mind that desktop and mobile usage patterns may differ, but one doesn’t override the other.
As you can see from the StatCounter graph, it’s a 50/50 race that fluctuates based on timeline and consumer behaviors, with mobile spiking in summer months when people are off work and school, and desktop spiking during buying seasons.
Google reports that 61% of mobile users are unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing from their phone, and 40% will go to a competitor's website instead. Another survey found that 72% of patients used their mobile device to search for health information, including dental services, and another found that 97% of consumers searched for local businesses online, including dental practices.
These references demonstrate that a significant portion of dental patients use search engines and mobile devices to search for dental services, and the majority of consumers use the internet to find local businesses. Therefore, it's essential for dental practices to have a well-optimized desktop and mobile website to provide a positive user experience and attract potential patients.
What else does this mean you’ll want your marketing partner to consider?
- Local SEO: As a dental practice, you're targeting patients in your local area. Optimizing your website for local SEO helps you rank higher on search engines when patients search for dental services in your area.
- User Experience: Google takes this into account for rank points with its page experience signal. A website that is secure, easy to navigate, uses high-quality imagery, embraces whitespace, loads quickly, and is visually appealing is more likely to keep visitors engaged and interested in your practice. This matters because Google wants to present content that is more than just keyword based, but that also answers the query with good information – to make their users happy – which makes your patients and potential patients happy too! When you work the rules, they work for everyone!
- Content: The content on your website should not only be informative but also engaging and relevant to your target audience. Include patient reviews, answer what you know are your frequently asked questions in the copy, and include educational resources on dental health.
- Online Reputation: In today's digital age, patient reviews and ratings can make or break a practice's reputation. Encourage satisfied patients to leave reviews, always post a response and thank them for their time and feedback, and respond promptly and professionally to any negative comments. It might surprise you to know that by displaying reviews on your website, you add more relevant content and keywords that other patients may be looking for, and this will signal to Google, again, that your content should be ranked better.
By focusing on these factors, you can optimize your dental practice's website to rank higher on search engines and make a lasting impression on potential patients.
At Patient NEWS®, we understand the importance of a strong digital presence for dental practices. Our team of experts have over 30 years of dental marketing expertise and can help elevate your practice's search engine ranking. Always be careful who you choose to manage your website. With us, you won’t lose any of your pre-existing strong SEO work when we take over your site. We consider SEO from the start of every project, follow best practices, and we have a great reputation in the dental industry (30 years of only working with dentists)! We’ll identify relevant keywords, build quality backlinks, and help ensure all the important factors that determine your practice's visibility on Google are covered to help you make a lasting impression on potential patients and STAND OUT.
Call today and start a discussion with our team to determine where improvements can be made to your website rank – and patient experience!