Marketing a dental practice isn’t an easy thing to do, and most dentists are doing it wrong. Many dentists rely too heavily on old-fashioned marketing campaigns and not enough on internet marketing. Here are seven of our best dental marketing tips with a focus on 21st-century markets.
Learning these contemporary dental marketing tips can work wonders for your practice and bring you patients on autopilot.
Dental Marketing Tips, No. 1 – Use Facebook to Your Advantage
Social media marketing is underused by professionals such as dentists, doctors, and lawyers. This is hugely unfortunate, but it also means that you can easily gain an advantage over the competition with a few simple dental marketing tips such as signing up for Facebook.
As the world’s most popular social media platform, Facebook can do many things for your business. It’s easy and quick to create a profile and get to work selling your services to people in your area.
Benefits of Facebook Marketing for Dentists
Some of the many benefits of Facebook marketing for dentists include the following:
Free promotion to people in your geographic area through status updates, photo uploads, and other options.
Free analytics on your Facebook fan base – who will also be your clientele base.
Services like Facebook reviews, which work to expand and improve your public image.
Read for dental marketing tips on how to get the most out of these benefits, as well as Facebook’s other marketing advantages.
How to Maximize the Benefits of Facebook Marketing
In order to get the most out of Facebook marketing, you will have to put some work in. This is because of the nature of Facebook and its users: because content on Facebook in general is updated regularly, you will also have to update your content regularly to stay ahead.
I would strongly recommend updating your Facebook page at least twice a day to get the most out of Facebook’s ability to be used for marketing. If you update this often, your content will constantly be in front of potential clients’ eyes.
It’s also good to offer promotions with every update or every other update. For example, you can offer free giveaways to anyone who comes in to your practice on a particular day. You can also offer discounts on services.
It is also very important to construct your posts visually. Visual content, such as images and videos, gets much more attention on Facebook than text alone.
Dental Marketing Tips, No. 2 – Expand the Benefits of Facebook with Facebook Advertising
There’s one last benefit of Facebook for dentists I absolutely need to tell you about: Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads are one of the most affordable and useful forms of direct marketing out there. They’re easy to use and can be customized to target any particular market you think is a good fit for your practice.
Anyone with a Facebook business profile can sign up. The ads will appear in or around targeted demographics’ Facebook News Feeds, which means a lot of people could see your ads every day. They’re generally very attention-grabbing just by their placement.
You can also make your ads more relevant and attractive by checking out a handy guide to Facebook Ads online. There are plenty of good dental marketing tips out there regarding this.
Although Facebook Ads are a paid service, you could end up making back everything you spend. These ads are much more affordable and highly effective than most forms of direct marketing.
Another highly cost-effective and attention-grabbing form of direct marketing is email, which brings us to the next in our list of the best dental marketing tips.
Dental Marketing Tips, No. 3 – Develop an Email List
Want to know how to contact all of your clients at once? What about how to advertise to people you already know are interested in using your practice? There’s a way to do all of this quickly and at no cost to you: using an email list.
An email list is essentially what it sounds like: a list of email addresses. Specifically, these are the addresses of current and former patients, as well as people who may be interested in becoming your patients.
Assembling an email list is not easy at first. However, once the infrastructure is in place, it’s easy to add new addresses to the list.
There are several options for creating an email list. If your practice is very small, you may be able to keep one manually, using the Contacts feature in your business email account. However, most dentists and other professionals rely on email services.
These services allow you to email everyone on your list with the touch of a button. The service will also handle the maintenance of your list, although you can update manually as needed.
There are many professional email services out there, some of the most popular being MailChimp and MadMimi. Both MailChimp and MadMimi offer free and premium service packages.
There’s also plenty of discussion about which email service is best. I would recommend trying both of the major free services to see how you like them. Then you might consider committing fully to one or looking for another option.
How to Get Email Addresses for Your Email List
This is where things fall apart for many dental marketers. Although signing up for an email marketing service is easy, putting a list together can be quite a challenge.
To start building your email list, consider using email addresses from some of the following sources:
Patients or family members who email you directly.
Email addresses on forms patients fill out at your office. Be sure to disclose that patient emails may be used for business use!
Suppliers and others who email you directly.
A form on your website promoting your email list. The email service should provide this for you.
It’s also important to be sure that your list is dynamic and always growing. If not enough people are signing up for email on your site, there might be a problem. You may need to work on bringing customers to your site, or making the email form more attractive or easier to find.
Dental Marketing Tips, No. 4 – Learn All About SEO (and Apply It!)
The best way to advertise your dental practice is through your own website. This is because you control all the content on your website. Also, your website is available anywhere, at any time, to anyone who is potentially interested in using your practice.
However, just creating and maintaining a beautiful, functional website is not enough. You also need to make sure that potential clients can actually find your website. That’s where SEO comes in.
SEO, short for “Search Engine Optimization,” is a set of techniques you can use to make your website more likely to appear higher on search engine result lists for relevant terms. In other words, SEO puts your website at the top of Google’s first page.
When Google, Yahoo, or Bing users search for terms or phrases like “dentist in [your town]” or “best dentist near me,” you want to be sure your practice is the first thing they see.
How SEO Works
SEO is a complex art and science. In the simplest terms, it involves the manipulation of certain factors that search engines use to determine sites’ relevance to searches.
However, the higher-level SEO techniques are best left to professional marketers with more experience. If these techniques are misused, they could have a strong negative effect.
There are a few things you can do to be sure that your site is doing the best it can, though. These include blogging – a hugely important marketing tool in its own right – and keyword usage.
Keyword usage involves using the words and phrases that you think people will search for in the content on your site. For example, if you think potential patients might search for “dentist in Scottsdale,” then you’ll need to use the phrase “dentist in Scottsdale” multiple times on multiple pages of your site.
You should also create engaging content. This encourages users to visit your site often, which boosts its popularity – another factor Google and the other search engines consider.
Having great content will also encourage other sites to link to yours. This is because they will reference the content on your site in their own content.
Links are one of the most important measures of popularity and legitimacy for search engines. Many consider them to be the most important of Google’s ranking factors.
Professional SEO services can also help you get links from other sites. If you consider hiring professional SEO services, do your research. Try to find an SEO service with experience in your particular field. SEO for dentists is not the same as SEO for lawyers, bar owners, or anyone else.
Dental Marketing Tips, No. 5 – Rank Your Site for Relevant Keywords
Choosing the keywords you want your site to appear in response to is one of the hardest parts of SEO. Even most dentists who are well-versed in SEO are doing it wrong.
The most common mistake a dentist can make when choosing keywords is being too general. Search terms like “dentist” or “dentistry” most likely won’t work for your practice.
This is because these search terms are already overused by other dental practices. It’s also because they occur so often naturally in content about dentistry.
The only dental practices that will be able to consistently rank for these search keywords are very large ones in large urban areas. However, by focusing on local SEO, you can be sure to get plenty of clients all the same.
How to Make Local SEO Work for You
One of my most important and frequently cited dental marketing tips goes like this: be sure to win at local dental SEO.
You can increase your site’s local SEO viability by using plenty of geographic cues in your content. This includes phrases like “[name of your town] dentist.”
Winning at local SEO is about even more than keywords, though. You’ll also want to be sure that your practice has a strong presence on Google Reviews and Yelp.
If your business is on Yelp, be sure to claim it! That way, you can reap the benefits of a Yelp profile, such as putting a link to your main site in the profile. It will also allow you to monitor and respond to patient reviews of your practice.
Through a combination of locally focused keywords and a presence on Yelp and Google Reviews, your practice can win at local dental SEO. Your Facebook profile and activity will also help you with local SEO.
Dental Marketing Tips, No. 6 – Use Google MyBusiness
Google MyBusiness is a free package of services offered to any and all businesses. Signing up for Google MyBusiness will ensure that your practice appears on Google Maps and can receive Google Reviews.
Both of these are hugely important to building a strong local web presence. This is important because it will positively affect your SEO and visibility online, as well as bringing customers in all on its own.
In fact, the services offered for free on Google MyBusiness can positively impact all of the other dental marketing tips mentioned in this article.
Having a listing on Google Maps is hugely important now that so many people rely on smartphones for navigation. Google Reviews is also a trusted and accessible platform for patients to read and write reviews.
Having a Google MyBusiness account can also help with your SEO. If a person Googles your business name and you’re signed up, the Google user will see a card on-screen with your review average, your location, and your main website.
Putting this information at potential patients’ fingertips is extremely important. A Google MyBusiness account can bring you patients on autopilot.
Dental Marketing Tips, No. 7 – Start a Retargeting Campaign
Retargeting is an underutilized advertising technique that can amazingly complement an ad campaign. It’s a bit complicated, but here’s a quick explanation.
Someone interested in your practice visits your website.
That person leaves your site, perhaps comparing your practice and others in your area.
A “retargeted” ad for your practice appears in banner ad spots in their web browser.
The person then returns to your site, his or her interest renewed.
Retargeting uses computer cookies to put your ads in front of people who have already visited your site.
Although this won’t bring your site new traffic, it can help make the final decision easier for people interested in becoming your patients.
Because major purchases like dental work are a big decision, people often take time and compare prices and reviews. Retargeting ensures that your practice isn’t forgotten during that process.
Unfortunately, a retargeting campaign is virtually impossible for an individual to set up on his or her own. However, there are professional retargeting services out there that essentially work like regular online advertising services, but specifically for retargeting ads.
Promote Dental can also set up retargeting services for you and your practice.
If you’re interested in learning more about retargeting, check out our last article, in which I covered retargeting in greater detail. You can also give us a call about it anytime.
How to Take the Next Step and Put These Dental Marketing Tips to Work for You
Using any of these tips alone will affect your business positively. However, using them all together will give you a complete marketing package.
If you want to apply all of these dental marketing tips to your everyday business activities, create a specific plan. Decide the order in which you’d like to implement these tips. Also think about the amount of time and money you’re willing to invest in each one.
Once you’ve made a plan, start putting it into action. There’s no time like the present, especially when it comes to internet marketing. The sooner you put your plans into action, the sooner you’ll be ahead of the competition.
If you need help with implementing internet marketing, there are plenty of resources out there for you. You can read our blog for more dental marketing tips and greater detail on SEO for dentists. Web resources like Search Engine Journal can help you get a handle on SEO.
If you’d prefer a more hands-on approach to internet marketing assistance for dentists, feel free to give us a call or contact us via the form below. In addition to our paid marketing and SEO services, we offer free consultations for anyone interested in learning more about dental marketing.
The world of marketing is ever-changing, and the advent of the internet has brought these changes on faster than ever. In order to succeed at dentistry, you’ll also have to succeed at marketing, at navigating this fast and complicated world.
Marketing a dental practice isn’t an easy task. Many people don’t realize how much they need dental services, and others worry about the cost of dentistry. However, there are several ways to quickly improve your dental marketing package quickly and easily.
One of the most important things to do when it comes to marketing a dental practice or anything else is to think outside the box.
Thinking outside the box is the surest way to get good results.
One of the easiest ways to think outside the box when it comes to 21st century marketing is to focus on internet marketing.
Too many dentists out there are too focused on “traditional” marketing methods. These include some of the following:
Signage, flyers, and other tangible marketing goods
Relying too much on word of mouth
Although there’s nothing inherently wrong with marketing methods like these, they’re simply not the most effective methods for marketing a dental practice anymore.
All three of the little known but highly effective dental marketing tips I’ve got for you today involve internet marketing to some extent. Before we get to those, let’s take a look at some of the basics of internet marketing.
Online Marketing – How It Works and Why You Need It
First off, let’s talk about why internet marketing matters so much these days. Here are some simple facts from HubSpot:
81% of customers (including your potential patients) do some kind of research online before making a big purchase (including expensive dental procedures).
72% of people who do local online searches end up visiting a business within five miles of them.
51% of smartphone users have discovered a new business or product of some kind searching on their phones.
While all of these facts are important, the first one really takes the cake. 81% of people in your town look online every time they make financial decisions – including going to the dentist.
Blue Rise Media also offers some simple facts on the importance of internet marketing. Although they’re less focused on hard numbers, they do bring up a very important point. Any marketing materials you put on the internet are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Besides the huge popularity of the internet these days, constant availability is one of internet marketing’s biggest advantages.
When you buy a TV or radio spot, you probably pay by the minute – or by even smaller increments of time. However, when you pay for internet marketing once, you can reap the benefits for years.
Internet marketing is also usually cheaper up front than traditional marketing forms. Reaching more customers for less money is every professional’s dream, right?
How Internet Marketing Works
Marketing a dental practice online is complex work. Many dentists and other medical professionals hire internet marketing companies or consultants to do it. However, there are plenty of things you can do on your own.
Also, it’s a great idea to learn as much as you can about internet marketing even if you plan to hire a professional marketer. The good news is that there are great resources out there to get you started.
However, before you go in search of the deepest details, let’s go over some of the basics of the basics here. There are several major keys to marketing a dental practice online:
Having a website. This is the most basic part of internet marketing.
Filling your website with content that attracts patients.
SEO – short for Search Engine Optimization. I’ll give details on this in just a minute.
Using “external properties” such as social media and review sites to market yourself.
Basics of Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Your Website
Having a website is the biggest key to marketing a dental practice online. Without having a website of your own, none of the other strategies I’ll talk about will help.
If you already have a great website, you’re ahead of many of your competitors. If you don’t, you need to get one immediately. Try using a simple platform like WordPress or talking to a professional web designer or internet marketer about other design options.
Basics of Marketing a Dental Practice Online: SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization is the main work that internet marketers do. Essentially, a simple definition would go something like this:
SEO is the practice of making your website more attractive to search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) so that your website appears higher in results for relevant searches like “best local dentist.”
However, SEO is anything but simple. It involves a lot of work and study. In fact, it is so complex that there’s an entire industry of professional search engine optimizers for hire.
I won’t go into depth on SEO here, but there are a lot of great resources on this site and the rest of the web. Try going through some other articles in our blog to get started learning about specifics. Blogs like Moz are also worth checking out, especially their exhaustive introduction to SEO.
You might also try watching the video below. Although it’s very long, it’s a really great introduction to the basics of SEO with some advanced lessons sprinkled in.
Basics of Marketing a Dental Practice Online: External Properties
An “external property” in internet marketing lingo is any site that you don’t own. Specifically, though, when marketers talk about “external properties,” we mean sites that you don’t own that offer content related to your practice.
External properties important to marketing a dental practice include the following:
Google Maps and other business-related Google properties
These external properties are very important to two of the three specific, highly effective tips in this article.
Without further ado, let’s get to those tips!
Tip #1 for Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Use Social Media
Many small businesspeople, such as restaurant owners, have learned the benefits of social media. However, it has yet to catch on with professionals such as dentists.
Social media outlets like Facebook can be hugely beneficial when it comes to marketing a dental practice. They’re also a great way to stay connected with your customers.
Furthermore, social media is so massively popular that this can be one of the most effective forms of marketing. Even better, it’s completely free if you do it yourself. If you decide to hire a professional, social media marketing assistance is generally one of the cheapest services.
Other major social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram also offer advertising programs.
2. Connect with patients.
Connection with your patients is hugely important to your marketing.
Think of all the work you do in your office to connect with patients. Simple things like learning patients’ names can make them much more comfortable with you. This in turn makes them more likely to come back to your practice.
Social media offers opportunities to connect with patients when they’re not in the office. Patients may message your practice directly and privately with questions. They can also interact with the content you post in various ways.
Seeing these connections made manifest on the screen can also teach you a lot. For example, Facebook offers free analytic tools that show you what demographics you’re popular with.
How to Start Reaping the Marketing Benefits of Social Media Profiles
Luckily, all the major social media outlets offer simple instructions to set up a profile. This is because they want their sites to be accessible to all. That’s one of the major reasons they’re so popular.
Start by creating a single social media profile. I’d recommend Facebook because it’s easy to use and effective.
Fill out your profile in the greatest detail possible.
Create new content every day or every few days. Update your status, add an image. Promote yourself!
Don’t move on to starting another social media profile until you’re very comfortable with the first one you started. Although more is merrier when it comes to social media marketing, you don’t want to overwork yourself. Social media marketing takes a lot of time and learning.
Tip #2 for Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Perfecting Local Search Engine Optimization
I mentioned search engine optimization earlier, remember? One of the most important aspects of generating good SEO is a focus on your locality. This is especially important for smaller, local businesses like dental practices.
No matter what, Google and the other search engines are going to index sites worldwide for their users to find. However, focusing on getting customers in your city or town has the biggest benefit for you.
There are two things to focus on when it comes to local SEO:
Your own website
Local SEO Techniques for External Properties
Optimizing external properties for local SEO is fairly easy. Social media especially can be highly effective, and is one of the easiest things to optimize.
Optimizing for local SEO on Facebook requires filling out the profile completely. Especially focus on geographical information and connecting with local people and businesses.
On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, using popular local hashtags can also make your social media profile much more likely to appear for local searches like “dentists in [your city]” or similar searches.
Optimizing local SEO for external properties that aren’t under your direct control is also easy. This includes external properties such as Google Maps and Yelp.
The same goes for Google My Business. Google My Business encompasses several business services offered by Google. These include Google Maps listings, Google Reviews, and more.
Claiming your business or creating a business profile on these sites is extremely important. These actions can be incredibly lucrative for your business at no cost to you. Also, the signup process for each one is fast and easy.
Local SEO for Your Site
Optimizing your own site for local SEO gets a bit more complicated, but is equally helpful (if not even more so).
One action you can take is optimizing your site for local search is using a large amount of locally focused keywords. If you’re not an SEO pro yet, check out this Rags to Niches article on SEO keywords before reading on.
The following video may help as well. While it’s focused specifically on photography, the same principles apply to keywords across the board. You can easily use these skills for dental marketing.
Now that you understand what SEO keywords are, it’s important to understand local SEO keywords.
Whereas a general keyword you might want to optimize your site for is “best dentistry,” that may be too too general for local searches.
To attract local clients, you’ll need to optimize for local keyword phrases like “best dentistry in Scottsdale” or “dentists in Virginia.” Specificity is key here.
If you’re worried about the work that goes into researching keywords, an SEO consultant may be able to help. The same goes for getting the keywords into the content on your website naturally.
It takes a lot of work and research to get keywords right. However, they’re a key fundamental of SEO. Their impact can be undeniably huge.
The Benefits of Direct Advertising to Local SEO
Advertising services like Google AdWords, Facebook advertising (mentioned earlier), and Bing Ads can make a huge difference to your local SEO.
Although these services obviously charge money, they can be useful. The reason they’re so useful is that you can tweak them to impact local customers the most.
When amateurs attempt SEO, it becomes an inexact science. Getting good at SEO requires a lot of trial and error. It may take you some time to get your keyword mix exactly right – not to mention all the other factors that determines where you page lands in search engine results.
Direct advertising, however, is very exact. It allows you total control up front. Purchasing direct advertising can also be a great way for you to hedge your bets while you practice SEO or look for an SEO professional to hire.
The most successful businesses – including the most successful dental practices – use a combination of SEO and ads. While this might not be possible for you right now, it’s a goal you should work towards.
Tip #3 for Marketing a Dental Practice Online: Retargeting
Retargeting is perhaps our best tip, because it is so underused by dentists. It’s also underused by other professionals such as MDs and lawyers, as well as small businesspeople.
Because retargeting was so expensive until relatively recently, it’s only caught on with very large organizations so far. However, retargeting is easier and cheaper than ever. If you start utilizing this strategy now, you can beat the curve and come out ahead of your local competitors.
What is Retargeting and How Can It Help You with Marketing a Dental Practice?
It then places your targeted ads in front of these potential patients after they leave your site.
This often causes them to return to your site and reconsider your services.
If you’re more of a visual learner, this diagram should help explain things:
This method works best in conjunction with traditional ads, solid SEO, or both. That’s because retargeting requires people to visit your website in the first place to be successful.
Retargeting isn’t a strategy to get you more site visitors up front. It’s a strategy to get site visitors to come back again and again. Constantly putting your content in front of casual web browsers increases the chances they will become your patients.
Because not a lot of other professionals in your field are using retargeting right now, it can be highly effective for you in both the short term and the long term.
How to Get Retargeting Service on Your Site
The one downside to retargeting is that you won’t be able to set it up yourself. Doing so would be extremely difficult and expensive.
However, there are retargeting options from Google and Facebook, as well as retargeting agencies out there that specialize in this service. Also, many professional SEO services can get retargeting set up for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about how retargeting works or how to get it on your site, please give us a call or fill out the form below.
We would also love to hear from you if you have any other questions about our services. Feel free to contact us with general SEO and internet marketing questions as well. Everyone at Promote Dental knows how complicated and overwhelming all of this can be, and we’d like to help you understand it.
Even if you’re not interested in purchasing any of our services at this time, we offer free fifteen minute consultations. During this time we can discuss SEO in general or specific strategies for your practice.
You know that owning any kind of business means you have to be a good marketer to find success. If you’re a dentist, marketing your practice better means you both make more money and help more people.
However, marketing activities can often be too expensive or time consuming (or, worse, both) for many dentists to undertake. The bad news here is that you’re not going to find any success without good marketing. The good news is that making effective marketing decisions doesn’t have to be expensive. It also doesn’t have to take up all of your extra time.
Marketing is Easier with SEO
There’s a type of marketing called SEO – that’s an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization – that seeks to market your dental practice by making it appear higher and more often in SERPs. SERPs are Search Engine Results Pages – the pages and pages of links that are generated when a person types a few search keywords or a search phrase into a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bind.
If your dental firm appears more often in SERPs for search terms and phrases like “good dentistry,” “affordable dentistry,” and “dentists near me,” then you’re virtually guaranteed to get customers on autopilot.
Crafting and changing certain features of these sites (or your dental practice’s profiles on these sites) can make it much more likely that your practice appears higher in Google and other search engine results because of how Google and the other search engines work.
The search engines use a variety of factors to get relevant sites in front of their users. Making your site more appealing to the algorithms that seek out and rank those factors in importance is what SEO is all about.
How You Can Improve Your Dental SEO Today
There are two ways to improve your dental SEO. You can do it yourself, which is free or cheap but requires a lot of expertise and time. You can also hire an SEO marketing professional to do it for you, which costs money but requires no expertise and very little time. You can also try to combine some elements of both of these approaches, doing some of the basics of optimization yourself but hiring a marketer for the more advanced work.
If you plan to improve your dental SEO on your own, the first thing you need to do is a ton of research on how SEO and the big search engines work. Our blog covers a good number of topics related to these things.
If you want to hire a marketer, you need to do some research first too. Make sure you find a marketer that will work well with you and your business, and one that knows the ins and outs of SEO both in general and in relation to dentists in particular.
Do you know the biggest secret to success for dentists?
It takes a lot of work to become a dentist, and running your own dental practice or working at a small practice afterwards is certainly a challenging job.
However, the challenge is all worth it if you find your job both lucrative and rewarding – and the best way to make more money as a dentist and to help more people with your dental skills is to market your practice extraordinarily well.
Good marketing is the surest way to get more customers. That’s one of the biggest secrets to success in the dental industry. Every dentist must either be a great marketer or hire a great marketer if she or he wants to be truly successful.
However, the marketing landscape here at the end of 2016 is different than ever before. What’s a dentist to do to navigate this complex, ever-changing marketing industry and unlock further secrets of dental success?
Why Marketing is Different in 2016-2016
Marketing changed drastically with the rise of the internet, and particularly with the massive popularity of search engines as the internet became more and more accessible to ordinary people. This has been happening since before 2000, and has only become more prevalent every year (or, really, every month) since.
Now marketing involves Search Engine Optimization, often abbreviated as SEO – the process of making your dental website and other properties related to your dentistry (such as a dental Facebook page or Yelp profile) appear higher in Google (and Yahoo and Bing) search engine results pages – also known as SERPs to people in the SEO industry.
Having your properties appear when people search for terms and phrases like “dentist near me” is like having free advertising for your dental practice – and has been shown in some studies to bring in more customers than any other form of marketing.
SEO has only gotten more effective and important over the years, spiking with the proliferation of smartphones and continuing to grow steadily since with the wider use of tablets and similar devices.
How to Have Great Dental SEO
SEO is a hugely complex science, and has spawned an entire industry of professional SEO marketers. As far as I know, we’re the only SEO marketing firm specifically focused on dentists’ unique needs.
However, before you hire an SEO marketer, it’s a great idea to learn a bit about the science, and see if there are any steps you can take yourself before paying for this type of advertising. Like any marketing campaign or hiring decision, starting a paid SEO campaign is a big choice, and you don’t want to rush it.
There’s big news about Google, and it’s all about the news. Here’s what it is, what it means, and how it affects you and your dental SEO marketing plan.
Goodbye, Google News – Hello, Google Top Stories
I read an interesting post on the Moz Blog today about Google’s new “Top Stories” results, which have replaced its old “News” results. Is this a simple name change or is the way news is actually presented on Google actually changing significantly?
The blogger at Moz believes this is mostly a user interface change, though there was speculation among many Google users and SEO thinkers that this might be the beginning of Google trying to get its act together when it comes to the fake news epidemic that has been plaguing its results – and has recently gotten both Google and Facebook in a lot of trouble.
We’ll definitely keep an eye on these latest developments for you, but it looks like no changes are coming for now. And the be honest, the new presentation does look very nice – if your dental firm is newsworthy in some way, this might actually be a good thing for you (though it probably won’t have a big effect for most of our readers).
What Does This Have to Do with Dental SEO, Anyway?
Any changes to the way news is ranked, vetted, or even presented by Google’s algorithm is a big deal to dental SEO and SEO for other small businesses because so many SEO firms use news articles and press releases to get those businesses attention.
However, it looks like Google’s “Top Stories” feature pulls from the same wide net of sources that was used for their old news results – and Moz did a pretty large experiment to verify that.
All this goes to say that not much has changed significantly yet – but it’s still worth looking at what Google does in the coming weeks, in case this is the start of something bigger that will have an affect on your dental SEO.
What Should I Do Now?
Our advice to dentists with an SEO plan involving the news is not to change anything, but to keep an eye out for new developments in this case.
However, even if there is a big change in news sorting, ranking, or presentation, it likely won’t affect dentists too much. Most dentists get write-ups in local news, which often doesn’t appear in the few results that are presented in Google’s news section anyway. Articles, videos, and other news pieces from local sources are designed to get your business local attention and your site a backlink from a verifiable source.
Unless you’re advertising with a known fake news source or local news is somehow devalued by changes Google may make to deal with the fake news problem, I don’t think this should affect your dental SEO too much. However, I’m sure the SEO community at large will be blogging and theorizing about it continually for the next week or so.
SEO is one of the most complex sciences in the world, and many marketing teams and SEO gurus – often the ones that don’t really know what they’re doing – try to oversimplify the issues surrounding SEO to make it sound easy (or like they alone have all the answers).
One of the bloggers at Bing’s webmaster services page recently wrote a post reminding us that links aren’t everything. While I was doing my daily SEO reading I stumbled across it, and it made me think more about the utter complexity of SEO than I had in some time.
Yes, links are important. In fact, they may still be the most important single aspect of SEO – and they have been for quite some time, according to almost any SEO guru (or anyone with any knowledge of the system) that you ask.
However, they are not the only important thing. And, as we know, one of the only constants in the world of SEO is change. That means that even if links have been the most important factor for a long time, they may not always be. Remember, in SEO and in life, no one stays at the top forever.
The upshot of all this is that when you’re working with someone at your company or with an external SEO marketing service on an SEO plan for your dental practice, you have to focus on everything at once. If that sounds impossible, well, you know why SEO marketing is such a big and fiercely competitive industry.
In addition to links, you need to make sure that whoever is responsible for your SEO marketing understands the importance of social media, keywords, local SEO techniques, semantic search, and other important factors and trends in the world of SEO. No factor of SEO works without any of the other factors in place and fully optimized, and a few good links aren’t going to be enough to put your dental clinic on the map.
We’ve talked about this a great deal within the company today, and have decided to work harder than ever on the SEO factors outside of link building that could help our clients. Don’t get me wrong – link building is still what we’ll put the most time into – but we know that if we want to stay relevant as a marketing firm (and help our many clients stay relevant as dentists) that we’ll have to focus on everything.
There are still a few SEO marketers out there who try to mislead dentists and other small business owners into thinking that all links are created equal, and they’re all valued the same way by Google, Bing, and Yahoo. However, this is not the case (and hasn’t been for some time). In other words, there are good links and bad links (as well as some that don’t matter either way).
Here are a couple things you need to know about each type, and hints as to how to distinguish between them.
1. What are good links?
Let’s start with some positive things, shall we?
Good links are backlinks from other sites that boost your overall SEO / SERP ranking. These often come from major sites that are both legitimate and popular.
They are also most often links from within the actual content of another site – such as in a blog post or article. Links like this show that another site is using yours in a similar way to which an academic writer might cite a source. Even a few content links from very popular sites can give your SEO a huge boost.
2. What are bad links?
Unfortunately, there are a lot more opportunities to get bad links than good. These are links that Google has determined are problematic and must either be ignored or penalized.
Most links from directories and forums are bad – although in some cases a legitimate link could be gotten this way. For example, if your site is listed in a local online directory of dentists that is actually well-trafficked by people in your area and serves a legitimate purpose, it could boost your SEO. However, if a link to your site is included in a directory that exists for the sole purpose of linking out to other sites, that can hurt your SEO.
Forum links are problematic somewhere around 80-90% of the time, it seems, but a few links from posts in legitimate, virtually spam-free forums can help you out.
3. What about links that are somewhere in the middle?
If you’re with me so far, you’ve probably realized by now that there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to link building. Directories and forums could almost be considered gray areas, but they’re misused so often that Google and the other search engine giants are almost always skeptical of them.
However, there are some areas of link building that are split about 50-50. Press releases are a big one. Many legitimate SEO companies, such as our own, use press releases the way they’re meant to be used, and in that case they can serve as a legitimate part of an SEO plan. However, some black hat SEO sites often misuse press releases, and turn them into a tool for spamming that can either have no effect or have a negative effect on your site’s SERP ranking.
That’s just one more reason that it’s always important to go with a reputable, legitimate SEO professional if you decide to hire outside help for your internet marketing campaign.
These backlinks have been important forever – actually for as long as search engines have existed. In addition, mobile friendly backlinks are set to become more important than ever next year.
What does this mean for your dental clinic? It means that the best thing you can do right now to boost your SEO in 2017 and beyond is to get some great links – and because everybody’s going to be trying to do it, you need to jump on this fast.
In the spirit of immediacy and innovation, here are some surprisingly effective outlets to try to pull links from.
That’s right – news media is one of the best places to get backlinks from. Most news sources, even smaller, local ones, are prioritized and respected by Google and its competitors. That means backlinks from these types of sites may be more valuable than other backlinks – especially since most news sites are inherently more mobile friendly.
Getting a backlink from a news site can also result in a large swell of organic traffic – traffic direct to your site via the link in the article, rather than from a SERP.
But how do you get your dental clinic mentioned (and on top of that, linked back to) by a news organization? It’s simple, but challenging: you write a press release.
Press releases are actually one of the main things our company does to find you success on the SERPs – you can do it, too, if you have the time and effort to put into it, and if you can create a compelling and newsworthy release in the very specific and ever-changing AP Press Release Style.
Guest Posts on Blogs
Writing guest posts for blogs – especially blogs related to dentistry or some other facet of the dental industry – can be a huge way of getting links if you’re a good writer and you can devote enough time to generate a large number of links.
A guest post is an article that you write for another blog – and the upside of writing one is that you get to include your company and a link back to your main site as well as your name in the byline. You can also link out within the article text.
Sites like Hubpages essentially work by allowing everyone to write informative articles on them freely – and the more well-liked your article is, the more exposure it gets. If you include a link to your site in the article, that exposure can lead to better SERP rankings and organic traffic!
Lucky for you, your team at PromoteDental has a great, easy to implement plan for making your site (and external properties related to your site) mobile friendly in order to get you more clients on autopilot!
Step 1 – Making Your Main Site Mobile Friendly
This is the most important step, and it might also be the easiest. Why? Because Google gives you all the answers.
Many SEO marketers think of Google as the enemy – an entity they have to trick into promoting their clients for them. However, the best SEO marketers really look at what Google has to offer, hoping to help clients up by taking advantage of what Google gives them instead of trying to compete with Google.
So head on over to Google’s webmaster page on mobile friendliness and see if you can implement any of what they suggest – we at PromoteDental are big fans of responsive web design – in order to make your site more mobile friendly. If you can’t, it may be time to hire a programmer or a dental SEO marketer.
Remember, you can’t trick Google forever – but if you or your SEO marketer works with Google and within Google’s guidelines, there are no limits to the amount of SERP success your dental practice can have.
Step 2 – Get All of Your Automatic Mobile Friendly Backlinks in Order
Because mobile friendly sites rank higher on Google SERPs and Google inherently values them more, it also values backlinks from mobile friendly sites more than from sites that are not yet mobile friendly.
Luckily, you have some automatic “votes” (in the form of backlinks) from mobile friendly sites – sites like Yelp and Facebook, and other external properties related to your site that you have some control over.
However, your automatic mobile friendly backlinks from these sites probably won’t be enough – remember, the smartest of your competitors will have these as well.
You need to chase more backlinks, especially from mobile friendly sites like news media and major sites like Wikipedia. If you can get backlinks from sites like these, your SERP ranking is sure to go through the roof.
Moz recently released a great article about what the writer termed Google’s fresh factor – its tendency to prioritize newer content in SERPs. What does this mean for your dental clinic’s SEO?
It could mean a lot, especially as the fresh factor promises to become even more important in 2017. But basically, here’s what you have to do: simply “stay fresh.”
You stay fresh by frequently updating all of your internet properties with new content – do this every single day if possible. If that seems like too much to keep up along with the regular duties of running a dental clinic, it may be time to hire an outside marketer.
You need to also be sure that all of the new content you’re producing is high-quality – for social media, this is easy, as the text content you’re creating will often be very short (and you may “produce” content by sharing relevant content from other users), but with blogs and similar properties it can be challenging to create something informative and fully search engine optimized frequently.
However, low-quality content will drive Google and the other search engine giants (and also your customers!) away from your site and other properties – which means your dental practice is going to lose money.
To continually improve your dental SEO, you’ll have to make sure the content is relevant as well as fresh.
There is one other implication of Google’s “fresh factor” that may impact your SEO (and your dental clinic’s bottom line) – the importance of getting your clinic into the news media.
To do this, you’ll need to create press releases (also called PRs) and use them to try to get either an internet news service or a local news service to write an article about your business. These PRs have to follow a very strict format and provide truly newsworthy information, so they’re a lot of work – but they can also give your SEO a quick boost when it’s needed, and also build trust in your customer base.
In fact, using targeted press releases is one of our company’s major ways of improving your SEO so quickly – they provide a quick boost to put you at the top of Google’s and its competitors’ SERPs while we do more advanced behind the scenes work to keep you there.
With the proper training and resources, you can also create press releases for your dental practice and use them to boost your dental SEO.
This is important to the “fresh factor” because those news items will often be the newest, most prioritized content related to dentistry in your area – especially if you’re focusing hard on local SEO. This means that they’re likely to hang near the top of SERPs for a while – giving your business a boost over the competition (both local and global) for the entire time.