3 tips for achieving top search engine ranking

March 17, 2011
Just because your practice is located in a specific town doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a spot on the first page of Google for your location. Glenn Lombardi gives you three steps that can help move your practice forward into the age of digital marketing and online local search.

By Glenn Lombardi

It should come as no surprise that Internet search engines — such as Google and Yahoo! — are quickly becoming the newest and most preferred means of finding local service-based providers. The Internet is saturated with local businesses, and dentists who once relied solely on phone book advertisements to generate new-patient revenue are recognizing this fundamental shift from print to Web.

Just because your practice is located in a specific town, however, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a spot on the first page of Google for your location. Maybe five or six years ago, when the Internet wasn’t flooded with billions of Web sites, you could appear in the first few pages, but today you must take a series of actions to secure a prominent position in the search results and stay in front of your local competitors.

With the rapid growth and development of the Internet, there’s no denying that marketing has taken a significant turn. The following three steps can help move your practice forward into the age of digital marketing and online local search:

Build a Web site. If you build it, they will come. When it comes to launching a Web site for your practice, this couldn’t be truer. A Web site should function as the foundation of your entire practice marketing strategy and is the first essential step in earning top placement on major search engines. Web sites developed with premium designs, keyword rich content, new-patient forms, appointment requesting, easy navigation, and patient education will be attractive for both the patients and the search engines’ ranking factors.

Optimize your Web site for local search. You can have the most attractive, functional Web site, but if it’s not optimized for local search, you’ll have a difficult time ranking prominently in the search results. Search engines use complex algorithms to determine which Web sites rank at the top of the page for specific keywords, so requesting assistance from a third-party dental search expert may be a good option to ensure your Web site achieves a high natural search ranking. A local search engine optimization (SEO) strategy should include keyword identification and analysis; keyword rich Web site content; quality link building; Place Page set-up and verification; local directory submissions; and natural, patient reviews.

Keep your Web site fresh. Keeping your Web site updated, timely, and relevant is a key to online practice success. This is due in part because search engines reward sites that have high-quality, updated content with a higher search ranking. To avoid a stagnant site and a decline in your search engine position, make an effort to update it regularly. This can include adding new office or staff photos; updating your practice information, services, and forms; blogging; and upgrading your design with the assistance of your Web site provider.

As Internet technology continues to experience rapid growth and advancements, patients will continue to turn to Google and other major search engines to find information concerning their dental health. Search engines are the new phone books, and dismissing the power of the Web may result in a missed opportunity to market your practice and reach new patients like never before. Start by establishing your online presence with a professional, practice Web site. Optimize your site for local search, and then continue to refine and enhance your site for continuous, optimal performance.

Author bio
Glenn Lombardi is president of Officite, LLC, the number one provider of Web sites and Internet presence management strategies for the dental community. Officite has built more than 6,000 Web sites that have generated more than a quarter of a million appointment requests since 2002. To learn more, visit www.officite.com or call (800) 908-2483.