Do you have a practice website? Have you Googled your practice? Is your practice listed on the first page of Google search results? If you have a website and are not coming up high in Google searches, you need Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Long gone are the days when a full-page ad in the Yellow Pages was all you needed to attract new patients. The Internet is where people are searching for information now, and Google is the dominant search engine being used.
SEO is a practice that uses a multitude of tactics to keep your website in top search results for specific key terms such as ‘cosmetic dentist Oklahoma City” or “dental implants Houston.” This is what makes it easy for people searching for dentists to find you. If you have a website, you need to invest in SEO; the two go hand in hand.
An analogy I like to use is to think of your website as a lighthouse, and the people searching for dentists in your area as ships. If the lighthouse doesn’t have a light on, how can you expect the ships to know where to land? SEO is the light in the lighthouse, directing ships to you. You need to make sure you have a good quality lightbulb, monitor it to make sure it’s on, and replace it when it goes dim. It needs constant attention.
To maintain your placement in online searches you need to monitor and work on your SEO strategy regularly. There is no such thing as a one-time push to solve all of your web presence problems. Think of it like this — would you ever tell someone they need to see you only once for a cleaning? No, you would enforce the importance of regular dental visits to maintain optimal oral health. Optimizing your website is no different. To ensure that your website continues to come up high in searches, frequent and ongoing work is needed.
Google changes its mind frequently about what it considers valuable and places high in search results. An example of this is the recent algorithm change Google launched last August called Hummingbird. It’s a formula Google uses to sort through the billions of web pages to determine what it believes to be the most useful to users based on search keywords. Hummingbird was the biggest change to the Google algorithm in the past decade.
This is an example of how constant attention and maintenance pays off. A change in the Google algorithm means that you need to quickly adjust your SEO strategy. Things that were once a key area of focus shifted because the information Google looks for changed. An SEO specialist should be familiar with the requests from Google and have the resources and knowledge to make your website attractive to the Google algorithm. Think of the lighthouse again — if the lighthouse manager knows ships now prefer blue lights instead of red, the manger will change the light blue and continue to attract ships.
Interpretation and analysis of SEO is complex, so you’ll want an experienced SEO specialist and marketer to advise you. Think of it as six-month hygiene recall visits —maintaining good oral health (online placement), and monitoring for any issues that may have come up since the last visit. Do you have questions about how to shine your light bright for potential patients to find you? Visit Jameson Management at jamesonmanagement.com, or call 877-369-5558.
Susanne Kimball is a Marketing Advisor for Jameson Management, a dental management and marketing firm. She creates customized and effective marketing solutions for dental practices, and she coaches dentists and teams to assure the most success from their marketing investments. For more information on Susanne and Jameson’s marketing services, visit JamesonManagement.com or call 877-369-5558.