Most of the time, having a website that highlights your products, services, office and staff is a wonderful and necessary marketing tool. However, you will never make a single penny from your website if prospective customers cannot find your website online.
Every dentist knows that they need a website, but virtually none know how to guarantee that their prospective patients find their website before finding their competitors website. So I will reveal how you can practically guarantee that your prospects find your website before your competitors.
Having a general idea about how search engines work is the first step in making sure prospects can find your website online. Search engines are websites like Google.com, Yahoo.com and Bing.com. These websites compile tons of data and information and make sifting through it manageable by organizing it by order of importance to the “keyword” you typed into your browser. For example, if you type in “cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles, CA” into your search engine browser, then you will get the most relevant cosmetic dentists in Los Angeles, CA that your search engine feels ranks most closely to the phrase or keyword term you typed in. That’s why you want your website and the pages on your website to match as closely to the relevant terms for your target market as possible.
Understanding how prospects search online is the second thing you must understand in order to ensure that prospects find your website. For example, if a prospect is looking for a cosmetic dentist that specializes in working with dental implants, then you need to have a webpage on your website that is especially designed for those type of prospects. The simplest way to think of this concept is by focusing on “buyer keywords.”
Buyer keywords are words that prospects type into their search engine browser to find places to buy the product or service they are looking for. For example, if you are a cosmetic dentist, who do you think is a more serious prospect: the person who types in “dental implants,” or the person who types in “cosmetic dentist”? So, if you had to choose between designing a webpage on your website for generic cosmetic dentist and designing a specific webpage for dental implants, which one should you choose?
When your prospects are looking for information in the search engines they typically use Google. Google accounts for about 65% of all searches done on a daily basis. When they do their search, most people don’t look past the first ten search results, as about 71% of all clicks happen on the first page alone. That means that if you are going to have a website, and you want it to be seen by your potential prospects, you are going to need to do something to be one of the 71% of websites that are found for your keywords.
The process of making your website findable for your keywords is called optimization. You may have heard the entire term before from marketers or magazines as “search engine optimization”. Some shorten the name by calling it SEO.
The most important part of SEO is knowing what keywords your potential patients are using to find dental practices like yours in the search engines. Once you know that, there are processes that you can follow in order to get your website to be seen. It is important to note that SEO is a very time consuming process and having someone to do this part of your marketing for you is sensible.
Another way to be findable in the search engines is to make sure your practice is listed on every possible online directory. In order for you to understand the importance of listing your practice in all relevant online business directories, you first need to understand how prospects may find your practice online. See, over the last couple of years, business owners have been told that prospects no longer use the physical phone book or yellow pages to locate businesses. However, there are some prospects that still check the phone book when looking for certain types of businesses.
The same rule applies when prospects are searching online. While Google, Yahoo and Bing control over 75% of the search engine market, millions of prospects still use online business directories like Yelp, Super Yellow Pages and various other online directories to find consumer friendly businesses with a track record of quality and high levels of customer service. In order to find a comprehensive list of online business directories, visit your preferred search engine and type in the keyword “online business directories.”
Local businesses are typically allowed to sign up at no cost and list their business. The advantage to the business is that many of these sites are trusted by consumers because of the review system in place. In other words, many of the directory sites allow consumers to rate their experience with the businesses.
When you are competing in your local area it is a good idea to sign up for as many of these directory sites as possible. Consumers have different directory sites that they choose to use and being listed in all of them gives you the opportunity to be found. The key with online marketing is that you want to be everyplace that your prospect is.
Another reason for signing up for the directory sites is that they are given favorable treatment for some keywords in the search engines. That means that many times, when a consumer is searching for a particular product or service, they could see one of the directory sites in the top ten search results.
You may have used some of these sites as a consumer. You will recognize some of their names: 1) Yelp.com; 2) Citysearch.com; 3) Insiderpages.com; 4) YellowPages.com and 5) Angieslist.com. There are many local directory sites that your practice could be listed in. You’ll want to make sure that your profile is filled out completely in all of the directories. Integrate them with your website and determine your best keywords to give you the maximum benefit for the listings.
For certain keywords, the business directory listings will help your practice be more visible. This is mainly because for certain keywords the business directory sites are listed in the top ten search results. Connecting your profiles on these sites will help you make your website more visible also. One final advantage to having a profile on the business directory sites: they help you in making your Google My Business listing more visible.
You may have been thinking, “What is Google My Business?” Google My Business is Google’s version of the online business directory. Some say it is the online yellow pages for business (even though the Yellow Pages company has its own directory site). Google My Business is most important when it comes to being visible in the search engines, because Google favors the directory when it is determined that people are searching for local businesses. In other words, when consumers search for a cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles, they will see a Google My Business listing of local cosmetic dentists before they see anything else. That means that even the top ten search results are pushed down the page while Google My Business listings display on top.
It is beneficial then to make sure that your Google My Business profile is filled out completely and carefully in order to maximize your presence on your practice’s most lucrative keywords. You’ll also want to make sure you have integrated your social networking account from Google into the completion of your Google My Business profile. While this may be an involved process it is a very important one. It can mean the difference between prospects routinely finding you or your competitors.