Fifty percent of people who use their smartphones for a local search will visit a store that day. The same is true of 34% of users who search locally on their tablets or computers.
So if it weren’t already obvious, it should be clear that search engine optimization (SEO) matters if you want to succeed in business.
Yet many entrepreneurs do not realize the importance of SEO or are not maximizing their use of it. This is especially true of those in a line of business that might surprise you—the dental industry.
Here is what dental marketers need to know about using SEO to its fullest potential.
Why Is SEO for the Dental Industry Tough?Dental SEO expert Justin Morgan explains that there are several reasons why it’s hard for dentists in particular to be found online.
First, dentists tend not to be savvy about how they go about SEO. They don’t invest in the process or go to a dental SEO expert and learn the ins and outs of how it works.
Morgan says that, instead, dentists “typically use the ‘pay and pray’ model of SEO, which involves choosing the company that looks most legit for the lowest price possible.”
The reality is that it’s highly beneficial for companies to outsource their SEO needs and find a reputable company to help them. Dentists who become proficient in understanding how SEO can benefit their practices see a dramatic rise in their success compared to dentists who take a more apathetic attitude.
Those who stand out online have determined to find and pay for the best SEO service available and so have a higher commitment to helping their patients.
Search Engines Love Strong ContentBut one of the most important reasons why SEO can be so difficult for dentists is that “dentists’ websites rarely have useful, engaging content that supports what bloggers, journalists and editors are conveying.”
Visual content, and video in particular, is the type of content that research shows users enjoy the most. Google and other search engines will like you using video because it demonstrates you are offering information that is compelling and relevant.
Further complicating the SEO woes of dentists is the fact that they are not likely to have relationships with online publishers. Not only do dentists typically not have linkable posts but they also don’t know anyone who would link to them if they did.
However, as your dental practice routinely puts out content that is pertinent and useful, your site will become a trusted source of information. So an obvious strategy is for you to include a blog on your website that has helpful content for site visitors.
Make sure you design your blog in a way that interests the people who visit your website. Write about topics that will remain relevant over time, write catchy titles and, of course, include visuals.
Here is an example of practical, evergreen content that a dentist could include on his or her blog.
Getting StartedDepending on your budget, you might decide to tackle SEO yourself instead of hiring an outside agency. But even if you do decide to hire a dental SEO expert, you should still educate yourself on what SEO requires.
One reason why self-education is so important is that you want to make sure the SEO company you hire has ethical link building tactics. To someone ignorant about the nature of SEO, the way a company goes about getting links might seem beneficial. But if Google has a problem with that company’s strategies, it could penalize your content, devastating your business.
For those just getting started in SEO, digital strategist Marcus Miller has compiled a thorough list of basics starting steps, some of which we’ll outline here.
Begin by reading Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Other additional, useful resources are Moz Beginners Guide to SEO, The Art of SEO, and Eric Ward’s Ultimate Guide to Link Building.
Next you should register with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Both will help you to improve your website in the long run.
Google My Business and Other DirectoriesIt is crucial that you list your company on Google My Business. Doing so is free, and the site has a domain authority of 100, which is extremely high. You want to have a credible online presence? Here is a prime opportunity to boost your likelihood of getting found, and it doesn’t cost you a thing.
Keep in mind as well that if you don’t claim your business on this platform, you’re leaving an opportunity wide open for someone else to do so.
If another person claims your business instead of you, at best that means users will find someone else’s information when they search your company. At worst, it means that this person could destroy your reputation.
Be thorough, polished, and accurate when you fill in your information on Google My Business.
In addition to claiming your spot on Google My Business, you should research local directories. Do what you can to get your site listed on them. Online databases fuel mobile search. If you are listed in databases and directories, when people search for you on their smartphones, they will be more likely to find you.
Being listed in such directories means claiming your spot on major search engines, social media sites, yellow pages sites, business directories, and any community relevant to your industry.
Keyword ResearchA major aspect of SEO is keyword research. To do your own keyword research, put yourself in the position of your customers. If you needed to find a dentist in your area and were going to Google to search for one, what terms would you enter?
What about if you had a specific problem? What phrases would you search in that case? Start by simply searching these keywords in Google, paying attention to the search suggestions Google offers as you do so.
Don’t forget to brainstorm long-tail keywords, which can be highly valuable even though people search for them less often. Use these useful resources to find keyword phrases relevant to your business:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ubersuggest Keyword Tool
Note what type of content appears in the results for the keywords for which you desire to rank. Then ask yourself, are you creating similar content that targets those terms? If not, you might want to make some changes.
Once you have spent some significant time on keyword research, you can use the information you’ve found to optimize your website.
Don’t Ignore Something All Companies NeedSEO is important for all businesses. It’s just that it’s easier for those in the dental industry to neglect it than it is for people in other fields.
If you’re wondering how to increase the number of people your practice helps, consult a dental SEO expert today.
- Building additional sites
- Paying to host multiple sites
- Renewing multiple domains
- es.wikipedia.org for Spanish
- de.wikipedia.org for German
- it.wikipedia.org for Italian
How Search Engines Recognize LanguagesWhile search engines can detect languages, it is best to use the <html lang=”xx”> tag to indicate the language a page is in. For more details, read Multilingual Sites and Search Engines: Part 1.According to that post, “global corporations as a rule have separate sites (and most often separate domains) for the countries they operate in.” While that is the most effective method, it does require more work to create and maintain.SEOChat Supermod GabrielG suggests you can even “get sophisticated and detect a user’s language, geolocation, or other characteristics and serve the appropriate language site, in case Gooogle doesn’t do that automatically.”
Duplicate Content on Multinational WebsitesIf the languages involved are totally different (English and German, for example), there is no duplicate content issue. Having the same content on pages written in languages that are closely related – such as UK English versus US English – would definitely create a duplicate content issue.Use Plagiarism Check to verify that all your site content is unique and original:See the Brick Marketing post Duplicate Content on Multinational Websites for more details about duplicate content. Nick Stamoulis wrote:
“If your site takes a massive hit in visitors and rankings for at least three months (enough time to call it a trend), your site might have been flagged for duplicate content.”
Why Machine Translation is NOT Good EnoughWhile using Google translation or some other machine translator is the least expensive way to go, these translations are very inaccurate and sometimes impossible to even understand. While there are translation plugins, do not use them unless you just cannot afford a human translator.Do not sully your brand’s reputation by skimping on content in additional languages. Using human translators is a must. If you do not have someone within your company capable of accurately writing in the language, contract with a company that specializes in language translations for business.Keep in mind that being able to speak a language does not guarantee a person can write well in it anymore than assuming that everyone who speaks English can become a paid writer or editor.If you use machine translation, you will end up with major brand reputation issues. See this infographic from Understanding and Avoiding Communication Blunders.Hopefully you now understand why machine translation can never take the place of using the best human translators who are excellent at both translation and content development. The goal is to SEO a multilingual site so that it will rank in each location. For that, separate sites are best, but even with one site your goal should still be to rank each page if at all possible.
No business owner has the time to do a lot of SEO, but you can delegate the SEO basics to an employee or freelancer. Even doing basic SEO tasks can make a difference to what page of Google’s results you appear on. Take control and prioritize.
Your Top Priorities
- SEO Basics
DIY SEO comes down to proper site management, fresh content and making your site attractive to users.
SEO is too important to leave to chance. Neil Patel puts it very clearly in his SEO guide,
“If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.”
You MUST do everything in your power to improve your search engine results pages (SERPS) ranking, or no-one is going to find you.
Good site management is a part of SEO that can be outsourced, or delegated to a trusted employee. This SEO Chat article runs you through the basics of SEO and can form the basis of your employees’ training.
The most time-consuming aspect is keyword research using the free Google Adwords tool, but even this is not a task you need to do yourself. With basic training and the right tools, your content team can identify keyword phrases to target.
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Installing the free Yoast SEO plugin on your blog will ensure writers’ awareness of the importance of correct keyword density.
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Yoast also checks for paragraph length, sentence length and other readability factors that will affect your user time-on-page and bounce rate statistics.
Yeah, yeah. We all know content is king, but it takes time!
There is no way to avoid it. Regular fresh and insightful content is part of what will rank your site higher in search engine results pages (SERPS). There will be nobody else who understands your business as well as you, but you need to change that. If you don’t educate writers into how your business works, you will be stuck writing everything yourself, other important tasks will crop up, and the writing won’t happen.
Even the best writer works better with input from you regarding your services and clients.
Take the time to explain your business and how it works to your content production team. Educate your writers about your customer persona, his needs and how your company solves them. Make your business values clear, have a content production plan and feed your writers plenty of ideas for articles.
User Experience (UX)
The most important person in your organization is imaginary. Your customer persona should be writ large in every office, and room in your premises. Use an image of this imaginary persona as a screensaver on all your computers, put posters featuring his image on the backs of all the doors ion the washrooms and in the staff canteen.
If your users dislike your website, you are doomed.
Your site has to look good, use colors users like and that will elicit the emotions related to your business objectives. Minimize clutter, maximize contrast and ensure everything shown on a page is the optimum size, color, and shape. Negative space is every bit as valuable as page components, so avoid trying to do too much on any one web page.
Each page should have one purpose and one purpose only. The rationale behind a web page’s existence should be obvious. Navigation through your site should be simple and easy to use, regardless of the screen size someone is using.
Building links to your website is essential, but if you build them in the wrong way, Google will bury you on page 200 of its SERPS.
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Safe link-building activities:
- Learn what links point to you by installing the free Incoming Links plugin
- Provide high-quality and insightful resources people in your niche value and will link to without any prompting
- Build your reputation by sharing everything you know without asking for payment
- Design infographics that link back to you when others install them on their sites
It is well-nigh impossible to do even basic promotion without a large team.
If you only focus on one promotion channel, let it be YouTube.
Forget videos about your business; they won’t show in Google and no-one is interested. But, videos that show how to solve problems are another matter.
Ryan Stuart from Webris says Youtube video promotion is vital as part of your top-of-funnel marketing and engaging customers.
Much SEO can be done in-house using basic training and free WordPress plugins to help inform decisions. You must delegate content production, but feed writers with ideas and company information frequently. Concentrate your social media presence on producing How-To videos on YouTube.