Your dental practice has invested a lot of time and, most likely, money into your website. Often, it is the first thing your potential new patients will come across when they start looking for a new dentist in their local area.
First impressions count, and a professional website is imperative if you want to convert browsers into new patients. So, how do you make sure your website is up to date? Here are some things to do to make sure you pass with flying colors.
Make Sure Your Website Design Looks Professional
Your website’s design is the first thing that will either impress your prospective patients or turn them away quickly. People are more sophisticated and discerning than ever it comes to visual designs, and they can tell if a website looks professional or if it was hacked together quickly. A professionally designed website tells patients that you also have a professional practice and you take dentistry seriously.
You should also make sure that your website’s design is not dated and looks fairly fresh and new. A design that is more than a decade old will not represent your practice well. Standard practice is that you should redesign your website every three to four years, but this depends on how well designed your current website is.
Optimize Your Site for Search Engines and Add Content
You may have a professional looking website, but that doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to show up at the top of the search engine rankings when someone is looking for a local dentist. And you can’t simply stuff keywords into your web pages and hope that will work.
You can’t ignore search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine algorithms are very sophisticated now, and many factors need to be accounted for when you’re performing the many aspects of dental SEO.
Start by selecting the right keywords, or all of your SEO work will be wasted. Once you have the most important dental keywords finalized, you can then optimize your website’s pages via the title tag, H1 tag, and other website elements.
But don’t stop there! Once you have narrowed down your core keywords, you have to create incredible and compelling content around them. Don’t write content for the search engines, though. It should sound natural and not overly optimized.
The best way to do this is to write your content without even thinking about the search engines and write it like you were talking to one of your patients. Once you are done, you can go back and “sprinkle” in some of those keywords. Don’t try to force in the keywords in an unnatural way, or your content might not read as well.
Show Up in Google Maps
Now that your website is optimized, you need to make sure that it appears in local searches within Google Maps. Again, there are many different steps to accomplish this. But when it’s done correctly, the results can have a huge impact on the quantity and quality of new patient inquiries that you receive.
You first need to see if your dental practice is listed within Google Maps. You do this by searching for your business name or by logging into your Google My Business account. Verify that everything is correct and matches how your business is legally registered.
Three factors determine how your dental business shows up within Google Maps: relevance, distance, and prominence.
Relevance is how your Google My Business listing is relevant to what the person is searching for. For example, if your business is named “Springfield Dentistry,” which is located in Virginia, and the person is located in Springfield, Va, and searches for “Springfield Dentist,” you are more likely to show up.
Distance determines the Google Map results based on the distance between your practice and the person performing the search. Using the previous example, if someone is located in Springfield, Va, and searches for “Dentist,” that person is more likely to view your business. However, someone located in Springfield, Mass, who searches for “Dentist” won’t see you since you are in another state.
Prominence is how prominent or popular your dental business is. This popularity is determined by multiple on-site and off-site SEO factors such as links to and from your website, content, local citations, and reviews.
Do You Have Any Positive Patient Reviews?
Besides a professionally designed website, prospective patients also will look for reviews of your practice. You not only need to make sure that you have reviews, you also must ensure that they are favorable to your business.
There are many ways to get reviews and ratings, such as sending out postcards or just asking happy patients for them at the end of their appointment. You can also set up automated systems that perform review acquisition on auto-pilot so you aren’t relying on your staff to remember to ask for reviews or spending money on postcard mailings.
Ramp Up Your Social Media Presence
If you don’t have social media profiles set up, now is the time to do so. Once you have accounts on Facebook and Twitter, the most popular social media networks, you need to post on them on a regular basis. You should try to post at least three times per week, if not more.
It’s important to connect with your customers this way, so encourage them to find you on Facebook and Twitter. You can also entice them to follow you by offering special social media-only coupons or specials.
Once you have established a presence with these social media channels, you can then expand your reach by including Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, and others. Active social media profiles help send signals to the search engines and help your SEO efforts.
If you follow this advice, you will be on your way to ensuring your website is well designed, optimized, and performing well, and you will be getting traffic and new patient inquiries in no time.
Mr. Williams, an SEO veteran with more than 20 years of experience, is the CEO and founder of DigitalToothFairy, a digital marketing agency that specializes in creating dentist websites that are focused on patient growth. He is also the author of the free book How To Supercharge Your Dental Website and Dominate Your Competition. For information about how DigitalToothFairy can help your practice dominate your competition, visit DigitalToothFairy, email email@example.com, or call (888) 748-7178.