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Good afternoon and welcome to this week’s edition of the SmartBox Web video podcast. I’m your host, Colin Receveur, and on today’s episode we’re going to talk about all the bad, scary things on the internet that you need to stay away from as a dentist. We’re going to cover some of the marketing tactics that some of the Black Hat marketing firms use, we’re going to cover some of the web design methods and strategies that will absolutely kill your SEO performance and your conversion from those visitors that are on your website looking around into phone calls that turn into cash.
So very quickly, the purpose of these podcasts is to educate you, the dentist, on all the aspects of web marketing so that you can make an educated decision for yourself on if web marketing is beneficial for your practice and your situation. On today’s webinar I’m going to cover about 10 – 15 points as time allows of things that you should not be doing, and things to look out for on your dental website, with dental marketing firms and dental companies out there that are trying to sell you things. So let’s jump right in.
I’ll start out with two age-old tactics that Black Hat guys have been using for years and years. I don’t know why they still try to use it to be honest because it’s been shot down over and over again. Google actually just released their Penguin update, yes, I said that correctly, not Panda but Penguin update, which is another update that’s designed to cut down on spamming link building and keyword cloaking and stuff of a Black Hat nature.
So keyword stuffing, one of the two items I’m going to talk about first, is where you go to a website and see something like the words ’New Albany Dentist’ plastered over and over and over and over again on the website. What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to trick Google into believing ’New Albany Dentist’ is a search term that Google wants to display this website for. The reason is obvious why Google doesn’t like it, because it’s not natural, it’s not real. Somebody that’s built the website and put that keyword in there 1,000 times is just trying to get up to the top and they’re probably not offering any good content, or they might have a dental website that’s just not in good shape; they’re just trying to quickly get up to the top to get some ranking and visibility. Google shoots that down every time. Sometimes you even get blacklisted which we’ll cover a little bit later in the podcast.
Another big one is keyword cloaking; it’s very similar to stuffing but cloaking is where it’s invisible. There are ways that you can design a website so that you put 1,000 words, 1,000 keywords on the page, but they’re invisible to the regular user. The reason that this is done is again trying to trick Google because again when Google is looking at your website it’s a machine, it’s not your eyes reading it, and they’re trying to trick Google into ranking them again. So keyword cloaking, old tactic, big no no; it always dies hard.
Flash. Everybody loves Adobe Flash. Colors and motion and all kinds of cool effects. Flash is the biggest killer, that most dentists think they really love, for dental websites. The reason is threefold. One – no Apple product can read Flash so if you’re looking at this website on an iPad or an iPhone, a lot of mobile devices other than Apple can’t read Flash. The second reason is Google can’t read Flash; yes, they’ve made some improvements in recent years, they can read some of it and not the other but why would you build a website that Google can’t definitively say that they can even read? So that you can be indexed, so that you can be seen at the top of Google? You wouldn’t, it’s just silly so don’t do it.
The third reason is it kills your conversion ratio. What that means is a lot of docs that use Flash, you open up their website and it’s like this tornado of visual effects and movement and pictures, images and slideshows going back and forth and it’s just insane. Visitors go there, they look at that and they get lost. They go what am I supposed to click on? I don’t even know where I’m supposed to look; there’s all this stuff flying around and all this visual motion. So that’s three very compelling reasons never to use Flash; mobile phones can’t read it, Google can’t read it and your users, while they may like it, it does not help what you want them to do which is turn into paying patients.
Another thing that we see a lot of with Black Hat SEO companies is when they’re doing this optimization for you, they’re doing the spammy stuff where they push out a bunch
of articles to thousands and thousands of sites and maybe they make these spammy comments on different blogs and all this crazy stuff. What you need to know as a dentist is that Google is cutting this all out of the equation. If you saw Matt Cutts, Google’s head chief of, I don’t even know what his official title is, I don’t even think he has an official title, but Matt Cutts is Chief Tonto over Google and he said he posted a video on his blog a few weeks ago that Google was coming out with an over-optimization penalty for websites. What that means is if your website looks like it is over-optimized and it is unnatural that you have so many links coming in to it and so much optimization done, they’re going to penalize you. They’re going to penalize your website because they know it’s artificial.
You have to look at this from Google’s perspective; they are all about delivering for their customers, and their customers are the people searching. You’ve got all of these people that are searching and what are they searching for? Why are they on Google? Well, they’re looking for an answer to their question. They’re on Google because they want to find a local business, or they’re looking for an answer to a question they need or a problem they have. Google’s job is to deliver them with a result based on a couple of words they type in that fixes their problem or delivers them the business they want or whatever they are searching for. Google’s job is to deliver it.
If Google was to deliver results based on manipulation more or less, which is basically what over-optimizing your website comes down to, you’re manipulating Google into thinking you’re better than Google assesses that you are, and Google doesn’t think that’s best for their customers, for the people searching. It might be because your website doesn’t convert, it might be because there are a lot of people that click that little back button as soon as they look at your website, it could be for a number of reasons why Google doesn’t think your website is great. But the fact is, over-optimization, they finally figured out a way to identify it and they’re going to penalize you for it. And that’s kind of part of what this latest Penguin update is about; they are identifying spammy links, they found an algorithm or a pattern that now they can identify the spamminess and the over-optimization and now they’re going to start penalizing you for it. They actually rolled that out I think on April 24th, about a week ago, I was out of time or I would have posted on last week’s podcast. But yes, so here we are, the Panda update, the Penguin update; what Google’s telling us here is that the Panda update was all about freshness and great content, the Penguin update is removing over-optimization from the equation. You can’t just pay your way to the top of Google’s organic search anymore. The message Google is sending is very clear; they want great content, they want fresh content and they want content that their readers like, not over-optimized content that you think they’ll like.
That’s what dentists need to be looking at going forward is how can I provide my users with a great experience? How can I provide them with great content? Optimization is
good, optimization is great but don’t overkill it. That’s the tall and the short on the Penguin update, the Panda update, over-optimization and all that stuff. Let’s get on to the next point.
Unfortunately there’s no magic wand, there’s no hidden secret purple pills you can pop, or the blue pill or the red pill or whatever pill is the magic pill, I don’t remember. When it comes to social media, I see a lot of docs out there, I actually talked to a doctor this morning based out of Montana; he called in for the first time and was interested in finding new patients. After talking to him for a few minutes he told me that for the last six months he had spent $2,000 a month on Facebook. Facebook Advertising, Facebook updates; doing all this social media and this Twitter stuff and I really felt bad for the guy. You wish you could go back and help them before they spent $12 – 13,000, and literally he told me he got nothing for it, not a single patient, not a single prophy even sold. That’s the results that we see quite commonly with social media.
You see these big companies do social media, we do social media, we work with several consultants in the industry summit and Big Case Marketing, and there are some other guys that we do social media with. On a national level, whether you’re a big brand or a small business; we see social media working if you have a national audience, but when you’re a local business and you’re not Quiznos or Qdoba and you don’t have this recurring following, actually that was a bad way to say it. Quiznos and Qdoba are national brands and that’s why they can successfully do it, but local dentists, local contractors, local plumbers; I’ve got a friend that’s a dentist up in New York and he has personally been doing his own social media for the last eight months. He posts videos, he posts articles and he makes updates a couple of times a day; he is just on fire with social media. I hadn’t checked in on him for a while and I went to his Facebook Page the other day and after doing this, I mean hardcore for eight months, I went to his Facebook Page last week and he 34 followers. 34 followers for untold hours of his time for eight months.
All these social media gurus are going to tell you well you’ve got to bet on the com, you’ve got to put in and then you’ll get back. I’m telling you I’ve seen guys that have done this for eight months, a year, two years with local businesses; there’s a local contractor in our area, a guy I know, who has been doing social media. He posts videos of these construction projects he does and he does meticulous work, excellent work, very good attention to detail, very good at what he does, he’s been in business for a long time, 20/25 years and he’s done all this Facebooking for, I don’t know, he says he’s been on there for maybe a year, maybe a year and a half. I went to his Facebook Page the other day and he had 100 followers, 102 followers. It’s just insane the energy and the money that people put into all these buzzwords. They buy into the hype.
Everybody’s trying to sell you something. The marketing vultures I call them; they’re all trying to sell you something and they’ll all take your money, but the reality is and it’s
unfortunate that guys spend all this money and all this time and energy and they get nothing out of it. The reality is web marketing isn’t complicated; you just have to put
yourself with the right message in front of the right audience. The reason that Facebook doesn’t work for local businesses, the primary reason that no dentist is ever going to find new patients on Facebook, is inherent in the way Facebook works. For somebody to find you on Facebook or Twitter, they have to know your name and know your business. If you are going to be able to market to them, to drip to them, they’re going to have to Follow you or Like you or Friend you.
Take Joe Plumber who’s got a toothache and he wants to find a dentist that can fix his toothache. Is Joe Plumber going to go to Facebook, search for your name and when he finds your name click on Friend you or Follow you or Like you even though he’s never met you before in his life? I don’t see that happening. It doesn’t happen. The only people that are going to Friend or Follow or Like you on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn are your existing patients. Yes, you can get some referral stuff going on if you have your existing patients check into your office and post reviews to Facebook and all this stuff, but even then you’re trying to hit a needle in a haystack.
Your patient that’s coming out of your dental chair posts that review on Facebook, and at that exact moment one of their friends has to have a dental need and has to be looking at Facebook. It’s still a potshot, whereas if you focus on getting your reviews in Google, now you have people that are searching on Google, they have a need, they have that toothache, where do they search? 75% of people go to Google when they have a problem they need resolved. 97% of people go to the internet when they have a problem that they need resolved or they need a local business. By and large they’re coming to Google, they’re searching for their problem and when Google delivers that result if you put your reviews in Google, now all your good, raving reviews are popping up right in front of them.
That prospect has gone to Google and they’ve searched for ’New Albany Dentist Porcelain Crown’, maybe they know they need a crown already, let’s say this is an educated prospect. They search for ’New Albany Dentist Porcelain Crown’ and Dr Ron Receveur pops up, and Dr Ron Receveur has 27 reviews raving about how great he is, he does sedation and he’s very gentle and he’s got all the greatest tricks. He’s got 27 reviews on Google raving about him. Now you’ve motivated this cold lead into a warm prospect that you have a chance of calling your office. But let’s assume that you’ve spent all of this time invested into getting these reviews and you put them in Demand Force or you put them in Facebook or you put them in Yelp or any of these other places. So now somebody goes to Google and searches and what do they see? Maybe that Demand Force page is optimized well enough that it will show up, maybe that Yelp page is optimized well enough that it’ll show up, maybe that Craigslist, no, the other list, the female list name, Angie’s List, maybe that Angie’s List page that you have some reviews on is optimized well enough to show up, but that’s a lot of maybes.
You have to realize you’re playing the game with Google, and if you’re going to play the game with the big dogs, with Google, the big gorilla in the room, you’ve got to play by the rules. So where do you have the best chance of showing up and the best chance of getting your reviews seen? That’s a no-brainer. Inside Google; directly inject your reviews into Google’s Local Places pages, your Local Places page. You need to be claiming that stuff, you need to be putting reviews in there, you need to be optimizing it; it’s an ongoing thing, it’s just like your website.
We got off on a big long tangent there but I’m going to try to regroup and circling back we were talking about social media and why it’s such a money pit, an energy pit, a time pit for dentists and local businesses in general. We’ve tried it, we’ve seen it tried, from running Facebook Ads to doing optimization and status updates and seven times a day putting new information on your wall and drip, drip, drip, drip; it just doesn’t work.
The Facebook paid ads that they offer, a lot of people go well I do Google AdWords and I go okay. Now when you do Google AdWords are you advertising on the content network, or are you advertising on the search network because there’s a huge different. Here’s the primary difference; when you’re doing Google AdWords on the search network your ad is being shown, is being displayed, next to people that are searching. Okay, that’s pretty simple. Now have you ever been on Google, reading your email maybe, and you see that little bar at the top where it’s got some kind of advertisement? And it’s kind of creepy because you’re reading an email that your aunt just sent you about how her cat died last week and Google pops up with a little advertisement talking about pet burial services. It’s like they read your mind and they kind of do but I’m not getting off on that tangent today. That is the content network. Completely separate from the search network; you can actually split them in Google when you are setting up your AdWords account. You can split those two up so you’re only advertising on one or the other. Most dentists really want to be on the search network.
The content network of AdWords, it’s just like Facebook Ads, it’s just a waste and here’s why; those people aren’t looking for information. They don’t have a problem that they need fixed. When you’re running ads on Facebook or Google’s content network and somebody clicks on your advertisement, usually what’s going through their mind is, ’Oh, that looks cool, I’ll check that out.’ And that’s usually the end of it. If you talk to any reputable pay-per-click marketer on AdWords, what they’ll tell you is that when you’re doing AdWords you need to split up your marketing to the search and the content networks. Your search network you might want to bid $0.50 or $1 or $2 for a click, your content network, a nickel a click, a dime a click. The reason you want to segment them is because the content network is worth so much less per click because the value just isn’t there. It isn’t somebody that has a problem, it’s somebody that goes that’s cool, I think I’ll check that out.
That AdWords content network is synonymous with that Facebook is doing. You’re browsing around Facebook, you put in on your Facebook that you like The Voice or you like The Bachelorette or the Bachelor or whatever it is. Facebook reads that and, the Bachelor coincidentally is running an advertisement on Facebook, so Facebook shows the Bachelor’s advertisement to everybody that has selected the Bachelor as one of their Likes. That’s the same kind of thing; there’s not a problem there, it’s not a call to action, it’s just a billboard on the side of the road. It’s just another message that gets lost in the 4,000 messages a day that we now get hit with. 4,000 messages a day we get hit with. It’s unbelievable. That’s what you’re competing against, that’s why Facebook just doesn’t work for new patient generation. It’s just by design; it’s not that it’s bad it’s just not what it was designed for.
Moving on past this social media discussion we’ve had; I see a lot of dental websites that have no call to action whatsoever. They’ve got some pretty graphics and they talk about how great they are. They, one, a lot of them never address their patients problems; they only talk about the solutions and how great they are. And second many never have a call to action. I’ve looked at dental websites before that I’ve had to click two or three times to even find a phone number to call the office. Your information has to be readily, readily available, right on the front page, because people just have digital attention deficit disorder. I told you a few minutes ago, 4,000 messages a day that we’re getting hit with; it’s no wonder there’s a generation of kids that have attention deficit disorder. They’re getting hit so much they don’t have time to give anything attention and people are searching on their mobile phones now.
I did an analysis this morning for two clients, one based out of Chicago, one based out of Tennessee and the client of ours based up near Chicago, actually up in North West Indiana, 25.7% of all of their web traffic, they had 1,200 people on their website last month. He actually sent me an email, I just posted some results, we’ve been working with him for 30 days, check out the results button at the top, Dr. Randy Schmidt, we just posted some results after 30 days of working with him. But 1,200 people on his website in the past 30 days, 25.7% of them came from a mobile device. I remember looking at those numbers a year ago and we were looking at like 3, 4, 5, 6%. Mobile search; 2012 is the year of mobile. 2011 was local, 2010 was video, 2009, I don’t even remember what 2009 was, it’s so long ago. 2012 is mobile. You’ve got to cater to the mobile audience. The doc down in Tennessee, 28% of all his visitors, he had 770 visitors last month on his website, 27% of those came from a mobile device. You have to have your information readily available; people want to search, they want to pop open their mobile phone, they want to do a quick search and they want your information, Bam! Right there, available, ready to roll. You’ve got to have a mobile website, I sound like I’m lecturing, but looking at these two clients, each of them 25.7% of 1,200 is what, 350 people, 300 and something prospects. 27% of 770 is another 200 ish, 190. 350 prospects of yours a month are coming to your website on a mobile device and they can’t read your website. And what do you think they’re doing? They’re clicking back. Right now, they’re going back to Google and they’re searching again, and they’re going to keep looking until they find a website that they can read that answers their questions. That’s where this world is going. We all want information and we all have digital attention deficit disorder. We all want information right now, on our fingertips, delivered with no problems and no hassles. Technology has advanced so much
and it’s so available to everybody these days that people just expect it. Five years ago if you had said ’mobile website’ to somebody they would have looked at you as if you had three heads coming out of your shoulders. Nowadays mobile websites, we include them with every package we do, it’s just part of doing business. You have to have it, you have to have a website; there are a couple of have to haves if you want people to find your website and you want them to call you and you want to be successful marketing online.
Unfortunately there are no hidden tricks or magic wands or purple pills or red pills. Marketing on the web isn’t complicated. It’s not full of all these buzzwords, it’s not
something new that you have to dump tens of thousands of dollars into every six months. You just have to get a good base and you have to pour your foundation solid. You’ve got to have a solid website, Google Places and you’ve got to build from there. You’ve got to have some video, you have to have a way that people can contact you risk-free. People want more information about you and you want to keep your name in front of people, so it’s a match made in heaven. Offer them some more information, you get their email address and now you can send them an email or a text message or a postcard in the mail or a letter in a month, or two months, or six months and drip on them over and over again and keep your name in front of them. Eventually they’re going to have a need. They’re going to break a tooth off or their daughter or son is going to jump on a trampoline and break their tooth, or something is going to happen and they’re going to have a need and they’re going to go, ’you know, this doctor, this dentist, he’s been sending me all this great information, all this educational stuff, he’s not pushy, he’s sent me his free report, he had a webinar talking about how he could help me, he’s done all this stuff for me, he’s a pretty good guy; I think I’m going to go see him now, I think I’m going to call him now that I have a need.’ That’s what you want to be. You want to be that go-to dentist. You’ve educated your community, you’ve built your name within the community and when people have a need they call you.
Just keep an eye out, there’s all kinds of new crazy stuff out there. Take a look, I tell you what, if you want to learn more about how to properly structure your website, to capture the new patients you want, to generate new patients, to generate phone calls, we’ve got a new free report out; The Dental Website Audit. It’s actually version 3, we’re getting ready to launch next week. It’s a 33 page free report right now, it’s going to be about 40 pages on the next version, but if you download it today send me an email and I’ll send you a copy of version 3 as soon as it’s out. It’s a free download on our website, you don’t even have to enter your email address to download it, it’s just a PDF, just click and it downloads. If you’d like a hard copy we can mail you a hard copy too. All you’ve got to do is plug your information in; the place to get it is www.DentalWebAudit.com. Free download, or you can plug your address in there and I’ll be glad to mail you a printed hard copy that you can have. Take a look at that if you’re looking to take your website to the next level, if you don’t know where to turn; it’ll give you a lot of clarity, it’ll show you exactly what you need to do to be successful with your dental website to attract the types of patients that you want.
That’s all for today. Colin Receveur here saying Keep Moving Forward.