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Keyword rankings, search engine optimization and search engine results have gotten increasingly difficult to manipulate. This in large part due to Google’s efforts to discourage just such manipulation; the days of keyword packing, for instance, are long gone. If you’re interested in what’s changed about online search fairly recently, do a search for Google Panda.
So if keyword rankings are now harder than ever to manipulate, what should you do to effectively market your practice online?
You should focus on results. And results mean: Are you getting more new patients or not?
Ideally, you’re getting the new patients you WANT, but that’s another issue. This post is about how to be found by prospective patients.
Here are some of the highlights from a blog about just this topic:
- Doing well for specific phrases is more important than doing well for broad phrases.
- SEO rankings are not targets or even goals.
Sales are goals.
If want to look at numbers, look at:
- Traffic to your website
- Bounce rate
- Time on your site
- Social shares
Not all of that works for dentists. For instance, social shares don’t mean much for dentists except maybe to help boost SEO. And this blog uses “conversions” to mean downloads, lead captures, etc.
When we talk about conversion, the only conversion that matters is when that website visitor sets up an appointment. Everything else is fun to look at (and potentially useful) but they won’t increase your billings.
To continue with the blog:
- While high rankings are nice, if the keywords with high rankings don’t produce enough or the right kinds of patients, they aren’t doing you much good.
Worry less about rank and more about being the answer to the question that the prospect is asking in your marketing.
- Focus on local SEO.
Don’t worry about how you rank with “best cosmetic dentist.” Unless you draw from patients across the world, it doesn’t matter.
But you certainly want to have a good rank for “best cosmetic dentist” in your area. A geographic long-tail keyword search is going to give you better results than broad, short keyword strings.
Those two points on SEO keyword rankings are spot on. If you’ve read this blog for long, you’ve heard both of those before.
Now, unless you’re new to this blog, you’ve also read the astounding statistics on how people find information these days. If you are new, here’s the short version: They overwhelmingly look online. So, your practice HAS to be easily found on the Internet by the people in your area looking for the services you provide. You can’t ignore SEO; you just have to tailor it for results.
And if thinking about this SEO stuff still makes your head spin, consider hiring an outside vendor to handle that aspect of marketing for you. To paraphrase point 3 above: You can have the best, most on-point, most motivating marketing in the world; but if people can’t find it, it’s pretty much worthless.