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Search from mobile devices overtook desktop computer search in 2o15. Mobile devices allow people to search from almost anywhere at almost any time. For this reason, and due to the increasing penetration of mobile devices, mobile search is expected to continue to grow steadily.
Today, more and more time-pressed people are using digital assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Voice Search to find what they’re looking for online even faster. By one estimate, half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
If you haven’t used a digital assistant, you basically push a button on your smartphone or other device and then give a direction or ask a question. The assistant responds with its particular search algorithm’s best online matches. Voice search is usually faster than typing a search query although some hilarious misunderstandings do happen due to the limits of the assistant’s voice recognition technology.
Digital assistants present some challenges for your online dental marketing.
Think about the way we’ve learned, or been trained, to search manually. If we’re looking for a dentist in Ames, Iowa, we might enter “ best dentist Ames Iowa.” But search using a digital assistant is much more conversational.
“Siri, who’s the best dentist in Ames, Iowa?”
Optimizing your website for manual search may not yield the same results when a voice search is used.
One possible solution is to include both conventional keyword strings and more conversational copy in your website and its metadata. In the case of Ames, Iowa, a dentist who’s won an award might include, “Dr. X was voted the Best Dentist in Ames Iowa in the 2105 Readers Choice Awards” in the website copy.
The effectiveness of that approach is unproven, but it offers the chance to place higher in voice search results. This is another example that dentists who don’t work with a marketing firm need to keep current on changes in search engine optimization.
Pay-per-click to the rescue?
You may already be using pay-per-click (PPC) ads. One specific tactic in PPC is to add something called a broad match modifier. That’s a specific string of words which, when it appears in search, triggers the ad. You can use analytics tools to determine which of the searches originated from mobile devices.
The process is fairly technical, though, and arguably not the best use of your time. In fact, relatively few dentists are suited to do search engine optimization. It’s a constantly-changing field that requires a significant time commitment. And dentists make money by seeing patients, not by fine-tuning keyword strings.
The time that you spend on search engine optimization is either time spent away from seeing patients or time away from family, friends, or pastimes. Your long-term success depends on striking a balance between time at work and time away from work.
In any event, your online dental marketing must keep pace with changes in how search is increasingly being done. If it doesn’t, your dental prospects won’t be finding you online – they’ll be finding your competitors instead.