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3 Steps to Absolutely Own Local Search

Are you paying over $500 per month for an SEO strategy that isn’t producing new patients? As a dentist, you are a local specialty service provider. A complex and expensive SEO strategy isn’t needed to drive local new patients to your office. Even if you practice in multiple locations, local search needs to be set up, effectively, for each market. Google estimates around 73% of all, yes all, online activity are from customers looking for local businesses in their area. This is advantageous for your dental practice and should be a cornerstone of your new patient strategy. The best part… you can do this yourself. Here’s what you need to know to get new patients in your practice.

Own Your Google Business Listing

Optimize your Google Business listing.  I mean really knock it out of the park.  First, claim your listing.  Verify it.  Next, go through and thoroughly complete your Google Business Listing. This will serve two purposes:

  • One, it will help patients find you.
  • Google will rank you higher if your listing is complete versus one that is incomplete. *Make sure that you select specific categories for your business.

Own Targeted Local PPC

If your plans for your practice include global conquest, that’s great. Most likely though, your ads don’t need to be seen by everyone all over the world. By setting up targeting, your ads will only display in a certain location or set of locations as specified. We recommend a 5-mile radius around the practice location. However, in more rural/urban locations, the radius may fluctuate.

Own Call Tracking

Your practice needs a solution to track and measure phone calls. Setup a call tracking phone number for every new patient source like Facebook, Google, radio, etc. This will help you to see which sources are producing new patients and which are not. Thus, you can optimize your advertising budget to profitable channels and make your marketing dollars much more intentional. This call tracking number needs to be connected to your Google Business Listing so that AdWords will pull the number into ads through it’s “location extension” feature. This allows more phone calls to generate on local searches and improve your AdWords quality score.

Conclusion

That’s it! That’s the “secret sauce” of effective local search. Sounds easy right? Not necessarily. You can do this yourself. However, we can make it easy by providing solutions to create, implement and manage all of the above for you. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the stream of new patients.

The Best Times to Post on Social Media

Is social media working for your practice?  I know it can be extremely confusing to know what to post and when to post it.  We can get more into that as we discuss branding later, but for now, let’s just get you in the habit of posting regularly and at the best times.  Let me preface this blog with a disclaimer, this data may not be exactly accurate for your particular dental practice.  Every practice is different.  Every patient base is different.  This blog is meant to provide some initial best practices so that you can monitor and adjust your social media plan for your specific audience as it performs.  Social media is not set it and forget it.

Think of each social media platform as a different television channel.  You may watch ABC, ESPN, HGTV, MTV, etc. and all for very different reasons.  You get different content on different channels and in different formats.  That’s social media.  You will not want to engage your Facebook followers the same way you engage your Instagram audience, Twitter followers, etc.  Spend some time with your team and decide on a strategy for each channel.  Less is more here.  Focus on becoming really good at one or two platforms versus trying to do everything.  For example, you don’t need a Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Just pick a couple and do them really, really well.

Based on my experience working with dental practices across the country, these are the trends I have seen in various social media strategies.  I like to encourage offices to focus on Facebook and Instagram first.  If you can blog too that’s great! 

A dentist needs a blog.  Read more about dental practice blogging here.

Facebook

Facebook is still the top dog when it comes to DAU or daily active users.  The best day of the week to post is usually Thursday.  Weekdays from 10am to 6pm tend to perform strongly as well.  Typically, when people are on their breaks or lunch break, engagement will go up.  Weekends aren’t super strong for patient engagement, but it can be a great time to work on your blog!  PS:  Join my Free Facebook Group here!

Instagram

Instagram is a platform that a lot of dentists still don’t take advantage of.  In my experience, it’s the hesitation to learn another social media platform and to find the time to hassle with the technology, but it is so worth it!  Instagram is a great place to share before/after photos, photos of the office and the team, patient engagement and having fun, etc.  Buy props and make a photo booth in a private corner of the office.  Have a caption contest!  Bottom line is to have fun and show your patients that your office has some character.  This is great for your brand!

You can learn about using Instagram for your dental practice here.  

Pinterest

I have not really jumped on the “dental practice marketing on Pinterest” train, but don’t let that dissuade you.  Some of my clients have and they enjoy it very much.  As far as I am concerned, any place that you can engage with more people is good!  So go for it!  Saturday night is the night for Pinterest activity.  Be sure to put some thought into your board layout and use smart names for your boards so they are searchable and relevant to the audience (use great keywords here).  Try to save pins consistently.  Pinterest is different in that as your content starts to build, more people will find you (it’s a lot like blogging).  Be patient and be persistent.

Twitter

In my opinion, Twitter is the most overwhelming social media platform out there.  You feel like a literal needle in a haystack.  Multiple haystacks at that.  An ocean full of haystacks.  Even so, your brand can benefit from an active Twitter handle.  Twitter is great for sharing articles of curated content, photos, infographics, and links to other local businesses.  Typically, Twitter activity stays pretty strong in the later hours of the day, but don’t force yourself out of family time by constantly trying to gain followers.  I set three instances in my calendar every day for Twitter.  Each session is 15 minutes.  For that time period, I focus 100% on tweeting, re-tweeting, responding, reacting, creating and scheduling.  That’s all it takes for me. 

Summary

Connect with GPG by clicking on the links in the headings above.  You can also get a high res copy of the Best Times to Post on Social Media infographic at the link below.  Hang it up in the office and use it as a guide!  I hope you find these tips helpful and that you start to use social media to document and tell your story.  Build and invest in your brand and connect with people.  Focus on building your tribe and watch the shift in your practice profitability.  Referrals will always be your strongest new patient source.  Cultivate them by engaging with your audience on social media.  The juice is definitely worth the squeeze!

 

Download your own copy of GPG’s Social Media Scheduling Tips.

 

How An Aging Website Destroys Your Organic Search Rankings

Were you one of the first to jump on the dental website bandwagon?  Do you have a website that’s 20, 10, or even just five years old?  Did you shop for the lowest bidder and then accept your current design without fully understanding digital marketing strategy?  If so, what was once a great move to improve your visibility may now actually be hiding you from potential patients.  Here are three previous best practices that could be hurting your local SEO today.

1. Frames

The way individual web pages are created has changed drastically over the years. Today, you can use a main template and central administrator settings to change page titles, menus and background images across all of your pages.  Previously, each individual web page needed to be created by hand. If you wanted to change your menu, you had to adjust every page. To get around this, developers started using frames. Each page might have two or more frames. You’d have the main content frame, a side menu frame, possibly a header frame and maybe even a footer frame.  The problem was that search engines couldn’t put the frames together and saw them as separate web pages that didn’t have enough content to rank. If your website has frames, you need to upgrade it ASAP.

2. Image Header

Many websites had, and some still use, a nice image at the top of each page with the company’s name and logo in fancy font.  The problem is search engines can’t read images.  If your company name is in an image, a search engine can’t figure out who you are.  If you want to come up in searches for your dentist’s names, your practice name should be included in text.

3. Fixed Layouts

As website designs got more sophisticated, developers needed new ways to control the layouts. One way was by assigning fixed widths and heights to web pages as a whole, as well as individual items within each web page.  This worked when web pages were only viewed on computer monitors that were all roughly the same size. Today, your website needs to look good on a big desktop computer, a small laptop, and most importantly as a mobile site for a phone.  Because so many searches are now done on mobile devices, search engines push you down in the rankings if your website doesn’t work well on them.  Do yourself and your practice a favor and build a new website that is designed and optimized for mobile devices.  Make sure your local registry information is correct and accurate.

If you need a dental website, content, blogging or video, mailers or other dental marketing assistance we have solutions for you!  We know dentistry and we know dental marketing.  Contact GrowPracticeGrow today and talk to a dental marketing expert!

Create Search Optimized Content For Your Dental Practice

SEO draws out of many areas, from keyword saturation earning backlinks to internal linking, all the way to basing an entire page around ranking your site for a single keyword. There are tons of methods for deploying effective SEO and getting ranked on those all important search engine results pages.

Here are simple, yet often not attended, techniques you should start implementing to see definitive results in your dental practice marketing.

Make It Organic, Not Processed

If you’re riddling your pages with tons of different keywords, it starts to look like it was slammed together haphazardly.  To reach organic form, you want to lay down rules and be smart about each individual case. The following are good rules to follow when writing articles for anything and everything:

  • Each page focuses on one (preferably long-tail) keyword. This is the focus and what you base your rules on. Other keywords should pop up naturally, and should only be leveraged if it reads completely organically.
  • Mention your keyword one time in the introductory paragraph.
  • Mention your keyword at least once, no more than twice, in each body paragraph.
  • Mention you keyword one time in the closing statement.

This ensures readability, but still gets that page optimized.

Title Your Territory

Your targeted keywords should be in your permalinks as well as any H1 titles. If you can’t get it in one or both of these, mention it at least a couple of times in your H2 section headers. But don’t title just for the sake of titling—make sure your titles fit. If your keyword can’t sensibly fit into your titles or permalinks for any reason, you need to restructure your page so they can.

Newer Is Better

If your website offers any kind of content, you want to schedule regular content releases. It doesn’t matter in what frequency but instead that you stick with that schedule. If you can only do one content update per week, go with that. If you can manage once per day, that’s awesome.

You could even post on weekends, or on three set days in the week, or anything at all. Just don’t overwhelm yourself and get burned out—that’ll make sticking to the schedule very hard.

Remember that if you can easily implement a simple technique into your SEO, that’s worth more than you might think. Every bit counts, and despite the simple nature of these tips, you’ll be surprised how much they help.