16 Apr Dental Marketing Need-to-Know: What is a Digital Footprint?
It’s no secret that online dental marketing is forever changing. Technology itself is always working on the bigger and better way to deliver information and with that, usually comes sweeping changes to how small businesses (like dental practices) market to people online. Here is a snapshot of how online dental marketing has changed just in the last few years:
In the past, most dentists were only concerned with making sure their practice website was listed on the first page of a Google search for dental services in their area. Marketing firms often primarily spoke about marketing by using terms like search engine optimization (SEO), website rankings and linking strategies. Not long ago, one of the easiest ways to get a dental website to rank was to focus on getting as many inbound links to your site as possible. Simple as that.
Today, it’s all about your practice’s digital footprint. While, yes, dentists should still want their website to have first page visibility in a Google search, today’s modern marketing firms know that it takes managing your entire online presence to achieve that. Why? To put it simply, Google has made it more difficult (and we think will only continue to do so), for sites to show up organically in a Google search without legitimately being the best choice for what the user is searching for. What does that mean? It’s no longer possible to “trick” Google into putting your website on the first page of searches for targeted keywords. It’s become about quality over quantity. We’ve always ascribed to that philosophy so it’s not a big change for us.
So, when it comes to your digital footprint – the bigger, the better. Here are the most important pieces that dentists should concern themselves with:
Your Website – It all begins and ends with your website. Of course, you must have at least one and your on-page marketing must be optimized for the services you are targeting … in the way that Google prefers at the moment. Each description of your dental services should be on a separate webpage and each page should be written to convert visitors into patients. The easiest way to do that is to make it easy for them to book an appoint with either a “Click to Book” button or listing your phone number very visibly.
Create Unique Content – This is a big one – and it’s what Google talks about most when marketers ask, “How can we get our sites ranked well?” Good content includes:
- Video – Videos of your practice, your patients (with their permission) and interviews with the dentist are very valuable pieces of online real estate.
- Blogs – Unique, optimized blogs uploaded to your site give your patient access to a great library of content but also gives Google signals that you are updating your site on a regular basis.
- Photos – Photos on your website and your social media sites (more on that later) are great ways to beef up your online footprint. You can also upload them to sites like Flickr or Instagram for more online visibility.
- Curated Articles with your Analysis – Content curation is all the rage in the marketing circles these days. Essentially, you take a piece of content already created and give your own spin on it. Here’s an example for a dentist; let’s say a prominent professional football player in your city has knocked out two front teeth in a game. As a dentist, you can write a short blog post about it and explain how you might fix it for him. It makes your article topical and timely – two things Google loves.
Social Media Profiles – Visibility on social media these days is an absolute must. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and even Instagram are all great places for a dentist to be. Make sure you set up your profiles correctly – most importantly making sure your practice name, address and phone number are listed exactly as you have them listed on your Google directory listings. Add quality content on a consistent basis and share away! For even more “engagement” points – comment on and share other topical content from other dentists or dental professionals.
Advertising with Google – Depending on your market, sometimes the only way to get to the front page of Google is to invest in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Google is making it very apparent that PPC is a priority for them.
We advise blending a well-constructed PPC campaign with other content strategies to build your dental online footprint.
Directory Listings – This is more than just listing your practice in the phone book. Your practice’s directory listings (or lack thereof) can have a profound effect on how visible you are online. Make sure your practice is listed in as many quality directories as possible AND (this is so important) – make sure the directories are accurate and listed in exactly the same way.
Building a great digital footprint will be the future of online dental marketing. For more information about how to build yours, contact our experienced marketing team today.