Last week we met with a dentist who wanted to book more new patients searching for dental services on the Internet; which is perfect, because that’s our specialty! We shared with her that to book more patients searching online for her services; she needed her practice website to show up fairly high in a Google search. Here’s why:
- 89% of people never look beyond page one of a Google search
- People with no other reference assume the best dentists show up on the first pages of their searches
Then we told her that in order for her practice website to come up in a Google search for a dentist in her market, she needed to do a few things; like, make sure her online directory listings are 100% complete and accurate, create and post likable/sharable content to social media profiles, use Google’s tools like Authorship and local listings and importantly, have quality website content that is updated regularly, usually in the form of a monthly blog.
That’s when her eyes glazed over. A blog? Our dentist went from feeling excited about the online marketing possibilities to incredibly discouraged. A blog? She barely had time to eat lunch in between patient appointments, much less have the luxury to sit down and write a dental blog each month.
We understood; we get that response from dentists a lot. But in the last few months, having a practice blog just went from being fairly important to showing up in a Google search to downright critical status. Here’s why:
Google just released a brand new algorithm called “Hummingbird,” ie – the technical term for how they sort through and choose webpages to answer the questions people ask it. According to Wired.com, this update will “put less emphasis on matching keywords and more emphasis on understanding what a user is most likely trying to obtain with their results.” We wrote about how it will affect dentists here and here.
Additionally, Google Senior Vice President and head of its ranking team Amit Singhal said this about the update:
“The change needed to be done…because people have become so reliant on Google that they now routinely enter lengthy questions into the search box instead of just a few words related to specific topics.”
This means two things for dentists:
- Your potential patients aren’t using keywords like “dentist Dallas” or “dental implants Chicago” as much when they are searching for services. Instead, they tend to type, “Where is the closest dentist to my house in Frisco?”
- Your potential patients are using the voice application (ie Siri or Android voice commands) on their mobile devices to search for services that they need, including dentistry services. This also leads to a more conversational-style search.
Now, here’s the big takeaway for dentists – We know that consistent, fresh, updated content was (and still is) KING for Google. If your website is creating well-thought, dentistry-related articles and content on a consistent basis, you will, over time, generate the signals that Google is looking for to rank your site well. But, since Google has adapted its ranking algorithm to accommodate more conversational-style, question-based searches, we will start to see the search engine return webpages that specifically answer those questions – more specifically, Google will begin favoring blog articles.
Here’s an example:
In the past, a Google search for “What are the advantages of clear braces over metal braces?” would have probably brought up some home pages that were optimized with the keywords: clear braces and braces. Now, it will more than likely yield internal service pages and blog articles that specifically compare the two procedures. The only catch? You must have a blog with well-written articles that aim to answer conversational-style searches.
It’s no wonder that our dentist got discouraged when we said she MUST have a blog to gain more patients searching for her services on the web. It’s a lot of work that she simply doesn’t have time to do. Fortunately for her, our online marketing team employs a team of writers with dental backgrounds that can write and post customized and optimized blog articles for your website at a rate of 1, 2 or 3 times a month. Here are just a few samples of blog topics we use:
- How important is plaque control when wearing braces?
- What is the difference between dentures and dental implants?
- Can I use dental implants with my existing denture?
- Which is more effective, in-office teeth whitening or take home kits?
- Are dental implants really an investment?
If you want to get more new patients searching online for dentistry services but you’re not sure where to start, contact our online marketing today. We’d be glad to help.