Are you still receiving the yellow pages book at your office or home address? If you are, you’re probably noticing that with each edition, it gets thinner and thinner. Why? It’s no longer the useful directory book that everyone kept handy in the kitchen, right next to the phone. Today, most people groan when they see it delivered to their doorsteps, thinking, “What in the world am I going to do with this?”
For quite some time you’ve been hearing that listing your dental practice in the yellow pages won’t do what it used to for your practice’s marketing. It’s true. Just as a new technology revolutionizes the way we communicate, marketing techniques adapt and old methods are usually thrown out or radically changed. While the yellow pages book was a tool that was useful and very beneficial to a dental practice several years ago, it’s just not something people use in an online world.
But, listing your practice is still an important element in marketing; just shift your thinking. Instead of listing your dental practice address and phone in the yellow pages book, consider listing your practice website in the online local listings websites (also called directories) like Yelp, Doctor Oogle and of course in the Google, Bing and Yahoo local listings pages. These websites resemble what a yellow pages listing used to be, but with modern elements.
Why Should Dentists Bother with Local Listings?
On the surface, local listings work somewhat like a phone book; but dig a little deeper and you’ll see that they do so much more. Here are three reasons why dentists should care about them:
Reason 1 – They help Google see you (and your website) as an expert authority. One of the ways that Google weeds out the “fluff” websites from the “quality” sites in searches is by choosing which sites are considered to have “expert” status. Google decides who they consider to be an “expert” by looking at the following criteria:
- How many online reviews do you have? How many of those are positive?
- How often is your website updated with fresh content?
- How many people are interacting with your content online? Ie – Commenting and sharing on social media.
- Is your practice location(s) accurately and completely listed on multiple directory websites?
That last one is where the local listings come in. It’s a crucial piece in how Google sees the authority of your website, so make sure your practice listing is included in the most important ones.
Reason 2 – They give your practice a unified online presence. A unified online presence is just as important for your dental brand as consistency in all of your marketing materials. The more places that potential patients see your practice listed online, the more likely they are to believe that your practice is a trusted dental choice in their community.
Beyond good branding, overlooking local listings could have a negative effect on new patient flow. According to a survey by Yext, about $10.3 billion dollars worth of potential annual revenue is lost because of wrong, missing or incomplete local data. How? Google wants your information to be identical to how it’s listed on your Google+ page to reap the SEO benefits local listings can offer. If your local listings information is inaccurate or incomplete, it can have an effect on how well your website ranks in a search for local dentistry services.
After you claim your listings on the sites you want your practice to be listed on, here is the information that MUST be EXACTLY the same:
- Practice Address
- The Practice Name
- Website URL
- Phone Number
Are all Local Listings Created Equal?
In a word, no. Don’t concern yourself with making sure your dental website is listed on every local listings website, because some do not have the same value as others. Additionally, don’t blow your marketing budget by registering for the most expensive listings sites, thinking they are superior. Here are a few of the key local listings sites that most dentists should be listed on:
- Yahoo Local
- Bing Local
- Doctor Oogle
- City Search
Need help with your practice’s local listings? Contact our experienced dental marketing team today to learn how we can help.