Tag Archives: search engine optimisation

Imagine you were a patient visiting your website, is this what you would think?

Potential new dental patients visiting your website (and indeed any of your online marketing activity) need to find it usable, in fact Google uses usability as part of its search algorithm… The more user-friendly your website is, the higher it may rank.

If you want to know how to make your dental practice website (and other online marketing channels) more usable from a patient’s perspective, read on…

Imagine you are a patient visiting your website, it’s important you put yourself in the shoes of a patient… Not wearing your own shoes as a dental professional!

Think about the mindset of the patient, think about how they would have ended up on your website, think about what they might want from your website.

The stages of buying

When someone visits one of your online marketing channels they will certainly be in one of these stages of buying:

  1. Problem recognition
  2. Information search
  3. Evaluation alternatives
  4. Purchase mode

Let’s look at each of these stages of buying and what you could do to assist your potential new patient in each stage.

Problem recognition

download (1)A person that lands on your website in this stage of the buying process will have just realised that they have a problem. They may have had someone comment on their crooked teeth, they may have just been out for a meal and got food stuck between missing teeth or may have now decided that today is the day they are going to start doing something about their dental health.

Once someone has identified that they have a problem that they will begin searching for a solution, patients in this stage of the process may be searching on Google for phrases such as:

  1. How to straighten crooked teeth
  2. Ways to replace missing teeth
  3. How to stop my gums bleeding

A person at this stage of their problem-solving/buying process may not be thinking about treatments, they may not be thinking about Invisalign, Inman aligner, dental implants or dental hygiene… they probably are not even ready to research and gather information about these alternatives, they are simply looking for a solution to their problem… So what could you do on your website?

Image by Salvatore Vuono freedigitalphotos.net

Image by Salvatore Vuono freedigitalphotos.net

This is where a dental blog comes in exceptionally handy. You can title blog posts around their search phrases “how to straighten crooked teeth”, within these blog posts we are simply helping the patient identify that they have a problem and that it can be solved. You may find that a patient in this stage of the buying process immediately moves into the information search phase.

We can help patients in this problem recognition stage by providing them with useful and relevant information and content, your blog is an excellent way to attract these people to the website and you can help them move into the information search phrase by offering them a free information pack.

The preferred technique is to allow them to download a free guide relating to their specific problem “All of Your Options to Replace Missing Teeth” in exchange for an e-mail address. Collecting e-mail addresses allows us to gently build a relationship with these people in the long-term as they move through the various buying stages. Information about creating an e-mail marketing campaign.

Information search

A patient in this stage of the buying process may have already identified specific treatments to help with their problem. They may be searching for:

  1. Invisalign braces in << geographical location>>
  2. Dental implants in << geographical location>>
  3. Dental hygienists in << geographical location>>

In the information search phase a patient is gathering detailed information about all of their options from both a treatment prospective and possibly a specific dentist perspective. When a patient lands on your website in the information search phase we need to offer them:

  • Relevant dental information, specific to their information search
  • An incentive to request an appointment which will help move them to the next buying phase

Relevant dental information can be provided by way of the free guide mentioned previously, always in exchange for an e-mail address. An incentive to request an appointment seems to work best if this is offered as a refund of the patient’s initial assessment. Again, offering this on the website as a download in exchange for an e-mail address works best, it allows the person to feel as though they have partially solved the problem whilst on the site as they now have a voucher entitling them to a refund of their initial assessment.

Evaluation of alternatives

At this stage of the buying process the patient will have decided that they want to straighten their crooked teeth or replace missing teeth, they may even have decided on the specific treatment they desire (clearly only a clinical assessment can verify this for sure). To allow a patient to evaluate alternative dental practices we need to:

  1. reduce risk
  2. increase trust

These are the two key deciding factors which allow a patient to decide which dentist to you attend. you can reduce risk and increase trust by demonstrating that you care for the patient above and beyond any monetary transaction, offering them a free download as already mentioned goes some way to doing this. Your active social media stream can also demonstrate that you are low risk and trustworthy alternative.

Patient testimonials on your website, especially video testimonials (as these are hardest to fake) will go some considerable way to reducing risk and increase in trust. Showing photographs of the team including your GDC registration numbers also demonstrates that you are trustworthy practice (As well as being compliant).

Offering a refund of initial assessment also reduces risk for the patient, you then have their e-mail address and can then continue to build relationships with them gently and slowly.

Purchase mode

Once the patient is in purchase mode you need to ensure that your website has the relevant calls to action in place. If you have followed this process from the beginning and allowed the patient to download some information when they were in the earlier information searching modes then we can begin to send e-mails talking about how you can help.

My recommendations to ensure patients that are ready to purchase take action are:

  1. Place a call to action on every page of your website
  2. Have a request an appointment facility on the website (this does not necessarily need to be booking an appointment)
  3. Having a website which is responsive with a ‘click to call’ phone number in case this person is visiting from a mobile phone
  4. Having an ability for a patient to make a general enquiry to the website if they have any further questions

Summary

Understanding the buying process and ensuring that you have the possibility for a patient to engage with you at each stage is critical if your marketing is to be effective. You can’t assume that everyone that lands on your website is ready to book an appointment, if they are not, what have you done to help them?

More help and advice on making your website more useable

Lowe cost dental marketing logoWebsite audit

How useable is your website and could it be improved? This comprehensive website audit will give each of the five key areas of performance a rank so that you can take action.

What’s included in the audit?

46 individual elements of a successful website will be assessed and ranked in the following key performance areas:

  • Findability
  • Usability
  • Shareability
  • Effectiveness
  • Longevity

Within each of these Key Performance Areas I will rank 46 Individual Elements, each element will be given a score.

traffic light warning

These 46 individual elements will then come together to give you an overall score for each of the key performance areas.

You can then see which area of your website needs the most attention to ensure you get the maximum return on anything you spend.

What do you do with the audit?

Once the audit has been completed you can either make the changes yourself, send them to your web designer for their opinion or contact me and I can make the changes for you as part of my Light Package – I’ll then refund your £35 audit fee.

The audit forms the basis of the overall Light service. When you ensure these five key performance areas are performing to the maximum and you have an active, engaging and effective social media stream you will find that your marketing efforts begin to work 24/7/365.

CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED FOR £35

Mark Oborn light website audit

Featured Image source hywards at freedigitalphotos.net

cheap dental marketing

Is Your Website Working in These 5 Key Performance Areas? [PART 1]

Are you looking for the quickest most cost-effective way to attract the right type of new patients in to your practice?

Perhaps you want more people to take action from your website, rather than just read it and bounce away again?

Making your website work for you is a simple way to ensure you have a marketing machine that works 24-hours a day, even whilst you are asleep and on holiday.

The 5 Key Performance Areas of a Dental Website

There are five key performance areas of a website, each of them need to be working in order to get the best result:

FINDABILITY

How easy is it for people and search engines to find your website? Is it search engine optimised adequately?

USABILITY

How easy is it for people to navigate your site, read the content, engage with the content and find what they want?

SHAREABILITY

The easier your website is to share the more people will do so and recommend it to others, this is the power of online referral marketing, are you making it easy?

EFFECTIIVENESS

How effective is your website at informing, educating and getting people to take action and come to the practice as a patient? Is it conversion optimised adequately?

LONGEVITY

A poor website allows people to bounce away, how good is your site at capturing attention and engaging over the longer term? Absolutely vital in the arena of relationship marketing.

Overt the next few blog posts I will be going through each of these areas individually, this time it is findability  that I will focus on.

how to make a website findableHow to make your website more FINDABLE

Meta data on your website

The simplest place to start is with the meta data on your website.  At the most basic level of optimisation you need to ensure that these elements include geographical locations and specific treatments e.g. teeth whitening London.

The specific meta data that needs to include these terms are:

  •  <title> –  This is the main browser title that will be shown when each individual web page opens, each page will more than likely have the same geographical location but have a different treatment.
  • <description> –  This is what Google will probably use to describe your website in the search results.
  • <h1,2,3> headers –  These are the headings and subheadings within the main content of your page.
  • <alt> image alternate tags –  These describe each image in a couple of words, they will be used on a website if the image is unable to be shown for any reason.

Main Body Text

You will also need to ensure that the main body text of each individual page includes words and phrases that patients will use to search, you should think about different geographical locations and also different ways that patients may phrase treatment.

Some examples of how patients may phrase different treatments, using orthodontics as an example.

  1. The cost of teeth braces
  2. invisible braces near me
  3. tooth braces at home
  4. cheap braces

If you are to be found for these various search phrases then you need to ensure that they are included on your website somewhere.

You can also use bullet points, numbered lists and bold text to highlight phrases that you want the search engines to pick out.  (Scanned through this blog post to see which words I have made bold  or used in bullet points or numbered lists)

 Other factors which ensure your website ranks highly

Links

We all know the importance of referrals for a dental practice. You know that if a patient refers  a friend to you then that is a good recommendation. Google also knows this, if someone talks about you online then Google views this as a referral or vote, in search engine optimisation speak we call this an ‘inbound link’.

The more votes/inbound links you have (people talking about you) the more likely your website is to rank highly as Google will view it as a good website. After all, it must be good as people are talking about it!

But as you know, not all referrals are good. You may have a patient that sends very bad friends to you that don’t pay or don’t respect your fees… Not all referrals are created equally and in the same respect not all votes are created equally.

Google recognises that different votes have different qualities, in summary, Google will look for:

  • Total number of inbound links (votes) –  You ideally want the maximum number of links from good quality sources. Just having quantity is not good enough, they must be quality also.
  • Links follow/no follow –  In the code of a link it is possible to tell Google not to follow the link to another website, as a human you will simply see a link, but behind that link is a little bit of code. If that code has rel=”nofollow”  then Google will disregard that vote. Many low quality websites use no follow links.
  • Link authority –  If the website that links to you has high  authority, such as the BBC or a recognised university then that link/vote will be worth more than if it comes from an unknown or less respected website. One link from the BBC could be worth 1000 links from poor quality websites.
  • Varied anchor text on links –  The anchor text on a link are the words that the link is constructed from.  If all of your links say “Dentist in London”  then it is clear to Google that this is not natural and that you are trying to fool the system. If people are genuinely talking about you then these anchor texts will be varied.

Referencing

As you will know, good quality articles and academic pieces will be well referenced. This demonstrates that you have researched your subject and also makes the page more informative if you have linked to other articles.

Each page on your website should be a source of information to answer people’s problems, part of answering their problems will be referencing back to your own website (perhaps to previous articles you have written on your blog) and to other external websites which provide useful resources.

Take a look back through this blog post, you will see that I have linked to external websites to provide information which backs up what I am saying. I have also provided links to other useful articles that I have written in previous blog posts and to useful resources within my main website.

More help and advice on making your website more findable

Lowe cost dental marketing logoWebsite audit

How well does your online marketing and website work and could it be improved? This comprehensive website audit will give each of the five key areas of performance a rank so that you can take action.

What’s included in the audit?

46 individual elements of a successful website will be assessed and ranked in the following key performance areas:

  • Findability
  • Usability
  • Shareability
  • Effectiveness
  • Longevity

Within each of these Key Performance Areas I will rank 46 Individual Elements, each element will be given a score.

traffic light warning

These 46 individual elements will then come together to give you an overall score for each of the key performance areas.

You can then see which area of your website needs the most attention to ensure you get the maximum return on anything you spend.

What do you do with the audit?

Once the audit has been completed you can either make the changes yourself, send them to your web designer for their opinion or contact me and I can make the changes for you as part of my Light Package – I’ll then refund your £35 audit fee.

The audit forms the basis of the overall Light service. When you ensure these five key performance areas are performing to the maximum and you have an active, engaging and effective social media stream you will find that your marketing efforts begin to work 24/7/365.

CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED FOR £35

Mark Oborn light website audit

Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate – The Rules of Online Marketing

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of tiramisustudio at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s funny how these things turn out sometimes, I was at a dentistry shown last year having a very interesting discussion with a colleague that runs a dental consultancy. We were talking about what I specifically did for dental practices with their communications.

Out of nowhere I simply replied “Well I, Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate”

And that has now become my golden rule of online marketing… It should become yours also!

Modern search engine optimisation focuses much less on keywords we want to be found for, where we rank in Google search results or how many people visited the website. These may be important metrics but the real focus is on how many people we can help. Period!

The more people we help, the more people will talk about us. This works in real life as well as online. If more people talk about you online and share your information then more people will visit your website, Google will notice those people talking about you and give you a boost up the search results.

Let’s look at each of the Create, Curate, Syndicate and Aggregate areas individually.

Content Creation

This is where you use your experience as a dentist to create unique and individual content. It’s an opportunity to talk about what is important to you and what you value most. It’s the time where you can show what you are interested in and what you believe in and how you believe you can help people solve their dental problems.

You could consider creating content for a free download on your website (check out my free guide also), you could create blog posts (such as this one) or do micro-updates on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google plus, all designed to hand out useful, free and relevant dental health advice.

Creating your own unique content sets you up as a person that genuinely cares in the local area, if people like what you say they will share it which results in more people visiting your website.

Content Curation.

Curating content is about understanding what problems your patients are trying to solve and then directing them to other people’s uniquely created content. You may see articles written on news websites, columns written in online magazines or other non-competing dental practice websites.

Sharing other people’s content again shows that you genuinely care about the people in the local area. It builds trust as it demonstrates that you want to help solve their problems and that making money is not your primary concern!

Yes, dare to share content that you did not create! (That means sharing with full attribution, NOT copying to your website and claiming as your own!)

Content Syndication.

SImage courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Syndication means taking one piece of original digital content and syndicating it across various media. This is where online marketing really comes into its own. Consider this blog post, this blog post is going to be shared on:

  • My own dental marketing website.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google plus
  • Linked in
  • 4 different e-mail databases
  • RSS feed readers

Syndication using modern technology such as Feed BurnerSocial Media Borg or Hootsuite allows you to rapidly reach the maximum number of people as quickly and simply as possible.

The more people you reach, the more likelihood there is of them sharing your unique content which drives more traffic to your website.

Content Aggregation.

This is the process by which we pull in multiple streams of information into one easy to read place. Take a look at the bottom of my website and you will see Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all if aggregated into one place.

Using software allows us to aggregate multiple streams into one, for example, you could take your original content that you have created, and aggregate it with your content that you have curated, placing all of it onto twitter.

Aggregating content from multiple places, particularly if you automate the process, allows you to keep a very active presence on the Internet.

People often comment that I always seem to be online on Facebook and Twitter… I do spend a lot of time online to be honest, but I use software to aggregate content from around the Internet, I then use software to syndicate that content which has been curated by others or created by me.

Taking time to create your own content, curate content from others, aggregate all of that content into a single stream and then syndicate it and round the Internet has become the hallmark of a successful Internet marketer, it’s also the hallmark of many of my dental practice clients.

Will it also be your hallmark of success?

 

What Seems to Be Working Best to Attract New Patients at the Moment?

Female doctor consulting patientWorking with many dental practices throughout the UK helping them reach the local people is a great privilege of mine, we are finding we are able to distribute our dental health message far and wide making a considerable difference to the local communities.The payback to this is, of course, a successful dental practice with a good number of the right type of new patients each month. But what seems to be working best?

I thought it would be good to write a little summary of some of the things that practices are doing which is helping them reach more of the people that matter.

Lower priced dental health checks.

When a patient first visits your website they are faced with two dilemmas:

  1. How do they know you are trustworthy?
  2. How can they lower their risk by coming to you?

Good-quality dental marketing is always about increasing trust and lowering risk, This is how serviced-based marketing should work on these two factors are one of the most important things you need to address in any marketing the dental practice.

One of the ways of doing this is to offer a free consultation however I’ve noticed, certainly over the past year or so, that this technique of attracting new patients is becoming less effective. There could be many reasons for this, my guess is that patients are just worried that a free consultation will mean a hard sell!

Dollar coins going into piggy bankWhat I am finding however, is that reduced price dental health checks and working extraordinarily well. I have one practice which offers them for £15, deliberately to compete with the NHS. They get an excellent conversion rate from patients that coming and then join them on their patient plan.

Other practices offer this dental health check for around £25-£45, doing this lowers the risk for the patient but at the same time increases trust that you are only providing them with a dental health check, rather than just giving yourself the opportunity to sell extra treatments.

@The way I prefer to work this is to ask the patient to download an online voucher entitling them to this discount, this then becomes an online discount only and encourages patients to visit your website. We hand the voucher out in exchange for an e-mail address.

The e-mails are then automated to follow-up the patient at scheduled intervals, with more follow ups being gentle and educated in their nature. The software I use for this is Aweber, it’s available from around £19 per month, there is a really low cost way to begin managing your e-mail marketing.

Using e-mail automation like this means that your marketing works 24 hours a day and enables you to focus on what you’re good at, delivering great quality dental health to local people.

Facebook offer advertising.

blog_facebook_offersWhen people sign up to Facebook they tend to tell it where they live, how old they are and what gender they are. Whether we like it or not, this allows advertisers to target those individual people, and we can take advantage of this opportunity if we so wish.

I recently ran a targeted Invisalign promotion for a client. We had a budget of £200 and ran the offer over a two-week period targeting people aged between 21 and 55 living within 10 miles of the dental practice. During this time we had 332 people claim the offer and it was viewed by 51,136 local people.… Quite a result!

Now, I’m not expecting all 332 people to go ahead with treatment, but even so this is a remarkable number of people we have been able to reach.

An interesting phenomenon was that local people were commenting on the add and tagging their friends, thereby ensuring the ad went even more viral and was seen by more people than we had actually paid for!

Here is Facebook’s help centre for creating offers.

Here is Facebook’s help centre for setting up advertising.

Writing blogs.

Writing blogs for a dental practice is another great way to demonstrate you are the low risk option that patients can trust.

What I’m also finding is that blogs are an excellent way to get found on Google, many practices I’m working with are seeing more than 100% increase in web traffic after they start writing a useful blog.This is mainly due to the fact that blogs can be highly targeted and focused.

If you wanted to write a page about dental implants you need to keep it fairly generic and answer a range of questions, Google will then read this page and probably rank it for “<< dental implants >><< Local area>>”, which often is fine, however people are tending to search for much longer phrases for example:

  • How much do dental implants cost?
  • Do dental implants hurt?
  • What are the alternatives for a dental implant?
  • How do I go about replacing missing teeth?
  • What are my options for missing teeth?
  • Is a dental implant better than a dental bridge?

Trying to answer all of these questions on one single webpage can be difficult for the patient to navigate to find the exact answer they are looking for, but writing them in a blog post which focuses specifically on that particular area means that that webpage is highly optimised and relevant for that specific search.

This has a double impact:

  1. The webpage is more likely to be found when people search for that phrase because it is highly targeted.
  2. The webpage is more likely to be relevant to those people when they land on it because it is highly targeted.

We then get a snowball effect occurring. Google sends traffic to the webpage, people like it, Google knows this (By looking at the number of pages people read, the amount of time they spend on the site and whether they bounce back and do another search or not) and sends more… And so the cycle goes on.

All you need to do is make sure that your blog (which should sit on your main website) has good conversion mechanisms such as the low price dental health check which drops that person into a robust yet gentle e-mail marketing program.

Optimising their website to be found on the search engines.

We all know that if we want to find something out we Google it. Your patients are doing the same!

Being found in the search engines is absolutely vital for any online marketing strategy, writing a blog will help enormously as will engaging on social media and creating links back to your website using Facebook and Twitter etc.

You all is so need to be engaging in good old-fashioned PR, but with an online marketing spin. PR is about getting articles and blogs written about your practice, conventionally this went into print media, but the modern way of doing it is to use the online world. Google reads these PR releases about your practice, recognises that they are about you which then let’s Google know you are important and worth sending visitors to.

Read more >> Top tips to optimising your practice website.

It’s a minefield as to how you get these news releases out there, but that’s the job of an optimisation specialist and online marketing consultant such as myself!

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I hope you have found this blog post useful, I’ve included many links to additional resources (Some of them my own and some of them external resources) to enable you to continue to help the local people with their dental health, simply by being found!

Why you should write a dental blog?

Many dental practices are now catching on to the idea that writing a blog post is good for their practice, but why is this? Why should a dental practice bother writing a blog?

There are two primary reasons for setting up and writing a blog:

  • It is the perfect way to demonstrate to the local people that you genuinely care about their dental health when you hand out useful, free and the relevant dental health advice on your blog.
  • Google loves blogs!

Let’s take each of these in turn.

Writing a blog for dental health.

With so many dental practices having a website you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Writing a good quality dental health blog, and having it easily visible on your website, demonstrates to your website visitors that your practice is actively helping the local people with the dental health… Something that everybody wants.

A blog helps your website to look lived in, it helps it to look fresh and keeps you up-to-date with relevant information for your visitors.

Here are a few examples of typical blogs which would make good reading:

  • How to spot oral cancer.
  • When to take your child to the dentist.
  • What to do if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth.
  • How to prevent halitosis.
  • How to clean your teeth properly.
  • How to floss.
  • How to prevent the buildup of plaque and why this is important.
  • Why bother going to the dental hygienist?
  • How to replace missing teeth.
  • The ways to straighten crooked teeth.
  • Why are crooked teeth healthy teeth?

As a dentist, you will be answering patients questions all day long, these kind of questions make excellent blog posts and demonstrate that you genuinely care about the local people… Because you do, don’t you?

Writing a blog to rank higher on Google.

This is where things get really interesting. Think about it, Google has its customers that visit its website, Google’s customers want high-quality websites – so what would denote a high-quality website?

  • A website with lots of activity on it demonstrates that it is an active part of the business.
  • A website that has people interacting with it demonstrates that people like it and that the content is relevant.

A blog fulfils both of these requirements perfectly. It is the perfect way to show Google that your website is active and up-to-date, Google wants to send people to websites that are up-to-date and blogs by their very nature fulfil this requirement. If you add sharing functionality to your blog, then people will share it which Google will also see as a vote. The more votes you have, the higher up the search results you will be.

Here’s an example of exactly what I’m talking about.

In October 2012. Facebook launched their emoticons, I wrote a simple blog post about Facebook emoticons and look what happened to my website traffic.

After I wrote this blog post. It took approximately 2 weeks for Google to begin to rank it. At the beginning of November, web traffic started to rise from a typical month of approximately 600 hits and by the end of December I was getting over 6000 hits per month to the website.

This was 6000 hits to a single blog post, and all because it was a hot topic at the time.

How to write a blog post that gets found.

I recommend that you keep your eyes and ears open for hot dental news, things like a recent systematic review which informed WHO guidelines, The Journal of Dental Research talked about the effects of restricting sugar intakes in various age groups – This kind of material makes an excellent blog post as people will be searching online for the amount of sugar in food.

Watch out for celebrities having dental treatment. As soon as it hits the headlines that someone from X factor has had teeth whitening, then people will be online and searching. When you see this happening, write a blog post about it.

Why would you want random people on your website?

Many dental practices get hung up about the keywords that people used to type into Google to get people to their website. They get obsessed with ranking number one for things like ‘dentist in <<location>>’ – Now I’m not saying that ranking for this isn’t important, it absolutely is. But focusing on this phrase alone misses out on many longtail keywords which can equally end up in searches and then result in patients coming into the practice.

If you have a local person searching for “Why do my teeth bleed when I brush them” and they find your excellent dental blog then you have managed to expose your brand to this person at a point where they are actively interested in their dental health.

If your website converts well, you will be able to get this person to engage with your site, possibly by connecting with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Google plus or perhaps by suggesting that they download a free guide and therefore give you their e-mail address. Think about adding sharing functionality with tools such as share this or addthis, both of these tools are free to use and so on no-brainers!

You could also consider using Google remarketing, Here is what Google say about remarketing (I’ve changed the words to be dentally related):

Remarketing lets you show ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse the Web.

When you use remarketing, you’ll tag pages of your site that correspond to certain categories you want to promote. For example, you could add a “dental implants” tag on all of the pages where you talk about implants. You can then create an AdWords campaign to show highly relevant messages (such as ads displaying a special offer on implants) to people who’ve visted these pages as they browse sites across the Google Display Network.

Here’s a little video which explains more remarketing.

Summary.

So you see, is not just about having a blog and writing useless blog posts which talk about what you did at the weekend. It is about using a structured approach, to write blog posts which are relevant to what people want to know and then have systems in place to ensure that the capture details as much as possible, which will then work to convert this website visitor into a patient over the long-term.

Have you used a blog successfully? Let me know in your comments, perhaps post a link to it so we can discuss it…

How to Create a Dental Website That Works in 6 Steps

As an online marketing consultant for dentists I get to see many dental practice websites, none of which I have built myself as I don’t build websites… many of which work and many of which don’t.

As I work closely with these practices I’m able to see the conversion rates from the websites and have drawn up my top tips for ensuring that your website converts and actually does what it’s supposed to do.

You can either watch the video below or read the text in this blog post.

Don’t bother with that fancy scrolling image thing that so many practices do on the home page

I see so many dental practice websites with this scrolling image thing, what is it all about? From a user point of view the chances of anyone sitting there and waiting for the image to scroll is highly unlikely, and from a search engine optimisation point of view sometimes these images look to Google as though they are lots of images stacked on top of one another. Google could then question why are you trying to hide images?

My advice is to go with a small, relevant image all your practice logo and be done with it.

Ensure your contact us tab is top right

This seems to be where our eye is drawn to look for the contact details. A look at some of the bigger sites and you will notice the contact us type is always top right. Whilst standing out and doing things different is great, sometimes it’s good to stick with what people are expecting. So in this instance don’t try to be clever, just put your contact us type top right.

Make your telephone number selectable text so that you can click to call from mobile phones

I’ve recently been looking at statistics on websites and many of them have about 30% of the visitors viewing the site from a mobile device. The recent ” 2013 UK future in focus” ComScore report shows that it is mainly between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM that we are using computers, outside of this time mobile devices dominate the share of page traffic on a workday.

ComScore Device Traffic

If you want to take advantage of the commuters on the train or bus on their mobile phone then having your website mobile compatible is a good idea.

Of course the best solution is a fully mobile site or at least one that has an adaptive design to different device formats. And if you want to really be making use of the mobile browsers then having a click to call friendly number on the homepage will be vital.

Use an engaging video to keep visitors on the site longer and engage with them

Having a video on your homepage is a great way to interact and engage with visitors, it also has a tendency to keep people on the page longer which will have an impact on your Google ranking, as it is an indicator that people like your site if they stay on the page for a while before bouncing back to Google for another search

Have a call to action with a signup box on the right-hand side of the page which is viewable without scrolling

By incorporating some form of direct call to action where the visitor feels as though they have achieved something and got something from your site will greatly increase conversions. If you offer a free consultation, then do this in exchange for an e-mail address.

You will of course need an e-mail marketing software to manage this and my recommendation is Aweber.

Click for more information on how to set up in Aweber e-mail marketing campaign

Create the content of your page around the four elements of why, what, how and what if

As a dentist or technical person within dentistry the chances are that you think very analytically and are interested in the detail. Not everyone thinks this way and if your webpage launches into the precise way that you deliver your service many people may not engage with it.

By starting off with ‘why’ they need to listen to what you have to say you will engage a wider range of people.

Finishing off with ‘what if’ allows your website visitor to ‘try on’ emotionally the results of solving their dental problem.

Of course this list is not totally exhaustive and there is a huge amount of scope for any designer to be able to create a fantastic looking and functioning website around these parameters. If you follow the basic six steps above you will find that your website converts better and that you end up with more patients, of course, assuming that the actual design of the site is great too.

 

 

How to get more people to visit your website

So, most of us now have heard of search engine optimisation. This is the process by which we do everything that we can to attract as many people as possible to a website.

In this blog I’m going to talk about Google as they are the biggest search engine out there at the moment, however the principles apply to any other search engine.

Search engine optimisation is one of the services that I offer dental practices, working with them to get as many people to visit their dental practice website with a view to getting as many new patients into the practice, however things are not always as simple as they seem.

The easiest way to think about optimisation is to think like a human… And I’m guessing you are one of those aren’t you?

What would make you visit a website? What would make you go to visit a particular company? What would impress you? What signs and signals would you use to gauge whether that company were worth visiting?

Most dental practices cite referrals by existing patients as the best way of attracting new patients, and indeed it often is. The reason for this is social proof as humans we like to be recommended to something because it proves to us that it is good.

Google is exactly the same, so what does Google use as social proof?

Google looks for people talking about your website and business and when it finds those people it knows that you must be important. And the way it tracks this is by looking for links, so as people are talking about you they will be creating links back to your website from wherever it is that they are discussing you.

One of my clients has a great section on their website about the development of baby teeth, I’m finding links all the time around the Internet where mothers are talking about the development of their child’s teeth in forums and on discussion boards. They will often refer back to my clients website telling other mothers to visit it because of the great information about the development of child’s teeth.

Google sees these links, and looks at them as social proof or a referral.

The old style of search engine optimisation was deposed as many links as possible all around the Internet, all pointing back to your website. However Google has got pretty wise to this technique and is now much better able to determine if those links are good quality not. For example, I could simply set up a useless blog for free and post hundreds and hundreds of links to my clients websites, indeed they would be links but I would be very poor quality links-and Google knows this.

The best quality links or referrals are ones that are naturally generated because you have posted such fantastic content. If you post excellent content that genuinely helps the visitors to your website then they will remember you (by bookmarking the page)  and go off and talk about you.

If the content you have posted is talking all about yourself and how great you are, why would anyone want to go and talk about that?

The secret to modern search engine optimisation is to generate such extremely fantastic content that people love it and then go off and talk about it on forums, blogs Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google plus and on their own websites. This is totally natural search engine optimisation and is completely perfect in its design.

Gone are the days when you can simply employ someone to create thousands of back links to your website and hope that it rises through the search engines. You need to be involved, you need to be taking photographs of cases and then talking about those cases.

You need to be explaining the dental procedures that you do, why they are useful, how they can help people and what the alternatives are.

You need to be genuinely handing out useful free and relevant health advice, this is perfect search engine optimisation and will ensure that your website raises through the rankings.

I’m not just saying all of this for fun, I followed this procedure myself and have seen traffic rise from an average of 500 hits a month to my own website to over 16,000 hits per month. This massive increase in traffic has been achieved in only three months!

Of course when you employ a search engine optimisation expert, such as myself, you are getting the knowledge that we have about how to get your fantastic content out there… And we will work with you to help you generate that fantastic content… But don’t think that employing someone and doing nothing yourself is going to work!

The new type of search engine optimisation is more personal than anything that’s gone on before and the key is to get people talking about you. So what content you have on your website that is worth talking about?