A Complete Guide to Dental Marketing and Dental SEO [Updated 2023]
Search engine optimization can be an incredibly powerful tool for dentists and orthodontists, when done correctly. And with every passing year, the importance of SEO to increase organic rankings becomes even more important. Because the world of dental marketing changes rapidly, this guide will be updated as often as needed to reflect those changes and trends.
Hello, my name is Saeed Khosravi, and I am the founder of Nexunom.com, ReviewTool.com, Allintitle.co, and a few other marketing related products. I have been working in the dental marketing field since 2008. During these years, I have worked with many dental and orthodontic offices throughout the United States, helping them increase their conversions, consultations, and patients. In this post, I aim to provide the most up-to-date information, trends, and updates in the dental marketing field. I will also keep this post current so that it can still be relevant no matter when you see it.
SEO continues to grow and evolve, and it is crucial that you hire the right company to help you navigate the waters. At Nexunom, my team have the knowledge and passion to help you build a powerful SEO program for your dental practice that will help you stand out among your competitors. Along the way, we often get asked questions – and we’d like to explain exactly why SEO is important, and why it is especially important to have those with specialized knowledge managing your SEO program.
Let’s first take a look at some common questions we get asked.
Isn’t a nice website enough to help me gain the patients I need?
Have you recently paid to have your dental website redesigned? A beautiful new website is a wonderful thing, but how are patients going to find it without a search engine optimization program?
Beware of some web designers who tell you that redesigning your site is a must to improve your website’s rankings. It is true that there are a few design-related factors that play into helping your rankings, but most of the time you don’t need to spend a fortune on a shiny new site to make SEO work for you. A web redesign won’t automatically improve your SEO, no matter what a web design company may tell you. You should consider a new website if you want a more attractive site for your patients and potential patients to interact with, but not simply to improve SEO.
Check out our Dental Web Design page for more information on how we build dental websites with SEO best practices built-in. Here are some examples:
I have a brother who has a computer science degree. Can’t I just let him manage my SEO?
Let’s look at it this way – would you allow a podiatrist to perform heart surgery, or would you go to a heart surgeon? Both have medical degrees, but that doesn’t mean they can perform the same kind of work. The same is true in the computer science field, as well as public relations, dental marketing, and advertising. There are different facets to each of these fields, and if you don’t do SEO every day, you may not know all the ins and outs. Hiring an experienced dental SEO company ensures you have experts helping you.
Our practice is small, and there are a lot of online tools to help manage a DIY SEO campaign, can’t we just do it ourselves?
Again, if it isn’t something you do every day, you may be missing out on important components. And you could be setting yourself up for failure that can be incredibly difficult to come back from. Many dentists and orthodontists today have advanced degrees such as MBAs to help them better manage their practices. But, if you aren’t well-versed in SEO and online marketing, and don’t do it for a living, it’s best to leave it to a professional. There are several benefits of hiring a professional SEO team.
- You can focus your energy on what matters – your patients. We know the dentists and orthodontists we work with are busy, and pulled in different directions. You are working to ensure your patients get the best care possible, while also ensuring your practice is running smoothly. A proper SEO strategy is involved and demanding, and requires you to stay on top of the latest evolutions. It’s a full-time job to stay on top of all of the changes, and ensure the proper responses to those changes are reflected in the SEO program.
- Get objective, and expert, advice and a plan to correct any issues. Your website can actually hurt your SEO rankings. Site and page load times, image sizes, and other factors all play a role in how you may be ranking. A professional SEO company will know what to look for and can determine exactly what is holding you back. They can create a list of things that should be changed or updated, starting with the most important.
- Let the experts determine what is important. For you, the most important thing is ensuring every patient receives quality care. What metrics are meaningful when it comes to your SEO? An SEO expert will know what metrics should be tracked to make sure that the SEO efforts are helping to increase your number of appointment requests.
- Avoid falling in rankings due to a lack of knowledge, inconsistent, or blind work. There is a lot of information out there on planning SEO strategies, but do you know which ones are the most important, which sources are reliable and which ones could actually set you up for failure? And even with the best SEO plan in your hands, you still need the knowledge to turn that plan into operation. Coding, website analysis, content development, server knowledge, citation and link building knowledge, and more are all needed to carry out SEO properly. Moreover, an SEO expert with many years of dental marketing experiences can help you avoid black hat strategies, the strategies that might offer quick rankings but are achieved in a way that violates Google’s and other search engines’ guidelines. You may find someone who tells you that they can get you top rankings quickly, but even if their black hat techniques work, the search engine will discover that automatically or you’ll be reported by competitors, and your site can end up getting penalized. And that can spell disaster for you.
Let’s look a little deeper at search engine optimization, and how it can help your dental or orthodontist practice.
Common online dental marketing mistakes
The internet is where most patients turn in order to find dental services and local dentists and orthodontists. Is your online dental marketing helping, or hurting, when it comes to potential patients finding your practice? Here are some common mistakes dentists, orthodontists, and other businesses make when it comes to dental marketing.
- Spending a lot of money, without a targeted plan in place. It can be very easy to throw money at an online marketing strategy, but do you actually know where your money is going? The success of your campaign doesn’t necessarily increase just because you are spending more money. Start first by determining what you hope to accomplish from your dental marketing program, and then build around that. Throwing money out doesn’t equal results.
- Not thinking SEO is important. SEO is more important than ever, especially when it comes to small, local businesses like your dental practice. If most people turn to the internet for services, how will they find you if you aren’t ranking high enough on the search engine results? Be sure your site is optimized, has great content, and can be found by search engine users. Your competitors are using SEO to their advantage, and maybe ranking high for your keywords. You are losing patients that may otherwise come to you if you miss this major component of your dental marketing.
- Ignoring local search. Google and other search engines are getting more sophisticated and personal. With local SEO, take advantage of Google My Business and other local search opportunities that allow you to show up in searches when someone in your area is looking for a service you provide. If you are a dentist in San Francisco, you want patients in that area to find you – local search ensures they can.
- Ignoring satisfied customers. Online reviews hold a lot of weight with consumers. Are you encouraging happy patients to leave reviews?
- Forgetting that content is king. Your website and all content on it, including blog posts, should set you apart as an expert in your area. As with most things in life, it isn’t about the quantity of content, but rather it’s quality.
- Not allocating your budget correctly. The needs for each dental practice we work with may be a bit different, so we work to create a unique budget that takes that into consideration.
- Not knowing where conversions come from. It’s important to know where your conversions come from in order to know where to allocate your spending dollars and if your marketing dollars are resulting in real patients. A patient may tell you they found you on Google, but if you are also using AdWords in your internet marketing, you need to know if that conversion came from an organic Google search, a Google map search, a Google local search or a Google ad.
- Thinking a website design company can handle your online marketing or search engine optimization. It’s true that a beautiful and functional website can do a lot for a potential patient. But, how is that patient finding the site? Website design companies are good at what they do – building websites. An online marketing company with a specialty in dental marketing, however, has the knowledge to make that website work for you, to bring visitors to the website, and to help turn them into real patients. There is no point in spending money on a web redesign if your site can’t be found by the potential patients.
- Thinking AdWords alone is enough. Google AdWords and pay per click advertising can be an important tool in your online marketing arsenal. But it can’t be your only one. Users are becoming savvier about the way search engine results work. They might leave out ads when searching for dental services because they might think that paid results are not good enough to be on top by themselves, and therefore may not trust them as much. But, if you have a higher organic ranking, a search engine user may view you as being more trustworthy. AdWords and SEO together will give you more visibility on search engine result pages and can and should complement each other.
- Having unrealistic or undefined goals. Look at your website’s current performance, and craft goals based on the information you have. You can’t be shown on top of search results for all your target keywords in all your target areas with just SEO. Your dental marketing advisor will prioritize the locations/keywords you want to pull patients from and will distribute that among different online marketing avenues including SEO, paid ads, social media marketing, reviews marketing, etc. in a way that you spend the least possible marketing dollars and gain the most outcome. You also don’t want to market to anyone and everyone, and you don’t need an exponentially greater amount of web traffic. You need the right traffic that will turn into legitimate appointment requests and real patients.
So, when you decide to hire an SEO expert to help, how can you be sure you’re hiring the right company? Is it better to hire an in-house specialist, or a company? Who can you trust for recommendations?
Hiring the right dental marketing team to handle your search engine optimization is crucial. You want to be sure your resources are going to a reputable company with years of experience working with other dentists and orthodontists like you. You need a team who will also use tried and true methods and best practices to ensure not only that you gain improved rankings, but that you can maintain them over time. Not every SEO company will lead you to the same destination, so it’s important to choose wisely. An experienced dental and orthodontic marketing expert has seen, planned and worked at least on a few hundred marketing campaigns for dental practices.
Here are some tips to ensure you hire the best company for your practice.
- Google may not be your best source. All of us tend to just do a Google search when we are looking for something. But if you just Google a phrase such as SEO expert or SEO consultant, what you get in return might not actually be the best fit for you. A lot of very good companies may not need to rank high on Google because they have high retention rates and get referrals from current clients. They may be so busy with their current clients they don’t need to focus on trying to rank higher on Google themselves – they’re too busy doing it for their clients!
- Don’t be swayed by someone who claims they have a secret to getting you higher rankings. In fact, if someone tells you they have a secret method or that something is proprietary, that’s usually a bad sign. There is no secret, other than hard work and knowledge, that can magically get you better rankings. Be sure the company adheres to Google’s webmaster guidelines and don’t resort to cheap tricks to try to improve rankings.
- Know the goals you are trying to achieve from SEO. It’s not just enough to say you want to increase web traffic, because not all web traffic is creating equally. You want to increase the number of patients to your practice, so that means your SEO has to focus on gaining actual conversions. Don’t focus on vanity rankings or just beating out your competition – focus on what will drive more patients to your practice.
- Determine what is important to you in an SEO company. Things like working with a dental marketing company near your area might not be as important as working with a company that has a lot of experiences ranking dental practices on top of Google. In most cases, the best dental marketing firms are not located in your area so you cannot expect to meet with them face to face regularly and you really don’t even need to.
- How will the company communicate with you, and report progress to you? The reports your SEO company provide you with are a very important indicator of how well they know their stuff. Beautiful, interactive graphs, tables, and charts are nice, but you need to be sure your company is reporting on every metric that is crucial to your dental marketing campaign. Not only that, the company should be able to explain each metric to you in full, including how the metrics play into your overall online marketing picture.
- Know your budget, and what you hope to gain as a return on your investment. Look for companies with a month to month agreements, rather than long commitments in case the relationship isn’t working.
- Don’t be afraid of getting more than one consultation or dental marketing proposal. Just like most orthodontists offer a free initial consultation, SEO companies often do, as well. This consultation will give you the chance to get to know the company and will help you feel comfortable. Give them the chance to impress you.
- Be sure you get a specific proposal and action plan. If the company can’t tell you what they hope to accomplish with a specific plan of action for both the short and long term, look for another company. Ask them how they plan to help you improve the rankings of your dental practice and turn higher rankings into actual appointment requests. They shouldn’t be afraid to explain their strategies, and offer a timeline on when you can realistically expect to see goals. This will also help you compare apples to apples – does one company only offer on-page optimization, while another also includes off-page optimization, such as link building, local presence optimization, NAP citations and correction? Does it also include a technical review of your site to be sure there aren’t technical problems that could lower your rankings? You can also see if there are reasonable timelines set.
- Avoid companies that guarantee number one rankings. It is impossible to guarantee this. Likewise, avoid anyone who says they have an insider relationship with Google or another search engine.
- Ask for a list of current and past clients, and for any case studies the company has. It’s always best to get real reviews from real clients, and not just take the company’s word for it.
- Get all fees and payment terms in writing, and be sure you are clear on them. Month to month agreements are the most common in the SEO world, but be sure you know exactly what your payment will cover. And be sure that the contract clearly states what happens should you part ways with the company. You should own all the optimized content provided, and be sure the company cannot change or remove anything they added, changed or optimized for you.
The rules of the SEO game change frequently. Google and other search engines do that purposely to weed out the ones that misuse the current rules and to make sure the results are always relevant to what users want to see. An experienced SEO company will be on the cutting edge of what is happening in the industry, and will be poised and ready to pivot when a new algorithm is released.
Chances are, if you aren’t focusing on SEO, your competitors are. And if they have a consistent relationship with an SEO company, they are most likely seeing consistent results. If you want to gain new patients, having a good SEO plan is crucial. And having a consistent relationship with an SEO company specialized in dental marketing will mean that you won’t lose any footing in transition times.
Contrary to what many believe, and what some SEO people out there will tell you, search engine optimization isn’t rocket science. But it does take experience and knowledge and hard work to ensure your dental practice is successful. Your SEO company should be able to explain everything to you in clear terms that are easy to understand. If they don’t or can’t, that’s often a bad sign.
How long does it take for SEO to work?
Just like an orthodontist can’t tell a patient exactly how long he will be in braces, there is no magic timeline to start seeing SEO results. The simple answer is – it all depends. And we know that can be frustrating for you.
There are some things that influence it, though. How long has your website been around? Was it previously optimized (and optimized correctly)? How much content is on your site? What is the site like? What’s your site’s link profile? We can have two dental clients who are very similar in their practices, but their websites are completely different. And that means they are starting from different places, so they’ll start to see results at different times.
Generally, you can expect to see some good results in about four to six months, and the results should continue to grow over time.
Components of an SEO strategy for dental practices
- Initial Analysis – The first stage of any successful SEO campaign starts with a comprehensive audit including, website audit, competition research, service area analysis, keyword planning, backlink profile analysis, NAP citation analysis, website optimization analysis and content analysis.
- Technical SEO – This is where we can really see differences from one dental practice to another. One practice may need a complete website overhaul, while another may just need some minor tweaks. This is about your website’s on-page optimization, mobile friendliness, user-friendliness, load time, schema markup and etc. You will see some improvement after the technical changes are made to your website’s optimization at this stage. You can check out your Website on-page optimization score using our SEO Checker.
- Improving backlinks and NAP citations.
- Content creation and optimization. Content is king- so focus on making sure your content sets you apart as the expert you are. Quality content writing is, in fact, one of the most important components of SEO. The use of strategically placed keywords sprinkled into your content will help your website get ranked better for those keywords when search engine users search for them. If you use ideal keywords sprinkled into writing that is high quality, relevant, and will offer the user what he is searching for, search engines will notice. Your site needs to have relevant blogs, FAQ sections, whitepapers, articles, etc that help you stand out as an expert. You can spend a fortune for a beautiful new site with all the bells and whistles, but if you skimp on content or don’t design it with SEO in mind (like titles, descriptions, meta-tags), search engines and users still might not find you.
- Keep doing – Content creation continues, as well as technical optimization and improving quality of the backlink profile and NAP citations. At this time, you may begin to notice that SEO actually works!
After a few months, you can begin adding additional pieces, if you haven’t already. Social media management can further amplify your content, and increase traffic to your site. In turn, that can help build your link profile. You can also start to think about conversion rate optimization, which can help ensure the traffic to your website actually convert to become patients.
It’s important to remember that patience is key when it comes to SEO, no matter how much money you are spending. Even with the highest budget, you may not see any real results within the first few months. SEO should be considered a long-term marketing tactic, not a quick fix.
And what happens to your site if you decide to take on a website overhaul after your SEO program has already garnered success? If your site isn’t optimized by your SEO team while it’s in creation, you may see a backslide. Your past SEO efforts don’t carry over to a newly designed site, so it is important to ensure your web design team works on conjunction with your SEO team, or that you hire an SEO team that has a web design team incorporated. Otherwise, you may be jeopardizing the rankings you’ve worked hard and waited patiently for.
Tips for dual specialty dental practices
Do you have a dual specialty practice, for example, pediatric dentistry and orthodontics, and you have been told that if you separate them you can gain a better search engine presence? Although it might be true, you need to be aware of the following things:
- Two separate websites require twice as much budget for SEO and your other dental marketing
- If you are the only doctor providing both services, then it might make little sense to have two websites for each of the practices.
- If you can’t assign two different addresses to the two different practices (at least the suite number should be different), then you might want to keep them together.
- You can emphasize the fact that your practice is a dual-specialty one and patients don’t need to travel between dental offices and can benefit from your expertise in both areas of dentistry.
Is Google Ads necessary for dental practices?
It’s important to understand the difference between SEO and PPC (pay per click) advertising such as Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), as well as understand how they can work together.
Search engine optimization works to improve your organic rankings, whereas PPC are ads that you pay to appear next to relevant searches. AdWords does not help improve your SEO rankings, but it can put your brand in front of more people.
AdWords allows you to bid on the chance to have an ad appear above or below searches on Google. Your ad will have the chance to appear when people search for the keywords you specify. You only pay when someone clicks your ad to visit your site, call your office, or send you a message. The advantages to AdWords are that you can change your ads or target audience at any point, and can promote special promotions or services. For dental and orthodontic practices, an 11-mile radius around the office location is typically used for the target location.
AdWords won’t improve your SEO, but it can widen your reach. Search engines work hard to maintain their credibility, and that means showing users relevant results. If businesses could pay for boosts in organic rankings, the search engines wouldn’t be doing their jobs correctly. But even in paid results, there is a relevance factor – a site that Google finds more relevant can still get the top ad spot, even if the business hasn’t bid as much. The higher the quality score, the higher the appearance. The quality score includes landing page relevance, click through rate, as well as bid amounts.
We like to think that SEO and PPC can work nicely together because they broaden the scope of who can find you. A dental marketing plan that incorporates both can ensure people can find you when they are looking for your services. Together, they can increase traffic and enhance your online presence.
But, there are some mistakes you could be making in your AdWords campaign that can prevent you from seeing success.
Some common Google Ads mistakes include:
- Wanting to advertise every service you offer. Before you spend money on ad campaigns that include keywords for every service under the sun, think about how potential patients shop online for a dentist. Most aren’t typing in “root canal” but rather something more like “dentist near me” so it’s important to keep it simple.
- Running ads outside of your business hours. It’s true the internet is open 24/7, but your business is not. If the goal is to have a potential patient call your office to make an appointment, don’t set ads up to run outside of when someone can actually field that call.
- Having a slow response time. If you have a lead form, it’s important to respond to it as quickly as possible because that’s when a new patient is most likely to actually schedule an appointment. If you wait too long to respond, the patient may have moved on to a competitor who responded more timely.
- Targeting an entire city. This can be especially bad if you live in a larger city. Chances are good that people are looking not just for a dentist in their city, but one whose office is conveniently located to them. Most people won’t drive further than 11 miles, so don’t go outside of that radius.
- Don’t just tell them what you do, create an emotion – for instance, someone who has anxiety about having dental work done might be compelled by an ad that includes the term gentle dentistry.
- Failing to group keywords effectively. The ad your practice shows should match the keyword the patient searched, so don’t lump all your keywords under one ad.
- Making mistakes with keyword match types. Keyword match types determine how closely a search query has to match your keyword. Google offers a broad match, modified broad match, phrase match, and exact match keyword match types. If you don’t know how to use them correctly, you may be wasting your money.
- Forgetting about negative keywords. Negative keywords allow you to exclude keywords that aren’t a match for you. For instance, if you are a pediatric dentist, you don’t want to show up under dentistry for adults. If you are an orthodontist, you don’t want your ads to get clicked on for knee braces or back braces.
- Not knowing what your competitors are doing. Look at what your competitors are doing (especially if they seem to be having a lot of success!) and then see what you can do to improve your own ads and landing pages. You shouldn’t just blindly follow what competitors are doing, but it is important to have them on your radar.
- Expecting too much. Remember that AdWords is bid driven, so if you have a very small ad budget, you may not be competing for the prime ad placements or your ad might appear very often due to your budget getting exhausted too quickly.
- Not directing traffic to the right place. If a potential patient searches for Invisalign, and your ad takes them instead to your homepage where they have to search for the information they wanted, you may be losing out.
About Google Partner agencies
What if a company tells you they are a Google Partner Agency or an AdWords certified provider? Does that mean they have an inside relationship with Google? Google Partners is a program for advertising agencies, digital marketers, and other online consultants who manage AdWords accounts. It does not mean the company or person has any inside scoop on Google, but it does mean the company has demonstrated AdWords skill and expertise.
Nexunom is a Google partner agency – we have a track record of successfully setting up and managing AdWords campaigns for our clients, and Google acknowledges that.
To become a Google partner, one has to pass assessments and earn certifications through Google’s Academy for Ads. A Google Partner Badge indicates this, as well as showing the company has met AdWords spend requirements, delivered client growth, and sustained and grown its client base.
Once a company reaches Partner status, there are then specializations that can also be obtained. Companies who obtain Partner status may get access to additional trainings and events.
Other online marketing ideas for dentists
There are additional avenues to consider when looking at your marketing program. This ensures that you don’t have all your efforts tied up in just one area, in case that area at some point becomes unavailable. You can use these other methods to ensure you continue to get new patients. Traditional marketing (offline marketing) used to consist of print flyers, brochures, mailings, etc. While they are still good resources, they generally don’t allow you to pinpoint your target markets as easily as internet marketing can today.
Marketing on sites like Groupon allows you to offer discounts and mass produce leads. Both Yelp and Facebook offer advertising opportunities, to put your practice’s name in front of people in your area, who are in your target market.
Facebook allows you to geotarget your ad, meaning it will only show up within your service area, as well as target demographics, as well. Yelp, as of now, does not allow for geotargeting, that means you may be spending money on ads that are being shown to or clicked by users outside your service areas. Likewise, on Yelp, you don’t have control over which keywords your ad shows up for.
But, there are a lot of positives to Yelp. Yelp is widely considered to be the go-to of review sites. Consumers consider it to be reliable. It also ranks its pages well within Google, which could potentially send you more traffic to your site.
If you don’t currently have a Yelp listing, or haven’t claimed your business listing, you may be missing out on a good SEO tool. And just like the rest of your SEO program, there is a lot to stay on top of.
If you want to rank well on Yelp, here are some tips:
- Make sure you’re in the right service category.
- Choose the right keywords you want to appear for, and then update your listing by naturally using those keywords in it.
- Be sure your profile is filled out completely.
- Ask your patients for reviews. You can use a review generation tool like Review Tool to make it easier for you to manage your online review and also automate the process of asking for reviews. Here is a also a guide from Review Tool on how to get more reviews.
- Address negative reviews (more on that later).
- Manage the Yelp review filter. This is Yelp’s way of trying to weed out fake reviews, but sometimes it will weed out great reviews of your practice. See how you can get those good reviews out of the Yelp’s filtering system.
- Be active. If you have special offers or announcements, share them on Yelp.
- Adding images of dental practice, sorting display of images and adding an intro Video (the latter two are only available if you advertise with Yelp.)
- Removing other providers advertisement from your profile page (only available if you pay to Yelp and advertise with them.)
Yelp, when used properly, can be an essential component of your online marketing success. People use Yelp because they want to know what others have to say about a certain business, or to find recommendations. If you have built positive reviews on Yelp, using Yelp ads draws attention to your practice, and those good reviews left by real patients.
The best part about using Yelp is that your ad will be placed directly in front of potential patients at the very time they are looking for a dentist or orthodontist. Yelp ads allow for you to use deals, slideshows, calls to action, and videos to draw attention to your ad and draw in potential patients.
The same is true for Facebook. You can get more impressions, clicks and conversions for only a few dollars a day with Facebook advertising. But navigating what is best for your practice can be difficult, since Facebook offers different types of ads – there are domain ads, offer ads, video ads, lead ads, canvas ads, sponsored mentions. But which one is right for you? Your dental marketing team should be able to set up and manage your Facebook advertising campaign.
If you use Facebook, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of ads. And what you’ve probably noticed is that they cater to your interests. That’s because Facebook makes it easy to target audience by interest and preference. Facebook has a lot of data on you – and they know what you like and don’t like. But to make sure your ad does what you want it to do, you need to first think about what your goal is.
Lead form or a message ad will help you get appointment requests. A reach ad or engagement ad will increase your brand awareness. But, if you combine a reach ad with a call to action, you can do both at the same time – build brand awareness, by also encouraging potential patients to schedule appointments.
When it comes to Facebook advertising, it’s important to focus on targeting your audience correctly. There are more than a billion active users on Facebook each day, but you don’t need to reach all of them. Facebook allows you to target by location, even choosing a mile radius from where you are; along with age, gender, interests, behavior and more.
Facebook ads offer complete control over your daily budget. You can also use images and even videos to capture the attention of your target audience. But there are some mistakes you can make if you jump in headfirst.
Facebook advertising common mistakes
- Not knowing who your audience is.
- Choosing too broad of an audience – not everyone is a potential patient. But, it is important to remember that the narrower you make your audience in terms of demographics, the higher the cost of the ad will become. This is where a dental marketing team can help.
- Getting impatient too quickly – you may not see immediate results, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t working.
- Not taking advantage of all the insights Facebook Ads offer
- Using the wrong ad type, or expecting an outcome that isn’t the objective of the specific ad type that was chosen. For example, if you run a reach campaign, the goal is brand awareness, and you shouldn’t be anxiously anticipating new patient phone calls from it.
- Not creating good ad copy and design that captures both your goal and the target’s attention.
- Running your ad too often can create audience fatigue. Nexunom suggests a maximum of three for ad frequency – how many times, on average, the ad is seen by one person.
Once you’ve figured out your goal and the type of ad you want, then carefully and creatively creating the perfect ad, and then tracking the metrics comes next. But how do you know which metrics you should be looking at?
For lead generation campaigns or brand awareness campaigns, there are several metrics that may be helpful to you. Impressions will show you the total number of times your ad was shown. Reach will tell you the number of unique people who have seen your ad. Frequency refers to the average number of times an individual has seen your ad – this can be important to be sure your audience doesn’t suffer from ad fatigue from being inundated with the same ad too many times.
Click through rate will tell you how many times someone saw the ad and clicked on your opt-in page. But it is important to know that there are different types of clicks on Facebook. There are total clicks (total clicks is all the clicks that happen anywhere on the ad), button clicks (buttons can be Call, Website Visit, Message and etc.) The reason there are numerous types of clicks for a Facebook ad is that there are numerous way to interact with a Facebook Ad.
Leads refer to the number of people who signed up directly on Facebook using a lead form you will carefully create when you create your ad. Currently, Facebook does not email leads to you once they are generated, but you can connect it to your sales management software (if it’s among the ones that Facebook integrate with.) Nexunom uses a software that will let the lead be emailed to you right when they are created, just like your appointment request form on your website.
Cost per lead is another important one because it will tell you how much you are spending for each person who has sent information for an appointment or claimed an offer you set up.
The importance of having a Blog
You can have an excellent website and perfectly targeted Google Ads, Yelp, and Facebook campaigns, but if you aren’t thinking about some other things, you still may not see the success you want.
Does your website have a blog that gets updated with fresh, relevant content regularly? If not, start one today. Blogging, if done right, can boost your SEO results. We know that search engines love fresh content, but you aren’t going to change the copy of your website every day. But, if you are regularly posting new blogs, you’ll be posting new content that the search engines will love. If you have a website that doesn’t have a blog section, ask your SEO team to add one for you. If you have a WordPress site, this shouldn’t be very difficult. Nexunom recommends using a subdirectory called “blog” as your blog’s front page. That means if your site’s homepage is www.dental-practice.com, your blog page should be www.dental-practice.com/blog. Nexunom creates a blog section for all of its SEO clients at no extra cost.
Blogs also give you the opportunity to use keywords strategically and more often. You can introduce new keywords that users may be using, without increasing your ad budget. And if you use images in your blogs, and name them properly with alt-text, you’re giving the search engines an additional way to find you. Blogs can also help generate natural back-links, as well. It can also help strengthen your internal linking structure by linking from the blog posts to the relevant internal pages.
If you share your blogs on your social media pages by linking your blog to your social media accounts, it can provide great content for your audience and followers and can at the same time boost your SEO through the shares, comments and likes and in general, the popularity that your content might obtain on your social media accounts.
The right SEO company can help you craft new, exciting content for your website and ensure blogs are posted regularly to help improve your rankings. A good content team will select related topics that can boost your authority in your field.
Dental local SEO
It’s also important to remember that not all SEO companies may have the experience needed in your field. SEO isn’t the same for every type of business, so you need an SEO team that understands exactly what dentists and orthodontists need. Some businesses need to reach national markets – you only need to reach a local market, so you need a dental marketing team well versed in local SEO.
First, you need to be sure you are focusing on the most relevant communities near where you are. You need to be sure you are showing up on all local maps so not only will your potential patients find you online, they’ll know exactly where to find your practice. That means you need to have a Google My Business page – this is what will show up in the map results for local searches as well as the local three pack. Additionally, you’ll want to be sure you can be found on Apple Maps, Nokia Here and Bing Maps.
If you have a fully optimized Google My Business page, you can offer a great introduction to your practice to potential patients.
Citations are another important way to ensure you’re showing up in local searches. Citations refer to any mentions of your practice name, address or phone number (NAP). You can build citations by listing your business in relevant directories across the web. Look for national, local and industry-specific directories that you can list your practice in. One important thing to remember is that to ensure success, you’ll need to make sure your NAP are the same across every directory listing. Nexunom offers a free NAP citation tool that scans for NAP accuracy and citation completeness scores on important local listing directories.
Online reviews, a potential game changer
Reviews can also give you an edge over your competition. Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp and other directories offer the opportunity for patients to leave reviews. While Google, Facebook and Yelp are the most important (at Nexunom, we refer to these as the “holy trinity of review sites”), it’s good to have great reviews on other sites, such as healthgrades.com, zocdoc.com, and others, as well because the more reviews you get, the better for you. But, you don’t want to divide the reviews among too many sites. The more reviews that are in one place, the more chances potential patients will see them. If you have 100 reviews from patients on 10 different sites, it looks like you only have a few reviews. But, if you have 100 reviews spread out over the big three sites, you have more in one place.
The best way to ensure great reviews is by providing top-notch service – but then, don’t be afraid to ask patients to leave reviews. It’s important to capture the patient’s review immediately, when your excellent care is still on their mind. That’s why it is important to have a system, like our Review Tool, in place.
But it isn’t enough to just rack up reviews – you need to be sure you are managing them, and your reputation. Nexunom has a review tool that makes it simple for you to ask patients for reviews, and even simpler for patients to follow through. And the best part is, our tool gives you the chance to address negative comments to make it right with the unhappy patients.
For many potential patients searching for a dentist or orthodontist, online reviews can be a measuring tool that can either drive those new patients to you, or send them running for the hills.
Nexunom encourages our clients to respond to all messages, both positive and negative, in a timely fashion. This is important because it shows your patients that you care about what they think and are grateful they chose you as their dentist. For negative reviews, if you respond correctly, you can turn a negative into a positive.
Anyone can leave a review, and reviews can be found on a variety of websites. It’s important that you have someone helping you manage your online reputation so that you don’t let one bad review damage your practice’s reputation. For more information on how to handle reviews of your practice, refer to these two blog posts: Online Reviews, and Negative Reviews.
Do you have a mobile-friendly site?
You need to be sure you have a responsive website (which is what Google recommends for mobile sites), one that will adjust its size depending on what device the user is on. If you don’t have a site that can be viewed easily on mobile devices, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. First, Google has said they will rank responsive sites higher, but also because increasingly, searches are happening primarily on mobile devices. Google even used to tag on mobile searches whether a site is mobile friendly or not. If your site isn’t easy to navigate from a smartphone, your potential patient may be going to a competitor.
You can use the Google Mobile Friendly test tool to ensure your site is mobile-friendly. If you have a website that is not responsive or mobile friendly, a redesign would be necessary.
You need Live Chat too
Another important factor for dental practices can be live chat. You want to convert visitors to your site into leads (meaning appointment requests), and a live chat can help you do that. Enabling live chat on your site gives potential patients the opportunity to interact with someone right away, no matter what time they are visiting your site. Many people prefer a quick online chat to a phone call. The chat agent can conduct the initial intake, and then email leads directly to your practice to follow up on. But in addition to that, a live chat can also provide support to existing patients. Our chat agents are specially trained to handle chat with dental and orthodontic patients.
Because you may have leads coming from different places, it will be important to monitor and track all types of conversions so you can see what is working and what might need to be tweaked. You’ll want to track and monitor conversions from calls, appointment or information request form submissions, chat requests, and any other areas you may be receiving conversions from.
Your true return on investment can only be calculated if you know where your new patients are coming from – otherwise, it will be hard for you to know which marketing areas are working, and which aren’t. And that is key to determining your dental practice ROI, and the success of your marketing program.
To properly determine your dental practice ROI, you need to know a few things.
- the number of leads and their sources – this will help you determine if your money is allocated correctly
- the cost per lead for each campaign (this allows you to compare the success of campaigns)
- the cost per acquisition – this can again help you look at budget allocation, and comparison of your marketing strategies. Leads may not be of good quality for one campaign and may not convert to actual acquisitions (appointments scheduled).
- the lifetime value of a new patient – you got the patient, but was it worth the money that was spent to convert them? This will be different depending on the type of practice you have and the services you offer. For instance, an orthodontic practice may spend more on each lead because the return on investment may be higher for each patient. However, a pediatric dentist may not be the same.
It’s also crucial to remember that no matter how great your marketing strategy is, it will be up to your practice to turn those leads into patients – once a patient is ready, your staff will have to close the deal and ensure the patient comes back.
The world of online marketing and SEO can be a tough one to navigate, without the right team guiding you. Nexunom specializes in SEO and internet marketing, and has vast experience working with dental and orthodontic clients throughout the US, Canada and the UK.
Our experts used tried and true white hat techniques that have offered effective results for our clients for more a decade. We work hard to stay on the forefront of the SEO and online marketing world and to create reliable and sustainable results for each of our clients.
If you’re ready to learn more about how SEO can help your dental practice, contact us today at (844) 736-3699.