In this three-part series, I’m going to share invaluable information about Internet marketing for dentists. First, I’ll define website rank and traffic, then explain how these two factors impact new patient calls. In the second article, I’ll briefly explain SEO and shed light on the simplicity of metadata. I’ll also explain how metadata affects a website’s rank. Then, in the final article of this series, you’ll learn 10 ways to grow your dental website’s traffic and improve its rank, with the direct goal of increasing new patient calls. If your website needs help, call me, Shauna Duty, owner of Identiwrite Creative and seasoned dental copywriter. I’ll help you establish a plan, with checks and balances, for developing a website that leads your marketing strategy, and your business, to greater success.
The word “grow” has always been a verb, an action word. Grow has two meanings: 1) to naturally, physically develop toward maturity, often resulting in greater size; 2) to increase over time. A plant can grow. An investment can grow. Today, however, we use the word differently than we did just a few decades ago. Some grammarians dislike the current use of “grow,” but time marches on despite the purists, and language evolves. All that said, today I’m going to write about how to grow your website, or how to make your website grow. The two factors that contribute to website growth, in terms of popularity, are rank and traffic.
You do not have to pay per click, with AdWords, to rank high on Google. You do not have to pay for advertisements on Facebook to see new patient calls increase. Your website can rank on page one of Google search engine results if it is properly optimized and maintained.
Even if you think rank is unimportant, and you plan to send visitors to your website by promoting your URL (domain name or website address), disregarding SEO best practices is simply a waste. There is absolutely no reason that your website cannot be on page one of Google for the keyword phrases your potential patients use to search for a dentist online. Ranking high is free. You just have to earn it.
Website rank refers to the position a website holds in search results. Google has, by far, the greatest market share of all search engines, so it is usually the standard for assessing rank. To check your site’s rank, you’ll need a list of keyword phrases. The list can be arbitrary – made up of the words you logically believe that your potential patients type into Google Search. The list may also be based on research. Commonly, Google AdWords Keyword Planner is used to determine keyword phrase popularity and competition.
If you use the Chrome browser and have a Google account (that is an account for any service Google owns: Gmail, YouTube, AdWords, etc.), you must go into settings to change to incognito status or open a new incognito window. By doing this, Google will not factor your personal search history and Internet habits into search results. Then, one by one, enter your keyword phrases into Google Search and look for your website in the results. Ideally, you want to be on page one. However, you may not find your website in the first few pages. I usually search to page three, then stop. If a site does not show up by page three, the likelihood of it attracting new patients by ranking is minute.
Website traffic has great impact on new patient numbers. You can have a gorgeous, interactive website with a million bells and whistles. If that site does not draw visitors, it will do you little good, regardless of how much time and money you spent developing it.
The more potential patients see your website, the more traffic your site will attract. If your site can convert visitors to callers, traffic will have a direct impact on how many new patient calls you receive. From there, your receptionist must take the reins and convert callers to booked appointments.
We rely on Google Analytics to determine traffic for a website. This free service involves placing a tracking code into your website, then simply waiting for Google to acquire data. With Analytics, you can learn a lot about your website traffic, in addition to how many visitors your site sees over a particular period of time. Google Analytics will show you how long visitors stay on your site, which pages they visit, what device and browser they use (smart phone, tablet, computer; Google, Safari, IE, etc.). These are only a few bits of data Google Analytics provides. The information your Analytics account delivers should help you develop or tweak your marketing plan to see even greater traffic, and more targeted traffic, in the future.