So, you’ve spent time and money to publish a new website for your dental practice. Way to go! You now have a professional digital presence on the web — a presence that you control. The next step is to generate visitors for your website (and potential leads for your dentistry). But how exactly do you do that?
Well, as website owners quickly discover, just because you have a website doesn’t mean you’ll receive any traffic. No one knows you exist! So you need to find your potential visitors. You must make sure your website appears on Google when your potential visitors run a search.
Welcome to the world of online marketing.
Optimizing your website for certain keywords is beyond the scope of this article, but the first step in the process is to find the very best keywords for your website so that when it IS optimized your website appears in search results and gives you the best opportunity to receive visitors.
The Psychology Behind the Search
If someone were to ask you what your website and dental practice are about, what would you say? How would you explain them? As a professional with specialized training, your first instinct may be to use highly technical, very specific terms unique to your industry.
However, understand that your potential visitor isn’t as educated as you are; they don’t speak your language and most likely wouldn’t use specialized terms to find you.
What you believe users are searching for – or should search for – isn’t what users are searching for to find a business like yours.
So when beginning your keyword research, remember that you are a user too! Ask yourself, what would you search for in Google to find a website like yours if you didn’t know your website or business existed.
Dentistry, Dentist, Dentists
Is your website on the correct digital street so that users find you?
When researching keywords for your website it’s important to understand the motivation behind the type of keywords people use on Google. Now what you read next, you already intuitively know as a user…but when operating as business owners we tend to think a bit differently.
The following three keywords each have a slightly different motivation or intention behind them:
Someone who searches for the word “dentistry” isn’t looking for a local dentist but most likely seeks to understand the specific field of medicine academically…or at minimum wants to know the definition of the word.
Meanwhile, a user searching for the word “dentist” most likely understands what dentistry is – further along in their education – and is probably beginning their search for a specific professional…but they still aren’t “in-market” for (i.e. ready to contact and hire) a dentist.
Finally, a user searching for “dentists” most likely is ready to contact and hire a dentist. The intention behind the plural form of the keyword suggests that the user is interested in comparing multiple dental professionals to find the best value. They’re highly motivated and in-market.
Now each of these keywords can be modified by other words which will change the intention of the original keyword, but generally speaking, the above explains user motivation and intention.
So when you’re researching keywords to add to your website, consider the intention behind the specific term you’re using. If you only add “dentistry” to your web pages or use it as a brand (such as “Jane Doe Dentistry”), users will have trouble finding you in Google search results.
Warning: Your Search Market May Not Exist!
Finally, It’s important to understand that, yes, every local market needs dentists. It’s a universal profession that will never die. However, if your particular brand of dentistry is new or unique, chances are there aren’t many users searching Google for specific dentists like you…not yet.
It’s going to take time to build your market.
Search Engine Optimization isn’t a process of “creating” search traffic, it’s a process of “exposing” your website to existing search traffic. So if you offer very unique dental services you will need to think creatively about which keywords to use to draw in related traffic.
And then once users are on your website you must educate the user on what you uniquely offer.