Your Dental Practice and Local Listing

When you visit any online review site you’ll find reviews for every type of business, from plumbers to dry cleaners.

dentist_29aYou’ll find lots of dentists and doctors, too. Health care providers are among the most-reviewed businesses on the Internet.

Online reviews relate directly to the success of a practice, because most patients or would-be patients decide whether to try one based on the reviews they find. A practice with lots of good reviews will always be the first choice. Studies have shown, time and again, that most people give as much weight to online reviews as they do to personal recommendations.

The reviews your practice gets, and that includes any star ratings, affect your website’s click-through rate (CTR). Click-through-rate is a measure of how many people click on the link to your website when it comes up in search results. More people visiting your site  means more of them becoming your patients.

5_star_01aGood reviews and multiple stars equal high CTRs. Research has shown that businesses that improve their star ratings get a big boost in clicks – up to twenty-five percent more when they go from three-star to five-star ratings.

Another study compared the reviews and star ratings for dental practices during periods when they were not using reputation management, against periods when they were. Positive reviews and overall star ratings increased significantly during the time that practices used reputation management.

Manage Your Reputation

A critical step in managing your practice’s online reputation is establishing an account on online review sites and local online directories. This is known as a local business listing.

A local business listing is how potential patients in your area find you. Among other things it includes the physical address of your practice, a phone number, and its location on a map.

There are certain healthcare-specific review sites where your practice must be listed, such as Vitals and HealthGrades. Other important sites include Google My Business and Yelp.

Professional guidance will always get you the best results. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use all of the tools of Internet search marketing to help you reach key prospects who are looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Improving Your Online Reputation

The vast majority of your dental patients and potential patients trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation. Before any of these would-be patients call your office to schedule an appointment, chances are they’ll look on the Internet for reviews of your practice, and use what they find to assess your standing as a dental professional.

dentist_25aThat means it’s essential to devote time to crafting your online reputation.

Positive Reviews

Research shows that forty-eight percent of consumers who find positive reviews of your practice will go on to visit your website. The more positive reviews and high ratings also translates to more patients.

The online reviews left by existing patients have a big impact on where your practice appears in local search results on Google. As we have described elsewhere on this blog, it’s important to have current positive reviews from your patients. How do you get them? As they leave your office you can ask patients if they had a positive experience, and whether they would mind sharing their views online. This has two advantages: it will help you get more positive reviews, and allow you to identify and address any negative experiences before they are written up in a negative review.

social_media_01aSocial Media

A lot of your patients are already active on social media; the younger they are, the more likely it is. Some of them will probably follow you, and start asking questions. These may be specific questions about your practice or general questions about dentistry.

Don’t hesitate to respond to these questions. By answering them, you’ll humanize yourself and your practice. People will, in turn, trust you and relate to you more. It’s an excellent way to boost your online reputation and attract new patients.

Share Information

As a healthcare professional, you have a lot of valuable information at your fingertips. Sharing some of it online is an excellent way to win the trust of visitors to your website.

Share some of your knowledge on a blog attached to your practice website. You can write about anything from dental health issues and dental techniques, to your insights into the profession. You can become a go-to source for valuable information – something your site visitors need and can use. This too will raise your online reputation and win you new patients.

Drawing new patients to your practice is never easy, and it’s a never-ending process.  ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Attracting New Patients

Everyone should see the dentist in order to maintain healthy teeth. Ideally, they’ll be in your office for a cleaning and checkup every six months. Yet nearly half of all Americans say they don’t see the dentist as often as they should.

patient_02That’s not a good way to approach dental health. But look at it another way: there is no shortage of potential new patients for your dental practice. What can you do to attract their attention? In this blog post we present three tips you can use to grow your patient base.

Mobile first
When people are looking for a new dentist they’re going to do their homework. Unless they’ve got a strong recommendation from a family member or friend (see below), that means turning to the Internet.

smartphone_10aMost of us reach for our smartphones before our laptops when we’re looking for quick information. But websites are not created equal. Mobile first means your site is optimized for the small screen. Its content fits comfortably (and automatically) onto those smaller phone and tablet screens. Just as important, its content must be optimized with terms that attract the attention of the search engines.

Use Online Patient Reviews
Reviews written by actual patients carry a lot of weight with potential new patients. They’re the new word-of-mouth – probably more important than recommendations from friends and family. Asking your patients to write a review you can use on your website can give your online reputation a real boost.

How big a boost? Most of us read online reviews before deciding how and where we’ll spend our hard-earned dollars. According to one study eighty-two percent of adults read them at least occasionally, and forty percent rely on them most of the time.

One little hitch: people don’t always take the initiative. Don’t hestiate to ask them. You can do it via email as a follow-up to an appointment, for example. One word of caution, though: don’t offer anything in exchange for a review. It isn’t ethical, and it’s also against Google policy.

Take Advantage of Social Media
More than three-quarters of all Americans have some kind of social media presence, so it’s critical that this is part of your overall marketing strategy.

By using sites like Facebook or Twitter you can bringing your marketing message to a wide audience. These can, and should, include links back to your practice website, where visitors will find essential information like available services, location, and office hours. Bearing that in mind, make sure everything on it is updated regularly.

Attracting new patients to your dental practice is an ongoing battle – but the battle doesn’t have to be uphill. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm that specializes in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Recent is Better: Online Reviews

By now, it is well known that online reviews are important to any small business, whether it’s a coffee shop or a dental practice. Maybe they’re extra-important for dental practices: as we described here in a recent post, dentists are among the most-reviewed small businesses on Google Reviews, and ninety percent of consumers read them before they ever set foot in your door.

12-15-18aOnline reviews can have a huge impact on your bottom line. They are one of the fastest-growing local ranking factors.

But it’s more nuanced than just having plenty of good reviews. In a new survey, the SEO company BrightLocal found that the vast majority of consumers – eighty-five percent of them – disregard online reviews that are more than three months old. That’s up from seventy-seven percent last year.

Forty percent of those responding to the BrightLocal survey said they only care about reviews that are no more than two weeks old. Reviews older than that carry no real weight.

This is a measureable trend. BrightLocal says that as 2018 draws to a close, more than twice as many consumers are relying solely on fresh reviews than in 2017.

smartphone_10aWhat is it about online reviews that makes them so important? For one thing, it’s the way potential customers find out about what you have to offer. They learn about what their friends and neighbors have experienced. It may also be the first time they’ve ever heard of an establishment, so recent positive reviews are critical.

Another thing that makes online reviews so important is that they are really easy to find. Thanks to mobile devices, search engines, and social media, online reviews are ubiquitous. In addition to Google reviews there are dedicated sites like Yelp, and aggregate sites that combine review data from multiple sources. Online reviews are everywhere, and it’s no wonder that most people trust them as much as they do personal recommendations.

The BrightLocal survey also found some differences in the way men and women read online reviews. Men, it says, read them more often than do women. And there is a clear difference in the way men and women see negative reviews: most women believe they require a response, while most men think responding to positive reviews is more important.

If nothing else, you must pay attention to the online reviews your practice gets. Should you respond to them – good or bad? This same BrightLocal survey says that eighty-nine percent of consumers read replies to online reviews. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that responding to customer reviews, whether they are positive or negative, can actually improve an business’s online reputation.

A word of caution about responding to negative reviews: do so with care. The Internet is well-known for its shoot-from-the-hip mindset. An angry reply to a negative review can make you look bad. Customers will read that along with the original negative review; it might make a bad situation worse. Instead, assume the customer is offering valid criticism that you can learn from.

Presenting a positive online image of your practice is a never-ending challenge, but you don’t have to do it by yourself. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. We use the tools of Internet search marketing to reach key prospects looking for what your practice has to offer. Our unique and thorough approach provides visibility, financial accountability, and ongoing refinement and improvement. You can find out more by contacting Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Video Content And Your Website

News flash: no one uses the Yellow Pages anymore.

laptop-phone_01All right, so that isn’t exactly news. Those heavy old phone company listings have long since gone the way of the dinosaur. To find information about virtually anything, including local dental practices, everyone turns to search engines like Google. And that means the online presence of your dental practice is more important than ever before. In fact, it can make or break you.

The centerpiece of your online presence is your dental practice website. This is where you strut your stuff: you describe yourself and your team, the services your offer, and provide your office hours and location.

It is also where you share useful content that site visitors can access for free. This content is important, and it comes in several forms. One is your blog. If a site visitor finds something free and useful via your blog, you just might get a new patient.

smartphone_vid_01aJust as important as your blog, and maybe more so, is video. In fact, it can be integrated into your blog. Video is, across the board, the most popular form of content on the Internet. Studies show that website visitors spent up to 88% more time on a site if it contains video, and increases organic traffic from search engines by more than 150%.

What kind of videos can you incorporate for your own website? Draw on your expertise. You can go on camera to answer questions about dentistry, or about your staff and office. You can ask patients to describe some of the procedures they have undergone in your office, and their successful outcomes. Videos like this, inserted strategically throughout your site, are a compelling way to deliver your message.

They don’t need to be fancy, either. You don’t have to hire a movie crew – you can shoot them with your smartphone. Upload the finished videos to YouTube and embed them on your site. It won’t cost you a dime, and has great potential for bringing in new patients.

And who knows? Your video just might go viral!

You can keep up with these and other trends in dentistry with ProspectaMarketeing.  We specialize in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices with a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To find out more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Trending: Reviews and Reputations in Dentistry

crystal_ball_01Industry prognosticators are constantly looking into their crystal balls to identify social and business trends – and that includes dentistry. The dentistry trends that many of them see include the ever-growing importance of online reviews, and the online reputation of your dental practice.

Every dental practice loves to see new patients coming in the door, and leaving the office happy enough to tell others about their experience. But dentistry is more competitive than ever, so word-of-mouth is no longer enough.

smile_man_03How do you go about getting more positive online reviews for your practice? The best place to start is on your website. It’s essential that your site provides enough interesting and useful information to give visitors a reason to stay.

It also needs to be easy to navigate. One effective review technique is to include links on images that take visitors to a section for posting reviews. Listings on third party sites like Yelp and Angie’s List is also a good way of increasing your visibility.

A downside to encouraging reviews, of course, are the negative ones. They are inevitable. What should you do when you get one? The best response is to write a professional, non-emotional reply that acknowledges the issues raised. If it needs to go beyond that, take it offline.

It is perilous to ignore negative reviews. To do so suggests you don’t care, and impacts your online reputation. Consider this: vast majority of consumers who were asked – ninety-four percent – said a negative online review turned them against a business. That statistic did not address dental practices specifically, but it is safe to assume that it applies.

The bottom line is that reviews matter, and negative reviews have an impact on your online reputation. You can stay ahead by monitoring your online reviews. There are various tools for doing this, including Google Alerts, a free service that lets you search the Internet for any mention of you or your practice. Once you’ve set yourself up, Google Alerts sends you an email whenever you’re mentioned.

You can keep up with trends in dentistry with ProspectaMarketing. We specialize in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices with a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To find out more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Finding Your Practice: Dentistry And Search Engines

smartphone_02_socialThe numbers are staggering: forty thousand times per second, three and a half billion times each day, 1.2 trillion times a year. That’s how often people navigate to Google and types in search terms.

More and more of these searches ask about local businesses: show me the auto mechanics in my town. Show me a tree pruning service. All the pizza places.

This is as true for health care as it is for everything else. Eighty-five percent of Internet users turn to search engines when they’re looking for dentists and doctors. An online presence is critical for any practice.

Search Engines Are Essential!

Your practice has a website, right? A practice website is one of the most vital marketing tools available, because potential new patients read them. If you don’t have one, they may never find you.

Your practice website must be user-friendly, and engaging to visitors. The goal is to convert them into new patients.

It also needs to be mobile device-friendly. Mobile devices – smart phones in particular – are the device of choice for many Internet users, especially younger ones. As recounted here in February, mobile devices were being used in more than 60% of dental searches by the end of 2017, and that is only likely to grow.

Optimize, Optimize

Moreover, your site must be properly optimized. Internet users tend to scan, whether they’re looking at Facebook or your practice’s website. And they prefer tiny bites. The content on your site should be broken into short paragraphs with headings and bullet points, with plenty of images.

Another thing about that content: with any Internet experience, people like to feel they’re getting something from it. Your site should have informative content that is free of jargon, and makes a connection with visitors.

Where Are You?

So how do Internet users find you online? The short answer is via search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Your practice can have a unique listing on local search engine sites. Listings include basic contact information, and also a map showing your location.

There are step-by-step instructions for getting your practice listed on Google My Business, Yahoo Local, and Bing Local.

Properly marketing your dental practice is critical to any practice. It is also a discipline in and of itself. Prospecta Marketing specializes in using the Internet to find new patients for dental practices. To find out what Prospecta Marketing can do for you, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

 

 

 

The Consumer Move To Mobile- What Do You Need To Do?

In 2015 Google announced that the number of searches from mobile devices (excluding tablets) had surpassed the number of searches from desktop devices.Dental Website Visits by Device

While that was true overall, it wasn’t the case for the dental industry, yet. Mobile searches for dental terms still lagged behind desktop searches even through 2016.

2017 – The Dental Year of the Smartphone
That changed in 2017. From March to June the winner of the search traffic bounced back and forth between desktop and mobile.

Once July came, mobile searches never looked back. By December 2017, mobile devices were used in 56% of dental searches and desktops were only 38%. The remaining 6% of dental searches were performed on tablets.

If you haven’t yet paid close attention to your mobile website presence, now is the time!

Changes in the Google Indexes
Recognizing this shift, Google created a new search index specifically for mobile devices. If you searched on a desktop, Google would use its desktop index to find the websites most closely matching your search. If you searched on a phone, Google would use its mobile index to find results.

This mobile index considered additional aspects beyond what the desktop index used, such as the user experience with this website on a small screen, the speed of the website, and the available content.

In November 2016, Google announced that they were moving towards a single, mobile-first index. This mobile-first index means that even if you were searching on a desktop, the results would be based on what Google found on their mobile index. This mobile-first index should be fully implemented sometime in 2018.

So What Do You Do as a Dental Practice?
Do a little sleuthing on your own website. Here are five things you can look at to see if your website is ready for mobile consumers.

1. Your website must provide a great user experience on mobile devices.
Just a few, short years ago it was good to have a separate mobile website with stripped down content and few images. That was when mobile phones and data plans were slow.

Now both the phones and the data plans have improved dramatically. People expect to see graphics on their phones and to easily be able to find what they are looking for. A website developed with responsive design is a preferred way to have just one website that automatically adjusts to the screen size of the visitor.Mobile Site

Pull out your phone and look at your website. Is it engaging? Would it be to someone who isn’t a dentist but is looking for one? Can they easily navigate through the site and even search for content? Can they easily contact you and find where your office is located?

2. Visitors to your website need to easily contact you by their preferred method.
Smartphones add additional features to websites. If the website is coded correctly, a visitor can simply touch the phone number to start the call. Or they can simply touch your address to be taken to a map to provide directions.
With our new Click to Text tool, you can now even allow people to text you from your website! You can receive and respond to texts through a screen on your desktop and continue texting with the potential patient.

As you are on your website on your phone, try touching your phone number or address or even texting from your website. Is it easy? If it isn’t, your potential patients will likely leave your site without contacting you.

3. Your website needs enough content to be found and understood by both real people and the search engines.
There is a constant battle between website designers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialists. Designers want graphics and very little content. SEO Specialists know that if a website doesn’t have content (especially the home page), the search engines won’t know what your website is about and therefore cannot rank it well in the index.

Starting with your home page, look at each page of your website on your phone. Is there enough content that a person could understand what you are about and what you can offer them? Can people easily scan the content to find what they are looking for? Are paragraphs short enough that a reader typically won’t have to scroll to get through them?

4. Your website needs to be fast!
Part of the user experience is having the website load very quickly. In 2016 Google said that “53% of mobile sites are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.”Think With Google

Site speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since 2010. In January 2018 Google announced that mobile page speed will be a ranking factor in mobile searches. If your site is slow it will have a harder time ranking well for any searches.

How fast is your mobile site? Or even your desktop site? Test it out at https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/ and https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/.

5. You need to appear at the top of the search results.
With a smaller screen, fewer search results from the search engines are visible on the screen. Typically, the listings at the very top of the page are Pay-per-Click (PPC) ads. Depending on the size of the screen, only 1 or 2 results are visible on the screen and they are ads.Save As Picture

If you are not using PPC ads for your practice, people will have to scroll down the search results to find your practice on their mobile device. After the ads come the map results in Google. Then come the organic, or natural, rankings.

Ranking in the 1st organic position is good, but not as good as it used to be. It now means that 1st position ranking is really the 6th or 7th listing (and a few scrolls) on the page.

Have questions or want help?
Specializing in sourcing new patients for dental practices online using internet search, ProspectaMarketing has developed a unique and thorough approach that provides visibility, financial accountability and ongoing refinement and improvement. To learn more, contact Lane Anderson toll-free at 1-877-322-4440 Ext 101, by email using the form on our Contact Us page, or online at ProspectaMarketing.com.

Paid Versus Organic Rankings: A Match Made in Heaven?

smiling woman on tabletWe often get questions from our doctors about paid versus organic rankings and why should they keep paying for pay-per-click (PPC) if organic is working well. Or can they get rid of PPC if their organic rankings were to improve? Is paid better than organic? Or is it the other way around?

The simple answer is that it’s like comparing apples to oranges. What is actually important is the great synergy that goes along with running both of them together.

Let’s take a closer look.

Organic Versus Paid—Better Together

A recent article by Search Engine Land cautions against using an us-versus-them approach when it comes to PPC versus organic. They cite the following facts:

  1. Google has made changes over the past few years that have impacted organic traffic—and not in a good way. These changes have resulted in an overall decline of organic traffic. There is every reason to expect that these changes will continue to harm organic search.
  2. Businesses need to embrace both organic and paid search metrics—and let them work together. Ideally, your practice would have paid and organic listings with perfect visibility—but that is simply not feasible from a financial standpoint.

The article further explains how the two work in tandem.

Google research has also shown that even with a number one organic ranking, PPC meant a 50-percent higher click-through rate.

To further clarify, let’s take a look at a real-life example.

What Happens When You Break Them Up

One of our clients suffered an accident at the beginning of May 2016. His PPC was paused for that entire month. We restarted the PPC on a limited basis in June.

You can see from the chart what happened to organic traffic in May without the PPC campaign.  After experiencing steady traffic prior to May, organic dropped to about 88 percent of normal in May and 76 percent of normal in June.

paid versus organic rankings

The next chart shows the average PPC and organic leads for the four months prior to May compared to the average leads with no or limited PPC running for the next four months.

google organic visits chart 2

This doctor’s Google organic traffic and PPC traffic had been roughly equal, as had the leads generated from both.  It is interesting to see that when the PPC was removed fully or mostly, the organic traffic dropped some and the organic leads dropped even more.  We expected the drop in PPC leads (91 percent) but we were somewhat surprised at the drop in organic leads (45 percent).

The practice was not running any other advertising other than PPC before or after the accident.

It is important to state that these data show a correlation between PPC and organic for both website visits and leads. They do not imply causation. Though other studies suggest they are correlated, too.

With our clients, we have found that organic search helps rankings for searches with geography included, such as “cosmetic dentistry Denver.” PPC helps clients show up for pure service keyword searches, such as “dental implants.”

Search Engine Watch has been writing about the overlap between paid and organic search for seven years. Their last report, from July 2016, reported that the landscape had changed significantly from 2015 to 2016 with mobile searches on Google having exceeded desktop for the first time. This resulted in significant changes to Google search results, and paid ads took up a significant amount of space versus organic listings.

It’s a Complicated Relationship

The takeaway is that there are clear advantages to both paid and organic search optimization—and one  is not better than the other. The two share a complex bond, and it’s up to your online marketing plan to get the maximum value out of both—together.

Questions About Paid Versus Organic Rankings on Your Website?

If you aren’t sure if you are maximizing the results of your rankings, contact us at 877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

Can Consumers Tell Which Search Results are Paid Ads?

In a recent study by recent study by SEOBook, 1,000 people were shown screenshots of Google search page results and asked whether or not the page featured ads. The surprising results? Although all the pages shown had ads, nearly half (45.5%) of the people surveyed said there were no ads.

Later when showed search results that had no ads, but included a Google Plus menu bar, 56% of participants incorrectly answered that the search results did have ads.

When asked where ads might appear on search results at top search engines like Bing & Google nearly 20% of people replied that search results do not carry ads.

Results were higher when people were shown search results with a sidebar ad, with 62.9% of people correctly answering that the page had an ad.

What does this mean for my business?

Organic listings and pay per click ads are both very important in directing traffic to your website. As illustrated by this study, people are often unaware of ads if there is no right column ad in the search results.  Sometimes doctors will say that they are not inclined to click on ads but they would look at the organic listings.  The fact is, users are not always clear which is which.  Having both on the page helps improve click through to your website.  We may be thinking about more of a distinction between the two than is warranted.

If you have questions about how to improve results with your internet dental marketing, please give us a call at 877-322-4440 ext. 101

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