Google Snippets and Your Dental Practice

Google snippets are short pieces of information (snippets) you sometimes see in Google search results. They’re usually shown at the top of the results page, and answer specific questions.

Most of these snippets come from pages that rank in the top ten of search results. By improving the content of your dental practice website you increase your chances of appearing in a snippet, and boosting your site’s traffic.

google_02a_tabletRight now there are three types of snippets that apply to dental practices:

  • Review snippet. This appears with a person icon. Review snippets are drawn from online reviews left by your patients.
  • Website mentions. These appear with a globe icon. The snippets appear when a service your practice offers is part of a user’s search terms.
  • Post snippet. This type is marked with an exclamation point icon. This snippet appears when a search term is found within a Google post.

We have described the importance of online reviews to your practice elsewhere on this blog. If you’d like to increase your ranking for teeth whitening, for example, you can ask your whitening patients to share their experiences. Research has shown that asking a patient for a review will give you a higher rating.

There are several ways to ask your patients to leave you a review:

  • Put a review form on your website, and let patients know about it
  • Add a review widget to your site
  • Use a review request email template
  • The direct approach – ask for reviews in person

Remember, though, that it is not ethical to offer incentives for reviews, and is also against Google policy.

For website mention snippets and post snippets, professional guidance gets you the best results. ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience, including with Google snippets.

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.

Internet Search: More than Search Engines

Google has been the search engine of choice for years, and there is no understating the importance of getting a high ranking in its search results. But there are other search functions out there, and they too are important to the marketing of your dental practice.

smartphone_11a_vidAs a case in point, consider YouTube. As we have described elsewhere on this blog, video embedded into your dental practice website is an essential part of its content. To put it plainly, most of your site visitors will prefer watching a short video than to reading.

YouTube is by far the most most-used video site on the Internet. Industry observers say it is searched three billion times each month, making it second only to Google in search traffic. Your videos may be embedded on your site, but they should live on YouTube. They need to be properly optimized so more people will find them when they search there.

Your videos should be built around a keyword, an informative word that indicates what content is about, and that search engines identify. Did you make a video about teeth whitening? Then “teeth whitening” should be its keyword. It should appear not only in the video’s title, but in its filename and its description.

laptop_06a_vidProperly optimizing a video is probably more important than the video’s appearance. A do-it-yourself video shot on your smartphone, and uploaded with minimal editing, is fine. After all, you have an excellent subject matter expert: yourself. Video is the driving factor between most Internet search traffic. So draw on your expertise and make informative videos. Embed them on your practice website, and share them on social media, too.

ProspectaMarketing is an Internet marketing firm specializing in helping dental practices reach their audience. By using the tools of Internet search marketing we 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.

Texting: An Ideal Communication

We still call them smart phones, but they have become much more than a mobile telephone. In fact, text messaging has emerged as the most popular form of communications – not just among teenagers, but all Americans. If your dental practice isn’t using text messaging to communicate with your patients, you’re not taking advantage of cost-effective technology.

text_01aTexting is a highly efficient way to communicate with your patients. At your end, there are texting apps that run from a laptop or desktop computer. It’s a simple way to make things a little easier on everyone involved.

One of the best uses of texting in dentistry is an appointment reminder. It’s an uncomplicated strategy: send a patient a brief text reminding him or her of an upcoming appointment – when it’s, say, one week away. Request a reply: the letter Y for Yes, confirming the appointment, or N for No, indicating a need to reschedule.

Simple and effective, right?

Alternately, you might text a patient to say you have an earlier slot on the same day of a scheduled appointment. “Would you like to move your appointment to 2:30?” you might ask. Once again, request a Y or N reply.

text_02aWhen it comes to text messages and your practice, though, there is one catch: be sure to get the consent of your patients before adding them to your text list. Legally speaking you don’t need permission to text something like an appointment reminder, but you do need it before texting marketing or billing messages.

It’s a good idea to keep texting etiquette in mind, too. End any exchanges with a polite thank-you. And send your text messages during normal business hours. Who wants to get a reminder of a dentist appointment at 10pm?

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.

Your Dental Website = Online Presence

Not so long ago, business websites weren’t much more than electronic pamphlets that listed contact information, the goods or services a place had to offer, maybe a picture or two – and not much more.

code_02aThat all changed in the early 2000s, with the advent of Web 2.0. The Internet became more dynamic; website design could seamlessly integrate audio and video along with text. Sites became more visually exciting, and – perhaps above all – placed a greater emphasis on the user experience.

But the web has continued to evolve, and today many small businesses, including some dental practices, wonder whether they even need a website anymore. This is largely due to the influence of Google. Search results today include its Knowledge Panel: those boxes on the right side of results pages that include a business’s address and phone number, operating hours, and other basic information.

Some have gone so far as to call Google the new home page for small businesses.

We heartily disagree: you still need a website for your dental practice. Google’s Knowledge Panel can be useful, but there is a complete lack of content that is relevant to your practice and to your patients. And you need to have good online content.

under_construct_02aYour dental practice website remains the center of your online presence. In most cases it is the first impression that potential patients get of what you have to offer, and the place where you set yourself apart from every other dentist in town.

Equally important: the more site visitors you get (what is called traffic) the higher you’ll rank in search engine results, which in turn means more patients.

Your website is also your most important tool for networking with other local businesses, which further establishes you online and in your community. As we discussed in a prevous blog post, your online reputation is critical to the success of your practice.

Relevant, fresh content is essential, and you must keep your dental practice website up to date. With search engine optimization, your site’s content is written and presened for maximum efficiency in localized search results. People who find and visit your site become interested in your services.

Modern websites are faster and better than ever. They are designed with the industry’s best practices, meaning your patients have a better online experience browsing the site and booking appointments. They are also less vulnerable to security breaches, so patients feel better requesting sensitive information.

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.

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.

High Expectations: New Patients For Your Dental Practice

Dentistry is an excellent profession in many ways. Dentists are respected members of their communities who get the satisfaction of helping others, and if you own your own practice, you get to be your own boss.

dentist_20aBut it’s also increasingly competitive. Just getting through dental school took a lot of effort, but once you hang out your shingle you’re competing for patients with every other dentist in your area. That means you’re going to have set your practice apart with services that not everyone offers. It also means you must market your practice to build a solid patient base, and so potential patients know you’re there.

Running a small business is difficult for anyone. And you didn’t study business, you studied dentistry. How are you supposed to know how to run your practice so that it is profitable? You’ve got to administer a budget and manage a staff, all as your main focus stays on providing excellent dental care.

It can be intimidating, and even overwhelming. Marketing a dental practice today is not what it used to be. Consumer expectations are high, and you must have a sense of the marketplace. Did you know, for example, that women make more than ninety percent of all dental buying decisions? As a group, they also make purchasing decisions differently than men; they want to be fully informed before committing to a particular dental practice.

dentist_21aPut another way: consumer expectations are high. Your would-be patients want the best they can get – for themselves, and for their families. They also expect information about you and your practice at their fingertips.

Attracting new patients to your dental practice is not easy, but you don’t have to do it on your own. 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.

Video Content and Your Website

There is no denying the importance of video content on your website to raise its profile, and awareness of your dental practice among potential patients. A picture, after all, is worth a thousand words.

youtube_05_phoneThe simple fact is that most website visitors prefer video content over reading. It’s easier to consume, so it keeps people in their comfort zone. But it also builds trust, and resonates with them in ways that text cannot, evoking a greater emotional response by presenting human attributes like facial expressions and tone of voice.

Videos on digital platforms are expected to harness eighty percent of online traffic over the next year. YouTube is the second most popular social network after Facebook, and statistics that emerged about it in 2018 are remarkable. Consider:

  • Every month, six million hours of YouTube videos are watched
  • YouTube receives one billion unique visits monthly
  • Nearly one hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute

There is no escaping the fact that video content is emerging as a dominant factor in digital marketing, for everything from dental practices to donut shops.watching_01a

The tools for creating unique video content are probably within your reach at this very moment: that smartphone in your pocket. You can use it to create simple but informative videos to draw in new patients.

You don’t have a background in video production? Not to worry. Your site’s visitors are not as demanding as you might think, when it comes to the quality of your video. Sure, most like decent production values – but research shows they care more about the content of a website’s videos.

How much do they care about video content? Three of every four users who watched a website video explaining a product or service went on to try it. Explainer videos on your website’s landing page can significantly boost your conversion rates by helping visitors make informed decisions. That alone should be enough to convince anyone that video belongs in their marketing plan.

Integrating video content into your website may seem like a daunting challenge, but expert help is available. 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.

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.

Bad Strategy: Review Manipulation

Whether you’re a dry cleaner or a dentist, you need positive online reviews from people who have used and liked your goods and services. The more of them you get, the better off you are: they help drive new business, and help you rank in Google search results.

google_01The quest for more and better online reviews has led some businesses to try to manipulate the process: engaging in shady practices that, in the long run, do more harm than good. These practices include paying for positive reviews, offering incentives to customers, and recruiting friends or family members to leave you glowing reviews.

Bad ideas, one and all. Trying to influence online reviews with contests or other incentives is against Google’s Terms of Service. When any business does it, it is almost guaranteed to result in Google deleting the reviews. They could also be fined by the Federal Trade Commission.

woman_01aIt’s tempting to think Google won’t find out, but the chances are they will. Someone will turn you in. It might be an unhappy customer, a former employee, or one of your competitors. But someone is probably going to notice, understand it’s against the rules, and notify Google. It happens all the time.

Strategies that run afoul of Google policy include:

  • Review contests. This strategy enters reviewers into a contest. Google explicitly prohibits offering incentives – products, money, or other prizes – in exchange for reviews.
  • Offering free or discounted services. Google forbids businesses from offering reviewers discounts or free services for their reviews, even if it’s something inexpensive.
  • Review-gating. With this practice, a business takes customer reviews, but only the positive ones are posted online.
  • Review swaps. You review my business, I’ll review yours: that’s the basic idea. It may not be a deal with the devil, but it too is against Google’s TOS, which says clearly that reviews should reflect a genuine customer experience.

Each of these practices will result in some kind of penalty from Google, usually the deletion of the reviews in question.

Google, as a search engine, loves fresh content. This is one of important things about reviews, and why you should be seeking new and positive ones. It just needs to be done within the guidelines. As we described in a previous blog post, there are simple, effective techniques you can use to boost the quality and quantity of your Google reviews.

Getting your practice noticed by potential customers is an ongoing challenge, but you don’t have to do it alone. 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.

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