There are a lot of myths surrounding SEO but here are 3 dental SEO truths for 2019 you need to know. It’s been many years now since dental practices started concerning themselves with some sort of an online presence. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, simple dental websites began to pop up to serve as a “new” type of Yellow Page ad.
Shortly following, several search engines rose up to help people find these sites. And it wasn’t long until investing in search engine optimization (SEO) became as important as website design.
Here we are now, nearly 20 years later, and the truth is that things are completely different than they were in those early days. A clear understanding of three fundamental SEO truths is important for any dental practice wanting to market their services in 2019.
1. Old school SEO is dead.
The way it was:
In the old days, an SEO expert could simply “optimize” a website to get higher rankings. These often involved tactics that were crude and disconnected from the business. You could simply pay someone money, they could do their magic, and you could expect results. No need for involvement beyond that.
If you had your SEO done in this way, don’t feel ashamed. Paying for the latest “optimization trick” was essential in 2005 to get the rankings you wanted above your competition. And different tactics were needed in 2010…and then again in 2015.
SEO in 2019:
Today, most dental SEO tactics you have had deployed by SEO teams in the past are no longer relevant. Google has released many updates that have refined the term SEO entirely, thus erasing the advantages of performing SEO in these “unnatural” ways.
Dental marketing today requires a holistic approach. Websites need to be smartly structured and contain convincing and appropriate topical content.
Also, an appropriate multi-faceted marketing plan MUST be followed that establishes you as the clear leader in your location for the services you render.
Additionally, technical SEO is not to be minimized. More than ever, because of the ongoing progression of changes in internet technology, a regular plan of technical SEO is essential to keep your website and associated social platforms and directories tuned up.
However, this truth remains, dental web marketing absolutely requires more involvement from you! Your collaboration is key to the success of any agency you hire so that effective content can be created and appropriate connections can be made.
2. Page one promises are a lie.
The way it was:
For many years, everyone chased page one and position one for keywords relevant to their industry. You, no doubt, consulted a keyword list and discussed with your SEO specialist ways and possibilities of climbing up in the search results for keywords you wanted to own.
In a way, those days were easy. And emotional. How many times can you remember, late at night, Googling “dentist” and the town you practice in, finding your rank had slipped and you were nowhere to be found. The next day, no doubt, started with a phone call to your SEO agency.
SEO in 2019:
Much has changed in the last few years. Search results are no longer static! To say that you have a specific ranking or placement in the search results for a specific keyword phrase is just not true.
The truth is: Every searcher is different, and search results are determined depending on the person who searched. Your results will differ from your neighbor’s. Someone entering the search from a different country will get a different result. Heck, if you search the same keywords yourself a few times, results will change for you.
Once again, SEO today requires a much more holistic approach. Creating a site that is topically organized and built, rather than stuffed with keywords, is super important. Websites should include many pages, each on its own topic, and these pages should be validated, to prove to Google you are the expert in your line of work.
Most dental practices need more content, better structure, and more specialized meaningful pages. Ongoing custom blogs should also be written to target valuable long-tail keywords. Agencies must collaborate with you regularly to produce content that gets you found ahead of your competition.
3. Engagement is as important as search.
The way it was:
In the past, SEO work didn’t include much engagement from the site owner at all. Deploying the latest technique to get ranked could be done by someone in a dark room from anywhere without any input from you whatsoever.
While those days may have been easier from your standpoint, it wasn’t sustainable. The end result produced a very messy internet with lots of really really bad and disconnected content. It had to change!
SEO in 2019:
Engagement and usability have become as important as search. At many levels, getting new business from online marketing is a collaborative effort between you and your agency. Here’s how you can collaborate for success:
- Reviews. A regular flow of reviews is necessary to beat your competition. Engagement by looking at and responding to these reviews (good or bad) is essential and can make a huge difference in both your ranking and your reputation.
- Website. Your website must be about your patients, not you. Your engagement with your patients should be evident by authentically written content that keeps your customer’s persona (ideal customer) in mind.
- Blog. An active blog demonstrates to the world you are engaging with the community. Besides helpful articles, your blog should relate your personality and reflect your relationships with your patients. Responding to comments in other blogs also goes a long way to making you #1 in your industry.
- Links. Nope – you can’t just buy links anymore. And yet, to rank, you NEED them. People will want to link to your site AFTER you’ve engaged with them. Engagement often starts in real life first.
- Social. This is an engagement platform. Just pumping out impersonal messages won’t cut it. A progressive agency will always encourage you and your team to post meaningful content to your active social platforms to maximize success.
- Lead generation. Your website is a machine built to gather leads by use of forms and various techniques. Fine-tuning this machine is the work of a lead generation specialist but does require input from you. How can you engage with potential clients on your website? Give them something of value, so they will naturally decide to come to you for a specific service.
- Lead nurturing. Growing a list of interested potential patients will go nowhere without follow up. Engaging with leads further through email and/or in-person results in getting more new patients whom you love!
- Email marketing. Email marketing provides an ongoing engagement method that can continue for years. Through managed lists of interest, visitors can be turned into patients by ongoing contact through email.
Every good marketing plan should acknowledge and hopefully include these key elements. But the truth remains: Each of these elements requires some engagement from you!
Rethinking SEO is essential for all successful dental practices today. Whether you like it or not, being the most popular kid on the block requires you to actively do things that make you the most popular kid on the block. You can’t be the king of the castle if you are no longer on top of the castle.
As you can see from the SEO truths above, neglecting your SEO will mean falling behind the pack. If reading this article has raised questions in your mind, please feel free to voice those questions below and we’ll engage with you further!
- Updating, upgrading, and republishing old blog posts can increase traffic by 100% or more. (source)
- Longer content CRUSHES shorter posts. (source)
- Backlinks are still the number one most important ranking signal that Google uses. (source)
- Site speed makes a huge difference in rankings. (source)
- SEO is not a magic turnkey solution where you can pay someone to do all of the work for you. (source)