What exactly is SEO and how can it be used to attract new patients to your practice? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, it’s the little things you do to your website to help it appear further up Google’s search results.
So, why is focussing on SEO so important? Think about it, what is the first thing most people do when researching something that requires spending money on? They “Google It”.
This behaviour shift has made it more important than ever to have a strong presence online because if you’re not doing it, you bet your competition is; and that’s where your prospective customers will go.
We know that SEO can seem like a daunting task but if you break it down and have the right tools to automate and streamline where possible then it doesn’t have to be as mammoth as it may appear. Even though there is a whole industry dedicated to helping you get to the top of Google, there are also some key steps that you can bear in mind to help you achieve better results.
Here are a few little things you can do take make your SEO life easier:
“Are You Local?”
Google returns results based on the users’ location, so you need to check whether your practice is appearing in the Google search results when potential patients Google “Dentists near me”.
Make sure your practice address is up to date; not only on your website but across your social media platforms. Another way to appear in the search results is to use Google My Business, this platform is dedicated to helping your business standout and will appear after a search.
Content is King
Google’s search engine algorithms look for relevant content that uses keywords related to your industry/ business.
The idea is that your content is the best piece of information related to the searcher’s query, so if somebody searches “Dentist” or “Dental Procedures” if you have content around these subjects matters, Google with seeing you as the most relevant website to show.
You’ll also need to make sure that your content is original has no typos or grammatical errors; keywords are important but don’t go over the top with “keyword stuffing” as Google could penalise you.
Keep it Fresh
Your website needs to be kept fresh and up to date and you can do this by regularly uploading new content such as blog, team member announcements, patient testimonials and offers or new treatment information. Regularly updating your content doesn’t have to be time-consuming if you keep it short and relevant.
The idea being is that Google can see that your website is being updated and is regularly in use. It’s like having a practice with boarded-up windows; nobody would visit, they would assume you were closed, same is true with your website.
An online booking facility will also maintain a high level of activity on your website at the same time as giving patients and prospects 24/7 access to your practice.
Is Your Website Mobile-friendly?
Did you know that more people use their mobile phones to search the internet vs desktop? Hence why Google recently updated their algorithm for mobile- first indexing. This means that Google will make a record and promote websites that are mobile-friendly over desktop websites.
So, make sure that your website is suitable for mobile devices -if you have to enlarge your website by pinching your fingers across the screen means it’s NOT mobile responsive.
Review Your Online Reviews
Do not underestimate online reviews, they are a key element of the research and buying process, and this works across all industries, so having positive reviews on your website will fill your potential patients with confidence.
Encourage your patients to leave reviews on Google or Facebook, with Google My Business it makes it even easier to leave glowing feedback.
Fear not if you receive a negative review, it happens to the best of us -the worst thing you can do is to ignore it. Address the issue and resolve it in a professional manner as this will turn it around and show you in a positive light.
Use your practice management system to increase your search rankings
According to recent data from digital research provider StatCounter, Google is the most widely used search engine in the UK (just over 90%). With an online search being by far the most popular method of researching, this means the power of Google and the importance of owning your Google search is huge.
EXACT V12 practice management software can help practices boost their Google ranking with functions such as Online Reputation Manager. This is an automated system which can be set up in a ‘kiosk’ in reception to prompt patients to leave a review. The software then automatically emails positive reviewers encouraging them to re-post their review via their social media accounts. In this way, you can quickly increase the number of positive reviews being posted online, raising awareness of your practice and boosting your Google ranking.
EXACT V12 also helps you ensure your patients have a good customer experience. Online booking at a time to suit them, easy registration via electronic forms and timely automated recalls and reminders can all be managed by the practice management software to ensure a positive experience. Word of mouth recommendation has always been one of the most powerful ways of attracting new patients, but practices now need to recognise that patient-to-patient referral now happens in a different way – via positive online reviews on Google and across popular social media channels.