IF YOU’VE EVER WANTED YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE TO RANK HIGHER ON SEARCH ENGINES this post is for you. And if you’re currently paying a search engine optimization (SEO) company to do your dental SEO and help your website rank, this post is required reading.
Over the past several years dental SEO has been primarily about two things—keyword dense content and inbound links. What that means is this… If you wanted your website to rank higher on Google, Yahoo, and Bing search results you had to have more inbound links, better inbound links, more keyword dense content, and better keyword dense content than the next dental practice.
Why Dental SEO Used To Be This Way
The ability to easily track links and content has helped Google, Yahoo, and Bing evaluate whether or not your website should rank higher than someone else’s. Links are like votes. The more votes you have the more valuable your website. If your inbound links come from more reputable websites than the next website’s links, then your votes are worth more than someone else’s.
With keyword dense content, search engines looked at “search phrases” on your site to see if they were the same phrases consumers were using. If that was the case and search engines saw a correlation, your site would rank higher.
For purposes of discussion I’ve presented this complex process in a very elementary way… But the concept is really that simple. The difficulty in providing effective dental SEO has been competition. As more and more companies offered SEO services, more and more content and links had to be created—all in an effort to convince (bamboozle) search engines that your website was more important than the next website.
Along Came Social Media And The Landscape Started Changing
Today, a gigantic transformation is in process. In an effort to provide the most useful, relevant, and highest quality search results, search engines have begun incorporating social signals (Likes, +1’s, shares, retweets, etc.) into the algorithms that rank websites. Why? Because social signals are also easily trackable, just like links and search phrases. And equally important, it’s an unadulterated way to evaluate the value of a dental practice’s content.
If a practice isn’t producing content (or, if the practice is publishing lousy content that nobody cares about or responds to), search engines determine that the practice has less relevance for consumers. On the other hand, if a practice’s content is engaging—as demonstrated by more Likes, shares, and interactions (social signals)—it raises a huge orange banner that says, “Hey… Over here! I’m valuable, and other people think so too!” Every search engine’s purpose is to deliver relevant results to consumers and higher social engagement directly correlates to relevance.
Social SEO Can’t Be Faked
Another critically important aspect of social SEO is that it’s extremely difficult to manipulate or fake. With traditional dental SEO, practices could hire companies to write all their keyword-stuffed content and build out all of the links. You didn’t have to do anything… And, that was a great sales pitch. You probably heard the phrase, “We’ll help you get to the top of the search engines, you’ll get tons of new patients, and all you have to do is write us a monthly check!” And for some time now, that has worked. But now that social signals are becoming a bigger and bigger piece of the algorithms (to deliver truer and more relevant search results) you just can’t hire someone to do it for you. You have to be involved.
“Why Do I Have To Be Involved?”
Why does your practice have to be involved in strengthening social signals? Let me answer that question with another question… “Have you found someone that can do it for you without you being involved?”
Social signals are created when your patients and prospective patients interact with you online. That means they’re actually talking to you by sending messages, Liking, commenting, sharing, posting, reviewing, +1’ing, or pinning your content. You can’t hire an offshore link building company to do that for you. It’s all done transparently and openly for the world to see. That’s what makes it real and relevant. That’s what search engines want to deliver.
Even if you could find a company to manage all of your social media for you so that you didn’t have to think about it inside your practice, you’d need to look at how much engagement it’s receiving. If there is no engagement, there’s no benefit. Remember that social SEO tracks signals and signals are created when someone is actually interacting. So if there’s nothing going on… Well, then there’s nothing going on.
Social SEO Depends On The Involvement Of Your Team And Your Patients
Are you a practice that’s ready to benefit from effective social media marketing? Do you want to start down the road of reaping social SEO rewards? Is a team member in your practice willing to spend 10 minutes a day engaging with your patients and prospective patients via social media? If so, let’s visit. We provide a solution that supports your involvement. Our creativity, content ideas, and strategies combined with a few minutes of your time creates the kind of success you’ll wish you had started enjoying years ago.
It’s an exciting new day for SEO. Looking at the changes that have happened in the past few months, and anticipating those that are yet to come, traditional SEO is rapidly becoming social SEO. Get involved and have fun with it. Start communicating with your patients and strengthening those relationships. You’ll be amazed how the benefits extend well beyond better dental SEO, including more referrals and new patients, greater case acceptance, higher patient LTV, less patient attrition, a happier team, and increased career satisfaction.
References & Other Resources:
8 Ways Social Media Affects Your SEO
How Social Signals Impact Search Engine Rankings
18 Social Media SEO Resources to Improve Your Search Ranking
How Social Media is Changing the SEO Industry
SEO Ranking Factors (Searchmetrics)(includes image below)