Google SEO – What you need to know…on 24th June 2019
Naz Haque explains how to harness the power of search engine optimisation (SEO) to bring in more patients and grow your practice
A question I often get asked in my line of work is, what is SEO? It stands for search engine optimisation and SEO makes sure that Google can find you, like you, access and read your content and find out what message you convey. It’s an art and science and takes many years to master.
Why is it so vital for a dental practice today? The reality is that over the last 15 years, society has become conditioned to use Google: 93% of consumers start their decision-making process on Google and read online reviews before buying. In the past, we would rely on word-of-mouth recommendations: if my mum wanted an oven, she would ask my aunt Mary what oven she used and get the recommendation that way. Google has replaced word of mouth and social proof – that’s why Google reviews are taking off. Trust is being built online, not just face to face anymore.
Also, the dental industry historically has had a large number of patients being facilitated by the NHS. But the record shows that the NHS is struggling. Dental practices realistically need to find additional revenue streams, attract more patients, and educate them about what they provide. They need to go out to people, rather than expect people to come to them. If dental practices want to survive in this new world, and want to increase their bottom line and their business, they need to be on Google. If they don’t have a website, they are losing. It they don’t have a website that can be found by Google, they will suffer.
What is an SEO campaign?
All you need to start is a mobile-friendly website, a blog on the website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and a Google business listing. We can help you set these up if you don’t have them.
There are three areas we work on:
• Creating user-friendly, mobile-accessible content
• Relevant content
• Links to your website from other sites.
We create a range of content, include blogs, third-party articles, editorials, PDFs, press releases, presentations and social media posts, and load them with key phrases, which is often a treatment and the location of your practice, eg dental implants Hampshire.
How does it work?
We have to influence Google and gain its respect! Google is a piece of software, a machine learning algorithm. It does not read pictures or videos, it reads content. For us to influence Google, we need to generate unique content consistently on a specific area, for example, dental implants. This needs to be on the practice website and distributed on the internet. It needs to be relevant content, then authority is gained by achieving votes from other websites that Google already ranks highly.
We measure the effectiveness of the SEO campaign in two different ways:
• Visibility. Where is your site on Google compared to previously?
• Difference to business bottom line. We measure the number of emails and phone calls that you receive on a monthly basis to see the difference the campaign is making to your business.
Improvements come within the first four to six months. If you are looking to come within the first three results on Google, that takes six-12 months on average. If you are top of the page, this will result in more enquiries. We can also help with conversion rates from the website: for example, we can tweak the landing page to encourage more enquiries.
One practice we’ve worked with in the last two years is Ace Dental. Principal dentist, Adarsh Thanki, has seen a great benefit to his practice from running an SEO campaign. He says, ‘Google and the website are the second largest patient draw I have. The website, linked to the social media campaigns, has been massive. Our turnover went up by £100,000 in a year due to SEO. This averages out to £200 – £500 per patient.’
As well as numbers through the door, Adarsh also sees a benefit in attracting patients who are more likely to stay long term. ‘Being high up in the organic search gives the practice credence with educated patients who don’t just go for paid advertising. People in this local area are aware of how Google works, a lot of creatives and marketing people live here. SEO allows for a more educated, more emotionally intelligent patient coming through, who’s researched a bit more, a patient who will spend some time and make an informed decision. The SEO patient converts almost always to treatment and they often know more about your website than you do. They reference your website and your blogs and come well armed with a few print outs. They’ve done the research, and chosen you.’
What’s in store for the future?
In the UK, we are seeing a large percentage of the mature demographic, so called ‘silver surfers’, embracing Google and social media. They represent the largest percentage of growing users on Facebook and they are becoming aware of the benefits of internet search. This is a great demographic to attract, due to the fact that they have high levels of disposable income and are likely to need extensive dental work. With this in mind, evaluate if you’re serving this audience with your marketing, or are you excluding them?
At the other end of the age scale, millennials and gen Z are moving over to voice search. In last 18 months, we’ve seen a massive growth in devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. Amazon had its best cyber Monday ever in November 2017 and its founder Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in the world – Amazon Echo was the best-selling item.
And the internet is becoming more and more accessible through multiple devices (eg Fitbits). You need to consider how to push out information to these devices for potential patients using the search. When someone does that query for dental implants in Hampshire, your practice should be found, in the same way as if they are using a web browser on a laptop.
Naz Haque is the Google consultant for Dental Focus. Excelling in business strategy, Google marketing strategies and digital marketing. Naz has provided consultancy services for major blue-chip brands such as Apple, Microsoft, HP and Sony. Through Dental Focus, as an expert in Search Engine Optimisation, Naz helps clients to grow their business, attract more patients, increase their monthly revenue and achieve their dreams.
Established in 2001, Dental Focus helps over 500 dentists in the UK and Ireland attract ideal patients for dental implants, orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry!