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3 ways to maximize SEO performance to increase your new-patient flow

Diana P. Friedman, MA, MBA, is president and CEO of Sesame Communications. (Photo: Sesame Communications)
Diana P. Friedman, USA

Diana P. Friedman, USA

Thu. 24 October 2013


The Internet has fundamentally changed the way dental practices acquire new patients. Today, more than ever, where your site shows up in search engines will determine how much traffic and how many new patient calls are generated from your website. This makes sense given that recent research shows 97 percent of consumers (prospective patients) search for local businesses online.[1] This bodes well for dentists, if they navigate their SEO strategy well.

Making SEO work for your practice

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the “process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's natural or unpaid (organic) search results.”[2] The right SEO strategies, supported with the right website, will help your practice attract and convert more prospective patients. Here are three ways to optimize your search engine efforts.

1) Make sure your website experience is optimized for any device

By 2014, mobile Internet use will surpass desktops.[4] Today’s mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes. Your practice website must optimize viewing experiences for any type of device prospective patients might use.

Until recently, building two websites (one for desktops and one for mobile devices) was the only feasible solution to this changing Web traffic pattern. Today, a more optimized method (and one recommended by Google) exists. By adopting certain design principles, known as responsive design, you can create a website that looks and functions effectively across all devices and screen sizes. Responsive design makes it easier for search engines to index a site, improving the site's ability to be found in search results.

2) Feature video content

Prominently displayed videos on your site will engage visitors and increase the chance they’ll stay engaged. Forty-six percent of website visitors see video as a key reason for them to learn more about a product or service.[6] Video content is also great for SEO.

Video causes visitors to spend more time on your website, which will prompt search engines to increase your relevance ranking.

3) Use the right keywords

When searching online for services you provide, prospective patients are likely to use certain words and phrases. Including the right keywords in your website copy where appropriate will help your site show up higher in these searches.

Ask a few patients which search terms they used — or would use — when searching for a dentist. Then, weave these words and phrases into your website copy. Be sure that your website makes numerous mentions of the services you offer and your location.

Final thoughts

Many, if not all, of your prospective patients use online search as a starting point when seeking out the services you offer. SEO helps your website get found by more prospective patients, ultimately allowing you to optimize your site as a tool for acquiring new patients.

Note: This article was published in Dental Tribune U.S. Edition, Vol. 8 No. 9, September 2013 issue. A complete list of references is available from the publisher.

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