There were many changes in 2017 and that applies to your SEO and marketing strategies, too. Now is the best time to look at your marketing strategy and how your website utilizes search engine optimization..While most techniques to increase local SEO ranking remain the same, there have been some algorithm tweaks that can significantly give small businesses the upper hand in ranking among their competitors in local search results.
As more people turn to the internet instead of the phone book for their local business needs, many dental practices are realizing the importance of SEO in their marketing strategy and the impact of ranking high in search and local maps results. By not using search engine optimization tactics, you’re putting your business at a huge disadvantage. The practices that saw the most growth in 2017 are those that have adapted to the way customers search for small businesses and embraced online business listings, location search features, reviews, and reached out to social media to make their presence known.
1. Claim Your Name
Many practices don’t know that Google has a Google My Business profile that allows you to “claim” your business. This snapshot of your business allows people to see your hours of operation, your location on a local map and any reviews your business has in one easy-to-read block. Check every search engine and your social media accounts to make sure all the information is consistent. If there are inaccuracies, your business won’t rank as high in local searches.
Make sure to fill out ALL the fields and include your address, city, and local surrounding neighborhoods. This helps Google find your listing and include it in search results. Adding local landmarks is helpful, too, because your business might come up in local searches for nearby attractions.
(Need Help? Download Google My Business Guidelines.)
2. Mobile-friendly Can Make or Break Your Online Presence
Arguably the largest change is making sure your website is mobile friendly. Optimizing your website for mobile devices makes it more visually useful and easier to read on a tablet or phone. Mobile optimized sites also generally load faster than a bulky desktop site.
[It’s estimated that more than half of all internet searches are done on a mobile device.]
Google recognizes this trend and recently announced that they will be ranking your web site based on the mobile version only. Basically, this means if your website isn’t designed with a mobile phone or tablet in mind, you will NOT rank in their searches. By making your site as simple to use as possible, you are increasing your likelihood of having a potential patient click through to your website choose your office over a competitor.
3. You Can’t Control Every Factor of Your Online Reputation
Since the advent of online customer reviews and ratings, it’s impossible to control 100% of your brand presence online. Patients have many options when choosing to review your practice and it only takes a single 1-star review to undo months of careful planning and marketing. Managing how the public sees your practice as well as getting your clientele to leave exemplary reviews are a few ways to buffer yourself from that one customer that can’t be pleased.
Managing positive reviews and handling any issues before a patient gets to the point of leaving a negative review is fundamental to managing your online reputation. Reputation management is a must to growing your online presence and increasing your ranking in online searches.
4. Revisit Your Strategy Often
The tried and true SEO guidelines still apply…for now. As the internet continues to evolve, you need to stay on top of the subtle changes to keep your ranking on top and maintain the visibility of your website. You need to regularly revisit what worked, what didn’t, and make the necessary changes to get your site in front of potential patients.
This includes using the right keywords on your website, making sure all your information is the same across the web, utilizing the map search results and reviews ranking features, optimizing mobile-friendly features of your website, and looking at sites that rank higher than yours to see what they are doing differently.
Keeping these simple steps in mind can help you rank higher in searches and get your business profile in front of more eyes, resulting in more click-through to your website.