There are many SEOs (search engine optimizers) that will tell you it’s complicated and a long process to get listed favorably in Google searches. It’s not necessarily true. There ARE a lot of factors in play, including the amount of local competition you have for particular keywords. It will NOT be easy to get a 1st page listing for “dentist Los Angeles,” for example. However…..
I’ve written and spoken much about the “Long Tail.” You can click on the link to learn more about that, as I’ve blogged about it before.
Many of us add new services to our practices. They may be clinical services, amenities, technologies, or even new “customer service” features. I recently decided to implement an in-house dental plan for my patients with Quality Dental Plan (QDP). I will be blogging about that decision, progress, and experience in the future. Stay tuned!
So easy, a cave-dentist could do it.
One of the great things about website marketing is that it’s so easy to add new content. And, that helps to distinguish your practice from the others… IF you’re willing to put in the effort at creating new and unique content. Over the years, I’ve explained how using canned content and duplicate content (often provided by the website developer) can work against you. Write your own! It’s REALLY important! And, it WORKS. Google likes it. And, so do the prospective patients visiting your website. Content is king, baby!
Here’s the “take home” message… I created and added a webpage to market the new in-house plan. I posted it last Sunday. By yesterday (Tuesday), Google had found it. And, already it’s on the 1st page for a variety of searches relevant to “dental plans.” Booya! In three days!! I don’t think I’d consider “dental plans “ a true Long Tail local search. At least it wouldn’t be way down the tail. Maybe the base of the tail?
Edit to add: I just determined via the Google Adwords Keyword Tool that “dental plans” is searched in my area 1,600 times a month! That’s good news! The keyword tool also said that competition for this keyword was “high.”
I’ve blurred the names and locations to protect the “innocent.” The two red arrows are my pages. My new page about the in-house dental plan ranked at #4, while my home page ranked #5.
It’s about more than rank.
There are some other things worth noting that go beyond the simple ranking on the page. First, let’s look at the #1 listing. It’s a large “corporate” dental chain. The Title Tag (the link text in purple) is not really relevant to the search for “dental plans.” But, look at the “description” (highlighted in blue)! Google can pull the description from the page’s description meta tag OR it may come from content on the page. I suspect in this case, it came from a review or testimonial on the page. And, while I think the testimonial’s negative connotation was likely comparing the patient’s experience at another office, the truncated version in the description just doesn’t look good!
That’s why I don’t like to mix things or put many things on one page. I like to divide each “topic” or “service” into their own webpages. You can’t always predict what Google will pull as the description.
The second and third listings are from a web referral service and don’t really offer much in the way of information to confirm to the searcher that they are where he or she wants to click.
Then look at my #4 listing. Which of the top four do you think will be the most enticing to the searcher? Look at the description of my link, highlighted in yellow. It’s relevant to the search, and it answers the question the visitor is likely asking. Even the title asks that very question. That’s my point. You don’t have to be #1.
But, it sure helps to be on the first page AND have a title and description that are engaging and compelling. Read the previous sentence again! It’s not just about where you rank. The content of your listing in the search results can have a big effect on whether it gets clicked or not.
It’s about Google domination.
I’m not #1… yet. But, it’s only been three days. Again, the point is that you don’t have to be #1.
There’s one more very cool thing that comes with years of good SEO that you can see in my #5 listing here. Look at the very bottom of the image. See those little purple links below the link description? (See the blue arrow in the illustration below.) Those are called “site links.” They are additional links to other pages in the same website that Google thinks will be helpful. It’s just another feature to make your listing stand out in the search results, even when you’re not #1.
My plan is to push my listings to #1, because it’s sport to me. I think this is pretty good for the first go-around after only three days!
Content, content, CONTENT.
If you write good copy that is readable and compelling to your human visitors, chances are Google will like it, too. Many SEOs will emphasize other factors such as link-building while barely mentioning (if at all) how important content is. Creating good, unique, compelling, keyword-rich content is WORK. And, nobody likes to talk about it. Instead, the SEOs talk about what they can sell you… quickly. I’m not saying the other stuff isn’t important. It is. But, I will continue on my soapbox about CONTENT being KING. I’m not selling you anything. But, I am telling you about what really works. Good content serves both masters: Google and prospective patients visiting your site.
Get started on it! Start writing! Get help with editing, grammar, spelling, etc. if you need it. But, the best content will come from YOU.