By TJ Fantini, Account Executive & Shaun Spence, SEO Digital Strategist

While paying for SEO has its benefits, we want to empower you with a couple tricks YOU can do to help improve your SEO today. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a way of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through search engine results. Essentially, when someone searches for a specific term, you want your website to appear at the top of the search results.

One important thing to know about improving your SEO is that it takes time; it’s a marathon not a sprint. Typically, it takes a few months to gain traction, and its accomplished by doing lot of little things not just one big thing. Your goal with these steps is to show Google that you are relevant, you’re active, and people care about you and interacting with you.

What we are sharing today is general, do-it-yourself level content. If you read anything that piques your interest and want to know more about how it specifically relates to your practice, give PDA | Marketing Group a call today. We would be happy to set up a Complimentary Marketing Assessment with you to go more in depth into the specifics of your practice.

TIP 1: Collaborate with your community
In order to differentiate yourself, focus on what makes you unique. A connection to your community is part of that. Become the go-to dental professional in your neighborhood because you are so well connected to your area that people know you. Share where you go around town on social media, make yourself visible through various events, groups, and partnership available to you. Some additional ideas are to host an open house, or partner with a restaurant, or hold an event at a school. Not only does this get your name out there in the community, it helps you with content for your social media accounts.

TIP 2: Contribute to your social media profile
When you do an open house or other event, take pictures and videos. Share those images on social media. This is the number one thing you can do as a practice owner to impact your business in regard to SEO. Traffic to your site from social media shows Google that you are an important business that people are already passionate about. This really gets your website to stick to the top of the search engines.

There are companies out there who can manage your social media for you, but the key here is you need to be posting engaging content. Post good, quality photos and images that people will respond to: activities, people, promotions, and fun and relevant information.

Regular posting of engaging materials is important because when you post on Facebook, your image only goes out to 3-5 people initially. If others engage with that photo (like, comment, etc.) then Facebook will distribute that post to other people who like your page. It’s like an avalanche, you have to get the ball rolling. (Pro tip: tag people in your photos. If your hygienist has a birthday, post a photo and tag her in the photo. All her friends will then see the post and like and comment on it which increases the interaction that Google is looking for.)

One of the most common questions we get is how often should you post on Facebook. Based on our 14+ years in dental marketing, we find the most successful Facebook users post 2-3 times a week. About 60% of these posts should be personal, fun posts like birthday wishes, fun events, staff highlights, etc. About 20% should be marketing/promotional posts like free whitening etc. The last 20% should be information or educational posts about things patients should know about dental and oral health etc.

Tip 3: Control your reviews
Reviews are your calling card. In our experience, if you have any less than 12 Google reviews you won’t rank as high in your SEO. You also have a much greater chance of getting noticed if you have 5-star reviews. While getting the reviews is great, responding to those positive reviews is key. This is something not a lot of offices do, but that Google looks at as very favorable because you are using their platform. Your engagement will trip Google’s settings and show that you are engaged and people are engaged with you.

But what if you have negative reviews? You definitely want to respond to them (in a HIPAA compliant way). For example, “We can’t confirm that you are a patient, but we are so sorry your experience was anything less than stellar. Please give us a call to let us know how we can make it right.” Sometimes, negative reviews can be just as powerful for you as positive reviews because it shows potential patients who might be reading your reviews that you hear the problem and want to make it better. And Google will look at your engagement very favorably because, again, you are using their platform.

Tip 4: Harness the power of testimonials
There are three main things all patients want to see when they come to your website: a photo of you, photos of your office, and what patients are saying about you. We can’t put Google Reviews on your website – a big no, no from Google – but we can repurpose testimonials from other platforms.

How do you get these testimonials? Give special attention to those clients who make your job easy. Nothing is more powerful than a raving fan singing your praise. When you are getting good vibes off them – ask them if they would be willing to write a review to share their experience or ask them for a video testimonial.

Tip 5: Video. Video. Video.
When Google bought YouTube a few years ago, we’ve seen a trend toward videos becoming a big driver of how to improve your SEO. When Google comes to your website to rank it for SEO, it has a checklist it goes through: do you have a Facebook link, Twitter link, Google map listing, etc. They are now searching for video. Now please don’t think this means you have to run out and spend thousands of dollars making a Hollywood produced film. All you need to fulfill this requirement for your SEO is have a few Facebook or YouTube videos.

We are not all blessed with the love of being on camera…but really no one watching cares how brilliant you are in front of the camera. As a side note, it’s not uncommon for people who don’t like being on camera to do the best videos. Take a leap, get out of your comfort zone and be yourself. People want to connect with people, not an intimidating professional. (Pro tip: shoot your photos horizontally; Google prefers that format.)

One important thing to remember with video: fun is always relevant. For example, one PDA client sends us a video every month or so to put up on his website that is him and his associate telling each other bad dental jokes. You might ask how that is relevant to getting you patients? Remember, you are competing with big corporations that don’t do that sort of thing. Videos are your opportunity to give a personal touch, show your uniqueness, show patients that you are a normal human just like they are (and not a scary dentist), and demonstrate how you are different.

Get Your Website to the Top of Search Results

Excellent SEO can help you achieve your goals by putting your website at the top of search results and in front of the eyes of the patients who are looking for you.

While the tips I talked about here can help you impact your SEO ranking today, some of these steps take time and planning. If you’d like someone to manage your SEO ranking, management, and social media for you, give me a call today for your Complimentary Practice Assessment.

Our team of industry experts can let you know how your current efforts are working for you and what tactics will help get your website in front of the patients who need you. Fill out the form below or contact me, TJ Fantini, at tj@productivedentist.com or (888) 732-2810.