If you have a dental practice website then you want it to work, otherwise it's a completely wasted resource!
For a website to work, in my opinion you need to have 2 primary functions in place.
- Traffic optimisation.
- Conversion optimisation.
Without either of the above the website becomes ineffective.
If you had wonderful traffic optimisation and 100,000 visitors to the website per month yet only had a 0.001% conversion rate then you would only have 1 new patient per month. This scenario is highly unlikely to give you a good return on investment on your website.
Equally, if you had wonderful conversion optimisation with a 100% conversion rate yet only had 1 visitor per month then you would still only have 1 new patient per month. This scenario is equally highly unlikely to give you a good return on investment from your website.
You ALWAYS need traffic and conversion optimisation working hand in hand. If you work with a search engine optimisation company and all they do is get more traffic to your website then, in my opinion, this is completely worthless unless conversion optimisation is also worked on.
In my experience I have found that a dental website needs to be performing in the following areas:
Each of these five key areas provides an excellent way to audit your own website, so open your website now and compare your site with these performance areas.
This is pure search engine optimisation and includes (but is not limited to) the following areas:
Website title, description & headers - these should accurately reflect the content of each page. Every single page on your website should have a different title, description and headers.
Image alternate tags - these describe images for people with visual impairment, Google is able to read the description and may give a slight boost your website if the descriptions are relevant.
Text - Google is (currently ) unable to read text on images. For the moment at least we need to ensure that we have excellent and expansive content on your website which uses a range of keywords and phrases that people type into Google. If Google isn't able to understand what your website is about and/or it is not relevant to what people are actually looking for then Google will not send traffic to your site.
Inbound links (votes) - if your website is good then people will talk about it, Google knows if people are talking about your website online because it will notice the links back to your site. The more of these links you have then the higher you will rank in the search results.
Link authority - but it’s not only about volume of these links. If you manage to get a quote about your dental practice and a link back from the BBC website then this link would have MASSIVE authority. With this one single link you would almost certainly see a huge improvement in your search engine results
Internal linking - Google is able to crawl around your website following all of the links. If you have orphaned pages (pages with no links) then this is an indication to Google that this page is not important, think about it, if you had a really important page on your website such as the dental implants page then you would obviously link to it from multiple other places within the site! If your dental implants page is an orphan, with no links from anywhere else then you are indicating to Google that your implants page is not very important… And Google may choose not to rank it very highly.
External linking - good quality links out from your website to high quality sources can help your website be seen by Google as a useful resource. Example, let's say you're talking about dental implants and want to communicate more about bone grafting, linking to a good quality bone grafting information website could help the way Google sees your site is a useful resource.
Good usability helps both the user and your search engine optimisation, Google ranks some usability factors quite highly.
Video -having videos on your website enables patients which like to see visual moving images and/or listen to audio engage with your site more. Particularly patient stories and testimonials.
Calls to action - in marketing terms this is telling someone what you want someone to do from your website, every single page should have a very specific action that you want the patient to do… This could be download a guide, request a free consultation, book an appointment, send you a message or phone you.
General enquiry - you should have an ability for a patient to make a general enquiry, this should be separate from the request an appointment form.
Request an appointment - you should have a specific request an appointment form which potential patients can complete requesting an appointment at the ideal day and time, this should then drop into an automated e-mail marketing system which follows up automatically.
Flow through the website - your website should flow smoothly and guide patients, try to think big and then narrow your thinking down, for example:
Straightening crooked teeth (the problem) > Invisalign (the solution) > Invisalign cost (potential questions about the solution)
As we granulate the problem down into solutions and questions you can have separate pages on the website, this means patients can be guided through from their general problem through to potential solutions and then answer the questions about those solutions.
Put quite simply social media is word-of-mouth marketing on steroids. Your website should have a simple facility (usually a button to click) which encourages patients to share the page they are on with their friends on social media… It sounds simple but can work really well to get your website shared.
Is your website focused around trying to sell treatments or help patients? A website that is dedicated around selling will be focused on YOU… A website which is dedicated around helping patients will be focused on the user. The latter will be considerably more effective.
Social proof - social proof is the technical marketing name for testimonials and reviews, you should be collecting these on Google and Facebook and then displaying a selection on your website. Testimonial videos can also be used to enhance this.
One of the things we want to do is to get your website working over the long-term for EACH user. Most websites only work whilst the visitor is on the site, the best websites manage to capture visitor details whilst the visitor is on the site, if we do this then we can continue to communicate with that person over the long-term. This means your website doesn't just work for the minute or so that each visitor is on, if you can capture their details then you can drop them into an automated and extremely gentle relationship building marketing system.
In the next blog posts in this series we are going to look exclusively at this gentle relationship building marketing system, we will look at how to use it on your website, how to automate it and how to ensure your website works 24/7, never sleeping, never tiring and continually providing new patients for the practice… Until then.