Dental SEO is an acronym that stands for dental Search Engine Optimization. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing help potential new patients find information about local businesses. You’ve all used search engines before. I know this because anyone that is reading this article used a search engine to find it. 🙂
If your a dentist for a practice that is mature, meaning you’ve reached capacity for new patients and you’re not accepting new patients, then SEO is not as important to the sustainability of your dental practice. If you’re like most dental practices though, you’re probably looking for new patients. If this is you than dental SEO should be a big part of your dental marketing efforts.
It’s almost impossible in today’s world to use ‘ONLY’ traditional marketing tactics like, radio ads, flyers, billboards, television spots, telemarketing, and other forms of print advertising to find new patients. Most businesses have cut their traditional advertising budgets in lieu of digital marketing because there has been a major shift in how consumers gather and sort through information. When was the last time that you spent a few hours reading print mail advertisements? Now ask yourself, when was the last time you spent a few hours reading information on the internet?
There might be some of you reading that have had success with certain forms of traditional advertising. Print mail campaigns can be very successful as well as billboards. I’ve spoken with hundreds of practices that effectively use those forms of advertising. I have yet to run into a thriving dental practice that does ONLY those forms of advertising.
The best course of action if you’re sold on traditional dental marketing would be to combine the efforts of traditional with digital dental marketing. The cost effectiveness of digital supporting a traditional campaign will dramatically increase your ROI.
Back to the question at hand… is SEO for dentists necessary for new patient growth? The answer is a simple ‘yes’. So, let’s talk about why.
When a potential patient is looking for a dentist they can find out about your practice in several ways. There’s traditional advertising methods as we’ve discussed above, word of mouth and referrals, location, and many types of digital strategies. Regardless of how they found you, consumer research studies have shown that more than 2/3 of all potential patients are going to check you out online before they make a call or come to your office. And, this may be a shocker but the number one place they go to find out about you is your Google My Business page, not your website.
If you’ve never heard of Google My Business (GMB) it’s the name of Google’s business directory. When you search for a local business on Google, the search result page will have a Google map with local business results. The listing information in the Google maps section comes NOT from your website but from your GMB account. Some stats to show how important local SEO is are:
88% of all searches for a local business on a mobile device call or visit within 24 hours.
72% of consumers who did a local search visit the store within five miles.
Why is it that potential patients go to the Google map to research your practice? It’s because of the mapping functionality as well as the patient reviews. According to many recent studies Google reviews and Facebook reviews are considered as valuable as a personal recommendation.
The second most likely place that potential patients go to learn more about your practice is your website. The third place that a potential patient goes would be your dental social media accounts.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s always in that order. Some patients may go directly to your dental website and other’s may go straight to your Facebook or Instagram account. What the data shows is that of all these options the most likely place that a patient will go is to check out your GMB account.