Updated: Jun 1
Why bother with search engine optimisation (SEO)?
Being on the first page of Google search is one of the key ways of getting patients to your website. If no one visits your site then it doesn’t matter how pretty it is or how much functionality is on it, the whole exercise has become pointless.
So are you looking for more visitors to your website? Are you able to see the direct link between visitors to your site and new patients?
What exactly is SEO?
The Oxford learners dictionary says:
Search Engine Optimization noun
the process of making a website appear high on a list of results given by a search engine
How does SEO work?
In days and years gone by optimising a website was fairly easy to outsource, all you needed to do was find an optimisation company, pay them enough money and you would be number one on Google. The principal way that this was done was by creating back links, these are essentially links on other websites which direct back to your site.
This is a typical link - and this typical link is seen by Google as a vote for your website – after all, if people are putting links on other websites back to you, you must be important right?
Links = votes = more visitors = more patients in the practice.
In recent years Google has recognised that companies which offer optimisation services have been simply placing thousands of links around the Internet, all pointing to their clients’ websites and so Google have looked for other indicators on whether these links should be counted as a vote or not. These mass links are often called link schemes, Google can now recognise them and actively algorithmically punishes the website as a result.
The best way, in my opinion, to optimise a website is to treat Google like a human being.
Forget trying to beat the system, just think of them as human and ask yourself some simple questions about your website. If you wanted to work out a way of ranking websites to show which were the most popular what would you do?
How to know if a site is great
Here’s my logical top list of things that would indicate that a website is good.
People stay on the site for a long time. If they do this then it must be good?
People look at lots of pages. This must mean that content is good and people want to read it.
People don’t bounce back to Google after doing a search and clicking on a link, if they stay on a website then it must have answered that question?
Visitors to the website share it on Facebook, Twitter and around the Internet.
So let’s think seriously about this for a moment, apart from point number four all of the above are to do with good quality content. They are NOT to do with simply paying someone to do your optimisation, people will want to read good quality content which is engaging and from the heart, this kind of content comes from you…
And you alone.
Of course and optimisation company can assist you in providing You with some of this content, particularly after they have carried out the keyword research which is required. There are also technical aspects to optimisation which are discussed here.
However, here are my top tips on how to write engaging content.
How to write engaging content
Your web page should be broken down into 4 key areas:
People all think differently, some people want to know the ‘ why’ about a particular subject before they know the ‘ what’. The temptation is to delve straight into the ‘ what’ type of information.
Take a look at most dental implant pages on dental websites, they normally start with something along the lines of “Dental implants are a screw which fit into the bone blah, blah, bah…” – this is diving straight into the ‘ what’ and gives no indication as to why the reader ought to read any further.
So always begin every piece of content with WHY. Give your reader the reasons why they should read any further.
Why should they bother replacing missing teeth?
Why should they bother paying more money for an implant rather than a denture?
Why is a dental implant usually the preferred option to replace missing teeth?
If you answer the WHY at the beginning of your content you will engage the reader and give them reason to read on. If they read on then it means they have stayed on the page longer and not bounced back to Google – all great for SEO!
Once you have told them why they ought to read more you can give them some information on the ‘what‘.
What does a dental implant do?
What are the other options to replace the missing tooth?
You will find that more patients read this section because you have given them a reason to in the previous ‘ why’ section. The section that talks about ‘ what’ only needs to be short and explains very briefly what treatment is.
Next on the list is to give them some ‘ how’.
How do you go about replacing their teeth with dental implants, what's the process?
How is your great service delivered?
Giving someone the how allows them to explore some of the deeper questions they may be asking, how does the procedure work, how does the costing process work, how can I overcome the problems of missing teeth, etc.
Answer all of these questions in the ‘how’ section.
Finally comes the ‘what if’. This allows your reader to try on the services you are suggesting, you can include sentences like “Patients often tell us that their lives have been transformed after having dental implants, being able to smile, eat and chew, here's what one happy patients there is <<insert testimonial here>>”.
The final ‘what if’ section is extremely important and starts the process of the patient imagining themselves going ahead with the treatment You need to ensure that you include some strong calls to action in this section and suggest that the patient contact you for a consultation.
You may also put links in this section to other resources within your website which could help the patient even more.
So how does all this help with SEO?
Think about it. If you write your content in this way, patients will like it, they will read it, they will engage with it, they will stay on the page longer, they will click on additional links visiting other pages of your website and they will not bounce back straight to Google after completing their search.
Google will see that people like your website, and if people like your website Google will rank you higher.
A further challenge to you is to think about what else you can do on your website which would get people to stay on longer?
Start thinking images, videos, questionnaires and other engaging things for visitors to do.
What if you have an optimised website that attracted a lot of traffic?
You would certainly see an increase in the number of visitors to the website, you would also notice this snowballing as more visitors are attracted, share the site (at inbound link building) which Google notices, and sends more traffic.
I've seen websites go from 200 visitors per month up to 10,000 per month, simply by adopting a good content strategy such as the one listed above.
And with good quality conversion optimisation on the website also, that results in a lot more patients.
What are you waiting for?
Ooh, by the way... Now you know how a web page should be written, take a look at how I have structured this one (why, what, how, what if)… There's the proof right there… You got to the end!