How to get found on Google and attract new patients
60% of dental practices are taking positive action to increase patient numbers. Are you?
If your clinic has been around for a while, you’re sure to have loyal patients. But patient loss is an ongoing reality. People move away, pass away, or simply have a lack of motivation to book an appointment.
As a dental practice, your purpose is to help patients achieve better health outcomes. When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO), you start achieving these outcomes by being easily found online as soon as your patient seeks treatment.
Ultimately, the more patients that can find you, the more people you help.
But how does this process start? By getting found online.
It’s 2019. What are the most powerful tools for attracting new clients?
Obvious to some, overlooked by many, SEO is one of the most effective tools for attracting patients online.
How did clinics attract clients 20-30 years ago? Probably through newspapers, yellow pages or word of mouth right?
The reality is, nowadays, most, if not all potential patients look online. This is the modern consumer expectation. So, relying on directories such as the yellow pages to attract new patients is now an outdated approach.
Right now, SEO and online customer reviews are the most valuable tools you have to get found online – and stand out from your competition.
What is SEO, you ask?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), in the most basic sense, is how well you rank and get found on Google.
There are a lot of factors that go into SEO, here’s a few you should know:
1. Keywords are useful
When it comes to SEO, keywords are the phrases that potential patients type into Google.
So, if you’re a dental practice in Auckland CBD, there will be a number of keywords you can work into your web content that will help you get found on Google when patients search this.
As an example; a keyword may be ‘dentist Auckland CBD’ or ‘Auckland CBD dentist’.
2. Content quality and consistency
Another factor of SEO that is important to be aware of is the overall quality of your content.
You want your website to have clear information about your practice’s services, dental health tips, and everything a potential patient may be looking for. All of which should be professionally written and presented.
Google takes note of this quality. In addition, consistency is also taken into account. So for example, if your website has inconsistencies such as ‘road’ and ‘rd’, Google picks this up, and will penalise you for it.
3. Online reviews: measuring customer satisfaction
Nowadays, impressing Google is vital to website effectiveness.
Incorporating SEO keywords has been talked about a lot, but something just as important to Google is patient reviews.
Did you know that, on average, consumers read up to 10 online reviews before they trust a business? Statistics like this really put the importance of customer satisfaction into perspective.
Customer reviews online help your practice in two ways:
- Get found on Google. Google is interested in quality websites and reliable businesses. If you have lots of positive reviews, or helpful responses to negative reviews that show you care about your patients, Google will rank you higher.
- Attract new patients. Just like in any industry, clients or patients trust each other. If you provide a platform for measuring customer satisfaction on social media and your website, potential patients will see that you care.
Be tech-savvy and attract new patients with this checklist
- Re-engage with lapsed patients. Patients may be lost temporarily, but this can be changed by taking action. Use practice management software tools to send consistent correspondence, following up with patients and encouraging check-ups.
- Consistently modernise your website. In this day and age, most clients expect a tech-savvy experience. If your website is difficult to navigate or isn’t mobile friendly for example, potential patients will look elsewhere.
- Use social media. In addition to advertising, use social media as a platform for customer reviews online, as a tool of measuring customer satisfaction, and attracting new patients.
- Use SEO; be easy to find. You wake up with a toothache at 2am. What are you going to do? This is where ranking high on Google is advantageous, both for your practice and for prospect patients trying to find you.
Websites are a patient’s first port of call when searching for a dentist
You’re easy to find on Google, and a prospect patient has clicked on your website. The quality of your website is now crucial to ensure that the prospect patient makes an appointment.
So, if you take one thing away from this article it should be this; the quality of your website should reflect the quality of your dental practice.
It’s 2019, and consumers make decisions based on your online image. So if your website is ranked low, navigates poorly, or has negative responses to complaints, patients are going to go elsewhere.
More and more, dental practices are being expected to treat their patients not just as patients, but as customers too.
This means providing a great customer experience, from the second you get found on Google to the time your patient books a repeat appointment.
To help our communities improve their health and wellbeing, we need to help people find and access the services they need, which is why SEO is so important. Without this first step, we can’t achieve the health outcomes we aspire to.