How to Update Dental Websites
From picks and probes to those circular, miniature mirrors, dentists use countless contraptions to clean our chompers. But websites may be the most important apparatus they have in their toolbox. Don’t think so? Terrible metaphor aside, let’s consider your site's numerous functions.
For starters, your website is often the first experience prospects have with your brand. As we mentioned, 77 percent of the population uses search engines to locate a new healthcare provider. And once users find you online, they’re most likely clicking to your site. In addition to serving as a digital representation of your practice, your website is a lead magnet for new patients and a portal for existing ones. From scheduling appointments to updating client information, the functionality—and purpose—of dental websites has only increased.
What drives traffic to dental websites?
If you haven’t put in the time to modernize and update your website, you may be falling behind your competition. However, we know that there are other responsibilities on your plate as dentists and dental marketers. So, for the sake of time, here are five things you can check in less than one hour to make sure the dental websites you manage are up to snuff.
1. Add custom photos of your team and office.
As we continue to reiterate, the modern patient journey almost always begins online. But aside from your practice’s webpage, what else do you think that prospects first encounter? Your Google My Business (GMB) listing.
Remember the old-school yellow pages that listed local businesses? Consider your GMB profile a digital directory. When users search for your practice, these listings appear on the righthand side of their screens—and take up quite a chunk of real estate. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your posting is optimized.
In addition to ensuring your phone number, address, and business and service offerings are accurate, it’s important to add a little personality. According to some studies, approximately 65 percent of people are visual learners—so adding pictures can help increase more than half of your prospect’s memory retention. Be sure to use high-quality, custom photos. And avoid stock photography at all costs! Luckily, phone technology has improved immensely. If you can’t afford a professional photographer, a couple smartphone snaps will often suffice.
Claiming and maintaining your GMB listing increases you chances of appearing across hyperlocal search and map pack results. And as we wrote about last week, prospective patients demand a modern retail experience that’s fast, secure, and clean. Sharing pictures of your sparkling office helps bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. And by showcasing your staff, you can put a face to their names—which can help humanize your company.
2. Record patient testimonial videos.
Patient reviews are an essential tool for building public reception and trustworthiness. However, they’re also a building block of search engine optimization (SEO). In 2018, Moz included review signals as a critical local search ranking. So, when paired with a glowing, five-star review, testimonial videos also spread the word about your practice.
How so? Videos are actually watched. According to HubSpot, more than half of people want to see more videos from brands or businesses they support—which is more than any other type of content. It also improves retention rates, as up to 95% of users retain the message of a video.
How do you get happy patients to write—or record—reviews? Just ask. Based on some research, seven out of 10 consumers will leave a review if asked to do so. Video testimonials, of course, require a little extra planning. It’s important to simplify the process. Decide whether you want to interview clients or have them submit their own videos. The more details you provide, the better. And the easier you make it, the more likely your clients will respond.
3. Update your blog and write relevant content.
Yeah, yeah. You probably know that blogging emerged as the next big thing years ago. And it was for many businesses. In the past, many marketers may have told you to think of a few relevant keywords, stuff your content with those terms—and hope for the best.
So, is blogging like…still relevant? You betcha. It’s just grown up a bit. For dentists, writing relevant content in 2019 (and beyond!) means focusing on prospects and patients. Most importantly, content should resonate with consumers. It should be targeted around their needs and address any lingering questions they may have about your line of dentistry. For example, if you’re a periodontist, you may develop content that helps assuage any concerns about gum surgery. Or, if you’re an orthodontist, you may produce articles about adult braces.
Need more help? From matching keywords to user intent, to focusing on readability, refer to our list of tips for writing a healthcare blog.
4. Remove outdated content.
You may know that increasing the amount of high-quality content builds repertoire with your users and helps you improve your standing with the search engines. However, did you know the same is true for removing low-quality, outdated content? Basically, removing old content—in a process we refer to as content pruning—helps ensure that search engines are putting emphasis on the content that matters.
Sometimes, you can salvage old content by updating outdated elements or combining related topics. In these situations, your blogs may still have value for both users and your rankings.
However, if you simply can’t improve your content, it’s important to let things go. If you chose this route, it’s important to figure out the correct course of action. For example, redirecting your content helps migrate search signals to more relevant content. And adding “noindex” tags means that users see your content, but search engines do not. Ultimately, deleting content entirely helps ensure that it’s no longer discoverable to both users and search engines.
We’ve already reviewed how low-performing content does not always indicate low-quality content. Instead, it’s important to identify the root of the issue. This can range from technical issues to quality concerns. An audit helps ensure that SEO fundamentals are applied across all your content efforts—and that your content is targeted appropriately.
5. Test all links and contact forms.
While this step may be a little more straightforward, it’s equally important. After all, testing for functionality ensures that you’re delivering a cohesive user experience to all customers, regardless of their stage in the buyer’s journey. To start, make sure you test the following:
- All outgoing links
- All internal links
- All external links
- All links that connect with an email address
It’s also important to test the forms on dental websites. Contact and signup forms create an indispensable feedback loop between your practice and your clients by providing a place for users to get in touch. It’s important to check that they’re properly installed and asking for the right information.
What should you be asking? A HubSpot study found that reducing the number of required fields to three or four requirements led to nearly a 50% increase in conversion rates. This means that you should be asking for only the important information. For example, we suggest first and last name, email address, and phone number.