How to feed Google what it really wants
How to feed Google what it really wants
It’s in Google’s interests to acknowledge and reward fresh, relevant and unique content

When it comes to search engine rankings, content has always been king.

These days, many patients looking for a treatment or practice will start their journey in a search bar. And quite simply, if you’re near the top of the listings they see, you’re far more likely to succeed in winning their business.

There are multiple steps that any practice can take in an attempt to achieve good search rankings, from paying for ads to claiming a place on Google Maps. However, maintaining your site’s content can be one of the most valuable and productive uses of your dental marketing budget.

Content proves to Google (and other search engines) that:
– Your dental practice is real.
– Your dental practice is active.
– You know the industry well.

Search engines need website content to survive; without it, there’s no way for them to understand what your site is about. It’s therefore in Google’s interests to acknowledge and reward fresh, relevant and unique content. This is why its CORE algorithm updates are always focused on content, alongside mobile first and speed.

Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and automated box ticking – these systems are evolving, they’re sophisticated, and they want the real deal.

Why does my practice need a blog?

1. It’s a chance to add fresh content

A dental practice website will typically feature a homepage, ‘contact us’ and ‘about us’ pages, testimonials, and a number of pages outlining treatments.

Beyond this, unless a new treatment is added, your content is fairly static – once it’s in place, you’re unlikely to make many changes. A blog section is therefore the only way to keep your page count increasing and to provide other ways of creating a theme, or area of expertise, for your website.

For example, if you wish to gain rankings for orthodontics terms, you need to prove to Google that you’re the leader in your local area. Creating monthly posts around straight teeth, braces, Invisalign, and so on, will signal to Google that one of your main treatment subjects is orthodontics, and they will rank you higher for this.

2. It makes your site bigger, which equals better

Each time a blog post is created, a new page is added to Google’s search index. Increasing the physical size of your website will see it classed as more important when compared to a competitor who may only have 20 pages indexed. Amazon, the BBC and Wikipedia all rank highly, and one huge contributing factor to this is the number of pages they have indexed within the search engines.

3. It’s an easy way of link building

Adding new pages also increases the potential for internal linking. Within a blog post you have the opportunity to link phrases to your main treatment pages; for example, you might include a sentence such as “if you’re nervous about going to the dentist, dental sedation may be offered during your treatment”, with ‘dental sedation’ linking users back to the main sedation page. The more links a treatment page has coming into it, the higher the page will rank.

4. It aids the vital ‘research’ phase

Potential patients also like to read and research, so blog content isn’t just essential for your rankings; it’s a way to grow a relationship and build trust with existing and new patients. Helping readers to research and find the answers they’re looking for can be just as effective as employing a hard sell. In fact, 34% of buyers make an unplanned purchase after reading quality content.

Does it really work?

More than a third of high-earning bloggers (those who make over £40,000 annually) say the demand for high-quality content is greater than ever. Blog posts remain the most effective form of content over email, e-books, and white papers, and 84% of companies now have a content marketing strategy.

Those who utilise blogging for marketing purposes see 13 times the ROI of businesses that don’t. On average, companies that blog produce 67% more leads per month.

As an example, we’ve been providing regular blog content for a practice for over six months. Within just two months of this optimised content beginning to go live, we saw a marked increase in traffic, with a rise from around 7,500 visitors per month in January to over 15,000 per month in March. Ranking gains also followed, with the practice jumping up as many as five places (to rank #2) within six months, for location-based searches including ‘orthodontist’, ‘teeth whitening’ and ‘private dentist’. For this client, the efficacy of blogging has been clear – and of course, this is only one example of client successes.

If you’ve lost traffic and ranking, you may want to carry out some competitive analysis to see what other dental websites – those that are beating you organically – have that you don’t.

How can I optimise my content?

Convinced about blogging? Great. But it isn’t simply enough to throw out a new blog post every now and then. To see the best possible results, content should be target driven and written with SEO in mind.

1. Do your research

There are many factors to consider when you’re starting to create blog content. First, which keywords and phrases are you actually targeting? If you’re writing about a topic, is anyone going to be interested? Regularly researching and reviewing your keywords is a must.

2. Make your words count and post regularly

Post length and frequency can also impact your success rate. While several short articles (of around 500 words) can be effective, an article of around 1,000 words or more is ideal. Even longer reads (3,000 words or more) receive 3.5 times more backlinks than average-length articles.

3. Aim for the featured snippet

Ever seen a handy answer to your search question near the top of a Google results page? This is called a featured snippet, and it’s provided when Google believes it has found the one true answer to a search. It’s also prime search real estate, placing your website above all others in the rankings.

Writing blog articles that answer specific questions helps to improve your likelihood of ‘owning’ this slot. Featured snippets need to be short and succinct, so answering a common question in around 40-50 words (perhaps in an article introduction or first paragraph) increases your chances.

4. Optimise your imagery too

Alongside the written word, it’s also worth considering your imagery. A massive 90% of the data your brain transmits is visual, so having well-optimised images and well placed video is crucial. This also means that you’re including – rather than alienating – any patients with visual impairments, who might be using a screen reader.

Need some help?

While content is vitally important, it can also be cripplingly time-consuming. We work with clients to provide blog content services, meaning that we take the whole process off their hands and ensure that efforts in this area fit strategically with their SEO goals.

Our blog creation service ensures that you receive well-written monthly blog posts (over 1,000 words per post, with images) that will contribute to Google’s algorithm. In turn, this increases your rankings for competitive key phrases, which leads to higher traffic and converted patients.

If you’d like us to kick-start your content marketing strategy, or to take a look at how we can help with SEO, get in touch with our marketing team.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Management Consultant
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please get in touch.
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