One minute you think you have Google all figured out, and the next they push a change to their algorithm that blows your old strategy out of the water. It’s a fast-paced online world that is dripping with content, so dentists who want to stay on top need to understand current digital marketing trends and how they affect their business plans.
Digital Marketing Trends for 2018
Well over half of all Google search queries come from mobile devices—for dentists, it’s up to 68 percent. The king of search engines has emphasized mobile-friendly websites for several years already, but this year mobile websites are becoming the default.
This means that when Google indexes your website to determine your place in search results, it’s going to look for your mobile site before it looks for the standard desktop version. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you can guess how that will affect your ranking.
While you can have a separate mobile site, or use a plugin to make your site mobile-friendly, it’s best to build from the ground up with a responsive design that adapts to whatever device is being used.
You can check to see if your site is mobile friendly simply by entering your URL into this tool.
Reviews are a Big Deal
Would you care to take a guess as to how many people use online reviews to pick their dentist?
It’s around 90 percent. Reviews in all the right places have become a very important factor for patients who are shopping for their next dentist. Too few reviews or a poor rating can not only deter a patient before they’ve ever found out how nice you are, but they can even eliminate you from search results completely.
Just like how I sort my Amazon searches by rating, Google lets your potential patients filter out dentists with less-than-perfect ratings before they even see the local results page. Reviews are already an important ranking factor for Google, so dentists need to focus on generating positive reviews if they want to be successful in 2018.
Video Content Is King
People love videos—as evidenced by the fact that 87 percent of people say video is their preferred form of content. Video content gets 1,200 percent more shares than text and images combined, and is likely going to represent 80 percent of all online traffic by next year.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. While that might be true, some experts estimate that one minute of video is worth about 1.8 million words online.
You might be wondering if this holds true for dentists. It does! Even if it’s a simple walkthrough of your office or an introduction, video builds trust, and two-thirds of potential patients will visit your website after viewing a video.
Create videos about your team, your community, and dentistry and post them to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
Use Featured Snippets
Have you ever searched for a recipe and found the instructions conveniently featured in a box at the top of the results page? That’s a featured snippet, and you just proved that they work!
But if you give away the content before they go to your site, where is the value? Featured snippets are very trustworthy to users, who can already see that your site has exactly what they are looking for, which is why the clickthrough rate is a mind-boggling 32 percent.
If ranking #1 is good, then ranking #0 (where snippets are technically ranked) is even better. All you have to do is produce the right kind of content, positioned to answer a question, and then share it on your blog.
While it’s a bit technical, you can learn how to use structured data to make search engines love you so much that they put you above the search results without having to pay them a nickel!
Update Your Digital Marketing Strategies
In the Internet Age, things change pretty fast. Billboards and radio spots are less useful than a viral Facebook post, and Yellow Pages have gone the way of the dinosaur. Get your digital marketing strategies up to date and you can attract more qualified leads for your dental practice.