Marketing for dentists takes a lot of thought, consideration, and most importantly strategy. Through all the talk of domains and pages and social media, the goal always stays the same: to create a website that caters to your patients’ needs. A gaggle of dental marketing ideas exist, and while they’re likely all effective to a certain degree, nothing beats a solid web design and SEO strategy.
A well thought out medical website design should be easy to navigate, responsively designed, attractive, simple, clean, and SEO friendly. Without these components, your site visitors could likely be frustrated by your website and turned off, thus resulting in the loss of a patient.
Combining your practice’s website design with SEO is one of the best things you can do to maximize the efficacy of it. A strategically designed website will connect with users, resonate with their needs, and encourage them to take action.
What is Web Design?
Web design is the complex process of creating an entire website. It requires extensive planning and foresight, as well as expectations of how you want your website to perform and what you want it to do. Medical website design involves designing how your web pages look, how they appear on various devices, the production of content, and the development of various website elements, like buttons and banner graphics. Each of these elements come together to create a website, and play a large role in how well your visitors experience the website.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of designing a website and creating content that influences whether your website is indexed by a search engine and how highly it ranks on the search engine. The higher a page ranks in a search engine, the more likely it is to be clicked by an individual. Studies have shown that those whose websites rank in the top five of Google and Bing tend to get nearly 90% of the traffic from searchers, and those at number one get the majority of that percentage.
There are several factors that play a role in SEO. From site architecture to content, Google uses an unknown algorithm to determine how to rank your website. Some of the basics include attaching alt tags to images, so that search engine spiders, which crawl through websites to read content, can determine what the image is of. Your title tag, which appears at the top of your page and in search engine results pages, should include relevant keywords that read naturally. Meta descriptions are the short description that’s included below the page title in search engine results. This description should reveal what the page is about and play a part in getting users to click through to your website. This means that you want them to sound as if they’re written by humans, for humans, and that while they don’t help your website rank directly, they do help the algorithms detect engagement.
How does web design and SEO work together?
The real magic happens when web design and SEO are brought together. While many businesses and individuals try to accomplish these two tasks separately, to truly integrate the two you must start at the very beginning of the planning stage. Knowing what you want helps to kick off this stage and ensure it is successful.
From the moment your web designer starts working on your website they should be thinking about things like how your URLs are structured. Ideally, they’d include keywords that are relevant to the page’s content, yet aren’t too long or wordy.
Your website should include an XML sitemap that’s submitted to search engines like Google and Bing, so they can more easily comb through content. More and more usability and accessibility are being factored into how well a website ranks. Search engines evaluate how engaged users are with your website and whether tools like photo descriptions are used and alt tags are attached to photos.
An easy to navigate and easy to use website often has much higher engagement rates than poorly designed websites. Additionally, websites that are well designed often hone in strategically on their actual intention and don’t use filler or miscellaneous content to just take up space. Each word, each sentence, and each image is strategically chosen to maximize content, reach the audience, and take effect.
Signs of Quality Content
Understanding what constitutes quality content in the eyes of a search engine is an important part of designing a website.
- Engagement metrics, like how often someone clicks a link to your website, the bounce rate from the site, and overall interactions with a website tell a search engine how well your website serves people.
- Links to your website are looked at like votes from the web. The more links to your website from high-quality websites, the better your website looks to search engines.
- Social sharing is another component of SEO that search engines take into account. If an article you write is particularly compelling and relevant to your audience, people are likely to share it on Facebook and Twitter, which ultimately helps bring people to your website, thus increasing engagement rates.
Working With Your Web Designer
If you’re looking for dental marketing ideas, the best place you can start is by looking at competitor websites and sitting down with your designer to talk. Tell them what you like and what you don’t like. Think about how you found your competitors’ websites and what keywords you used. What made you click through? Answering all of these questions will help the designer consider the SEO behind the sites you looked at and how he or she can integrate that strategy into your website.
Medical marketing takes a lot of work, however, when you combine your website design with SEO you’re essentially turning your website into a marketing powerhouse. This powerful combination allows it to give answers to patients, provide useful information, and capture leads over time. Your website can be incredibly effective when developed in such a way that people can easily find it, access it, and share it.