Thursday, September 13, 2012
Everyone is jumping on the online marketing bandwagon, including dentists. There is little doubt that websites, Google searches and social media are having a profound effect on how people find and choose a dentist. However before you jump on that crowded bandwagon here are some general online marketing terms you should know.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This is a basic one everyone should know by now. It refers to keywords, content management and a host of subtle things like links and updates that Google and the other search engines use to determine what websites to recommend when a user types in a search word. Here’s an article I published on my blog outlining steps you can take to improve your website’s SEO.
Pay Per Click (PPC): SEO is useful, however, the only way to guarantee that your web site is on the first page of Google is to buy it. That is to bid on a key search word like dentist or veneer. Using a complex formula Google will then place your display ad on the search page results when a user types in the keyword you have purchased. You do not pay for this unless a user clicks your ad, and then you pay per click. The cost of a keyword will vary based on your location. For example the keyword “dentist” will cost you $12 to $15 per click in a major city but could be less than a dollar in a small town.
PPC is the primary way Google makes money, and it must be working because last year Google brought in almost 38 billion dollars.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO): This measures how many website visitors become customers, or in our case patients. It is a waste of resources if your SEO or PPC generates website visitors but then they fail to act and become patients. CRO looks at the design and call to action of your website and how the site can be optimized to convert web surfers into patients.
Geo-Targeting: Dentistry is generally a local business. If your office is in Cleveland there is little value to you if your web site pops up on a search in Miami. Geo-targeting uses IP addresses to determine if a searcher is in your area.
Contextual Advertising: This type of service places your ads on web pages, blog posts and news articles that are related to your business. For example if the Wall Street Journal is featuring an article on dental veneers your display ad would appear on the same page. However, if the Journal article was about logging in the Pacific Northwest, a different ad would appear instead of yours.
These five terms are just the beginning, the future is coming and it will be amazing.