Five ways your orthodontic practice can ensure it shows up as the top patient choice for care in Google search.
By Travis Schneider
A prospective patient’s first introduction to an orthodontic practice usually happens through a quick search on a small screen. Through a Google search done on a mobile device, tablet, or laptop, the first experience 75% of potential patients have is online.
Long before making an appointment, a patient must first find the practice they want, and the practice must have an excellent online reputation. Even when referred by other doctors, patients check for online reviews and information before committing to any provider as a new patient.
Expanding your online presence is to become more visible in your specialty and location and to show up as a top patient choice for care.
Your visibility to prospective patients during their initial Google search is imperative. Ranking within the first few spots on page 1 is a business imperative. The #1 spot receives about 30% of clicks, but opportunities fall off drastically after that—the #5 spot receives just under 3% of clicks. To help your practice rank well, your Google business profile, referred to as a Google My Business Profile, must be optimized. The more detail and content you provide, the more likely your profile is to surface in patient searches. A recent analysis of search factors showed the Google business profile is the top factor impacting what appears in local search results.
Online consistency also greatly contributes to your practice’s online accessibility. Ensure that all of your practice information is correct and up-to-date on every major healthcare/dental profile and business profile. Regularly review and update your practice name, address, and main phone number to give Google and other search engines the confidence to surface your practice in search results.
When your prospective patient finds your practice online, your reputation must be up to their expectations. The main factor that contributes to a top-notch online presence and reputation is patient reviews. According to the 2021 PatientPop patient perspective survey, 69.3% of patients looking online check Google for patient reviews, followed by the practice’s website (45.5%), WebMD (32.9%), Yelp (24.2%), Healthgrades (21.4%), and Facebook (16.4%).
Seventy-three percent of people consider a positive online reputation to be very or extremely important, but with little to zero insight from other patients, people will steer clear of scheduling an appointment with a doctor they know nothing about. That’s why it is important to send patient satisfaction surveys to encourage satisfied patients to share their experiences on your website. From April 2020 to April 2021, patients who were asked for feedback by practices were 130% more likely to post an online review.
Make sure your practice webpage is easy to navigate, loads quickly and is optimized for mobile use to give patients a user-friendly experience and meet the current standards of a well-performing website.
Through the use of call to action buttons, you can give patients convenient ways to connect with your practice, schedule an appointment, or make a direct call to your office through a single click. And with most people using a small screen the size of a mobile device, a website design that looks good and works well when visited from a smartphone is essential. This is also especially important since Google now uses mobile versions of websites to index pages with “mobile-first indexing” in search results.
The need for speed is also crucial in providing a friendly online experience. Your site should load fast on every device, within 1 second. According to Google, as page load speed increases from 1 second to 5 seconds, the chance of people abandoning your site goes up 90%.
A strategic website layout will improve your practice site’s standing in Google searches and provide in-depth information to patients. Content is king when increasing the likelihood your website will be found in searches. Your website layout should include a separate page for each product or service you offer.
More content also means more value offered to patients through your website. Providing valuable oral health information attracts prospective patients and establishes your orthodontic expertise. A comprehensive website can include expertise on specific topics, in-depth information on certain conditions, expanded descriptions of each service offered, and answers to commonly asked patient questions.
The content of your website should include the right keywords and phrases. Your keywords are the words and phrases people (ultimately, your patients) most often use when typing in a search query about the type of dental care you provide. Using keywords related to certain conditions and specialized care services will help Google focus on that particular page with important keywords, which will, in turn, be useful to a patient researching information on that topic.
By investing the time and resources to optimize your online presence, you can improve your online marketing, gain an advantage over your competitors, and attract new patients. OP
Travis Schneider is CEO and founder of PatientPop, which offers an all-in-one, HIPAA-compliant practice growth platform.