When you completed your directory listings, did you quickly write your listing in just 60 seconds? Did you think about SEO possibilities and how to affect your rankings? Did you make sure your brand was well represented in your most important directory profiles wherever possible?
This week we’re reviewing the five most important directory sources for dentists and what you should be doing to get the most out of them without getting too caught up in what should be a straightforward and simple process.
The directories that The Growth Geeks recommends you start with when building your local directory strategy and boosting your SEO are the following:
- Google My Business (also known as Google Local)
- The ADA’s Find-A-Dentist portal
Not only can optimizing these directories be a great start to growing your search rankings, each of them, when done well, can be a great source of new patients on their own. Here is our top five recommendations for optimizing each of these five platforms:
But before we get into each of these we do want to cover one critical need for any directory, or for that matter any online mention you can control, in terms of how to list your business. It is critical that you always use the same exact text for your Name, Address and Phone. Don’t deviate with punctuation. Don’t change the name and add a tagline sometimes but other times not. Keep it simple, clean and consistent and the boost you will get by keeping your NAP (name – address- phone) the same will be spot on.
Now, on to each of our top directory choices for dentists and the most important things to include when putting them together.
Google My Business – The five things that matter:
- Make sure to list each individual service that you provide – pediatric dental? orthodontics? emergency dental? – each of these can lead to higher search rankings related to those terms. Found in the “Info” section of your profile make sure to include all those services that you provide.
- Manage your reviews – no site matters more when it comes to reviews than Google. We recommend no practice ever get below a 4.4 star rating. You should have a clear and thoughtful approach to gathering high quality reviews and limiting low quality reviews. But be careful of getting penalized for “review gating” – Google has recently made this a point of emphasis for penalizing local businesses.
- Use the Question and Answer section – this is the opportunity you have to explain in a question and answer format and resolve any reservation a potential patient may have before they can even voice it. Pay attention to these questions and answer them correctly. It will make your profile shine.
- Use photos that put your practice in the best light – while Google users can add photos of their own, the photos that you add to your profile get to present your business in a way that sells your practice’s strength’s. Have a great lobby – show it. Recently added a piece of technology that people want to use – put a member of your staff showing it off.
- Regularly check your Insights section – this is where Google shows you how you are performing. The data provided here can help you make smart decisions to increase traffic and grow your conversions.
Facebook – The five things that matter:
- Customize your vanity URL – we can’t emphasize how much more professional this makes your practice look. facebook.com/HansenDental is so much more compelling than www.facebook.com/pages/premier-cosmetic-dentistry/301512753296959 and it only takes 30 seconds to complete.
- Make sure your profile photo looks great – you want to get the optimal size and shape for your logo or brand to be displayed in the profile photo. It’s amazing how much getting your brand to look consistently compelling will improve potential patient interest in your practice
- Choose “local business or place” as the category – It’s shocking how often dental practices will choose another selection such as “Brand or product” or something else here and learn later how much that will impact where and how potential patients see them
- Put extra time into writing a unique About Us section – facebook is so important in your dental branding that writing a separate About Us section that is distinct from any other directory listing is easily worth it. Getting all the sub-sections correct here like description, location, services offered
- Create a good looking cover photo – Imagine every potential patient who sees you on Facebook getting to see a nearly full page banner showing the image or words that most convey why you are the best dental choice out there. The Facebook cover photo is that chance
Yelp – The five things that matter:
- Earn positive reviews before a negative review bites you – because of the popularity of Yelp and it’s potential to show in search results we recommend you get a few strong positive reviews here along with those you seek out for Google and Facebook. Having a solid method or using a tested tool to do this can get you a few solid reviews before you get surprised by that one difficult patient that was particularly ready to share – every practice deals with them
- Put extra time into the “Business Information” section – this is the key to driving results from a newly claimed Yelp profile. Taking the five to ten minutes to thoroughly walk through each subsection of the Business Information section can be a great return on investment – you can drive great SEO here, get your NAP listing just right, and pitch your practice with a great message
- Use the Meet the Owner/Manager section to highlight your dentist(s) – at the end of the day potential patients are most interested in the dentist at your practice. They want to feel they can trust them and have a connection with them. This section gives you the opportunity to do just that with photos and friendly bios. Make it personal and interesting. It will go a long way
- Specialties – the specialties section is where you can get some of the strongest SEO performance from your Yelp listing. Use clear language that mirrors what you have on Google and Yelp to reinforce just how critical those elements to your practice are
- Photos – because you’ve already taken the time to curate great photos for your Google and Facebook listings, your Yelp photo section will be a breeze to set up. Not only will this be a great visual section to tell your practice’s story, but you can set it up in a minute or two with the photos from previous listings
Healthgrades – The five things that matter
- Claim your profile – just claiming your profile on Healthgrades will put you ahead of the curve over many of your peers. Dentists failing to even claim their profile puts them at a disadvantage in one of the more powerful directories for dentists. To claim your profile simply visit update.healthgrades.com and follow their straightforward steps
- Add a headshot – you should always have a hi-res headshot of each dentist at your practice at the ready and uploading it here will take seconds
- Complete the insurance section – potential patients have a wide variety of insurance programs or even no insurance at all. Clearly laying out all the options here can be a great method for getting their business. Plus for those searches that include insurance terms, the Healthgrades insurance options are often a top result for you practice and give extra confidence to potential patients
- Get a couple of positive reviews to start – just like Yelp, a lot of dentists wait til that negative review on Healthgrades comes along before taking action for reviews on the site. This can lead to a nice big orange “1 star rating” showing up on the search results page for your practice. Get ahead of the curve and get one or two positive reviews here to prevent that scenario
- Mention Healthgrades on your social – once you are comfortable that you have a compelling Healthgrades listing use it to your advantage. Highlighting your positive profile from social is a great way to boost its SEO strength while also showing your patients and potential patients something about you that is a big positive
Find-A-Dentist by the ADA – The five things that matter
- Claim your profile – just taking the time to manage your profile alone can be a big step here. Using your ADA number (it acts as your user ID) you can login and update the profile the ADA has on its site
- Update the photo – using the same hi-res photo headshot you have used in other directories make sure your practice’s dentist(s) look great and welcoming to potential patients. As with other photos and profile pictures this is also likely to show up in the “Related images” section on search engines and help build your brand
- Get your NAP correct as it is likely auto-generated by the ADA – the ADA record for your dentist(s) may have slightly modified your address and phone information. Adjust your profile to make sure that the NAP are perfectly matched with those you are using in all directory listings and on your website
- Specialties – as with other directories, getting the specialties you servce filled out thoroughly here will help with your SEO and have you ranking a little higher when those specialties are searched for on the major search engines
- Complete the Practice Description with a great message – this is once again the place to present your practice in a positive light and emphasize the elements of your practice that you most want your potential patients to be interested in. Completing a description that enhances your attractiveness as a dental provider will increase conversions plus it is likely to be there for years and years to come.
We hope you have benefited from reviewing your practice’s directory listings and taken the time to improve them to the point to where they provide a clear advantage in how you market your practice. Also, don’t take these five local directory sites as the end. Continue to build out your directory listings each month providing great information to potential patients.
If you find yourself wanting to have a true expert provide your directory services for you, don’t hesitate to contact us, we help dentists grow their practice better than any other partner you can find.
The Growth Geeks