Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Successful Dental Web Marketing

Once upon a time, a dental practice could just throw together a website, toss it up on the Internet and wait for clients to flock to their site.

With the exponential growth of Internet sites, however, this outdated strategy ensures Google™, Yahoo!® and MSN® search engines will relegate such websites to their bargain-basement pages.

It wasn’t long before a new specialty emerged: Search Engine Optimization. This complex process employs a variety of tactics to ensure the site appears on the first pages of the major search engines. When combined with dental website design and development, SEO is a sure-fire method of improving the volume and quality of traffic for a website.

A 2006 study by Jupiter Research corroborated what had already become common knowledge: “62 percent of search engine users click on a search result within the first page of results, and a full 90 percent of users click on a result within the first three pages of search results.”

The study also found 88 percent of surfers unable to find the desired information in the first three pages are more likely to change their search engine terms than to look through additional results pages.

Is it any wonder page ranking became a vital aspect of Internet dental marketing?

Burying “keywords” into a websites code and content is the primary key to optimization. Keywords are the words or phrases surfers use to find the information they seek.

Sinai Marketing CEO Ali Husayni offered an example of how this dental website marketing process can move a site to those highly desirable first pages.

“The cosmetic dentists at Smile South Florida came to us because they weren’t getting the desired traffic to their site,” said Husayni. “When we first began working in January with Dr. (Charles) Nottingham and his team, they appeared just twice on the first pages of Google and nine times on Yahoo!® for their 212 primary keywords. They were practically non-existent on MSN®.”

By implementing a variety of SEO techniques, including link building (creating inbound links to a website) and regularly updating site content, the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Sinai Marketing blew Smile South Florida’s competitors out of the water.

“By April, they were appearing on the first pages of Google for 208 of their 212 keywords,” said Husayni. “They were amazed to see such fast results.”

The numbers for Yahoo and MSN were equally impressive. For the same 212 keywords, Yahoo posted 176 and MSN posted 514 first-page appearances. (MSN indexes for duplicate appearances.)

First page placement proved just the ticket to attract pre-qualified, potential patients, saving Smile South Florida an enormous amount of time, energy and money.

“In my 30 years of dentistry, I have never seen so many new patient consultations,” said Dr. Nottingham.

SEO expert John Reese perhaps put it best: “The key to dominating any market online (now or in the future) is simple. It comes down to who has the highest average visitor value and who has the most traffic.”

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