by David A. Wank, DMD
Your dental website is one of the most critical components of your dental marketing efforts – if not the most important – yet many of our colleagues are unsure where their website fits in the overall “Dental Marketing Cycle.” In this four-part series I am going to review the four phases that in my opinion, comprise the “Dental Marketing Cycle”. And while I am going to list these phases in order, understand that this is a fluid process, and many parts of the cycle are working independently at the same time. As we often say, “rinse and repeat”.
Phase I is initial website, planning, development and setup. Regardless of what type of marketing approaches you use, “all roads lead to your website”.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Not only must you have a web presence, but also you must have a website that meets Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. (You can view the guidelines here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en . These guidelines from Google are publicly available, and are no more secret than the “secret formula” of how to prepare a crown (6 degrees of taper, 1.5mm occlusal reduction, etc.). So when you are working with a developer to build your website, make sure they follow these standards, and understand that there are no “secrets” or “special tricks” about building a website.
Your dental website must be built on these standards because these standards form the foundation for your site’s ability to be indexed by search engines such as Google and Bing. If your competitors’ websites are following Google’s guidelines, and your website is not, then you will not be able to effectively compete, and your page will likely suffer in search engine rankings. You can spend all the money in the world on SEO and on other marketing verticals, but ultimately if your website hasn’t been constructed properly, then you are wasting your time and money.
What are Examples of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?
Google’s Webmaster Guideline are built around making a website easy for search engines to find, and easy for people to use. Some of Google’s recommendations include (these are technical but your web developer should understand what these items are:)
- Using proper <title> tags
- Using proper heading tags in the correct place, such as <h1>, <h2>, and <h3> tags.
- Using <alt> tags to label and describe images on your website
- Avoiding duplicate content, as Google will likely penalize a web page that has content that is copied (or shared) with other web pages.
- Caching strategizes and image size modifications to make your website load quickly,
This description of Phase I of the “Dental Marketing Cycle” only scratches the surface about what is necessary to create a quality dental website as a foundation for your other marketing efforts. In our next article we are going to examine Phase II, which when you are going to start to drive traffic (visitors) to your website to generate leads and new patients.
Dr. David Wank is a practicing general dentist in New York City. He is the President of Short Hills Design, LLC, a web development and search engine optimization firm for dentists any physicians. He is the author of The Web Design Workbook for Dentists, and lectures across the country about web development and dental marketing strategies. You can reach him at 973-715-9947 or find him online at www.shorthillsdesign.com.