The success of your SEO Strategy is dependent on how well you manage to tackle the below fundamentals:
User experience incorporates many different aspects that we will continue to cover below such as quality content, load times, ease of navigation, and is measured through time-on-site. User experience doesn’t just help you rank higher, it helps your users stay longer on your website, leaving a significantly better chance of your patient picking up that phone to schedule an appointment. Great user experience helps transition a user into a patient.
So, how do you make your website more user-friendly?
Focus on good page speed, timeless website design, compelling Call-To-Actions (contact information such as emails, numbers & link), engaging text formatting with attractive content instead of lengthy paragraphs and much more. We’ll break these points down further to help you understand what gives way to the best user experience. These will essentially be the fundamentals of SEO.
Quality content directly increases time on site. Quality content that is optimized is easily shareable and increases your exposure. This is content that is engaging enough to keep your users on your website long enough to increase the chance of an appointment being made. Poor content joins the other hundred of articles on the Internet that nobody ever sees, shares or pays attention to. You can:
- Use multimedia content to keep your users more engaged
- Showcase related content through links.
- Make navigation easy across all devices, and content easily readable.
Ease of Navigation
Website navigation is the process of moving across different pages and websites on the Internet with ease. Much like how the labeling of aisles and organization of goods helps you buy your groceries at the supermarket, having a well-organized website simplifies the process of scanning through content.
- Make sure your website is uncluttered and has a clean design with strategically placed content.
- Categorize your content and interlink them as you create your content hierarchy.
- Create cross-links between pages of different categories that still contain similarities.
- Create shareable blogs that link to your dental service pages to direct more traffic to your website.
Load time is a measurement of how fast content loads on a website/page. 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. But it doesn’t end there. 40% of users will also leave the website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. By not paying attention to your load times, you’re losing nearly half your potential patients.
There are four common elements to stay clear of when trying to maximize load time:
- Large media files- Large images (>100Kb) should be used strategically. Using a compression program helps you compress the image to a lower size while maintaining its quality. You can reduce between 30 to 60% of your file size by using compressions programs to get rid of unnecessary data.
- Server Location & Quality- Hosting your site on a local server rather than an overseas server will help deliver your content faster. Use of a Content Distribution Network will make sure your site is cached (temporarily stored) on servers near your users to reduce load times. Skimping on a quality hosting provider to save money will severely cost you your site’s performance.
- Plugins and Add-Ons- Plugins are great because they allow your website to do things they usually wouldn’t be able to, but the key to remember here is that less is more with plugins. If each active plugin can slow down your site by 5 milliseconds (this can vary), having several active plugins will significantly reduce load time. Make it a point to never exceed 20 Plugins.
Quality content positions you as a point of authority to readers. Being an authoritative figure helps users be less price sensitive and makes for more phone calls at the end of the day! At its best, quality content can boost your website to the top of any major search engine’s rankings. At its worst, you can get a lot of penalties that will be quite difficult to recover from.
Content covers a variety of information in different forms, including text, videos, images etc. Search engines focus on delivering the most useful and relevant content to consumers so content is essentially ranked according to how beneficial they are for searchers. In order to create content that is beneficial, you need to make sure it is:
- Informative: There are key details you need to include about your Practice such as location, hours of operations, contact information, services offered, a blog etc. that will answer your users questions.
- More Useful than Competitor Websites: If there are plenty of websites offering the same services you do, figure out how you can deliver your content in a fresh angle that is more useful or engaging.
- Credible: You can increase your site’s credibility by using more links, reviews and testimonials that position your website as more trustworthy.
- High in quality: Remember that your main goal is to give your users the best experience, since maximizing this will ultimately lead to ranking highest on search engines. Pay attention to quality rather than mass-producing content that isn’t unique or tailored to your specific practice.
- Engaging: You can make your content more engaging by putting up images, paying attention to a timeless website design and interacting through comment boxes. Avoid distracting your visitors with ads.
However, there’s more to content than quality control. You need to understand the technical side of it as well! Here’s how you can create optimized content:
- Carry out extensive keyword research: Use a keyword research tool to do this and focus more on “long-tail keywords”. They are keywords that contain at least 3 words or more. As a result, they’re more specific in nature. For example: dentists near me, best dentists in Melbourne, emergency dentist Melbourne etc. Another tip we have is to not immediately target keywords with the highest search volume as this has the highest competition and can easily drain your budget. Instead, target keywords that have local-specific terms (such as the name of your city) with a medium search volume.
- Improve readability: Readability is a measure of how easy it is for users to read your content. Keep in mind that readers on the internet have a short attention span so your content needs to be concise and engaging enough to make an impact. Large volumes of content will lose potential patients. Ideally you’d stick to paragraphs that are 3-4 sentences in length and broken up further by subheadings and images.
- Include backlinks in your content: Search engines value credibility. When you link your content to sites that are trustworthy and authoritative, you help position your Practice as a credible website. However, the words you link sites to need to be relevant to the topic at hand.
- Optimize Your Title Tag: A Title tag is the headline that shows up when you carry out a search. Ideally your title tag will be less than 60 characters and is specific to what content will be displayed on the page. The target keyword of this page should be placed near the beginning of the title tag.
- Optimize your Meta Descriptions: Meta descriptions are the tiny snippets of text you find under a title tag. These don’t directly affect your SEO campaigns, but they do play a role in getting a user to click on your page. Your meta description should be less than 160 characters, give a brief overview of the page in question and also include the target keywords as they will be highlighted in the results.
This is a measurement of the percentage of people who enter and explore your website versus those who enter and leave without any action. High bounce rate is a sign of poor content, design and user experience, which will have your website ranking lower on major search engines.
A patient’s dental experience no longer begins once they walk through your Practice’s doors. Most often, it all starts with a search and perusal of your website. Don’t let it end there. Get your patients to your door by keeping an eye on these problematic factors:
- Poorly designed headers: The header of your website (at the top of the page) is what grabs the attention of your users first. Avoid an unappealing header; make sure your elements are uncluttered with minimal graphics.
- Poor website design: Your website should be interactive and hold significant visual appeal. It needs to look modern and clean, rather than cluttered and bland. Don’t forget other essential elements of a website such as a call to action (prompts such as “Click here for more”, “Call us today on xxxx”, “Book now”) etc.
- Complicated navigation: The menu is usually found at the top of a webpage. Make sure it is easy for users to navigate from one link to another to find the information they need. This is tied closely to design.
- Technical issues: Aspects such as smooth user experience, fast load times and relevant internal/external linking should all be looked into. If your website is experiencing any technical hitches, this is a sure way of losing potential patients. Remember, users on the internet want information that is easily accessible and fast to load.
The quality and relevance of your usage of keywords matters far more than quantity. In order to optimize your webpage and improve your organic reach, you need to carry out extensive keyword research, as we covered above. With prioritized keyword mapping, you’ll be able to form a website that significantly contributes to your Practice’s goals. You also need to strategically place these keywords throughout your content for an optimized page, however. Keep this guideline in mind when creating your content:
- Title Tags: Your title tag should definitely contain the primary keyword as early as possible in the sentence.
- Subheadings: Fitting your keyword into at least one subheading would be ideal.
- Opening Paragraph: Get straight to the heart of the matter by starting off your content with the primary keyword.
- Images: You should use the keyword in any image file name and image alt text where possible.
When search engines analyze your domain, you’ll get a score on how much authority your domain has. This will depend on:
- Number of quality backlinks to your website from relevant sources. Not all backlinks are created equal so it’s important to source relevant and top quality articles.
- Offline Traffic. When users come directly to your website, this says you are a reputable and popular practice as mentions of your website have gone from word-of-mouth. This increases your domain authority.
- Social Traffic. People arriving to your website through social channels also indicate that you have a legitimate practice.
Over 75% of the traffic we’re seeing for major search engines to dental websites comes from mobile devices. Each year more and more people spend an increasing amount of time on their phones. Despite this, we see several websites that still aren’t designed to account for such devices. Mobile Optimization of your website is incredibly important so you aren’t losing patients who search for your site from mobile devices. Your website should be built and designed “mobile first” or you’ll be missing out on a vast customer base that could potentially bring in more than half your patients. Here are some things you should keep in mind:
- Page Speed: Mobile users appreciate good load time as much as desktop users, perhaps even more so. Improve this by optimizing your images, minify code, leverage browser caching and cut down on redirects.
- Avoid Pop-Ups: These are incredibly frustrating to deal with and many users have problems closing them on mobiles so you stand to lose a great amount of potential patients by using pop-ups.
Your website security is another key Google ranking factor. If not secured, you risk data being stolen, your search engine ranking being destroyed and being locked out of your website. Here are some steps you need to take to make sure your site is secure:
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- Get SSL certificates on your website to ensure hackers cannot get their hands on sensitive information. Once you enable SSL certificates you’ll see your URL shift to “HTTPS” from “HTTP”.
- Create backups of your WordPress Site so you have a way of recovering all your website data.
- Keep your site up to date by regularly checking for updates. While most updates are installed automatically, major releases require your manual attention.
- Create stronger passwords in order to have a better defense against hackers.