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Create website content that works as hard as you do

When you’re putting together a new website for your practice, it can feel like the most important decisions lie in the design. Is the logo right? Does the colour scheme work? I’m not sure about that photo of the smiling kids...

But the content of your website is even more important, because that’s what will drive traffic. It’s important to give your readers the information they need and use the right tone, all while making sure you’re actually bringing people to the website in the first place.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when you’re writing your website:

Use smart keywords in ways that make sense.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) means using little tricks and tips to boost a website’s traffic, like taking the terms people use in search engines and working them into your website copy.

When people first discovered that using keywords helped search engines crawl their website – and give them a higher ranking – they started to go a little crazy.

DON’T: “Dr. John Smith is a gentle dentist in Toronto. If you need a gentle dentist in Toronto, call Toronto dentist Dr. John Smith. Dr. John Smith is Toronto’s top dentist for people who need an awesome Toronto dentist.”

Think about the search terms people actually use when they’re in the market for a local dentist, like “dentist in Toronto,” or “Toronto dentist.” If you’re in a city that’s divided into large neighbourhoods and you’re trying to target a specific area, you might choose “Chelsea dentist” or “dentist in Chelsea.”

Focus on one or two really great keywords, and that’s it. Work them into your copy in a way that sounds natural.

DO: “If you’re looking for a dentist in Toronto, call ABC Dental on Yonge Street. Dr. John Smith has more than 20 years’ experience as a Toronto dentist.”

Make your keywords count by putting them in the right places.

You could fill up your body copy with precise search terms, but if that’s the only place you’re using them, you won’t see great results. That’s because search engines rank pages according to where they’re seeing the keywords – not how many times a keyword appears.

For best results, here are the ideal spots to use your keywords:

Keep in mind that there are certain areas you don’t want to pepper with keywords, because it could actually deter search engine crawlers. These include:

  • Sidebars
  • Callouts
  • Footers

Keep your keywords focused in the four main areas – Header (H1 tag), URL, body copy, and image alt text – in order to give your content the best chance of a top ranking.

Research keyword themes to find out how people are searching.

It’s not just about bringing in potential patients based on your city name. Choose two or three key services to promote – such as dental implants, cosmetic dentistry, periodontics, or teeth whitening,– and explore which search terms patients are using.

Maybe you’ll notice a consistent theme in the searches, like “missing teeth,” “missing tooth,” or “no teeth” within the dental implant queries. Then you’ll know to work those phrases into your copy.

Searches can change depending on the area, so make sure you’re researching local trends. If someone is Googling for teeth whitening in a rural area, they might use “yellow teeth,” or “teeth stains,” but in a big city, they might use “whiter teeth,” “brighten smile” or “celebrity smile.”

It’s also important to think like a patient, not a dentist. Sure, “endodontics” is a casual word for you. But 95% of your patients would never associate it with a root canal, which means it wouldn’t be an effective keyword.

Don’t get so caught up in keywords that you forget how to write.

A website packed with nonsensical keywords – even if they’re in the right places – isn’t going to help you.

Think back to your school days: what made a good essay? A beginning, a middle, and an end, right? Clear, concise sentences? Accurate facts?

Yes, you’re trying to bring in as many viewers as possible, but you also need to (A) make sense, and (B) promote yourself positively.

  • Make sure each page contains an introduction and a conclusion. If you’re writing a page about cosmetic dentistry, you could start with a light introduction about why more people are choosing cosmetic dentistry, then move into more details about the various procedures available, and finish by explaining how to get in touch to learn more.
  • Answer questions people are asking. No one appreciates a website that does nothing but promote their name and location, and briefly lists their services. People want valuable information! If you offer dental implants, tell your readers about the benefits of dental implants, how they work, how they’re implanted, how they look and feel, and what kind of results patients can expect.
  • Keep it upbeat. Don’t scare potential patients away by hammering them with words like “pain,” “swelling,” “discomfort,” “fear” and “afraid.” Write with a positive tone, and remember that it’s better to point out how you keep patients comfortable and relaxed, rather than pointing out that “other dentists” can make things painful and uncomfortable.
  • Include clear calls-to-action. What’s the point of your website? To get that phone ringing! Each page should include either your practice’s phone number or a link to your contact page. Patients shouldn’t have to work hard in order to reach you.

Think about your audience(s) while you write.

Sometimes dental practice websites fall into the trap of writing their content exclusively for potential new patients, but they certainly aren’t the only readers out there.

As you’re writing, think about your primary audiences and how you can speak directly to them:

  • Potential new patients. Maybe they’re new in town, or they’re about to move to the area. You want to tell them exactly what your practice is about, and make the decision-making process easy for them.
  • Potential patient recruits. These people live in your area and already have a dentist, but maybe they’re not so happy there? They might be casually seeing what else is out there, and it’s up to you to show them why you’re the best – without coming right out and saying it, of course.
  • Existing patients. They’re familiar with your practice, but they’re here to investigate an upcoming procedure or learn more about a service you offer. That’s why it’s important to provide plenty of details about what you do.

You may find your content also brings in two secondary audiences, without even trying:

  • Potential new team members. Even if you’re not hiring at the moment, who’s to say a really fantastic hygienist across town isn’t doing a little research to see what kind of practice you have? They want to see that your practice is a positive, dynamic place that provides great patient care.
  • Patients in other cities (even other countries). Yes, it’s true that they won’t be able to schedule an appointment with you. But your content should be so good that someone across the country could stumble upon your site, read about dental implants, wish they lived closer to your practice, and still feel like they’ve learned some important information. If you have clear, interesting descriptions of common dental problems and solutions, your traffic will soar.

Questions or comments? Send us an email. We’re always here to help!

Heather Laura Clarke
Heather Laura Clarke
Heather has been working at Optio Publishing in various capacities since 2008, and she's currently a Custom Content Strategist and Social Media Manager. She is also a freelance journalist for newspapers and magazines across Canada, and spends far too much time on Pinterest.
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