Local SEO is probably the most important online channel you will use to drive traffic to your dental website and to gain new patients. Even though most small business owners outsource there SEO work, I still think it is important that they understand what they are investing in.
Sadly, there is a lots of misinformation about local SEO circulating but I came across this article which i think highlights 3 key points that both the agency and the business owner should understand before starting an SEO campaign.
SEO is always changing, and it always will be. What works this year may not work next year. The only constant is change, so it’s imperative to arm yourself with knowledge.
Knowing this helps me create a proactive approach to a client’s marketing campaign. A metaphor I like to use with clients is that SEO is a lot like the game of chess: You have to see three moves ahead while still actively moving one step forward. Your initial moves will affect your later moves, and sometimes you can get hurt through no fault of your own (For example, Google will roll out an update).
I tell small business owners to make sure their game plan is flexible, as they need to account for those constant changes that SEO is known to bear.
A great example would be the recent changes to the Google local system — not only did theyreduce the local results from seven businesses to three, but they also stripped away all of the social components tied to Google+ and streamlined the Google My Business dashboard. All this occurred just in the past year!
Because local SEO largely revolves around local map packs, long-tail searches are often overlooked. Long-tail searching is a better indicator of user intent, which is an increasingly important factor in local SEO and leads to more engagement and higher rankings over time.
After a client understands more about user intent, I tell them that a good way to plan for these long-tail searches is by asking yourself questions. I try to have them put themselves in a customer’s shoes. From there, I can set a realistic expectation of how the online strategy will work and who/what keywords to target based on that intent.
Another fun exercise to do with clients is to have them create a “Jeopardy” game board. When it comes to long-tail searches, have them think like the popular game show — answer in the form of a question not only to gain keywords, but also to gauge user intent and discover blog topics for their website.
For example, when I started working with a local plumber, we began with the most basic questions — you know, the $200 ones — like, “What is a plumber?,” “What is a drain?,” “What is a water heater?” and so on. Then we sprinkled in some of the more complex questions (the $1,000–$2,000 ones).
A hearty list of long-tail searches comes out of this practice, and your client has a better understanding of SEO, including what to expect from keyword reports and rankings.
Every website can benefit from SEO and needs continued optimization to obtain and maintain rankings for target key phrases. Just as any industry or marketplace evolves, so does search engine optimization.
Consequently, SEO is not a one-time investment; constant cultivation is necessary to ensure that SEO becomes (and remains) an integrated part of a small business’s marketing plan.
I like to tell clients this so they can begin thinking long-term and realize how many options SEO can provide them. Every time I reach out to a client for a report, I include a “what’s next” section.
This helps me set campaign expectations month to month, and it seems to keep the client relationships going longer. Painting value early and often has been a helpful tactic in increasing our client retention.
SEO is more important (and more reputable) than ever before, especially for local small business owners. Driving home these three expectations through my client communications has helped me build better campaigns and better relationships — and help one small business owner at a time.