Developing a Content Plan for Your Dentist Practice
You have a solid dental practice and a nice website that allows new patients to schedule appointments and find out your hours of operation. You might think that’s all you need to do on your site to start showing up in search results and getting good traffic.
But here’s the reality:
You Need High Quality Content Too
Websites today need solid content to:
- rank well
- engage readers
- entice potential leads to turn into patients
That’s the backstory behind why you may have heard the phrase, “Content is King.” And, if you’ve managed your dental website for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that statement more times than you can count.
Yes. “Content is King.”
So, where do you begin with the content creation strategy for your website? You might wonder how you’ll find time, and you might worry if you’re even qualified, if you don’t consider yourself a writer. Well, that’s why we created this dental content marketing strategy guide—to help you create a comprehensive strategy for your site’s content.
Importance of a content marketing strategy for your practice
A solid content strategy can transform your website into a vehicle that can position you ahead of your competitors. Although many aspects of digital marketing, overall—and SEO in particular— can be technical, you can use your creativity to write your content, and you can be rewarded by Google and other search engines for your efforts.
Here are additional benefits of focusing on your dental firm’s content strategy:
- Your team is made up of experts about dental health, but this may not be the impression someone might get if he or she visited your website. If, though, you publish great content on your site, you can gain online authority that puts you ahead of the pack.
- When people find your content, they may sometimes share it; and this can be an excellent “free” way to spread the news about the benefits of choosing your dentist office and to boost name recognition in your community. Even if you already run television or radio ads, this can be a key way to brand your practice.
- When search engines rank websites, they rely significantly upon the content that the site contains. And, when you publish quality content, you automatically boost your search engine optimization, and provide fodder for your practice’s linking building and social media strategies.
- Said a different way, you cannot rank well in a search engine without great content. Google rewards high quality, relevant, in-depth informational content, which means that short posts just aren’t going to do it, anymore.
- Is there an ideal length? There’s plenty of debate about that question, but statistics show how the average word count of top ranking pages is around 1,900 words. In other words, short posts just aren’t going to do it, anymore.
- Your content needs to go beyond the number of words it contains, providing site visitors with the quality and depth of information they want.
Screenshots of Analytics after implementing this strategy – DAGMAR or a clients.
To engage readers, you’ll need blog posts that capture their interest, but you’ll also need a well-rounded website that contains useful, informative pages.
- The most important pages are your homepage and your service pages, which could include one about general dental services, another one about orthodontics, if applicable, or dental crowns, dentures, and more. To make your content better than what competitors have to offer, you can add numerous content-related elements, such as:
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Take a look at each of the services offered on your site, and it’s almost certain that people are asking questions about them that you can answer. This, in fact, is an incredibly easy and effective way to boost your content quality. So, first, go to Google and search on relevant keyword terms, perhaps “cosmetic dentistry.” You may see a box titled “People Also Ask” in the search results. The questions listed in our search were:
- More About FAQs: Through this process, you’ll have a list of questions related to your initial search term that you know people are searching upon. Copy any relevant questions and answer them on your site; in this case, on your cosmetic dentistry page. Then, click on each of the questions listed in the “People Also Ask” section to see even more queries that you can answer.
- Checklists: You can also create checklists that help readers to solve commonly-held problems, perhaps about how to teach a child to brush teeth. This allows you to boost word count on pages in a useful way. The goal is to strategically increase the amount of information available in your site, so think about what can help your patients, and then create checklists that can easily be followed.
- Dental Library: You can draw in readers (potential patients!) through the creation of a dental library that contains in-depth pieces of content about issues that matter. One could be about healthy dental habits, while another one could be about orthodontic options available today. Done well, these guides can provide site visitors with vital information.
- Case Studies: When you create case studies about successful dental procedures, you can use them to spotlight your real-world experience with helping patients—perhaps including before-and-after tooth whitening images. Readers who are interested in the topic can relate to the stories, and the content can help them to make the decision to make an appointment.
- Guides: These are a great resource to give readers and potential patients in-depth information about topics they’re curious about. What are some of the most common questions and concerns you deal with in your practice? Turn these concerns into a full guide that deals with this. One example: a guide to understanding the process of what happens with braces and teeth straightening.
Here’s an important step. As you create content, also interlink among related pages and posts. This helps to create topical depth on your site, a key step to establishing authority. Plus, it makes it easier for search engine crawlers to find deeper pages on your site to index.
Interested in learning how we implement these strategies for our dental clients? Keep reading.
When we create content marketing strategies for dentists, we focus on providing them with the online competitive advantage they deserve:
Tier 1 Dental Practice Content
Step one is to decide what tier 1 content to create. Tier 1 content can be defined as:
- copy that directly addresses key needs of your most profitable audience; usually, questions frequently asked through online searches and leads will be answered
- We would target your main keywords and top dental services in this content.
- Here, we’re talking about pretty in-depth content, with a word count from 2,500 to 5,000 that focuses on providing valuable tips for the dental topic being discussed.
Example of a Tier 1 Piece of Content:
When Should You Be Concerned about Your Gum Health and What to Do About It
Tier 2 Dental Practice Content
Logically enough, we next create tier 2 content that’s designed to support tier 1 topics, such as the gum health example above. Although tier 1 content is fairly in-depth, you can’t deeply explore everything related to your tier 1 dental health topic in just one post.
What we consider tier 2 content includes:
- copy that examines a specific part of the broad tier 1 piece; this is where we drill down into more specifics of a subtopic
- This level of content should always be linked to from the parent tier 1 piece of content.
- The ideal length of his content would be 2,000 words or more.
- In this content, link out to third party resources, perhaps the American Dental Association, to support your information; this can be especially important when citing statistics and studies, or quoting from another source, such as a news story.
Example of a Tier 2 Piece of Content:
Differences Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis — and Our Dentist’s Recommended Treatments
When you reach the tier 2 level, it’s time to get tactical. In this subtopic deep dive, you can link to resources, both on your site and from third parties. It’s also smart to enhance this copy with FAQs, checklists, helpful videos, and so forth.
You might wonder why we recommend linking to third-party sources. It may seem as though this would simply cause prospects to leave your site, or that it might cause prospective patients to think you aren’t such an authority, after all. But, linking out is a time-tested way to provide readers with quality information. From an SEO perspective, it can also increase the “trust factor” with Google and other search engines when you strategically link out to relevant, quality resources. You can also embed third-party videos that add value to your piece.
In general, we build out our content marketing strategies to tier three, following the pattern described here. Our recommendation is that you start with either two or three tiers, and then measure your performance. If you have a topic that can benefit from an even deep exploration, you could go to tier 4 or 5.
Why this content structure works.
- When you follow this strategy, the result can be a site full of topical depth, with more than 10,000 words covering each of your core services. Plus, your content will be linked together in a strategic way.
- Then there is voice search. Statistics show that 58% of people have used voice search for information about local businesses, and voice searches are expected to make up to 50% of all search queries by 2020—and, when you include FAQs and checklists, you’re providing the type of information that meshes with voice queries. When people use voice search, they tend to ask “How do I” or “What is the best?” and your evergreen content can provide exactly the answers they need.
- This type of content tends to accrue inbound links over time, adding to the online visibility of your practice. That’s because people often link to useful checklists and resources that add value. Plus, if you need to make any edits to your copy, this content is easily updated.
- You can go social! This type of content tends to be non-promotional; it’s typically actionable, instead. And, this means it has higher potential for social media sharing.
- The content also dovetails with email marketing needs. You can use your tiered content in email marketing campaigns, sent to various audiences, including potential patients and leads, or to former patients to bring your services back to their attention.
- Finally, tiered content fits in well with just about any SEO strategy. It may seem odd that we’re mentioning this last, given that we’re an SEO agency, but that’s because we believe that good content strategies, well implemented, will naturally rank well. So, if you meet all of the criteria listed above, you can relax, confidently writing for users first and search engines second.
Implementing Your Dental Practice’s Tiered Content Marketing Strategy
- Jot down your top services, along with main keywords associated for each of them. If you need to find the best keywords for your site, we recommend the following keyword tools: Ubersuggest (free) or KWFinder (paid).
- Armed with that info, create a content map of top level/tier one topics, tier 2 subtopics, and so forth. (link to google doc that is formatted like our content map)
- Now, find relevant FAQ questions for each topic by entering keywords into Google’s search bar and mining the “People Also Ask” section for each of your keywords. This really is a quick and convenient way to get the job done.
- When you’re ready to publish a piece of content, use the year (and sometimes the month) in the title of the page and update it regularly to keep it current (and change the month/year in the title tag when updated). Note: do not put the date in the URL. We want the URL to stay the same no matter how many edits/updates we make to it. If you use a day/month/year structure in your URL, it can change, which will affect links and social signals you’ve possibly acquired over time.
- Content is King, yes. We haven’t backed down from that statement. But it’s also important to go beyond “just” content, by also using images, videos, screenshots, downloads, and more in your published content.
How to Market Your Practice’s Tiered Content Properly
- If content is King, then catchy headlines may well be Queen. We love to share interesting stuff; in fact, one UCLA study shows how our brains are actually wired to share information. And, catchy headlines can encourage people to read and then share your information. Because there is so much content out there, you need to make yours more valuable to readers—including a headline that’s worth sharing. In fact, another study determined that 59% of Twitter shares are likely based on a headline alone.
- Also, don’t be shy. Promote yourself and your content on your personal and professional social media platforms. Note that this is not a “one and done” activity. Instead, your content should be shared multiple times annually on each of your accounts.
- You can also use sponsored posts on Facebook to create awareness and brand recognition.
- Jumpstart sharing and content clicks by using a social media promotion site such as Quuu Promote. A little bit goes a long ways, though, so don’t overdo the use of this tool.
- When linking to a third-party resource, let them know that you’re sharing the love by tagging them on Twitter and/or emailing them. Ask them to share your content with their audiences.
- When it comes to dental publications, reach out to them manually, asking them to publish a guest post of yours; this can be a summary of a piece of content you’re written for your blog. If they agree, be sure link to your own content within the post for further reading. This will provide your site with a valuable, relevant inbound link that can help it to rank in search engines.
- Promote your content to your email subscribers. This can go a long way in improving brand recognition and may cause one or more of your subscribers to ask about your services or to share the email with someone who will need dental care.
Measuring the Performance of Your Dental Practice Content Strategy
After creating and marketing your content, it’s now time to move into the next phase: monitoring and measuring the performance of your content strategy. Here’s how.
Google Analytics: This is a free tool that allows you to measure all sorts of website metrics, and there is no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity on a site you own. It allows you to do before-and-after comparisons of your content and its performance. To measure your content performance, you can simply set a note or otherwise keep track of publishing dates for each piece of content you plan to analyze. More specifically, you can monitor and measure:
- Pageviews: This tells you how many views a specific page or post has gotten and, if you’ve set a note in Google Analytics when you published or updated a piece of content, you can review pageviews after that date for comparison purposes.
- Sessions/Users: No, this isn’t a straightforward metric. But, it can give you a good sense of how many users visit your content, over time, and you can monitor this to determine if your traffic numbers are improving.
- Time on page metrics: You hope to see that your site visitors are staying on a page for a period of time because, overall, the longer site visitors stay on a specific page, the more likely that visitors are reading through that page of content.
- Goals: When you track goals (such as calls or contact form submissions), you can see if a specific page is converting according to set goals. This will let you determine if your content is serving as a lead source.
Search Console: Search Console is another free Google tool, and there is value in using it along with Analytics. The Search Console will provide you with information about the keywords leading to site clicks (whereas Google Analytics gives you almost no information on this subject). You can use this tool to monitor and measure the following:
- Clicks: It makes to measure the number of clicks a page gets, as well as its click through rate (CTR). The CTR is a ratio of clicks to impressions (impressions = number of times your URL shows up in a search). The higher the CTR, the better.
- Queries: This allows you to see which queries lead to impressions and clicks on a page, arguably making this the most valuable aspect of Search Console. You can delve into the data provided to find keyword variations to add to your content and/or to decide if there are spots where you could further strengthen the piece of content.
- You could, for example, harness the power of the console by choosing Search Analytics, and then toggling Impressions, CTR, and Positions. Sort by Impressions and see which queries have plenty of impressions that are showing in positions three through ten in the Google search engine results pages. Add the best phrases to your title tag and/or in H1/H2 tags on your page.
When Will My New Content Start Working?
Well, probably not as quickly as you might like. You want to see results from your content right away—and we’d like to see that happen, too.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way.
It’s hard not to be impatient, but SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. So, like a kid waiting for Christmas, you’ll need to be patient for a little bit. In general, when you create content that connects with readers and satisfies a deep need, your content will tend to really start working within three to six months.
At that point, you may begin to consistently see traffic/visits increasing. Sometimes, this can mean that, for some search terms, your content may begin to show up on the first search engine results page (page one, not number one).
Is it possible to see results faster? It can be possible, yes, depending upon the effectiveness of your content creation and outreach. Results may speed up if an authoritative site links to your page, or if the content happens to go viral. Either of those events would be a real bonus.
How to Maintain Your New Content Over Time
Millions of pages of new content are published online every single day, Not all of it, of course, is dental-related, but those numbers will include some overlap of content about dental care services. So, if you want your content to remain strong, it’s important to maintain it properly. So, to keep the quality of your content and online visibility strong, you’ll need to review it regularly for accuracy, timeliness, and usefulness. (If you’d like, you can compare this to the necessity of daily brushing and flossing!)
Here’s how we maintain our content, and our clients’ content:
- Regularly check your Search Console. What new keyword phrases is your content now ranking for? Which of them is not yet covered in your content in depth? Find ways to work in those terms to increase your relevancy for the search patterns you discover.
- Whenever it makes sense to do so, update your content. Perhaps your office is offering a new treatment for patients with dental anxiety; if so, it makes sense to add that information to relevant pages and posts. When you write a case study about the effectiveness of those new procedures, find places to slip that information into current pages and strategically link to this new case study.
- So, you might wonder, what if nothing newsworthy has happened lately? Update your content annually, anyhow. This includes adding the year to the headlines and title tags to show the content is current. This can help to boost CTRs.
- Promote, promote, promote your content on social media. After you’ve reviewed and/or updated a piece of content for freshness, then you’ll know that it’s still current and applicable to your readers.
Some Additional Dental Content Tips
- What HIPAA disclosures do you need to include in your content? If you aren’t sure, find out and follow through.
- Also, avoid using dental jargon. Your website content should speak to your patients and potential patients, so speak in the language they’d understand.
- Remember how impatient you can feel when you want a piece of content to work for you? Well, people are increasingly impatient in general, and this includes while they’re reading content on mobile devices. So, consider how to easily your content can be read on a smartphone or tablet.
- Add call-to-actions throughout, especially the long-form pieces. If a reader has a sore tooth, she’ll want to contact you, ASAP—not after reading the rest of a 5,000-word post. You can fix that easily by adding a “contact us” button or some other call to action device in strategic places.
Content marketing for your dental practice must be a focal point of your marketing plan, not a tacked-on afterthought. Compelling content can help to:
- attract new leads
- spotlight your website
- highlight your company brand
To boost the overall user experience and engage readers more deeply, it’s important to regularly review your content, including FAQs and checklists, and continue to measure its success. Your content must work well for you and for the people in need of your dental care services.
If you need assistance crafting your dental practice’s content marketing strategy, contact us to schedule a consultation. DAGMAR has a lot of experience working with practices like yours, and creating the best content strategy for their businesses.