Paid Versus Organic Rankings: A Match Made in Heaven?

smiling woman on tabletWe often get questions from our doctors about paid versus organic rankings and why should they keep paying for pay-per-click (PPC) if organic is working well. Or can they get rid of PPC if their organic rankings were to improve? Is paid better than organic? Or is it the other way around?

The simple answer is that it’s like comparing apples to oranges. What is actually important is the great synergy that goes along with running both of them together.

Let’s take a closer look.

Organic Versus Paid—Better Together

A recent article by Search Engine Land cautions against using an us-versus-them approach when it comes to PPC versus organic. They cite the following facts:

  1. Google has made changes over the past few years that have impacted organic traffic—and not in a good way. These changes have resulted in an overall decline of organic traffic. There is every reason to expect that these changes will continue to harm organic search.
  2. Businesses need to embrace both organic and paid search metrics—and let them work together. Ideally, your practice would have paid and organic listings with perfect visibility—but that is simply not feasible from a financial standpoint.

The article further explains how the two work in tandem.

Google research has also shown that even with a number one organic ranking, PPC meant a 50-percent higher click-through rate.

To further clarify, let’s take a look at a real-life example.

What Happens When You Break Them Up

One of our clients suffered an accident at the beginning of May 2016. His PPC was paused for that entire month. We restarted the PPC on a limited basis in June.

You can see from the chart what happened to organic traffic in May without the PPC campaign.  After experiencing steady traffic prior to May, organic dropped to about 88 percent of normal in May and 76 percent of normal in June.

paid versus organic rankings

The next chart shows the average PPC and organic leads for the four months prior to May compared to the average leads with no or limited PPC running for the next four months.

google organic visits chart 2

This doctor’s Google organic traffic and PPC traffic had been roughly equal, as had the leads generated from both.  It is interesting to see that when the PPC was removed fully or mostly, the organic traffic dropped some and the organic leads dropped even more.  We expected the drop in PPC leads (91 percent) but we were somewhat surprised at the drop in organic leads (45 percent).

The practice was not running any other advertising other than PPC before or after the accident.

It is important to state that these data show a correlation between PPC and organic for both website visits and leads. They do not imply causation. Though other studies suggest they are correlated, too.

With our clients, we have found that organic search helps rankings for searches with geography included, such as “cosmetic dentistry Denver.” PPC helps clients show up for pure service keyword searches, such as “dental implants.”

Search Engine Watch has been writing about the overlap between paid and organic search for seven years. Their last report, from July 2016, reported that the landscape had changed significantly from 2015 to 2016 with mobile searches on Google having exceeded desktop for the first time. This resulted in significant changes to Google search results, and paid ads took up a significant amount of space versus organic listings.

It’s a Complicated Relationship

The takeaway is that there are clear advantages to both paid and organic search optimization—and one  is not better than the other. The two share a complex bond, and it’s up to your online marketing plan to get the maximum value out of both—together.

Questions About Paid Versus Organic Rankings on Your Website?

If you aren’t sure if you are maximizing the results of your rankings, contact us at 877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

Online Reviews Impact Landing Page Conversions

It’s no secret we believe reviews have become an essential part of running a successful practice (read more in Online Reviews: Can Your Practice Afford to Ignore Them When Your Patients Are Not and Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice), but what about including patient reviews on a landing page?

BrightLocal, which provides local search marketing tools for agencies, consultants, and local businesses, recently conducted a study to determine how online reviews impact landing page conversion. Their research shows that putting reviews on landing pages helps boost conversion by 12 percent. This isn’t a big surprise to us, and we have been encouraging our doctors to do this for some time.

Let’s take a look at the specifics of the study.

Reviews Continue to Be an Important Part of the Buying Process

In their 2016 Local Consumer Review Study, BrightLocal discovered the following statistics:

  • 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 54 percent of people will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews

BrightLocal wanted to take these facts a step further to find out if these reviews helped build trust and how promoting a firm’s reputation would impact landing page conversion.

The Latest Findings on Consumer Trust and Landing Page Conversions

For their experiment, BrightLocal divided their participants into two groups: a control group of 30 percent of the participants who were showed landing pages that had no ratings or reviews displayed, and test groups with the rest of the participants who were shown different landing pages, some with reviews and some without.

According to BrightLocal: “The panelists were asked to imagine they were searching online for a local plumber, florist or realtor. We showed the consumers two landing pages—one page that highlighted an actual customer’s review about the business and another page where the business said they were the ‘dependable’ company.

“For this research study, we tracked whether consumers picked the businesses with or without the customer review on the landing pages. Additionally, we asked consumers to give us feedback on a variety of other factors that impacted their decisions and opinions of these ‘sample’ businesses.”

landing page conversions

The results showed that 83 percent found the business with the consumer review on the landing page to be trustworthy. And 15 percent of survey participants felt the business without reviews was not trustworthy.

landing page conversions

When asked how likely they would be to contact the business with reviews, 74 percent of people said they would versus 62 percent of people who said they would contact the business with no reviews.

You can read BrightLocal’s full results here.

Questions About Using Patient Reviews on Your Website?

If you have questions about conversion rates or online reviews, contact us at
877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

 

Online Reviews: Can Your Practice Afford to Ignore Them When Your Patients Are Not?

The statistics are telling: 92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. The fact is, however, that even though far too many local businesses continue to ignore the importance of online reviews, their potential customers are not.

We wrote an article recently about how important it is for businesses to manage their online reputation which presented the results of a survey conducted by local search specialists at BrightLocal. Their survey results were revisited at the recent SMX West SEO and SEM Conference.

online reviews

SMX West and the Value of Online Reviews

Search Engine Land columnist Greg Gifford recapped a session from the expo by Thomas Ballantyne, who is director of marketing at a local business, about the value of online reviews.

There were several valuable takeaways from the article:

  • More than half of people looking for a local business trust content that has been generated by past customers over any information they can get from a company website or in a news article. Ballantyne explained that “people trust reviews written by other people much more than anything written on your website, which is why it’s so important for business owners to focus on their online reviews.”
  • Your brand’s message? It’s owned by your customers—or in the case of ProspectaMarketing readers, your patients.
  • Ballantyne points out that “reviews are the crossroads of social media and transactions.” Reviews aren’t going away—and businesses can’t afford to ignore them because their customers are not.
  • According to Ballantyne, getting great reviews is simple: “First, you’ve got to provide good customer service. You’ve got to hire people who will love your customers. Second, you just have to ask. If you ask customers to leave a review, most of them will do it—but most businesses never ask for reviews.”

Use Online Reviews to Your Practice’s Advantage

Are you doing all that you can with your online reputation? Are you asking your happy patients to leave reviews? We offer a tool that sends a review request directly to patients’ phones. It’s easy to use—for team members and patients!—and is highly effective in growing your online reviews.

If you need help managing your online reputation, contact us at 877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

 

Internet Marketing: Attracting New Patients From Internet Search, Part II

Internet marketingAs we introduced in part I of this article, many dentists find that what they have relied on in the past just isn’t generating the new patient flow they previously experienced. Additionally, there have been significant changes in Internet marketing during just the past year. Keeping up with the changes necessary to attract new patients from Internet search is a challenge.

Let’s look at what’s changed—and what’s stayed the same, this time in terms of SEO and local listings.

Your SEO Needs to Be Strong

The need for effective search engine optimization (SEO) is constant. This gives your website visibility for location-based service search phrases such as “Dallas cosmetic dentist,” “dental implants Boston,” or “sedation dentistry in Fargo.”

PPC Extends Visibility

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is another fundamental element in maintaining a competitive edge online. PPC helps extend visibility for core service keywords, such as “cosmetic dentist” or “dental implants.” Since you can control the geography where these ads are shown, it allows your practice to be listed high in the search results for the geography around your practice from which you can reasonably expect to draw patients.

Expanded AdWords

Google’s new expanded text ads are the next generation of the standard AdWords text ad, featuring:

  • Two headlines
  • More characters
  • Expanded description

expanded AdWordsThis new ad type provides longer, more controllable messaging in your ads. These are improving click-through-rates by up to 20 percent, according to online advertising company WordStream. 

Your Local Listings Need to Be Claimed and Optimized

Internet success is also heavily dependent on local listings. These include such online directories as Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and others. Claim these key listings; make sure your practice name, address, and phone number are correct and uniform; and optimize them as much as possible with services offered, a catchy business description with keywords, attractive photo content, and more.

Well-developed local listings tell prospective patients what they need to know about your practice through pertinent information and visually attractive images.

Tracking

Make sure you track your results to know what is working for your practice. It isn’t rankings for random keywords that matters; it is the rankings for the right keywords that bring in traffic and productive new leads that become paying patients.

The Future of Internet Marketing

It’s hard to predict what new developments will shape Internet marketing in the months ahead. But remember this: You must keep your online presence fresh and relevant. There are more ways than ever before to engage current patients and future prospects.

By ensuring your website is mobile friendly, developing your local listings and online reviews, using SEO and advertising effectively, and tracking your results to evaluate your success, you will be a step ahead and enjoying the benefits that come from being a leader online in your market.

 

Internet Marketing: Attracting New Patients From Internet Search, Part I

Internet marketingMany dentists find that what they have relied on in the past just isn’t generating the new patient flow they previously experienced. Additionally, there have been significant changes in Internet marketing during just the past year. Keeping up with the changes necessary to attract new patients from Internet search is a challenge.

Let’s look at what’s changed—and what’s stayed the same.

Your Website Needs to Be Mobile for Effective Internet Marketing

As always, you still need to have a well-structured website that is easy to navigate and loaded with relevant content. Your website must have fast page loading speed (not to be confused with site speed) for better ranking and conversion.

Practices need to ensure that their sites are easy to use on desktop and mobile devices. Responsive design allows your website to transition easily from a large layout for desktop users to an easy-to-navigate mobile-friendly layout for smartphones and tablets.

Recent statistics show:

Targeting specific ads to reach mobile users is another way to capitalize on this jump in mobile search, creating a more personalized and targeted search experience.

Your Reviews Must Be Monitored

Online reviews are another aspect of Internet search that continues to grow in importance. A major consumer shift has occurred, with consumers now seeking reviews for professional services with increasing frequency and basing decisions on those reviews.

It can be frustrating when online perception about your practice is largely in the hands of your patients. If you don’t proactively manage your reputation, however, you are at the mercy of those who choose to review your practice.

Even the best practices occasionally get a negative review—and they can be helpful. If you interact with your patients through both good and bad reviews, prospects will see that you are invested and involved. When positive reviews are the norm, an occasional negative review can provide credibility to the positive ones.

Online Reviews Influence Buying Decisions

BrightLocal’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey explored just how consumers read and use online reviews, and whether or not the reviews influenced their buying decisions.

In a nutshell, the results showed that of survey participants:

  • 84% trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation
  • 90% read fewer than 10 reviews before they form an opinion about a business
  • 74% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 73% report that reviews that are three months or older are not as important as more current reviews
  • 54% say that after reading positive reviews, their next step is to visit the business’s website

Read part II of this article to find out how SEO and local listings impact local Internet marketing.

10 Tips for Creating Impactful Patient Testimonials

Patient testimonials are a great addition to your website, Facebook page, or YouTube channel. People enjoy seeing other patients talk about their positive experiences with your practice. Reviews not only enhance your web presence and online reputation, but they can have huge impact on whether or not a patient decides to make an appointment with your practice.

Tips for Recording Patient Testimonials

patient testimonialsIf you are going to record a video of your patients, be sure that you are getting a great quality video. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Have correct lighting. Try to avoid a windowless room with just fluorescent lights and don’t have the light source directly behind or above your subject. Have your patient sit by a window with natural light to their side or in front of them.
  • Invest in a good microphone. A Lavalier microphone will ensure there is no echoing or other issues caused by bad sound.
  • Be sure the microphone can hear them. Don’t stand so far away that the microphone can’t pick up their voice. If you are interested, there are a variety of clip on microphones available that you can attach to the patients shirt and then plug the microphone adapter into your iPhone.
  • Make sure your patients are comfortable. Stuart Anderson, who creates professional video productions for the Crown Council, a prestigious group of dentists committed to continual improvement, recommends that they should be sitting or standing in a relaxed position that is conducive to a conversation.
  • Make eye contact. Anderson also recommends that subjects not look at the camera while they are speaking: “They are less likely to do so if you make good eye contact,” he says.
  • Note where you are placing your subject. Make sure there’s nothing odd in the background. That fern on your windowsill may look lovely, but make sure it doesn’t look like its growing out of your subject’s head.
  • Invest in a tripod. You don’t need to spend lots of money and rent a lot of video equipment, but make sure you have a tripod or a way to hold the camera very steady. If you are filming with an iPhone, always hold the camera horizontally. This will result in much better looking videos when you upload them and watch them on computer screens and TVs.
  • Don’t use zoom. Instead of zooming, physically move the camera forward. If filming with your phone, using zoom will work but will reduce the quality of the video.
  • Try Q & A style interview. You can email your patient the questions beforehand so they have their answers in mind. Then when you film them, have someone off camera ask them the questions and have them respond to the interviewer that is off camera. This way you can get concise direct answers instead of a stream of consciousness that sometimes happens when people are being filmed.
  • Have patients sign a consent form. Before using any patient testimonials online, you must have them sign a consent form giving their permission for you to do so.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get great patient testimonials. It only takes a few minutes of a patient’s time and can really help to improve the quality of your online presence.

Questions About Patient Testimonials?

If you have questions about getting patient testimonials for your own practice, contact us at
877-322-4440 Ext. 101.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice

Anyone running a small- or medium-sized business is aware that their online reputation is becoming more and more important if they are to be successful. In spite of this, however, business owners are not always paying enough attention to their online reviews. They may not realize that online reviews can have a huge impact on whether or not a customer decides to purchase a product or service.

For the past six years, the local search specialists at BrightLocal have conducted a survey on online reviews to help small- to medium-sized businesses and digital marketing agencies understand how they influence purchasing decisions.

The results make it clear that online reputation needs to be taken seriously by all business owners, and that includes those running a dental or medical practice.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your PracticeWhat the Online Survey Research Results Found

BrightLocal’s survey explored just how consumers read and use online reviews, and whether or not the reviews influenced their buying decisions.

In a nutshell, the results showed:
• 84 percent of survey participants trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation
• 90 percent of consumers read fewer than 10 reviews before they form an opinion about a business
• 74 percent of those surveyed say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
• 73 percent of consumers report that reviews that are three months or older are not as important as more current reviews
• 54 percent of those surveyed say that after reading positive reviews, their next step is to visit the business’s website

According to the survey, the most commonly read reviews by consumers are for the following categories restaurants and hotels and bed and breakfasts, with medical/healthcare professionals coming in third place.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice

What the Online Survey Research Results Mean for Your Practice

The number of consumers using the Internet to find local businesses continues to increase.

BrightLocal’s take on the reasons for the growth is simple: “Over the past few years, many local businesses have realized the importance of optimizing their online presence for the local market by claiming their Google My Business or Bing Places for Business pages, creating location-specific pages on their website, adding Google Maps to their site and other local SEO strategies.

“Additionally, Google shows online reviews in many search engine results pages, and they even recently started adding third-party review sites and reviews to a business’s Knowledge Panel.”

The bottom line? Reviews are everywhere. And your potential customers are reading them. But rather than fear them, you should see them as an opportunity to engage and receive feedback about your practice.

Why Your Practice Needs an Online Reputation Strategy

For your practice’s continued success, you must monitor what patients are saying in online reviews. You should also have a way to get positive reviews from happy patients.

Why? Because potential patients will read the most recent reviews first; if those reviews are negative, they may not read past them to get to the positive reviews—even if there are more positive than negative. New positive reviews will push the negative reviews down the list.

Reviews, Online Reputation, and the Success of Your Practice

It should be noted here that reviews for dental and medical practices tend to have a longer shelf life than, for instance, restaurants; this is probably because people visit restaurants and other businesses on a more frequent basis. That said, however, it is still critical to have a steady flow of new reviews as an ongoing part of running a successful practice.

How are you handling your reviews? Are you asking happy patients to leave reviews after they visit your practice? According to BrightLocal, seven out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business—if they’re asked to do so.

Find Out More About This Year’s Survey

Do you want to see even more questions and answers, as well as a deeper analysis of the results of this year’s survey? You can read the full 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey here.

Questions? Need Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

If you have questions about the survey or would like help managing your own online reputation, contact us at
877-322-4440 Ext. 101.