Throughout 2010 Google remained the dominant search engine and it continues to grow – so much so that by the end of 2010, Google had recorded 66% of all internet searches. Bing had grown to 12%, primarily at the expense of Yahoo that had fallen away to 16%. Within the last days it has been announced that one of the lesser engines, Ask, had ceased to trade due to lost share. Google has become synonymous with the word “search” and its easy to see why our first focus should fall there when we are determining our dental web marketing strategy for 2011 and onward.
Google is a massive innovator and continually introduces new tools that we need be familiar with in our quest to top the Google search ranking. So what has Google been up to in 2010 and how do we see that progressing into 2011?
A few months ago Google started to roll out new search functionality “Instant” aimed at speeding up searching by 2 – 5 seconds per average search. You will likely have experienced this when using Google – as you type, predicted search results appear in your browser ready to be clicked; you don’t even need to press “search”. Effectively you can scan results returned on-the-fly as you type. Google claims that the ranking of websites is unaffected by “Instant” which is almost certainly true. However, our statistics show that it is having a major effect on how users search and what link they ultimately click. The temptation is for a user to click a link before they had fully entered the original search term they had in mind! We have seen the (often adverse) effect of this in several web stat tools that we employ.
The conclusion here is that all on and off site SEO now needs to take account of the behaviour of Google “Instant” and how this impacts on the structure of website page titles, key word phrases etc. So as Google innovates we need to continually revisit our SEO strategy to ensure we stay in touch and hold on to those hard won top search rankings.
Google Maps and Places:
Another essential tool introduced by Google in 2009 and more recently updated is “Maps and Places” (you may recall the earlier service Google “Local”). You do not need to be a search marketing consultant to have noticed that search entries, particularly those with a place name, return a list of “local” results ahead of the usual organic listing! This is a great opportunity to get a first page ranking with relatively little effort – particularly when compared to a long and costly traditional SEO campaign.
As with all on-line marketing tools there is an optimal way to set up and use the facility – done incorrectly you can actually do more damage than good for your ranking position. So please research carefully or contact us for advice.
Just before we leave Google Maps and Places, one very important feature we need to highlight is the ability to rate an advertisers services. Whilst the number and quality of ratings that you get will not affect your ranking position it will likely have a very important effect on the way users view your listing and the likelihood that they will click through to your site. Advertisers with a number of good reviews ranking near the bottom of page one will likely receive more clicks than un-rated sites appearing higher up. Good reviews are critical to build the credibility of your services so you need to encourage this with your customers, friends and family. Ask them to drop by at Google Places, find your listing, sign-in and get you rated!
Google, Dental Marketing Video and You Tube:
This is a critical new tool which is worthy of its own article and covered in more detail separately in this blog. However, no review of the latest trends in Dental Marketing would be complete without at least a mention of the power of video for dental promotion. YouTube is owned by Google and is the largest video site on the internet – it receives the third highest number of visits behind Facebook and Google itself. You will have noticed that more and more companies are now using Google to advertise their products and services whilst consumers are using YouTube to check out what is on offer. This is an essential form of direct marketing which you simply need to be a part of.
However there is another significant benefit to posting video on YouTube that is not always realised. A properly optimised video acts as a great link source back to your main dental website, driving more visitors to your site and ultimately building your client base. Please follow the link for a more detailed article on the use of dental marketing video and YouTube.
In summary we can see that Google continues to innovate and continues to provide useful tools that are essential for dental marketing. At Dental Media we constantly review such tools from Google and other providers and how they can be put to best use by our clients. We will present our experience of what works and what doesn’t work in concise and user friendly format so please visit us regularly and keep ahead.
You can always contact us for free advice or to discuss your dental website and marketing requirements.
Best wishes for a successful 2011
Vanessa and the Dental Media Team