Where the Sleep Patients Are
You’ve no doubt heard the saying that in retail, location is everything. Every retailer from the gas station to Starbucks wants to be on the busiest corner in town. The more traffic going by, the better.
Location is equally important online. There are certain websites that receive a disproportionate share of the digital “traffic”.
According to SimilarWeb, the three most visited websites in the U.S. are Google, Facebook and YouTube.
While you can’t improve your physical location without the cost and hassle of moving, you can easily improve your online location. Here are some tips for being found by prospective patients on these high traffic websites.
As a local business, there are two primary ways to gain organic visibility on Google. First is the Local Pack (red box). In order to show up in this section, your Google My Business (GMB) Listing must be better optimized than those of competing practices. That means completing every possible section and selecting the proper category for your listing, uploading photos and videos, gathering Google patient reviews, and having a comprehensive description. You’ll find more GMB optimization tips here.
The second way to show up in Google is the section below the Local Pack (black box), often referred to as the organic section. Google has over 200 ranking factors that they evaluate when determining which websites to list and where to list them. Reviewing all of those factors is beyond the scope of this article. However, we will touch on a few factors that have been shown to have an immediate impact on your organic rankings.
Two of the most critical factors include content on your website (within the code as well as the text used) and off-site factors such as inbound links (other websites pointing to your website).
When generating results for search queries, Google attempts to provide the most relevant data it can find related to the search topic the user enters. Having content that matches the search query on your page is a major factor in how your site appears. If someone searches for “sleep apnea treatment” and your website content reflects that term consistently, then there is a higher likelihood your site will appear in the results for that query.
Inbound links reinforce to Google that your site contains valuable content. Basically, Google’s thinking is that if other sites refer to your site with a link, they are endorsing your content as having value. The more valuable the content, the higher your site will rank in search results. This is a gross oversimplification, but it gets the point across – quality copy and inbound links have a major impact on how your site appears in search results.
During the last several years, organic visibility of posts in Facebook has continued to decline. However, there are still several reasons to invest time in your Facebook page:
- Many people use Facebook as a search engine and you want to be found by prospective patients near your office searching for dental services.
- Facebook pages will often show up in Google searches.
- Facebook is one of the three most important review sites along with Google and Yelp.
- Many people expect a business to have an active Facebook page.
- Facebook still has over 2 billion monthly active users. That is a lot of traffic.
Establish a stand-alone Facebook page for your sleep practice. Be sure the cover image represents your practice well. Have one of your staffers post content every so often – daily is too often, monthly is too rare. Have a strategy for dealing with patient feedback, with extra attention being paid to HIPAA compliant replies.
In addition to being the third most visited website, YouTube is also the second most utilized search engine (after Google). According to Cisco, by 2021 over 80% of all internet traffic will be video, so a strong YouTube presence will become even more important moving forward.
The first step toward gaining visibility in YouTube is setting up a YouTube channel for your sleep practice. You’ll want to include your sleep logo along with a professionally designed header image. Be sure and link to your sleep website and add a description that includes the keywords (i.e. sleep apnea, snoring, cpap alternative, etc.) that you want to be found for.
Once your channel is created and optimized, you are able to start uploading videos. Office tour, meet the doctor, overview of treatment options and Q&A’s are just a few of the videos you can create. When creating your videos, keep in mind that you’re most often speaking to an audience that is unfamiliar with industry lingo. Keep answers conversational and avoid unnecessary technical terms.
Each time you upload a video, include a compelling title as well as a description and tags containing the primary keyword terms associated with that particular video.
Views, likes and shares will all help to improve the visibility of your video. Popular videos will show more frequently not only in YouTube, but will also often show in Google’s organic search results section.
Improving your organic visibility on Google, Facebook and YouTube will result in a significant increase in new sleep patients and go a long way toward claiming your share of traffic from the information superhighway.
If you’d like to discuss effectively branding your sleep practice and improving your online visibility, schedule time on a complimentary sleep marketing strategy call by clicking here.