There is considerable buzz in the tech world about the new Google ranking criteria set to launch April 21. Do you need to panic? Will your website disappear from Google? Relax, the big changes aren’t really that big and should not have much effect on most dentists. Especially if you have been following our advice when it comes to dental web pages.
The first change is to add rank value to web sites that are mobile friendly. The best way to do this is to have a responsive site. That is a site that detects the device on which it is being viewed and displays itself accordingly. This has been good advice for years and now Google will be rewarding you for doing it.
The second change is to penalize sites with multiple doorways. These are pages designed explicitly to attract specific Google search terms that then direct users to another site.
For some help with the mobile site issue Forbes has a good article here.
For web site development including mobile responsive sites I like TNT Dental and Sesame.
Summary: On the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.
We’ve known since our first studies of how users read on the Web that they typically don’t read very much. Scanning text is an extremely common behavior for higher-literacy users;
via How Little Do Users Read?.
I often see dental web pages that are loaded with text. Home pages will have four or five paragraphs extolling the philosophy of the office, endless treatment options and the educational accomplishments of the dentist and staff. I know that when I am faced with a sea of text I rarely read much. It seems I am not alone most people only read about 20% of the text on a web page.
The most important element a web page needs is to answer the question. Every user has landed on the page for a reason; they have a question that needs answering. The primary question is; where is the office and what is the phone number? This needs to be big, easy to see and above the fold on the home page.
Next avoid text and use images and graphics to tell the story and direct the user’s attention to items you want them to see. Do not write a sentence about treating children show an image of a happy child with nice teeth. Do not tell people you do cosmetics with a paragraph of text but show the photo of a happy patient with a gorgeous smile and a short testimonial beneath.
Make the next step easy and obvious.
New Patients Here
Pay Your Bill Here
About the Dentist
Your home page real estate is valuable use it well.
Some potential new patients will actually want to read all about the office treatment philosophy, the details of implant placement or the numerous post doc coursed the dentist has taken. Not many but some. For those people direct them to these pages but do not fill the home page with text.
An interesting article from NYT. The article is intended for lay people seeking whitening. It is good to know what they are being told however in some ways the comments are even more interesting. Everyone it seems has an opinion, often a wrong opinion, never the less they feel compelled to share it with the world.
Some dentists also use heat or even lasers to activate bleaching agents. But a 2007 systematic review of evidence in the journal Dental Materials found no added benefit from heat, light or lasers and suggested these methods “may have an adverse effect on pulpal tissue,”
via Ask Well: Whiter Teeth – NYTimes.com.
The article states that so called jump start techniques like adding lasers or heat to whitening are often little more than marketing hype that adds little or no benefit.
A nice online resource. A listing of well done and useful webs sites for dentists. (Of course Emmott on Technology is on the list :-))
Top Dental Sites 2014 – Braces or Invisalign.
I will be presenting an all day program April 17 in Ukiah, CA for the Redwood Empire Dental Society
Topics will include paperless records and using the Internet.