Local SEO and Social Media For Dentists
This is the sixth part of our Local SEO series that focuses on optimizing your dental website for search engines. You can view the other posts here:
- Local Search for Dentists
- Google My Business for Dentists
- SEO for Dentist Websites
- Inbound Links for Dental Websites
- Citations for Dental Practices
- Reviews for Dental Practices
We’ll start this post by saying that Local SEO experts do not consider social media to be a very important local SEO ranking factor, with less than 4% influence. Compare that to signals like Google My Business which has a 19% influence. That said, there are some essential foundations for dental practices that should be properly addressed. It’s best to keep SEO-related social media work simple and efficient. In that spirit, we will keep this guide short and to the point.
There are a lot of little actions that can add up to give you an edge over your Local SEO competition. We advise paying attention to the critical components but prioritizing your efforts. Activities that will have the most impact include website optimization, reviews, citations, and inbound links.
Social media is a valuable marketing channel
Aside from SEO, social media offers several marketing opportunities that should be considered for dental practices. These opportunities are focused on paid promotions, brand engagement, and reactivation of existing patients. We’ll cover these opportunities in another blog post in the future.
Keep it simple
You will probably be relieved to hear there isn’t a lot of work that has to be done for social media. It’s a good idea to claim all the top social media sites, similar to citations, but you don’t need to work on all of them regularly. Dental practices only need to keep Facebook, and possibly Instagram up to date by posting a few authentic in-office posts per week. You should also monitor Facebook for reviews.
Social media sites for dentists
The most important social media sites for dental practices are:
Google+ is specifically left off this list. It used to have some local SEO impact, but after a recent data breach, Google is shutting it down.
Facebook and Instagram are the two most important social media sites for dental practices. Facebook is the most important because of its review feature and for recommendations from existing patients. Many people searching for a new dentist ask for recommendations on Facebook; these mentions of your brand and the subsequent visits to your Facebook page are valuable considerations. Instagram can be useful for paid advertising because a lot of potential new patients use this platform. Yelp is primarily a review site but it also has some social media features. Make sure you claim your Yelp profile and read our blog post on Reviews.
Claim your profiles
You might think this requires a lot of time and energy. Don’t worry, the only platform you really need to work with on a regular basis is Facebook. You can just claim the other ones, add your branding and some basic content then basically leave them static.
It might be a good idea to have an active Instagram channel so you can also do some social media advertising but it’s not necessary. Cosmetic and orthodontist practices have lots of great content they can post on Instagram. Social media advertising can work well for acquiring new patients but it needs to be done strategically.
Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest can all be set up with a little bit of work and content and then updated very occasionally. If you have someone in your office who is social media savvy, it doesn’t hurt to regularly post to all the channels, but we’d recommend keeping it simple and efficient. Effective marketing is about priorities and getting a good return on your marketing spend.
There are a few other important reasons to claim social media profiles:
- Prevent someone creating a fake profile representing your business.
- Be visible when new patients are searching on social media for dental offices and asking friends for recommendations.
- Social media accounts provide valuable citations for your practice.
Profile branding and design
Make sure your social media profiles match your website and branding. Work with an agency like First.Dentist or a social media expert to create the proper images and graphics for social media. They all have specific requirements and can be difficult to format properly. You want your practice to look professional on social media, and a badly designed social profile won’t represent your office well. You might also want to add video to your Facebook profile as we did for this client, Academy Dental.
Focus on Facebook
Facebook is the most important social media platform because it is the primary source of social traffic for dental offices. Potential new patients like to check out reviews and ask their friends on Facebook for recommendations.
Make your profile match your website and make it look professional and friendly. It is easy to update your page a couple of times a week and manage your reviews. There are plenty of other reasons to have a great Facebook page, but as an SEO and review source, only the basics are required.
Ensure your business information is consistent
For all of your pages, you’ll want to treat them like dental citations. You’ll want to keep your Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP data) consistent across all profiles. Use the same name for your practice and make sure your phone number and address are up to date. Don’t use call tracking numbers unless you know how to set them up properly. They can cause a lot of SEO-related issues if set up improperly.
Branding, engagement, and social media
The benefits that social media channels offer are primarily focused on customer engagement, promotions, branding, and reactivation of existing customers. It’s also important to manage your reviews on Facebook. These offer some spillover benefits for Local SEO, but we advise keeping it simple unless you have a specific social media strategy.
The future of social media and Local SEO
Google has limited access to social media data, apart from their partnership with Twitter. If Google does start to gain more access to Facebook and other social media data, the importance of social media could increase as a ranking factor. In the likely scenario that Google starts to decrease the emphasis it places on inbound links, social media mentions and engagement could increase in ranking value. Claim your profiles and focus on the most popular sites like Facebook and Instagram. Please contact First.Dentist for a free strategy session and review of your social media and Local SEO market.
- Social media isn’t a top priority for Local SEO but the individual factors can add up to a small competitive advantage
- It’s not difficult to cover the basics and there are benefits across the digital marketing ecosystem, so make sure you claim the most important profiles.
- Focus on Facebook
- Make sure your Name, Address, Phone (NAP data) is accurate and consistent across your profiles
- Use social media for the most important marketing priorities like promotions and customer engagement and patient reactivation