April 25, 2017

Dental Marketing Brief: SEO Isn’t Just About Ranking, It’s About Converting

To get conversions you need to match your marketing copy with the search intent of the search engine users.

Dental marketing SEO

This is a dental marketing brief to help you understand a fundamental flaw in the expectations of a dental SEO campaign. Since it is a brief, the intent is to give you things to consider, not a comprehensive guide to solve all of your SEO problems.

What is at stake is the money you are spending on your marketing campaigns as well as the risk of losing patients to your competition. 

You, like many dentists, are getting bombarded with marketing materials from dental marketing companies who are promising and in some cases guaranteeing page one in the search results. The problem is, most of these companies are not all that concerned with helping you with step two, making sure people click on your web page.

Ranking high is great, as a starting point. However it fails to produce any business value if you dont pay attention to actual conversions. One such conversion is CTR.

The Problem

You paid for an SEO expert who promised you page one rankings. The problem is that the same SEO consultant isn’t all that concerned about conversion metrics, particularly the one referred to as Click Through Rate or CTR.

For simplicity, a conversion is any action you want your target audience to take. Ranking is what sets up the conversion, in this case, CTR.

What is CTR (Click Through Rate)?

CTR is a metric provide by Google via their analytics or webmaster tools that allows you to analyze if your audience is clicking through to your web pages when they displayed in search results. The key thing to remember is that even when you are ranking well, you may have a really bad CTR. In essence what this means is that people didn’t like you when they found you.


The above graphic is from a real client of mine. When I snapped this screen shot, the dental practice was ranking in the number one spot for a search term related to cosmetic dentistry, but getting zero click through to the actual web page that was listed.

Why Your CTR is Low?

When you have a high ranking search phrase that is showing a very low if non existent CTR, there is a strong likelihood that one of the following three things is true:

  1. You are targeting the wrong search queries
  2. Your copy that displays in search results doesn’t match the users intent
  3. The competition has a more attention grabbing, resonating search engine snippet, or what is displayed in the search results.

Targeting the right search queries can get difficult and complicated fast. Let’s assume for this brief that you have done the upfront work to target the right search queries. The focus for improving your CTR becomes almost entirely related to your copy,and the copy of your competition.

How do you improve your CTR?

You have to do one of two things, if not both. You must make the copy that displays in the search results either:

  1. More attractive to the search engine user by matching your copy to their intent
  2. More attractive to the search engine user by making your copy more attractive than your competitions

Meta descriptions and page Titles

Meta descriptions and page titles are what people see when your web page is displayed in the search results. Your job is to make sure that they both align well with the intent of the user as well as make you stand out among the competition.


Take a look for yourself

If you are curious how well your website is being displayed in search engine results, just Google a phrase that you think your patients would use to find you and see what comes up as it relates to your page. Then think, would may patients find the language attractive? Do I look like all the other dentists on page one? Is there anything I can do, or my marketing company can do to make me stand out more?

You are paying for that high rank, you need to make sure you are getting a return on the investment.


The general principle that is in play here is that you need to understand your audience well before you go and make assumptions about how to present your practice to them. A good SEO is going to want to understand who your best customers are, who your best customers could be and how they make the choice to select your practice.

By tweaking your meta descriptions and/or your page titles, you will be in a much better position to gain actual business value from your high ranking website pages. 

Additional Resource

Intent Based SEO is an article or case study written by David Kutcher of Confluent Forms. While the case study is about a metals business, the concepts of intent based SEO apply. Remember, convesions are key. If your audience never takes action, your rankings dont matter.

And once they click, you want to be sure you get them to convert no matter where they land. (Another article by David Kutcher)


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