By Cody Baird
Optimizing your website can lead to BIG returns for small businesses. Here’s how one San Antonio dentist practice used an SEO strategy to successfully grow its business and sharpen its lead-generation campaign.
Local consumers rely on the Internet
Here are some facts about how consumers buy local products and services:
- 97 percent of consumers use the Internet when searching for local products and services (BIA/Kelsey).
- 54 percent of Americans have substituted the Internet and local search for phone books. (comScore)
Why does my small business need a website?
- 88 percent of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device either call or go to that business within 24 hours.
- 81 percent of consumers research a product online before buying.
- Yet in the U.S., more than half (52%) of small business owners do not have a website.
Things to consider when building a local website
Google recommends the following to get better search engine rankings:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
- Create a useful, information-rich site and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
- Use keywords to create descriptive, human-friendly URLs.
Things to avoid with your website
- Although only 53 percent of small businesses have a website, this has seen a growth of 8 percent since 2009.
- Having a website isn’t enough. Search engine optimization, Google AdWords campaigns and social media marketing are needed to drive traffic to your website.
- 93.3 percent of small business websites are not mobile-compatible and will not render successfully on mobile devices or smartphones.
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. No one wants to tap or pinch with fingers to view a website that is not designed for mobile. Your bounce rates will be high and your return visits and conversions low without mobile.
- 49 percent of sites fail to comply with basic usability principles and 50 percent of online sales are lost because visitors cannot find content.
- Create a site with a clear hierarchy, such as the example from South Park Family Dental below.
- Cost concerns and the perception that their ‘business didn’t need a website’ are the most common reasons why small businesses don’t have a website.
- Don’t let a couple thousand dollars hinder your ability to attract new customers.
Optimized landing page example
Case study of an optimized website
South Park Family Dental, San Antonio, Texas
In 2013 South Park’s marketing consisted of a YellowPages campaign and flyers to neighboring zip codes.
The YellowPages campaign consisted of a website, SEO, PPC campaign on AdWords and premium placement on Yellowpages.com. The campaign was $50,000 per year and included three offices.
In 2013, YellowPages tracked 329 calls for the campaign. Cost per call = $151. 98.
The flyer campaign consisted of 10,000 flyers for $3,750 per location, or $9,250 per run.
The last run of flyers sent 33 patients to South Park, two patients to the Hildebrand office and three to the Westover Hills office.
Flyers generated 38 patients for $9,250. Cost per patient = $243.42
South Park hires a new agency
Dr. Shiva Izaddoust needed to find more patients. And she needed to do it with a smaller budget. Dr. Izaddoust wanted a website that better represented her practice – a website that was mobile-friendly and that would rank in the search results. At the time she only ranked for searches with her practice name. In other words, the practice didn’t rank for non-branded searches like dentist, Invisalign or dental implants. This was clearly losing her prospective patients and money.
South Park builds a new customized, responsive website
Cost of website: $6,000
Cost of hosting: $100 month
In early 2014, Dr. Izaddoust launched a new customized website for each office following Google guidelines and best practices. This included the following:
- Responsive designed website: mobile and tablet-friendly (example: http://safamilydentalcare.com/).
- Clear information hierarchy and information architecture http://safamilydentalcare.com/tx/san-antonio/dental-services/.
- User-friendly design created with patient in mind.
- Information-rich site, including:
- Engaging home page (http://safamilydentalcare.com/tx/san-antonio/dental-implants/).
- Videos of doctors and patient stories (http://safamilydentalcare.com/tx/san-antonio/patient-stories/).
- Info-rich service pages with videos, reviews, FAQs, specials and offers (http://safamilydentalcare.com/tx/san-antonio/dental-implants/).
- Detailed FAQs for all services, complimentary consultations (http://safamilydentalcare.com/tx/san-antonio/dental-implants-faqs/).
- Transparent pricing and offers page (http://safamilydentalcare.com/pricing-and-offers/).
Dr. Izaddoust’s websites were hosted on a private platform using the latest technology. She moved away from Host Gator, which she says “performs slower and shares hosting with thousands of websites, many of which are in Google’s penalty box.”
The new hosting includes sub two-second page loads, clean IP blocks and servers.
South Park optimizes all digital profiles
Cost of SEO: $550 a month per location
Claiming and verifying the Google+ Local, Bing Local, Yahoo Local, Yelp, HealthGrades and 30 other digital profiles was the next step Dr. Izaddoust took towards optimization. South Park did the following:
- Verified its practice name.
- Updated practice name, address, phone and website details.
- Updated practice hours of operation.
- Added LOTS of photos: staff photos, building photos (inside and out) and photos of company parties, as well photos of patients.
- Added logos of the business, logos of the ADA and the TDA.
- Added a thorough business description, including information about Dr. Izaddoust and the practice history/story, as well as information about services provided.
- Updated the categories from dental clinic to include dentist, cosmetic dentist, pediatric dentist, orthodontist, dental implants, periodontist, oral surgeon and teeth-whitening service to represent all categories provided.
South Park receives review training and implements a review strategy
Top placement in the search results is pointless if no one clicks on the website or calls. Reviews are hands down the strongest conversion tool for all practices. South Park did the following:
- Received review training from the website agency at each office, as well as follow-up training each year.
- Created review handouts: simple instructions to leave a review.
- Staff started asking patients for feedback in the form of a review.
The numbers: growth and return on investment
In 2013 South Park received fewer than 50 visitors per month to the website from search, with all searches using the practice name for contact information. The practice only ranked for its name. Search engine traffic was valued at less than $50.
From 2013 to 2014, South Park saw a 12.7 percent growth in sales, while maintaining the previous budget of $50,000 but reallocating efforts from YP ads and AdWords to optimize the website and SEO.
The cost of three campaigns and websites in 2014: $23,400 in SEO campaigns and hosting and $18,000 for websites. Total cost for 2014 = $41,400.
The fourth office opened later in the year. The cost for a website was $6,000 and $3,900 in SEO campaign and hosting. Total cost for 2014 = $9,900.
In March of 2016, South Park received more than 700 unique visits and ranks for 705 keywords, including lumineers cost, dentist San Antonio, family dentist San Antonio, dental implants San Antonio, Invisalign San Antonio and hundreds more. South Park’s search engine traffic was worth $4,181, meaning, Dr. Izaddoust would have had to spend $4,100 on AdWords to get the same traffic that her website is now generating for the cost of optimization.
Tip: South Park has 155 Google reviews with a 4.8 score, placing South Park as the second highest reviewed dentist in all of San Antonio. The third placed office in the area has only 74 Google reviews, almost half of South Park’s.
Average calls in 2015 = 187 a month. Average calls in 2016 = 340 a month.
Total calls in 2013 = 329 for all three offices. South Park office received that many calls alone last month. The South Park’s monthly budget has gone up from $650 a month for hosting and SEO campaign to $2,650 a month for hosting, SEO, PPC and retargeting ads.
Cost per call in 2013 = $151.98.
Cost per call in 2015 = $14.17.
Cost per call in 2016 = $7.79.
Average annual value per patient = $1,860.
Dr. Shiva Izaddoust, South Park Family Dental, San Antonio, Texas
About the Author
Cody Baird is founder of Milkmen.com, a Local Search Forum Top Contributor, a LocalU moderator and a Local Search Pro member
In 2011, he founded milkmen.com, a firm specializing in local search marketing and local brand strategy. His vision is to shine a light on local greatness, including The Driskill Hotel, Tacodeli and Franklin BBQ. He cringes at the thought of a world of Applebee’s but no Franklin BBQs, or Hyatts but no Driskill Hotels. “Keep it local,” he says. To relax, he enjoys reading, CrossFit, golfing, hiking, running or just about anything outdoors.