Improving Your Practice's Google Search Ranking

Google has 6 rules that govern search ranking, said Robb Antosy of Advice Media during his session at the Greater New York Dental Meeting. Play by these rules to elevate your ranking.

There is no more coveted spot in the world of search engine results than the first page of Google. Attendees of the session titled, “Playing By Google’s Rules” on Tuesday at the Greater New York Dental Meeting received a road map for elevating their practices’ visibility in Google rankings.

Related: How to Be the Leader Your Dental Practice Needs

The session, which was hosted by Robb Antosy of Advice Media, covered the 6 factors that Google uses to rank its results.

“The basic rules that we want to go over today are the basic rules that Google is playing by,” Antosy said.

He began by reviewing just how much Google knows about each of us: our politics, the stores we shop at, even our driving habits, explaining that Google’s entire business model revolves around delivering relevant information—and advertising—to its users. It gauges relevance of search results and advertising in accordance with the data it collects on its users.

“For them, it’s all about money,” Antosy said. “At the end of the day, they want you to be successful as well. But you’ve got to play by the rules.”

Playing By Google’s 6 Rules

1. Pay attention to the mobile user. Mobile responsiveness of your practice’s website has a direct effect on your Google search rankings. What does that mean, exactly? If your website doesn’t flex and scale for smooth navigation across desktop and mobile devices, then you have a problem, Antosy explained. “You really want to make sure your entire website is fluid,” he said. ResponsiveDeisgnChecker.com is a great resource for testing your site right now.

2. Think like a publisher. Dentists can’t just be dentists, Antosy explained. You have to be content generators too. Your website, Antosy said, will always be a hub for content, but what you put on that website matters. Blogging monthly is a great place to begin, he explained, because it’s a way of letting Google know that your website is a source for relevant information. You’ll also want to be sure your website contains social media icons for smooth sharing, as well as links out to any affiliated universities or professional organizations.

Related: 5 Steps to Boosting Referrals to Your Practice

3. Content is king. Your website, Antosy said, should be the annoying kid in class, always raising its hand to Google, letting it know that it has new and relevant information. As previously mentioned, blogging is a fantastic place to start for keeping fresh content on your website. But the best kind of content is …

4. Video. The key, Antosy said, is making the right kind of video. Short patient testimonials, he said, are a fantastic place to start. Aim for about 45 seconds. These videos don’t have to be overly sophisticated either, Antosy said. Using a smartphone camera will often suffice. Just make sure you’re hosting your videos on YouTube, Antosy said. He explained that as a Google subsidiary, YouTube is the second largest search engine. It also receives more than 1 billion unique page views monthly. YouTube’s closed captioning function will also help to drive traffic back to your site.

5. Social media matters. If you’re not on social media, you need to be. But the key is delivering the right kinds of social media. “Either you love it or hate it, but guys, it’s really something you should be investing your time into.” Antosy said that he often sees dentists fall into the trap of bombarding people with sales pitches on social media, which drives them away. He reminded the audience that people come to social media to be social, so a better approach is showing people who you are and what you do—offering them an entry point into the conversation.

6. Reputation and link building. “You need to know what is being posted out there about you,” Antosy said. That means monitoring, or using a monitoring service to check reviews on Yelp, or other health-centric review sites. Positive reviews, he said, will have the direct effect of elevating your rankings. He also offered some tips on getting in front of negative reviews. He recommended several patient survey services that will email patients, asking them to rate their experience at your office. A positive rating will refer them to an external site, like Healthgrades. A negative review will take the patient to an internal portal that will ask them for more information so that it can be addressed by practice leadership.