Should I Be Blogging for My Orthodontics Practice? February 20, 2019“The biggest mistake I see, is that people tend to give up…SEO (blogging) is a lifestyle, it’s a practice, it’s not a transaction…You just gotta keep going, you’re building your castle, you’re building your moat, it’s going to take time.” – Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz Should you be blogging for your orthodontics practice? Absolutely. Is it as easy as publishing a short article from time-to-time? Not exactly. You should only be blogging for your orthodontics practice if you are willing to apply best practices and take your time doing so. Otherwise, you are wasting valuable resources, writing to no benefit. Blogging done right over a period of time has taken many of our clients to new heights, ourselves included! A large number of our leads come directly from our blogs as we climb higher and higher in ranking on Google for our topics. But getting to this place requires a little bit of technical knowledge and a whole lot of patience. Find out why you should be blogging for your orthodontics practice and learn the key tactics that will get you closer to that coveted #1 spot on Google! Why Blog for My Orthodontics Practice? Why should you blog? Well, let’s take a look at some of the results. Case Study: Beacon In 2018, we (Beacon) decided that we wanted to bring in more clients in the functional medicine industry. We started blogging on various marketing topics for the industry, social media, web design, etc. Months later, we had the #1 and #2 spots on Google for the search, “marketing for functional medicine” (beneath the paid ads): Many of our sales leads come from our blogs. We can see this on our various tracking software–I cannot tell you the number of times that we have seen potential clients come through our webchat directly from the blog, “How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Agency?” Many of our blogs have become key parts of our sales funnel. Case Study: Mandanas Dental Dr. Owen Manadanas has been a client of ours for many years. In 2017, she decided that she wanted to focus her marketing on integrative dentistry. We immediately implemented the change in our blogging strategy. Within months, she was on the 1st page of Google for her home page and one of her top blogs for the search “integrative dentistry:” We are constantly recommending blogging strategies like these to our clients. Not only do they deliver results such as clicks and website traffic, but they convert into real, new patient registrations, coming right through your door! How to Make Blogging for Orthodontics Work At this point you are probably wondering, what magical strategy is achieving these results? It may not be magic, but it is certainly very strategic. The Inbound Strategy Digital marketing (blogging, SEO, social media) frequently goes by another name, “inbound marketing.” The key principle of inbound is this… Go where people are, provide value that is relevant to them, and they will come to you. For just a few minutes, think critically about where people spend most of their time–It’s not reading the newspaper, it’s not listening to the radio, it’s not watching TV (streaming services such as Netflix are becoming significantly more popular)… They’re spending their time scrolling through social media and browsing the internet. Every moment. Of every day. In the coffee line, on little breaks at work, in the evening at home–We have become a culture that consumes digital media. So what does that have to do with blogging for orthodontics? It means that if we want to get new patient registrations, we need to be putting our information where they spend their time. By “information” I do not mean advertisements, but “value that is relevant to them,” namely, answers. The Power of Answers Now that we have taken a look at where people spend their time, it is time to think about what they do with it. As an orthodontics practice, you exist to meet the needs of your patients, such as teeth straightening or jaw alignment. What does a potential patient do just as soon as they discover that they have one of these needs? More often than not, they go to the internet. Maybe they have discovered that they have jaw pain. The search may go something like this: As you can see, WebMD has done a great job at answering this question for the potential patient. They or one of the other top-ranking blogs on this page will likely get the click. Key Tactics for Orthodontics Blogging By answering questions, you are one step closer to ranking your orthodontics blogs on the 1st page of Google. Here is just about everything else that you need to do: Topic It is harder to rank for general topics than specific ones, because more people are competing for the topic overall. For example, it would be extremely difficult to get on the 1st page of Google for “orthodontics” (~67M competitors), however, you may have a shot at “orthodontics for teens” (~2-3M competitors). At Beacon, we qualify our topics by the industries we are targeting. For example, instead of writing an article about “blogging,” we wrote an article about “blogging for orthodontics.” Choose a topic that is specific enough to stand a chance at achieving rank on the search engine. Headlines Once you have chosen a topic, it is time to come up with a title for your blog. At Beacon, we use a tool called Answer the Public to find common questions asked by internet searchers in our topic area. The tool is simple, all you must do is enter your topic, and it will show you the kinds of questions people are asking. Honestly, the best way to rank is to simply use the question as your title, but you can get a little creative if that title is already taken for the search. Just be sure to check your headline against a tool like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer or our blog on headlines that get attention. In addition to the main headline, you should be able to set headlines throughout your blog using what are called “H tags”–H1, H2, H3, etc. Be sure to put your topic keyword–“orthodontics for teens”–in H tags throughout your article to achieve ranking. Content A lot of people think that it is engaging and persuasive content that ranks blogs and gets people to read them. That is only half true. Content that is free of common spelling errors and grammatical mistakes is important, but arguably more important is the keyword optimization of your blog. This means that your keyword, make it “orthodontics for teens,” is spaced naturally throughout the article. Keyword optimizing your blog will tell the search engine what your blog is about so that it achieves rank. Write with authority and authenticity to show readers that you know what you’re talking about. Note: Although it is important to answer questions thoroughly, the goal of ranking blogs is to get potential patients in the door! After you have answered their question, put a gentle “call-to-action” at the end of your blog telling them about your services and requesting that they schedule an appointment with a link. Metadata “Metadata” may sound like a big and scary word, but it is really rather simple. Setting the metadata for your post is adding the title, description, and keywords in a format that Google can grab and populate on their page. At Beacon, we use WordPress for our blogs, which allows us to add intuitive plugins such as SEOPress with form fields to set our metadata. This is a very important part of the keyword optimization of your blog, so do not forget it! You should also remember to set a featured image for your blog, as this is what will show up whenever you share it to social media. Schedule How often should you be blogging to achieve rank? Good question. At Beacon, we recommend 1-2 times per week. That said, a lot of our clients find this too time-consuming or cost prohibitive and opt for a strategy of 1-2 times per month instead. Depending on the strategy that you choose and how competitive your market is, each blog should be between 400-600 words or between 1,600-2,000 words. With a minimum strategy, you can typically see results within 6-9 months. The Waterfall Method of Blogging for Orthodontics Another important tactic that we have yet to address is called “backlinking.” This is the practice of acquiring links to your blogs from other websites, thereby boosting their rank in Google. You can think of a backlink like a referral–the more credible the website referring your business to Google, the more likely they are to help you rank higher on the search engine. Backlinks can be difficult to come by, and the traditional method of prospecting for backlinks is becoming less and less advised as we learn more about best practices for search engine optimization (SEO). Something that you can do to create a strong link structure, however, is apply the waterfall method. The waterfall method involves writing one, primary overview blog about your services, then writing blogs about your services individually, then going back and linking the sections of the first blog to blogs about those topics. If that was a bit confusing, we understand. Here is an example/potential waterfall that we are currently working on for Beacon: Digital Marketing for Orthodontics Branding for Orthodontics Logos for ” “ Taglines for ” “ Web Design for Orthodontics Social Media for Orthodontics Video Marketing for ” “ Lead Quizzes for ” “ Google Advertising for Orthodontics Blogging for Orthodontics – THIS BLOG! As you can see, one blog cascades into a subset of blogs that cascades into another subset of blogs, much like a waterfall. If you use the waterfall method in your blogging, you are showing Google how all of your information relates! Google loves this, and will reward you richly with a strong rank. This blog is essentially our handbook for blogging, both for our clients and for us! We hope that it helps you understand why blogging is important–even for orthodontics practices–and how you can make it all happen. If you are interested in hiring Beacon for our blogging services, we would be happy to chat with you! You can reach out to us via our Contact Form or even schedule a free consultation with our VP of Marketing Jennifer Christensen directly using our scheduler. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals for blog marketing!