The Importance of Call Tracking

What is call tracking, and why should you care?

You’ve probably heard that call tracking is important for your business, but why is this the case?

Online marketing campaigns typically drive traffic through multiple channels, such as paid search, email marketing, and social media. These channels work together to drive people to your website, where they can take any number of actions.

As a business owner, you want these people to eventually become your customers. However, when they reach your website, this probably won’t happen right away. Instead, they might show their interest or try to do more research before determining if your business best addresses their needs. Only then will they hand over their hard earned cash.

To understand and improve your marketing efforts, you need to be able to clearly visualize what is working for you and what isn’t. You need to know what activities are causing people to show more interest in what you have to offer, as well as understand their behaviours and how your internet presence can influence these behaviours.

One way of capturing marketing data is by tracking content form submissions. Almost all websites with contact forms will automatically track them. So why don’t we do the same for calls?

Despite the fact that we are living in an increasingly digital area, people are still calling businesses, especially when they’re interested. In fact, the number of calls to businesses is only increasing as smartphone capabilities improve. Phones now, making it easier to call a business than ever before. As well, according to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, calls convert 10 to 15 times more often than web leads.

If you don’t track calls, you are losing valuable data. Calls are far more important than you think.

How Does It Work?

Call tracking provides you with data that shows which marketing efforts are driving calls to your business. In fact, if you don’t track calls, you might not be tracking up to 80% of your conversions. Without accurate conversion data, you can’t appropriately allocate resources towards your most effective marketing efforts. You’re basically throwing money at all sorts of channels, with no idea of which ones are giving you the best ROI. You won’t have any idea which pages, tactics, and campaigns are effective and ineffective, as you will only be seeing part of the picture.

Check out this handy infographic we made to visualize how this works:

 

To track calls from different sources, digital marketers use something called dynamic number insertion. What this means is that your leads will see a different phone number to call, based on the channel and geographic location they are on. All of these numbers will lead back to your actual number, so the visitors will contact you directly. However, the usefulness of this is that you will receive data about the referring URL, search keywords, landing pages, and ads the caller came through. As well, the tracking code will remember the original channel for each visitor, so they will see the same tracking number each time they visit your site.

When Is It Useful?

Unlike traditional marketing, online marketing has the ability to clearly demonstrate which activities are yielding specific results. When you have this information, you can then make adjustments as needed and optimize your activities.

Imagine you’re working on an email campaign for your business which redirects visitors to a unique landing page. There might be a form on there for visitors to fill out, but there might also be a phone number at the top. If you only track the form submissions, you’re completely missing data about the email campaign. You won’t know how many people called your business because of that specific email. Call tracking will give you that data so you can see how successful the campaign is, and learn and make improvements for the next email campaign you do.

Call tracking can track calls from a wide variety of platforms. If someone calls your business from directly accessing your website, an ad campaign, Google My Business, or even from Yelp, you will know and be able to see exact data. This data will then allow you to better understand your consumers, drive conversions, and help your business flourish.

State of Local Search in 2018

The Gamut of Changes to Google My Business

In less than 2 years, Google has relentlessly rolled out a series of updates to Google My Business features. In 2017, they had added a featured post feature, Q&A section and introduced a messaging option. In December 2017, we wrote about a post on some of the new Google My Business features. In 2018, they have added a business description section which allows businesses to capture user attention with a 250 character message about the business. Clicking this description shows a longer description, up to 750 characters.

What does this reflect?

One thing is clear – Google is devoting a lot of resources towards Google Local. This particular segment has been identified by the search giant as one of its most important segments. To continue being the most popular search engine, it must deliver the most relevant results to users.

Finding service providers is a BIG part of user search behavior and includes all kinds of queries like restaurants near me, plumbers in Vancouver, dentists, plumbers and so on. In fact, the device you search from would know your location and if one searches for pizzas, one expects Google to show pizza places near me. So we, the users, are even going to stop saying things like ‘near me’ or ‘in Vancouver’ but expect geographically relevant search results for a variety of queries.

This indicates two things –
1. Businesses need to make Local SEO a bigger priority in their marketing plans
2. Google Local is expected to be an important revenue generator for Alphabet

How Significant are Organic Search results now?

Take a look at the Google search engine results first page real estate for the query – ‘Dental Implants’

As you can see, one organic search result popped up right below the top 4 paid ads and then the rest of the organic results are buried half way down the page. For some queries, these results are going to be higher up in more prime spots but for a variety of searches, they are getting pushed as far down as shared in the example above.

The map results are the result of Local SEO and those have become extremely important for businesses to generate phone calls and website leads. These map results can also include paid ads in certain cases. E.g. for ‘Dental Implants Near Me’ –

WHAT IS ONE TO DO?

The Local Search Optimization includes actively managing the following –

  • Citations – business listings across various online business directories
  • Reputation – soliciting and responding to customer reviews across important directories
  • Map listings – updating business information on Google My Business (Bing and Apple listings are less important to maintain as regularly)

 

SEO For Homebuilders

home in a hand

What is SEO and how does it apply to my homebuilding business? It can be difficult to determine exactly what your new website needs in order to reach your audience of interested homebuyers. In digital marketing, the word SEO is used frequently and it’s often not entirely understood outside of the industry.

SEO is the shortened version of Search Engine Optimization. This is the term used to describe the factors required for your website to appear readily on search engines. When you optimize your homebuilding website in compliance with good SEO practices, it will make it easy for your prospective clients to find. Here’s how to optimize your homebuilding website for SEO.

Top SEO Elements For Your Homebuilding Website

Optimize Your Content For SEO

Your content makes up the majority of your website. Content includes every written, visual or video asset you have online. Content is a very important factor in SEO and ranking status because it tells your users and search engines what your website is about.

There are a few techniques you can use to optimize your content for search engines. As you may know, search engines like Google do not read in the same way that humans do.

Google wants to help searchers find the most relevant information quickly, it does this by scanning keywords on your website. When an interested buyer searches keywords that match the keywords on your site, your site will appear in their search results because Google has determined that your page is a good match for the information that they search.

Google will crawl your entire website, but the important areas within the content that are significant for SEO are your page URL, titles, and headings on the site, meta descriptions, keywords, and images. In this post we will discuss each of these SEO aspects and how they apply to your homebuilding website.

Appeal To Your Target Audience: Use Keywords

Define A Clear URL

Each page of your website has a URL. You want your URL to appear as clean and easy to understand for your readers. Aas well as for Google.) When a URL is specific and to the point, it clearly displays your website name and any brief, additional page keyword information.

Messy URL: “housingcompany.5678234_78/8”
Clean URL: “housingcompany/houses-for-sale-vancouver”

Your URL should contain the name of your homebuilding company and the essential keywords for your specific site page. If your page is about a housing development in Vancouver for example, the URL should contain the name of your company, the name of the development and the location of the development. This type of URL format makes it easy for Google to read, as well as easy for searchers to understand.

If you do not create a custom URL for your site pages, your site will auto-generate URL addresses. These often appear messy and are difficult for users to understand. They often lack keywords and this makes it difficult for Google and other search engines to read as well. Never create two pages with the same URL, make sure that each is unique and specific to the page, just like an address.

Add Title Tags

When prospective clients are searching for your housing developments, they may not know specific terms like the name of your housing company. Clients that live locally may search specific terms, however, the large majority of interested buyers will begin by searching general phrases in Google.

Example of phases users search:

“Homes For Sale In Vancouver.” “Apartment Developments In Langley” “Custom Homes In Burnaby” “Vancouver Real Estate”

There will only be a small number of searchers that know the specific name of your company or development. There will be many more interested searchers who type phrases like “Homes For Sale In Vancouver.” when you include both the development name and the location in your headings and title, you are telling Google that your page has information relevant to both possible search methods. As a result, you will show up more frequently in searches as your title content indicates that your page is informative.

The headings and subheadings on your pages help Google, as well as your site visitors, understand what your page is about. When they search these general terms, your content will appear if it has the same keywords in the title. Just like in your page URL, specific keywords are important in the titles and sub-heading of your housing company page content.

Your heading should match the keywords that you use in your URL as well as your page title.

Write Captivating Meta Descriptions

You want to take every opportunity possible to catch your prospective client’s attention in a sea of other real estate listings and housing developments.

Your meta description, although not an official ranking factor by Google, plays a very important role in your ability to grab your viewers attention.

In the search results displayed below, the meta descriptions are the grey text under the page title and the site URL. When a viewer is scrolling down a page of search results, they are quickly scanning the meta descriptions to find a page that stands out to them. Google helps your searchers along by highlighting their key search terms in the meta descriptions. In this case, the search was “Housing Developments In Vancouver.” Those keywords are highlighted in the meta description below:

 

seo for homebuilders

This means that when you are publishing a page, you should take the time to edit the meta descriptions. Write a captivating preview of what your page is about. It’s a good idea to incorporate the keywords that you used in your page URL and your title as well.

Optimize Your Images For The Web

Your home building company is likely to have many images and visual content of your homes and developments. Images are an excellent resource for your website and when they are properly optimized for SEO, they can be a great way to gain visibility and rankings on search engines.

  • Use Alt text that is relevant to your images
  • Name your images differently using keywords specific to the image content
  • Write an image description wherever it’s relevant
  • Ensure your images are properly condensed (Large images can slow your housing website down)

Competitor Analysis and Link Building

A major factor in SEO ranking is the number of links that point to your website. Google and other search engines place a high value on content. When your content is credible and helpful to others, businesses and other websites will link to your content. Google takes these links or “backlinks” as they’re called in SEO, and uses them to determine the credibility of your website. If you have several different, credible and related websites linking to your pages, Google will deem your site as helpful and important.

A great way to determine your backlink profile is by performing an SEO audit. It’s also important to understand how your homebuilding company ranks when it’s compared to your top competitors. If you have a company that is competing closely with you for rankings on Google search results, chances are, they’re one of your competitors.

Eventually, you may want to rank above your competitors. In order to do this, you must first assess your competitor’s websites. You can perform a competitive link analysis in order to gauge the level of authority your competitor’s website maintains. A link audit helps you understand what companies and websites your competitors are associated with.

Contact A Digital Marketing Agency

Many developments and housing companies hire an external digital marketing team to help organize and implement an effective SEO strategy. If you are looking to optimize your website for prospective clients, a digital marketing company could be beneficial in helping you achieve these goals.

It also gives you time to focus on your homebuilding business! ElementIQ is a full-service digital marketing agency located in Vancouver, BC. They have worked with housing companies as well as developers to help create a clear brand image and increase visibility for home builders.

How to do Keyword Research 101

After spending the last couple weeks doing keyword research for some of our clients, I’ve decided that now would be a good time to shed some light on how it’s done. Before we look into how its done, it is essential that we understand why it’s done.

“In order to rank for searches and be visible to potential customers, your website must be optimized”

If I had a dollar for every time someone said these words to me, I’d have enough money to make rent this month. However, it clearly doesn’t solve my SEO problems, neither will it answer your questions on Search Engine Optimization. Thus, I’m going to take special efforts to make it crystal clear for you.

To simplify, Keyword Research is the process of discovering key search terms that internet users may be using to search for products or services through the medium of a Search Engine. This is then followed by optimizing your website, to naturally contain these keywords in the text or other forms of content.

How To Do Keyword Research?

Understand The Nature of Your Business:

It goes without saying that knowing your business (or the one you’re handling marketing for) is one of the most important things in any aspect of marketing. If you don’t know your company’s values, products or services, it is a good idea to start off by getting your hands on a catalogue or a similar resource that lets you understand the business.

Once you understand the products or services that the business offers, you’ll be able to categorize the keywords according to product or service type and also be able to figure out which keywords are more relevant than others. Let’s say we have a small online store that sells two products- Bread and Butter. When we try to hunt for keywords to target, we can separate them into two sections (at least) by product type so that it is easier to implement optimization and also track keyword performance.

Focus on Your Buyer Persona:

Buyer personas play a huge roll in keyword searches. If you know the kind of customer you are trying to target, you’re already halfway there. The challenge really is to be able to think like the buyer of your product or service. Let us look at an interesting scenario:

Case Study

One of ElementIQ’s clients, Keating Dental Arts, is a full-service dental lab that caters to dentists across North America. Let’s take a look at a snippet of their website traffic source by keywords.

If you take a look at the image above, the phrase ’emax stain and glaze’ brings 99 visitors to their website. The phrase is quite technical and will probably be used by dentists or people who are in the profession. Since KDA is a dental lab that only caters to dentists and not dental patients, It is a good idea to spend time optimizing for more technical keywords like this one so that it drives more traffic from dentists.

Just like the example above, focusing on industry-specific keywords and how the buyer uses those keywords, most definitely will benefit your process of optimization.

Start With Words Then Move to Phrases:

There are three kinds of keywords that you must consider when trying to optimize your page for both organic and paid searches – Generic Keywords, Broad Match Keywords, Long-Tailed Keywords. You can read more about these types of keywords here. The idea is to jot down words that are most relevant to your business or product/service. Let’s say you are a dentist (or you’re marketing on a dentist’s behalf), the words that you should start your research from would be something similar to these:

  • Dentist
  • Teeth
  • Denture
  • Dentistry

The above list is just an example, your list may look different in comparison to the one above depending on the nature of your business. The idea is to use these words to generate other keywords closely related to them using sophisticated tools.

Once you have this list, it’s time to put some tools to use.

Grab Your Toolkit:

The tool I like using for keyword generation is the built-in Keyword Planner (formerly keyword tool) that Google offers in it’s AdWords platform. The keyword planner looks something like this:

The keyword planner can be accessed by clicking on the tools menu in AdWords. You will need an AdWords account to access this feature. However, you do not need to spend money on ads to avail this feature.

Once you’ve gained access to the keyword planner, its only a few minutes before the magic happens!

We want to work in the ‘Multiply keyword lists together to get new keywords’. The idea is to enter a set of keywords in the List 1 section and another set in List 2 section. Here’s what I’ve entered, just for example sake:

Next, we want to adjust the location settings to our liking. This is important if your business caters to a specific locality. I’m going to set it to Burnaby.

The resultant page will give us a few keywords that are a product of the two lists. It is important to note that NOT all of those keywords are going to be relevant.

Once we have our final list of keywords, we can move to optimizing the pages we like.

Keep Track of the Keywords That You Feel Are Most Important:

Ranking for keywords is always a quality over quantity game. You’d rather rank for the most relevant keywords to your business to get the best possible conversion rate. However, to get the best possible results from keyword research and optimization, it is essential that we track the keywords that seem most relevant to the business and it’s goals. I personally use Ahrefs to accomplish this. I will soon be writing more about Ahrefs to help out with keyword tracking and analysis!

Contact Us

If you have more detailed questions related to Search Engine Optimization, you can leave a comment down below or get in touch with the ElementIQ team here.

Why Does Google Rank Some Sites Higher Than Others?

You often hear business owners saying “I want to rank first” for their targeted keywords. That is because on average, 71.33% of searchers click on results shown on the first page. Page two and three get only 5.59% of clicks. And on the first page alone, the top 5 results account for 67.60% of clicks.

So from a business perspective, potential customers are much more likely to find and choose your business if you rank highly on Google.

How do you get your page to rank highly on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s)?

Google uses about 200 search ranking factors in their algorithm.

The overall goal with all the different ranking factors is to deliver the most relevant search results for a given search. By finding the “best” content and delivering that to users, Google will not only be satisfying the searchers but they will also be keeping themselves as the preferred search engine.

More satisfied users, means more traffic on Google and the more Google can charge to advertisers.

To tailor your website to be perfect for every one of the 200 different ranking factors a lot of things would need to go your way. Instead, it is most efficient to focus on the most important ranking factors.

Which ranking factors does Google consider to be the most important?

How can you optimize your website to rank highly for these factors?

Continue reading to find out!

1. Content

The most important ranking factor for Google is the content on your website.

Google has bots that go through every page on the internet. These bots are often called “crawlers”. As they crawl the World Wide Web they index, or save, all the pages into Google’s database.

Then, when you search something in Google, Google scans all these pages using their algorithms to evaluate each web page and then gives you the best results.

So naturally, the content on your site is what Google will look at first.

There are a few different aspects of content that are important to consider

Length

Pages with more content do better than pages with ‘thin’ content. Algorithm updates like Hummingbird and RankBrain are all about optimizing search results to match the searcher’s query. This means that for the query to be answered an in depth examination of one topic in easy to understand language will rank first.

Keyword Usage

Throughout the pages, it should be clear what the page is about. It should also be focused on one central topic. This can be done by determining the keywords you want the page to rank for then creating the page around those keywords.

Use keywords in the H1 text and in the body. Your keywords should come naturally, if you’re talking clearly on the given topic. If you are talking about “Apples”, then the word “apples” will appear in the H1 and Types of Apples, How to Eat Apples and so on will end up being the sub headings.

Correct use of keywords will make sure Google knows what the page is about. But make sure you are not engaging in “keyword stuffing”, a term for unnecessary usage of keywords. Keywords should always flow easily in the paragraphs and be logically placed.

Comprehensiveness

Good content is important but it is also important for that content to be easy to understand for the user.

Correct usage of H1 and H2 text is a good way to tell Google (and the user) what your page is about. Subheadings can also make the page easier to read by sectioning your post.

Using multimedia is another great way to improve the user experience. So include image, infographics, and videos wherever applicable.

2. Backlink Profile

To measure a page’s legitimacy and credibility, Google will evaluate a page’s backlink profile. A backlink profile is made up of all the different sites with links pointing to your site.

How does Google make backlinks a measurable signal? It is done by evaluating the level of quality your links are and where these links are coming from, amongst other factors. Specifically, the number of backlinks, link authority and diversity.

Number Of Backlinks

The more sites you have linking to yours the better. Having links pointing to your site from great sites indicates to Google that your page is socially verified as a useful page. People view your page as relevant and credible enough to link to it on their site.

One thing to watch out for when trying to increase your backlink profile is spam links.

Because the number of backlinks is a ranking factor for Google there are a lot of black hat SEO sites out there which create pages for the sole purpose of getting backlinks.  However, Google has noticed this problem and taken action against it by prioritizing other link factors like quality of the links.

When Google crawls the web it marks pages that have a lot of outbound links and few inbound links as spam sites. Being associated with such sites will negatively impact your page.

In fact, in 2012 Google released the Penguin Algorithm Update. Penguin was designed to better catch sites attempting to inflate their search ranking position with spam links. Specifically, those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings.

Link Authority

The number of links is important. But what is equally, if not more important, is the quality of those links. Link authority will be determined by the authority of the domain linking to you. Domain authority is evaluated by looking at the number of links pointing to a site and the quality of those links.

The more links you have coming into your site (inbound links) the higher your domain authority will be. Links from pages with a high domain authority will have more weight than those from pages with a low domain authority.

Spam sites usually have a low domain authority so checking the domain authority of the pages linking to you is a good way to make sure you don’t have any spam links pointing to your domain.

Diversity

Google will typically only count links coming from the same domain once. So even if one domain links to you 5 times those links will carry less weight than if 5 different sites linked to you.

The primary thing to focus on will be getting links from a number of different domains. Also to focus on getting links from domains covering a variety of industries.

How To Optimize Backlink Profile

The first step to optimize your backlink profile will be getting your backlink profile.

At ElementIQ, we use the MOZ Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to evaluate backlink profiles. This is a free and easy to use tool. It will tell you the domain authority of the site you are evaluating as well as all the inbound links.

screenshot of moz open site explorer search results
If you are link building, checking your competitors SEO link profile is a great way to see what you are up against. It is also a great way to get ideas of websites and blogs you can reach out to for link building.

If you are working on link building, this blog post by Kissmetrics is a great resource.  

3. Mobile Optimization

Google is always working on improving their algorithms to make sure search results are as relevant as possible. Today, more than half of Google queries are coming from mobile devices. So it is logical for Google to be paying more attention to how sites function for mobile users. This was the premise for Google’s new “mobile first” version of indexing.

Up until now when Google was indexing sites they came from a desktop perspective. Now, they will be going through the web from a mobile perspective first and desktop second.

When building your site it is important to make sure it is responsive and optimized for mobile users first and desktop users second.

Additionally, the content on your website should be the same for desktop and mobile

How To Optimize For Mobile

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool to test your website. The great thing about this tool is it will tell you how a Googlebot would rank your site, not just how users view it.

screenshot of mobile friendly test

4. Page Speed

Page speed ties heavily into a good user experience and is an important ranking factor.

The rule of thumb is desktop websites should load in 3 seconds or less, and mobile websites should load in 2 seconds or less.

Page speed also affects other ranking factors such as the page bounce rate.

How To Optimize For Speed

You can evaluate your website’s mobile and desktop page speed with Google’s Page Speed Tool. This tool will also recommend ways to make your website faster so you can get started on making the improvements necessary.

PageSpeed Insights screenshot of search results

Other Ranking Factors

These are just a few of the many different ranking factors for more information on some of the other ranking factors take a look at this infographic from Search Engine Land.

Periodic table of SEO Success Factors
Search Engine Land

Ultimately your goal should be to make yourself visible to potential clients. As the digital world becomes increasingly important to how customers find businesses having a top position in SERP’s is a great way to increase leads.

Good focused content will be rewarded and the rest is improving your technical skills.

How We Increased One Dental Practice’s Leads By 205% And Traffic By 1500%

traffic increase stats in google analytics

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Today, if you look at most of our patients, we didn’t have to go out and look for them. They contacted us, because they found us in the top positions of search results for all of our primary keywords and landed our website,” – Peter Balogh, Dentist and Owner of the Vancouver Centre for Cosmetic Implant Dentistry.

By investing in online marketing and focusing on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content marketing, VCCID transformed its formerly bare-bones site into a tool to leverage business and drive qualified leads.

Learn how this dental company was able to dramatically increase dental inbound leads by 205% and organic traffic by 1500% over two years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]traffic increase stats in google analytics[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Customer

Three years ago, we were introduced to the owner of VCCID based out of Metrotown in Burnaby. The practice has been around since 1991 and specializes in cosmetic dentistry and dental implants.

Dr. Balogh was looking to grow the online presence of his dental practice. He understood that more and more people were going online and conducting their dental research online before they stepped into his office.

They wanted to invest in extending the reach of their knowledge, service and brand.

This was done 100% through SEO and content development.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]organic traffic stats for dental client[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Before we dive in, allow me to clarify a few things:

  • The website’s organic traffic grew over 1,500% in two years.
  • Dental leads increased by 205%.
  • This was a new domain, registered just a couple months before launch. (previous domain was redirected to vccid.com)
  • We did not focus on link building at all, but rather focused on-site optimization and developing effective site content

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

VCCID’s Challenge

What VCCID wanted, was to have the independence to alter their website easily and implement a marketing plan that would give them clear results.

Before starting their engagement with us, VCCID relied mostly on print advertising and Pay-Per-Click ads. Their website was outdated and hosted by an external provider. So it was quite difficult to make changes to their site to keep it up-to-date. They wanted to implement an SEO plan, but making changes to the website was challenging since we had no control of the backend.

And Worst Of All…

Dr. Balogh’s industry was getting crowded (with more than 15 clinics and practitioners located within a 100 meter radius of his own clinic.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]google local dental office locations[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Step 1. Update And Optimize The Site

screenshot of old vccid website[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]VCCID had an outdated website. Several measures were put in place to optimize VCCID’s site. The updated site was built on a custom built framework, which allowed the site to be responsive, visually attractive and easy for a consumer to navigate.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Building A Keyword Database

Dr. Balogh’s primary goals were to increase appointment requests and to target more
lucrative cosmetic dentistry services specifically dental implants. Based on these goals, we developed a search engine strategy to optimize Dr. Balogh’s site for higher visibility for related keywords.

The main idea here was leave no stone un-turned. We first went through all of our target search verticals, as dictated by the market categories. From here, we began what started out as an in-depth process of evaluating the opportunities for each keyword and grew to compiling opportunities to distinguish which categories we needed to focus on to grow traffic.

The next step was to identify the highest valuable search volume terms and track results.

To accomplish our goals, changes were also made to the site’s copy to improve the quality of information. More images and better images were added to the site, giving interested visitors an immediate visual point into what VCCID can do and the quality of work they provide for their patients.

Special efforts were taken to fully explain in detail all of the services VCCID provided so that the site had a better chance of showing up in search results.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Improved Rankings

improved rankings of dental keywords

Over the span of three years we have been able to attain the top position in Google for the most valuable and profitable keywords for VCCID. The payoff to our approach was well worth the time and effort.

dental implant keyword improvement over time
*Dental Implants ranking improvement (#1 spot since September 2015)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Step 2. Citations, Citations, Citations

The obstacle that we had to overcome in this case, was to find each instance of the previous Business Name, Address, and Phone Number and focus on cleaning them up because having consistent and correct citations is mandatory for any successful local SEO Campaign.

Overall, there are 3 types of citations we’re trying to fix during this process. These include:

  • Duplicates – Duplicate listings on the same directory
  • Mismatches – Listings for your business that have the wrong Business Name, Physical Address, or Phone Number (or just the 1-800 number and no local number). This can get especially complicated for doctors and lawyers.
  • Incomplete Citations – It’s important that you fill out the profiles to completion once you’ve claimed them. This includes adding photo and filling out every field there is an option for.

There are hundreds of places where VCCID’s previous business name was mentioned and by cleaning and updating everyone, we were able to accomplish our goal and improve local rankings in Vancouver and Burnaby.

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Step 3. Designing A Content Strategy

The key to success in this project boiled down to becoming obsessed with Dr. Balogh’s customers because effective content marketing is based around great understanding of his audience.

Like any great content marketing campaign, our optimization strategy was dictated by our campaign goals. Our goals were pretty straight-forward, such as increase rankings to gain traffic, and increase conversions so we can grow VCCID’s revenue.

We not only embarked on an aggressive content schedule, but we constantly monitored the effectiveness of our campaign and made the adjustments necessary to reach our goals.

Creating Meaningful Content

Each piece of content we created had specific goals.

The content needed to:

  • Reflect VCCID’s goals and user’s needs.
  • Communicate to people in a way that they understand
  • Be useful
  • Stay up-to-date and remain factual
  • Be consistent
  • Be able to be found

In short, we wanted to answer as many questions people had with in-depth, relevant and useful
content that would set us apart from every competitor.

Did digital marketing give VCCID the trackable results they were looking for?

Absolutely! As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, there were clear metrics that we defined and tracked. We were able to demonstrate clear growth in traffic and leads figures, as a result of our efforts.

It’s clear that every campaign starts with goals and objectives. Then, you create a strategy to achieve those and within that strategy, there are set tactics that you must employ. At every step of our engagement, we did just that and the results are clear. Not only does he rank #1 or near #1 for every high-revenue keyword in his core services but he’s gaining traction quickly in related keywords.

Got questions? Leave a comment below and we’ll respond![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Is ‘SEO’ Changing? Yes, Business Owners Take Notice

One of the great things about the digital marketing industry is that it’s always changing. Flat out – it’s always changing. Google changes its algorithm. Social networks rise and fall. Search behaviour changes. Buying behaviour changes. All this change makes things enjoyable though. How we do things as an agency now is, in some ways, different from how we did things a year ago or two years ago.

One of those Inbound marketing channels, ‘Search Engine Optimization’ (SEO), is a perfect example. It’s the perfect example of an Inbound channel that has been bastardized over the last 5 years — mostly by black hat ‘marketers’. I say ‘Search Engine Optimization’ because that term has eroded a little bit and I’ll explain why in this blog post. In my view, the term ‘SEO’ (the term, not the concept) is rapidly changing.

What Is SEO?

Let’s start off by defining what the heck SEO is from words of the grand wizard of SEO himself, Mr. Rand Fishkin of Moz. Fishkin or for those of you on a first name basis with him, Rand, says that SEO is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines”.

SearchEngineLand says basically the same — that it’s the process of getting traffic from the “free”, “organic” and “natural” results in search engines.

You type something into Google and you’re served a bunch of results that are determined to be the best and most suitable — in Google’s eyes. Google has a long list of factors that determine how suitable or relevant a search result is. So the optimization part of the term Search Engine Optimization involves optimizing for these various factors.

How SEO Was Done

Terms like cloaking and keyword density were immensely important back in the day. Google’s eventual algorithm changes cracked down on these old spammy tactics.

Here’s a list of things that were done (and that you shouldn’t do anymore):

If you hear any of this from those responsible for your web presence, get out while you still can, business owners.

But let’s think about this all for a second. SEO’s were to optimize a web presence unnaturally for specific keywords that were deemed profitable to a business. It’s kind of like jimmying a padlock or trying to break into your locked car after you left your keys inside. It’s not the right way to go but it’s a way to go.

SEO Today

Now that has changed a little bit. Given all that has happened and transpired in the past, all of the aforementioned heavyweights in the industry have gone in a different direction. And this isn’t bad. They’re responding to Google’s algorithm changes and to search behaviour.

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The results? The emphasis today is on determining user intent, enhancing user experience and satisfying that intent seamless, creating highly valuable pages in the process. This involves creating incredible content that people will naturally link to. You write a blog post that’s so good that people link to it in their own blog posts and share it via social networks. This creates natural backlinks. Plus, the importance of social signals cannot be ignored.

It also involves making sure all pages of your site serve a purpose and that these pages provide users with relevant information. The more valuable information, the better the site is in Google’s eyes. In fact, they cracked down on sites with too little information with the Google Panda penalty.

Of course, all of the on-site SEO items still matter and play a big role — HTML factors, site architecture factors and so on. Take a look at the Periodic Table of SEO for a nice visual representation of that.

Do We Still Call It “SEO”?

If you looked at that Periodic Table for just a second, what was the longest column? Content. So the creation of good, quality content that informs and educates searchers is critical to organic success. There’s already a term for creating content that educates, informs and eventually, brings in business. It’s called content marketing.

Links is the 4th column and there’s plenty of grey area as to what is good in Google’s eyes in terms of building links and what is not. Hence, why all the heavyweights advocate creating content that builds links naturally. I outlined what you shouldn’t do earlier. So if link building has come down to creating content that builds links naturally, then isn’t link building simply about content? So modern link building is just content marketing.

The second-to-last column is “social”. It just means that the more you share and the greater your following is, the better the reach for whatever you are sharing. Now, what do we call the stuff you share over social networks? Content! Social media is almost wholeheartedly content-based and the connection to organic search is that studies have shown that there is a correlation between tweeting or sharing a link and how quickly a post gets indexed in search results. But again, for any of this to transpire, content must be created.

So What Am I Saying Here?

Well, I definitely won’t say that “SEO is dead” as so many out there have. I just argue that much of it is encompassed by other Inbound marketing channels like Content Marketing and Social Media.

And in my breakdown of the Periodic Table, there were still 4 columns remaining and #2 and #3, HTML and Architecture, respectively, are extremely important to the health and viability of any business’ web presence.

So SEO is not dead, but changing and slimming down. What business owners need to understand is that SEO is just one Inbound marketing channel. It requires other channels, like Content Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing and Paid Search for it to work harmoniously in success. You can’t have amazing content but a poorly structured site with a bunch of broken pages and oversized images. You can’t be running Google AdWords ads and pointing them to a bad landing page or an awful site altogether. All Inbound channels have a place and ought to hold their respective hands together for businesses to reap the benefits.

Main Takeaways

Let me give you some things to take away from this post:

  • Always be publishing great content
  • Always approach your site from a user’s perspective
  • Always have SMART goals
  • Always have a strategy in place to achieve those goals
  • Never look for just an “SEO company”
  • Consider every Inbound marketing channel

BONUS: Here’s a terrific post on the Top 10 SEO Myths by Cyrus Shepard. Please give that a read as well!

I’d love to hear from you on everything you’ve read above! Leave your comments and questions below and I’ll respond!

Learn how to conduct an SEO Site Audit

Using SEO To Grow Your Dental Practice

The primary marketing goal of every dental practice is to bring in new patients and keep existing patients coming back in. It’s what will keep your practice running. But what will grow your dental practice is being able to attract patients through digital marketing channels. Search engine optimization (SEO) is starting to be more and more used as an Inbound marketing channel by dental practices across North America. Put in a geographic search for dentists into Google and you’ll see a local 6-pack result show up of all dental practices in that area. You’ll see well-optimized websites also show up in the first organic results.

It’s clear that more and more dental practices are leveraging the power of the Internet to attract more patients –
While SEO is just one channel under the Inbound Marketing umbrella, it’s an effective one and deserves a micro-examination of how it alone can grow your dental practice.

We’ve seen it ourselves that this works for dental practices so let’s go into what every dentist ought to do with respect to SEO.

SEO for dental practices

What Is SEO?

First, let’s start things off by defining what exactly SEO is. SEO is the practice of improving a specific website or web page so that it receives more visitors via search engines. The goal is to ensure that the website/page in question ranks and ranks well for keywords profitable for a given business. Research shows that 75% of searchers don’t move past the first page.

Not surprisingly, people tend to click on the first few organic results on a search engine results page (SERP) the most.

Effective SEO can help your dental practice increase qualified traffic to your website and satisfy the end goal of attracting new patients.

Getting Started With SEO

You may be wondering how to get started with SEO. It’s not rocket science but it does take a LOT of time and effort! But as I mentioned, the results can be great (if done correctly). It’s often difficult for busy professionals to find the time to learn and/or make search engine optimization work for them.
Good SEO comes down some specific things:

  • Proper Keyword Research – There are a number of ways to do targeted keyword research to find out what people are searching in your industry and roughly how many times a month do people search those terms.
  • Content – Your site content is what will (or will not) help convert visitors into leads and paying customers. But content also gets crawled by search engines. So what you must ask yourself is –does your site content read well for people AND search engines. Are there specific keyword phrases that you are targeting throughout the page including in the title tag, meta description, image alt text, heading, and subheadings? Moreover, search engines love sites that regularly publish fresh quality content. Hence, the popularity of blogging. But with so many blogs out there, the trick is in making your content unique.
  • Links – Links are essentially votes from across the Internet that tell search engines what sites and pages are important and popular. The more links pointing to your website (from quality sites) and specific pages on it, the more important those pages become in the eyes of search engines and the higher their rankings will be. Building citations (spoken about below), doing guest blog posts on high profile sites are examples of proven, effective link building.
  • Site Architecture – Your website can only get ranked by search engines if their bots can actually crawl it. With that said, site architecture and structure are important. Can search engines crawl your website with ease? Using sitemaps and robots.txt can help with this. Does your URL structure make sense? Search engines do look at this. Does your site load quickly? Yes, this is a minor search engine factor but it’s still important for usability.
  • Citations/Directories – I mentioned this in link building – getting on high traffic directories and having what we call NAP – Name, Address, Phone number on there for your business is important. There also may be niche directories specific to your industry that would be beneficial for you to be on.

Google has over 200 different ranking factors that have been tested and are essentially the norm. So there certainly is much more to SEO than the above but in the context of doing SEO well and for a dental practice, this is a good starting point.

SEO For Dental Practices

So we come to the part about how all that we’ve talked about can be applied to your dental practice. YES, it can be done and I’ve seen the results. They are crystal clear – SEO works for dental practices. How? Here are 7 practical steps to take:

  • Conduct An SEO Audit. See how your website loads, if there’s thin or duplicate content, what your link profile is like and how crawlable your site is. You can also see what keywords you currently rank for and what ones you don’t.
  • Develop A Keyword Strategy. Do plenty of research on keywords that are profitable to your dental practice. Usually, this will include keyword phrases with “dentist” in them, phrases with a geographic term (where your dental practice is located), and phrases with your service offerings (cosmetic dentistry, dental veneers, etc) in them.
  • Conduct Competitor Analysis. Find out what your competing dental practices are doing. See what keywords they are ranking for, look at their link profiles, and examine what you can do to match where they’re at and how you can beat them.
  • Create A Link Building Strategy. Take the backlink assessment you did in the original SEO audit and use that and the competitor link profiles to see where you can build links. List some high profile websites to guest post on, as I mentioned in the content strategy section. Outline how many links you’ll build per month in a schedule. Remember not to do too much too soon or Google might be suspicious.
  • Implement Your Strategies. Get writing and if you don’t have time, hire writers. Don’t know where to look? Then just contract an agency to handle it all. Start your linking outreach. Not sure how? Hire a professional link builder.
  • Track Your Progress. Use Google Analytics to see track site statistics. There are other tools like Advanced Web Ranking that show you how your search engine rankings and visibility are doing for your dental practice. Other tools are out there that can help you manage your content process and streamline your link outreach process.

Don’t Forget: Optimizing for mobile. Mobile usership has rapidly increased over the last year. Make sure your website is mobile-optimized so that it can viewed effectively on a mobile device or tablet. We call this responsive design. You can test whether your own site is responsive by taking the bottom right corner of your browser window and dragging it inward and upward. If the navigation and images shrink and stay in line as you make the window narrower, then it’s a responsive website. If nothing happens with the body of the site as you shrink the window, then it’s not responsively-designed.

An SEO Disclaimer!

Even the very term, SEO, has been bastardized by inferior, sketchy firms, mostly located overseas. These ‘SEO companies’ employ what we call ‘black-hat tactics’ – things that worked 5-10 years ago in search engines but are subject to penalties from Google if done now.
So for the sake of your dental practice, DO NOT fall for outlandish claims by these guys who say they can get you to the top of Google search results pages for an extremely low price. When it comes to SEO and overall digital marketing, there is a direct correlation between what you invest and the results you will likely get. If your primary goal is to improve your dental practice’s web presence for pennies on the dime, you’d be better off not doing anything.

I’ve seen businesses fall for these overseas schemes because they were attracted by low prices and lofty promises and ended up getting penalized by Google. To recover from a manual penalty from Google takes a lot of time and effort – but also a lot of money out of your pocket. That’s not the kind of experience, service, and result you want out of professionals you hire. Go the safe route and dentists, if you want your dental practice to do well online, invest your money into a qualified, certified, creative, and resourceful agency who will get the job done properly.

SEO Takeaways For Your Dental Practice

With everything I’ve explained, listed and suggested here, doing it all will take some time but success will come if it’s done right.
But remember that SEO is just one Inbound Marketing channel. There’s so much more you can do to improve your web presence beyond what I’ve mentioned here in this post. A comprehensive digital strategy for your dental practice should incorporate other digital marketing channels like blogging, social media, paid search and video, so long as it makes sense for your practice and your marketing budget.

If you’ve got questions, please ask via the comments section below

Learn how to conduct an SEO Site Audit