Ian McNickle, MBA, discusses the impact of search engine optimization
By now most people are aware of social media and its prevalence in the world. Over 70% of U.S. adults who are online use Facebook®, and around 30% use other popular channels such as Instagram®, Pinterest, Twitter®, and LinkedIn®. As I lecture around the country, one of the most common questions I encounter focuses on the actual benefits of social media for a practice.
Social media itself can have numerous benefits for a practice, but the focus of this article is on the impact of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO commonly refers to the set of activities that affect how a website will rank on Google® and the other search engines. Google looks at over 200 variables to determine how highly to rank a website for a given set of terms and geography.
Google says social media is not a ranking factor
What is interesting about social media is that Google has stated that social media is not a ranking factor. However, many SEO agencies have done studies and found a high correlation with certain aspects of social media and search rankings. If you create interesting posts, and lots of people interact with your posts, then the shares create links back to your social media pages and to your website. Incoming links to your website are a well-known factor to help SEO rankings.
In the dental industry, the most important social media channel is clearly Facebook due to its large audience and useful business tools (boosted posts, geo-targeted ads, and engagement dashboard). A well-designed Facebook campaign would include a large percentage of “personal”-type posts, which highlight the personality and human side of the practice.
For example, let’s say it’s Sally’s birthday, and you’re all in the break room having some birthday cake. Someone feeds Sally a piece of cake and smears it on her face. Everyone laughs! Since you caught this on video with your phone, you can easily post it to your practice Facebook page. This type of post will generate FAR more engagement (and potential SEO benefit) than your clinical posts. While you should have clinical topic-type posts, please remember the personal posts will generate much more engagement.
The key is to create frequent and interesting content on Facebook in order to generate positive SEO benefit.
What about YouTube
While most people understand Google is the largest overall search engine, many find it surprising to learn YouTube is the second largest search engine. The major difference is, of course, people searching on Google are in “research/buying” mode, whereas searchers on YouTube are in “social” mode. This means despite the massive search volume on YouTube, people are not using YouTube to search for a dentist or specialist.
So how does YouTube help with SEO? The best strategy for using YouTube is to create a series of videos that are hosted on YouTube and also reside on other online properties such as your website, Facebook page, etc. Google and other search engines look at videos as high-quality content (assuming they are properly optimized with a title and description). Therefore, embedding videos into your website should help the website SEO and search rankings.
Since Google purchased YouTube years ago, Google has integrated YouTube videos into their search results. Let’s say you have 10 videos on your YouTube channel. If you properly optimize these video titles and descriptions, then there is a chance some of these videos can appear in search results just like your website. This essentially multiplies your online presence.
While there are many aspects of social media that can help your online marketing efforts, we highly recommend posting frequent, interesting content on Facebook, and leveraging videos on YouTube, Facebook, and your website. These simple strategies can yield nice results indeed.
If you have questions about your website, social media, or online marketing, you may contact WEO Media for a consultation to learn more about the latest industry trends and strategies. The consultation is free if you identify yourself as a reader of this publication.
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