Justin Wilbern, MBA
Looking at the world today, it often feels like technology changes are happening faster and faster. As technology continues to grow more advanced, it is important to ensure that your dental practice is advancing alongside these technological trends and avoid being left behind.
Advances in website security, search engine algorithms, and the devices that patients use to view websites are all in a period of growth, which means your website needs to grow along with them. Here are three areas to look at when deciding if your website is ready for the new web standards of 2019.
Is your website secured with SSL?
While browsing the internet, you may have noticed that some sites begin with “http://” while others begin with “https://”. What does the “s” after “http” stand for? In this case, it lets you know that the domain has been secured using a secure sockets layer, or SSL. SSL provides an encrypted connection between a website and your browser. If an attacker were to try to collect information being submitted to an SSL-secured website, the attacker would receive only encrypted data that could not be easily understood.
In 2018, Google updated its Google Chrome browser to display “Secure” when SSL is used properly. If your website is not using SSL, Chrome will display “Not Secure” for visitors to your site. Having SSL set up on your website helps provide a level of trust to patients to help them know that their information will be secure.
Is your website using responsive design?
In 2019, smartphone and tablet usage will continue to rise. This will make responsive design more and more important. Responsive design for your website takes all the information that is available to a user visiting on a desktop computer and arranges it to work well on a tablet or phone. Mobile usage has steadily been rising, but mobile usage has recently surpassed desktop usage for how people access the internet. This makes it extra important to make sure your information is easily readable on mobile devices to avoid losing potential patients.
Google has also been pushing for websites to move to mobile-responsive design with recent changes to its algorithm. In July 2018, Google switched to mobile-first indexing to rank sites in its search engine. What this means is that Google will visit the mobile version of your website to scan for information, where previously it used the desktop website. Having a mobile website with easy access to all your information can help you move up in search rankings and surpass competitors’ sites.
Is your practice leveraging patient reviews?
Since their inception, online patient reviews have been important for gaining trust with potential new patients. While there are many places for your patients to review you, the place that has become the most important is in Google My Business (formerly Google+). Google My Business reviews show up in the sidebar when patients search for your office, displaying the number of reviews in a prominent location. With Google’s recent algorithm updates, Google has placed a higher importance on the number and quality of reviews that a practice receives, using this information to help rank a website along with its content.
Luckily, getting reviews from patients has become easier for practices. Gone are the days of handing out a business card with your Google+ link and asking patients to leave a review. Now technologies are available to send a text message directly to your patients so they can leave reviews from their phones before they even leave the office. This ease of acquiring reviews will help you stand out from the competition in the minds of your patients.
By making sure your dental practice addresses these three areas, you can ensure that patients will find your website and contact you easily. With minimal investment you can help drive even more traffic to your site.
Justin Wilbern, MBA, is the director of technology at Digi Search, a digital marketing agency with a focus on helping to increase new patient flow for dental practices. To learn more about how Digi Search can help your practice grow, visit digisearch.com.