Transcription of Episode

Maybe you’re wondering about dental SEO and longtail keyword phrases. What’s that? Well, we’re going to address that today on this episode of Marketing Chairside.

Welcome, I’m Jonathan Fashbaugh. And again, if you’re a dentist and you’re wondering about longtail keyword phrases, you’ve come to the right spot. This is a marketing jargon piece that’s thrown around a lot in sales conversations, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today in a new segment called Dentists Ask. If you have any questions about marketing in dentistry, please post them in the comments below.

Today’s question comes from one of our clients. They got this question, “What are longtail keywords? We’re told we could do more and be more effective, maybe. How can we be more effective?” Well, again, in a sales conversation this gets brought up sometimes. Now, we’ll get to why in a second here, but it’s tied to content. It’s one of the reasons why we blog for our clients. And in fact, there’s a related episode that we recorded a few months ago. I had my Director of Search Marketing come on board the show, and Bob helped us talk through should dentists have a blog and what should they blog about?

But longtail keyword phrases, you can kind of think of it as just let’s be a user on Google right now. And we type in cookie, and then we type in cookie recipe. And then we type in cookie recipe without nuts. Cookie recipe without nuts that I can make without baking powder, because I don’t have any. That’s kind of the longer the phrase, the longer the keyword phrase. It’s also sort of like a rope here. I’ve got a rope. Every rope is sort of made of many threads. You can see that here. There’s a rope that has a rope within it. And then at the end, we’ve got these frayed parts that are the kind of end product of the rope. And so the finer we get, the longer tail keyword phrases we are. So this is cookie. This is cookie without nuts that I can make without baking powder.

And so, it’s actually kind of helpful to think about this with another marketing jargon concept in mind called user intent. And this is very big with Google right now, has been for a while. So if I just type in cookie, Google’s got to figure out why is this guy searching for a cookie? Is he searching for a cookie? Maybe he wants to order them online. Maybe he’s looking for a store locally where he can buy cookies. But then when I type in cookie recipe, all of a sudden Google knows, “Okay, this dude’s trying to bake and good luck.”

And then I type in without nuts and Google is sorting through all of its files in its index, trying to find pages that say without nuts. And they’ve refined their algorithm because before, cookie recipe without nuts could also mean cookie recipe with nuts. I mean, it was just a dumb robot. It’s getting smarter and smarter all the time. Because it’s trying to understand why is this person typing this in?

So how do we leverage this for dentists? When an SEO company comes to a dentist and says you could make better use of longtail keywords, two things are probably happening, one or both. Either they’re trying to make the dentists confused by using fancy words. I don’t like that. I don’t want to get a dentist to a place where they’re saying, “I don’t know, maybe I’m missing out. Okay, I’ll make a change.” That’s bad. That’s a bad reason to make any decision.

But it could be that the company doesn’t understand dentistry. And if they don’t understand dentistry and they don’t understand user intent, then in their mind, all of these strands are fantastic and we want to go after them. Let’s write a blog about this and this and this and this and this. We want to capture all of this. Because why just have cookie when you could have all of these things? But working with dentists for 20 years, running this business for 10 of that, well, I guess we’re almost 12, that’s not effective use of longtail keyword phrases.

It might be helpful to set aside the marketing piece and think about hiring for a second. Because if we’re throwing this rope out to prospective hires and we pull back a 17-year-old kid, that’s probably not a good hire for our dental office. They don’t have the maturity, they don’t understand business in general. They don’t understand how to be a good worker maybe. So we will throw that one back and throw out the rope. Well, the more criteria we add to our search for our new hire, the better off we’re going to be. If we’re hiring for hygienists, we want to say you got to be a registered dental hygienist already. We don’t to get someone who’s looking for part-time work if we’re looking for full-time work. And kind of flip that around and say if a prospective hire must have a salary range that I’m not going to support, then let’s not waste each other’s time.

We understand that, working with dentists for as long as we have and with the kind of niche type of practices that we work with. If one of these strands is “cheap dentist”, guess what? We don’t want to talk to them. We also, and again, we did an entire episode about blogging and how this is important, and again, check the description because you should check that out too. I can’t remember if we used this example in that video, but we once wrote a blog post for a dental office about vampire fangs with porcelain veneers. It was a fascinating article and we thought that it would be a big hit and it was. It got a lot of traffic, a lot of people clicking on that article.

And then the office started getting a lot of phone calls. Awesome, right? Well, not so much because they were getting phone calls from all the way across the country and people asking, “Yeah, I’m interested in getting your vampire teeth.” And you could probably have heard a pin drop on the other line when the person on the other phone, like, “Yeah, no, we don’t want you in our office, you weirdo.” And so they actually told us to put on the website, “We do not offer vampire teeth.” And we did that. Well, they still got phone calls.

I mean, people scan dental content. I want you to remember that. That’s important. People don’t really read your content, especially word for word. And sometimes they glance over big text at the top of the screen. So eventually, we had to take down the post because from a user intent standpoint, it was a loser and from a longtail keyword phrase standpoint, that’s not something we wanted to target. And so if someone’s telling you, you can make a better, more effective use of longtail keyword phrases, I think these people are maybe old-school in their SEO concepts. They don’t understand how Google is trying to hone in.

I mean, this is the other thing. If people are writing content for your website and it says, “If you’re interested in this, find a dentist,” yikes, run away because they’re presenting you like a Web MD. Web MD, they want all the things because they just want traffic. They’re selling ads. That’s not you. You don’t want to confuse Google into thinking maybe you’re just a blog. You are a local business. So you want to tell Google from a user standpoint, “Yes, we’re dental, but we’re only interested in users up to this point or maybe this point.”

From a keyword standpoint, maybe you offer metal-free implants or something like that. We can go somewhat into that, but we don’t want to go too far. Your blogs should be very clear that you’re about dental. And again, look for that other video and the details because I don’t want to get into too much about blogging. But it should have clear calls to action that say, “We help patients in this area, your geographic location, with these problems. So contact our office.” And Google will pick up on that and show those posts more often. Now, you’ll still get traffic from all over the globe. That’s unavoidable. When you’ve got quality content, Google wants as many people to see it as possible because they want to show quality content to the world. But you can still control that by molding your content and making good decisions about what you write about. So that’s longtail keyword phrases. That’s Dentists Ask.

And if you’ve got a question about marketing, please post it in the comments and we’ll feature that, maybe even feature you, on the next episode of Marketing Chairside. Thanks so much for being with us today. Like and subscribe, do all that nice stuff for us. It makes us feel good and it helps get the word out about marketing. Our mission is to help 100 dentists by 2025 because dentists should be able to rely on their marketing company for new patients. So thanks for helping us get the word out.