Make Your Website More Visible for Free, Part Two: Local Directories

My listing on Yelp

In the first part of this series, I presented a plan to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website on your own without having to shell out your hard-earned cash.  In this post I’ll discuss how to use local online directories to make that site sing on Google.

First, what is a local online directory?  Simply put, it’s like online Yellow Pages in that users search for a dentist in a certain town and hopefully find your listing.  The difference is that local online directories tend to provide more content about your office.  The catch is that extra content is provided by your patients.  You can see the potential problem…

“Dr. Jones was the WORST DENTIST EVER!”

There it is.  Written in stone.  No, you can’t remove it.

You know that one miserable, crazy, unreasonable patient who behaved irrationally and left your office in a huff even though you did nothing wrong?  Let’s hope he doesn’t have a computer.

A good strategy is to encourage your positive patients to write positive reviews for your practice.  You may feel uncomfortable asking them to do this and I don’t blame you.  It can seem cheesy, or worse, desperate, to ask patients to take time out of their schedules to sing your praises online.

But you know that patient that loves you?  You know that patient that was relieved when you got him out of pain?  You know the patient that had tears in her eyes when she saw her new smile?  When they finish gushing about how happy they are, ask them for the small favor of writing a brief testimonial online.  I bet they’ll be happy to do it.

There are many local online directories; here are my three favorite:

www.yelp.com

www.local.com

www.citysearch.com

Get listed on all three today and start collecting positive reviews.

Keep in mind, whether or not people actually log on to Yelp to search for you doesn’t matter.  The point is that when you’re listed with Yelp, search engines like Google take note and will list you higher on their search results page.  Instant SEO for free.

In the next part of this series, I’ll explore the online Yellow Pages.

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Please note that I can no longer answer questions from the public regarding their personal dental care. I am unable to properly diagnose or recommend treatment over the Internet. If you are looking for a dentist, please visit the "Find A Dentist" feature on healthysmiles.org