Everyone has heard of “branding”.
But what exactly is branding?
Merriam-Webster dictionary has a few definitions of brand but the one I’m talking about best fits this definition:
a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted
I like to think of branding as a business’s name, public image, and reputation. Or, what the first thing someone thinks of when they hear your business name.
What is Online Branding?
Online branding is basically everything in the above definition, plus how you show up in Google search results for your brand name.
The idea is, when someone searches Google for the name of your dental office, that you completely cover the search results for your name.
Sounds simple, right?
You may even think that if someone searches for your business name, that all the results of the Google search will show stuff directly related to your business.
Well, this is not the case. You need to build your brand name online to make this happen, and it’s important you do this.
It’s also important to know, when someone searches Google, for the name of your business, that this is called a “brand search”, and brand searches are some of the most popular searches that people enter into Google.
Think about if someone recommends a dentist, a great restaurant, or even a movie, what do you do? You go to Google and search for the name of the business. You do a brand search.
The best way to understand the idea of online is to look at real big brands like Nike, Target, Coca-Cola.
When you enter a brand search into Google for Nike, this is some of what you see:
In this case, the first thing you see is the Nike Ad, then you see Nike’s website, then on the right you see the Nike Knowledge Panel. Everything you see, leads to the same business, Nike.
This is just the top half of the search result but if you keep scrolling down you’ll see some images of Nike products, some Nike videos, and Nike social media accounts.
The big take away is everything on the search result page for the search: nike, goes to the Nike company’s website or other digital properties.
You can do this same search for Target, Best Buy, Coca-Cola, etc. The front entire page of the search results is covered with everything that leads back to the company’s website.
This is also the case if you do a brand search for Determined Solutions, *wink, wink.
I call this dominating the search results for your brand name, or owning your brand online, or online branding.
Why is this So Important for Dentists?
Online branding becomes even more important for the field of dentistry because dental practices almost always have a keyword in their business or brand name.
For example, the search: “dentist irving tx”, which gets about 1,000 searches a month in Google, has the first page of results populated with dental practices with these names:
Sterling Dental Center
Keith Mitchell DDS
Irving Family Dental
21st Century Dental
My DFW Dentist
Dental Concepts and Orthodontics
What do you notice about these business names? The ALL have a keyword (or more!) in their business name. All these businesses have dentist type keywords: dental, dds, dentist, orthodontics, etc.
A keyword is what someone searches Google for, and in this example: dentist irving tx, “dentist” is the niche keyword and “irving tx” are the location keywords.
Most dental practices have a keyword in their business name.
If you rank really well for your brand name, if you dominate the search results for your brand, and your brand has a keyword in it, this makes ranking for something like: dentist irving tx, easier because you are already recognized as being authoritative for that keyword, because it’s in your brand name.
Does this makes sense?
Well, let’s go over some more examples.
One of the last results on the search for: dentist irving tx, is the dental practice My DFW Dentist and their website is mydfwdentist.com. They have to keyword “dentist” in their business name and in the domain name of their website.
Now, if you do a brand search for My DFW Dentist, you’ll see this:
If you could scroll down this screen, you’d see that like other big brands like Nike, Target, Best Buy, etc., they completely cover the search results for their brand name.
My DFW Dentist “owns” their brand online because when you search their business name you’ll see:
-Google My Business (aka Knowledge Panel) on the right of the screen
-Health Grades listing
-Dental Services Finder listing
What you WON’T SEE is any other dental practice showing up on the first page of the search results for the My DFW Dentist brand name.
It’s not a coincidence that My DFW Dentist is ranking well for the competitive and valuable search: dentist irving tx, and they also “own their brand online”.
Online branding is the first step in search engine optimization for Google.
Now let’s look at an example that does not own their brand online.
On the third page of the search for dentist irving tx, (no one goes to the 3rd page of the search results, so no one will find this business), I found this dental practice Apple Family Dentistry and their website applefamilydentist.com.
This practice has 2 keywords in their brand name “family” and “dentistry”.
We already know that Apple Family Dentistry does not show up well in Google for a competitive search like: dentist irving tx, and if you look at the brand search for Apple Family Dentistry you can begin to see why.
They don’t even rank for their brand name.
The first organic search result is for a nearly identically named practice… in Miami, Florida, not Irving, Texas. As a matter of fact Apple Family Dentistry and their website applefamilydentist.com, appear in the 10th position for the brand search: Apple Family Dentistry.
This is not good for their dental practice. They do not own their brand online.
They have little to no chance of getting new patients to come to their business by getting found on Google for searches related to the dentistry services they offer.
I’m not being mean to Apple Family Dentistry, dental SEO is not their specialty. I’m just using this as an example of why this is important.
Go to Google and search your practice’s brand name.
Do you own your brand online?
If you need help with online branding and getting more new patients from Google, fill out my Discovery Form and I’ll get back to you quickly.