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By Whiteboard Marketing
In today’s marketing world, being visible on Google is essential to the growth and success of every dental practice. Google is the No. 1 search engine in the world, and it is the first place many people go when they search for a new dentist. It’s important to keep your website optimized with best practices from Google to ensure current and prospective patients can easily find you and schedule an appointment. Google releases algorithm updates on a regular basis, which search engine optimization (SEO) experts must navigate to continuously improve websites. The most recent update that Google released is the Page Experience Algorithm update, which focuses on Core Web Vitals. There are many elements that this update encompasses, but three in particular create the most impact: Largest Contentful Paint, Cumulative Layout Shift and First Input Delay. Here, we’ll discuss why these factors are important for your website and changes you can implement to stay competitive, provide a positive online experience to visitors and generate new patient acquisition.
Largest Contentful Paint is the time it takes for the largest element on your website to appear on screen. The largest element on your website is typically the image on your homepage, also known as the banner or hero image. It’s important that this image loads quickly because it is the first thing a user will see when they visit your website. If site visitors are unable to see or interact with your website, your opportunity to convert them to a new patient lessens, as they will most likely leave your site. Your largest content paint should be less than 2.5 seconds. To improve your website’s load time, the SEO experts at Whiteboard Marketing recommend making these updates:
Frequently, when a website loads, images, calls to action (CTA), and other elements may shift or move around in an effort to populate. Cumulative Layout Shift highlights the importance of having stable elements when a page loads. If images or buttons move around too much, users may become confused or accidentally click on the wrong link. Having a visually stable website provides a positive user experience. Here are a few things you can do to minimize your website’s Cumulative Layout Shift:
First Input Delay is the time it takes for the browser to respond to the user’s first interaction. This means that visitors can engage or interact with your website by clicking, scrolling or typing on the webpage. If your website takes too long to load and users cannot begin searching for information or navigating through your website, they may become frustrated with the lack of functionality. Your first input delay should be under 100 milliseconds. It’s important that your website is interactive to ensure you are converting as many visitors as possible into new patients. Here’s what you can do to improve your website’s First Input Delay:
While there are many other solutions to address the Page Experience update, they typically focus on your website’s code and the way it was developed. If you notice any long load times, stability issues or difficulties interacting with your website, talk with your marketing partner about additional options that may be available. Your website team may need to remove or alter certain code on your website to improve its performance. Your marketing team may even recommend building a completely new website if your code is flawed or outdated.
Google’s Page Experience Algorithm update focuses primarily on your website’s user experience and functionality. It’s important to implement any necessary updates or new strategies to keep your website ahead of the curve. Paying attention to your website’s Largest Contentful Paint, Cumulative Layout Shift and First Input Delay will help you provide a better user experience, improve your SEO performance and increase your opportunities to attract and retain new patients.
Written by Whiteboard Marketing team members Sara Grindley, account manager, with input from Corinne Richardson, SEO specialist, Jon Krempasky, SEO and PPC manager, and Alex Francis, web developer. Whiteboard Marketing is a dental practice marketing firm in Dublin, Ohio that partners with dentists nationwide to develop and implement practice marketing strategies that increase new patient acquisition and build brand awareness.