SEO and Sex: A Recipe for success “case study”
Like many service professionals, Dr. Helaine Smith, DMD, is more than a dentist. She’s also a small-business owner who must attend to more than continuing-education credits—including her own marketing and promotion—if she is to keep her business going and growing.
And like most small businesses, particularly those in the medical field, credibility is key. So, not long ago, Smith made it her personal mission to establish herself as a dental authority in the public eye.
Some might think that jumping on the “sex sells” bandwagon may not be the best way to go about that. Smith is living proof, however, that if approached the right way in conjunction with other awareness-generating tactics such as effective search-engine optimization (SEO), sex can be the tantalizing introduction that gets people to listen up and take notice.
Smith is a Boston-area dentist who specializes in advanced cosmetic-dentistry procedures. She’s also a small-business owner on a mission to grow her business without breaking the bank.
A few years back, Smith sought to become more recognized as an authority in both general and cosmetic dentistry, seeing that as a way to pursue more long-term growth.
“I was really trying to get a name for myself and become more of a recognized authority, to grow my business and not just be a dentist drilling away in a cave,” she said.
Smith made three key moves.
1. She optimized her website for specific keywords
Within the content of her Web pages, Smith pumped up the use of the popular search terms for which she wanted to improve her natural search rank. They included “cosmetic dentistry,” “best dental care,” and “implants.” She also optimized the image tags, as well as the copy, for the site’s before-and-after pictures and other graphics.
Then, each month, she studied the related analytics and changed or refined the keywords used to improve her results over time. “You can’t just put it up and forget it,” she said.
2. She published an e-book
Smith was intrigued by the success of an internal-medicine doctor named Dr. Drew who made a name for himself by engaging the general public with relationship- and sex- related information. She began thinking of ways that she might use that same sort of draw to capture some attention of her own.
From sexy smiles to bad breath, Smith noted quite a few correlations between oral hygiene and happy intimate relationships, and she used that information to write a 25-page e-book called Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex, designed to help people feel more comfortable about their sex lives through proper oral care. Like Dr. Drew, Smith kept it clean and stuck to the facts.
She offered the e-book as a free download to anyone who was interested—no registration required. On the first page of the e-book, she also encouraged readers to share her content by emailing it to friends and reposting it to their own blogs.
Originally, Smith used her website and blog to promote the e-book; then, with the growing popularity of social media, she began posting notes about it on LinkedIn, Squidoo, Twitter, and other networking sites.
3. She started a blog
A few months before the release of her e-book, Smith started blogging. In her posts, she shared her expertise and educated the public, and, in so doing, demonstrated her authority.
She also uploaded her e-book to the blog, via which she encouraged others to post it to their blogs as well.
Moreover, she included links in the blog’s sidebar to every publication in which she was featured or quoted.
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Sex has been downloaded more than 8,000 times, and it continues to be downloaded hundreds of times each month.
The extensive content offered in the e-book has also served as great search-crawler bait; and, combined with Smith’s frequently updated blog content and ongoing SEO efforts, it has helped to boost her natural search-engine rankings. As a result, Smith’s website traffic doubled within a year of the e-book launch.
Through the e-book offering and her SEO efforts, Smith has also earned a fair share of media attention from the likes of Forbes, the American Dental Association, the Boston Globe, and David Meerman Scott’s World Wide Rave—solidifying her reputation as an authority in general and in cosmetic dentistry, and as a small-business owner who knows how to effectively, and cost-consciously, market her services.