Creating effective dental websites and blogs takes more than just passion. Choosing and presenting the right images adds visual appeal, framing your most relevant, interesting content. Dental photography has a practical function, too, making it invaluable for SEO purposes.
Anatomy of an Image
Let’s look at the image below, originally named shutterstock_156074651.jpg. Nothing about this file name is interesting to a Google web crawler. To pique its interest, we assign a relevant file name that includes our keyword, preferably one that corresponds with the title tags and focus for the specific page on which it appears. You’ll see that I’ve changed the file name of the image to something more appropriate, dental-photography. By the way, Google prefers hyphens over underscores.
Suppose this image doesn’t load correctly in your browser. The alternative text tag, or alt text, offers a reasonably detailed description of what you should see. Including your keyword in the alt tag is also a sneaky but totally white-hat-friendly SEO practice. Don’t go overboard with the adjectives, and for the love of Google, NEVER cram several keywords into a single alt text field. One sentence is sufficient. A good alt text for our image here would be something like “Bad dental photography gives Jill and Jill giggle fits.” Those are actor portrayals, by the way.
The image title tag doesn’t hold as much sway with crawlers as it once did, but every little bit helps. We usually use the same text for the image title and alt text tag. If you hover your mouse over our image at right, you’ll see that the title appears in a small yellow box.
Good: Stock Photography
We love stock photography. It’s economical and adds visual interest by breaking up large blocks of text in blog posts and webpages. That, and you can find an image of just about anything. You want pictures of an attractive model with a fried egg hat and bacon earrings? An obese, well-dressed man with a pineapple for a head? No problem, but I digress. The point here is that stock images are better than no images, more so if you choose photographs that reflect your practice, your patient demographics, and, for dental blogs, the subject under discussion.
Better: Images of Your Best Work
If your patients give you permission to showcase your handiwork by sharing case photos on your website or social media, go for it. There’s something reassuring in seeing a “real” person as opposed to several stock images of perfect people with perfect smiles. They want to see perfect smiles, but not necessarily on perfect models. You can still use stock photography, but our clients often find that including an image gallery of patient before-and-after pictures generate hits, too.
Best: Original Photography
We avoid using stock images of dental offices, staff, and procedures in progress because they set false expectations for patients. It’s the same need for authenticity that applies to images of real patients versus images of supermodels. Dentists whose offices have a distinctive look and feel do well to include these images on their website or on social media. Images of the outside of your office building are helpful for patients who are new to your practice or to the area.
About Jill: Jill Nastasia, CEO and Director of Business Development at MDPM, would prefer that you not use her Facebook photos as stock photography, but she’s not averse to becoming a meme. To connect with Jill, contact her at 972-781-8861, or send her an email.