5 Simple Steps for Creating a Website that Flows

Navigating a new location without a map can be a challenge. And it’s just as difficult for Google to navigate all the pages of your website without a sitemap. Creating a sitemap should be your first SEO ‘hack’ to improve the quality and quantity of visitors to your website. With more traffic, you have the potential to convert more patients. And with more patients, you’ll gain more revenue.

But first, let’s cover the basics: what is it and why do you need it?

What is a Sitemap?

So, a sitemap, otherwise known as an XML (extensible markup language) sitemap, is simply a file or directory list of all the pages displayed on your website and the relationships between them.

Google takes this file that you provide and gives back useful information about these pages, like when the page was last loaded or when it was last updated. This sitemap helps Google understand the structure of your website as you dictate to it; what pages are most important and what features you’d like to highlight. 

Why do you need a Sitemap?

Popular search engines like Google strive to display the most relevant results after a user searches for something. In order to be effective, Google constantly discovers new websites by ‘crawling the internet’ to analyze and organize information that gets put into an index.
Having a sitemap in place for your dental office helps Google crawlers accurately read the content on your website and index the pages based on that map.
For instance, having a sitemap for your website allows Google to properly read the locations of your website when moving from page to page. Without a sitemap, these crawlers could think of your website as irrelevant to user searching. 

5 Simple Steps for Creating a Sitemap

     1. Consider the Structure of your Website Pages

Look over any existing content on your website and study the flow. Starting from your homepage, where do your pages lead your patients? Create a simple flow chart to understand where each of your pages link to.

For example, from your homepage, you might have links to ‘New Patient Information’, ‘Success Stories’, ‘Services’, and so on. Then, continue to map the links. From these pages, what links are available? At the end of your mapping, you may realize there’s a lot of clicking going on. Try and aim for a simple map, one that patients can get to from any page with around 3 simple clicks.

     2. Consider your Goals

When overhauling or creating your website, set clear intentions for your pages. Consider all the information you want your patients to know before their visit along with all actions they could take through your website to make your job easier in office. 

     3. Consider your Patient’s Experience

This step is critical. You may have a simplified sitemap, but if your typical user isn’t satisfied, then your practice won’t grow. Creating traffic is only half the battle. Create clear and relevant paths through your website that accommodate both new and existing patients. Always stick to simplicity over complexity.

     4. Consider the Website Architecture 

Based on the goal of your dental practice and your website, create a new sitemap to build out. Keep in mind the previous steps when thinking about how patients will navigate through your pages. Make sure all available shares, actions, and information are readily available and easily accessible.

     5. Consider the Relationship Between Pages

Just like the previous steps, there needs to be a consistent flow from page to page on your website. There should be accessible links that are simple to navigate. Keep your different page options simple and low in number.

If you’d like to link your “Success Stories” page underneath your “Services” page, that would show relevant relationships between pages and make patients feel more confident navigating your website.

Have you provided a map to your dental practice that allows your website to flow?

These steps should help you feel more confident in creating a sitemap that will help your patients and Google navigate your website. Remember, if you understand the importance of gaining new patients and keeping your regulars satisfied, you understand that it’s essential for your dentistry to have an optimized sitemap that works for you.

As always, for additional information and help completing these steps, please visit the Dental Engine to sign up for specialized training to help grow your dental practice into being the best it can be.