Search Engine Optimization, popularly called SEO, can be a bit confusing and technical for dentists. While there are actually some technical aspects to optimizing your website for online search and organic traffic, SEO is not as herculean or discouraging as you may think.
In this article, we shall first discuss what the term “dental SEO” means and then talk about the 5 top practices you should take note of when optimizing your dental website to rank on the first page of search engines and generate organic traffic.
WHAT IS DENTAL SEO?
Dental SEO is the process of making your dental practice and website visible to online visitors in search engines. Simply put, SEO means Search Engine Optimization, which means taking steps necessary to get your website to rank high on the first page of Google or other search engines.
Previously, people used to search for dentists in the yellow pages, but now they go online. So, your website must be well structured and endowed with the perfect content to place your practice in front of potential patients online. When a person types, ‘Dental practices in Ohio’, or ‘Best cosmetic dentist in Las Vegas’ or ‘top dentists in my area’, the process of getting your website to appear on the first page of the search result is dental SEO.
Research has shown that people usually stop at the 1st page of Google results. Most times, they find what they want after visiting the first three to four websites that appear on the first page of their search result. The top 5 search results account for 80% of all clicks on search engines. So, ranking high on search engines means more website traffic for your dental website, which means more qualified leads, guaranteeing greater credibility, authority, and ultimately, more new patients to your practice.
So how do you rank high on search engine?
First, you need to have a great website in place for your SEO efforts to yield results. To know more about having a great website, check out our blog post on ‘The Top 10 Essential Characteristics That Makes a Great Dental Website’.
THE TOP 5 DENTAL SEO PRACTICES TO RANK HIGH IN SEARCH ENGINES
Now that you have a great website, here are the top 5 practices you should observe for SEO.
OPTIMISE FOR RELEVANT KEYWORDS
When patients search for dentists and dental practices, they make these searches using specific keywords. While some keywords are very specific, others are more general in nature. Examples of specific keywords are: “cavity fillings and teeth whitening” while general keywords include “best dental practice” and “dentists near me.”
If you are just starting out on your dental website SEO, you should use long-tail keywords. Long tail keywords are keywords made up of several words, with a lower search volume. However, the traffic from such queries is usually targeted and easier to convert into dental patients. Long tail keywords usually guarantee quality traffic with less competition. Examples of such keywords are: “dentists in Manhattan”, children’s dentists in Las Vegas” etc.
When optimizing your website, be sure to include keywords and phrases that describe all the services you provide. Use keywords that include the procedures you perform or the products you offer.
OPTIMIZE FOR LOCAL SEARCHES
People usually search for local service providers when it comes to health and medicine. Maximize local SEO practices to target specific geographical locations around your area. You can improve your website ranking by adding the name of the town where your practice is located and nearby towns to your website copy.
Ensure you add your location to your page titles and URLs. Also, register your practice on Google maps and local directories to improve your visibility in local searches. Local directories such as Healthgrades, ZocDoc and Yelp, can serve as a great boost to your website ranking.
To register your business on Google maps, first claim your Google map business listing. Then add as much relevant information about your business as possible. Also add your local phone number and, if possible, a call tracking number. This will help you monitor your SEO efforts so you can know the number of calls you get via a search through Google maps. Finally, add quality photos of your practice. Your pictures should include warm and welcoming photos of you and your staff smiling.
OPTIMIZE YOUR BLOG
If you don’t have a blog already, this is the perfect time to start blogging. With blogging, you get to attract interested readers and potential patients. Blogging helps you build credibility and portrays you as an expert in the health and dental industry.
With a blog you also get the opportunity to answer important questions and address concerns that patients may have about their dental health or a dental procedure. You can convert a visitor into your next patient when you post quality and authoritative content to your blog.
There are various topics to blog about in relation to your dental practice. If you are just getting started, you can blog about introductory topics regarding dentistry and dental health, such as; ‘What is dental health and why is it important’, ‘5 ways to take care of your dental health’, ‘everything you should know about dental flossing’, etc. You can also use content generator tools such as Hubspot content generator or UberSuggest to get more topics to blog about.
Remember that keywords are very important when optimizing your blog. It is advisable you use keyword planning tool to get your A-game in blogging. Some great keyword planning tools you can use are UberSuggest, SEMRush, AHrefs, Keywords Everywhere, Google Keyword planner and Moz keyword explorer.
EARN QUALITY BACK LINKS
Backlinks refers to the number of websites that make reference to your blog or website. For example, when you make a post, and another website uses your content or shares your content, while attributing a link to your website as the source – that is a backlink.
Links are one of the biggest ranking factors that Google uses in ranking a website high or low in search results. The number of quality links back to your site can increase your site ranking on search engine.
To earn backlinks, you can create quality content and then reach out to bloggers and industry experts to share your content. You should also consider guest blogging. Guest blogging means creating content for other dental blogs and then including a link back to your website at the end.
Remember, the key is quality over quantity. A backlink from a good authoritative website can help you rank higher compared to backlinks from three weak websites. Ensure the sites that link back to you are websites that are related to the dental industry. Be intentional about earning backlinks and do not just reach out randomly to websites just for the sake of doing so.
HAVE A GREAT WEBSITE DESIGN AND LAYOUT
Your website design and layout account for your user experience interface. This determines whether your website visitors will be able to easily navigate your website and easily get the information they require. This is called the ‘user experience’.
Your website user experience can make or mar your SEO efforts and search engine ranking. When web visitors spend a longer time on your website and can easily get the information they want, this leads to a higher ranking on search engines. However, if your website is difficult to navigate, or visitors cannot get what they want, they will exit your website and move on to the next website. This is called a bounce rate. A bounce rate is the rate at which web visitors leaves a website. A higher bounce rate means a lower search engine ranking and vice versa.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SEE THE RESULTS OF YOUR SEO EFFORTS?
Your SEO tactics could be on-page, off-page or even technical, such as improving your page speed, updating your title tags, attracting more backlinks, etc. It could take three to six months to see the results of your SEO efforts. So, you should be patient. Dental SEO is a long-term game and a matter of strategy.
You can monitor your SEO progress and calculate your return on investment using Google Analytics. Unless you are paying a marketing expert, or partnering with a dental SEO company. You can see results without a paid marketing approach.
READY TO GET STARTED ON YOUR DENTAL SEO?
Visit our website at newpatientsinc.com to learn more about dental SEO and get started on optimizing your website for search engines. We provide custom made offers tailored to meet your website SEO needs and increase your organic traffic and conversion. Visit our website now to get started.