Every dental practice needs a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. If you haven’t started taking steps to increase your visibility in organic search results, you’re missing out on valuable patient connections and the resulting long-term relationships your practice needs to thrive. It’s time to start taking a robust approach to SEO so that you can reach more patients, expand your practice and establish yourself as the top choice in the area you serve.
When potential patients search for a dentist, they include location information like city names or zip codes to narrow down their choices to practices within a reasonable distance. Mobile searches are even more precise because search engines can pick up location data from mobile devices and use it to provide the most relevant results based on proximity. Without targeted SEO, search engines won’t know to include your practice in these searches, and patients won’t be able to discover you.
However, it’s not enough just for search engines to know you exist. Your practice needs to establish a highly visible presence across the web in order to gather leads, encourage click-throughs and generate conversions. It’s critical for at least one link associated with your practice to appear in the top five search results on engines like Google. These results get 67.6 percent of all click-throughs. The next five results get only 3.73 percent of traffic. If you can dominate the top results, you put yourself ahead of the competition and ensure your practice is the first one potential patients choose to contact.
Implementing SEO for dentists requires planning and a willingness to invest the time necessary to take the right actions. These four tactics are some of the most common used by dental practices and other local businesses to drive traffic to their websites and establish contact with potential customers. Each one should have its place in your SEO strategy to ensure you establish a solid foundation from which to launch more advanced tactics in the future. Before you get started, review the steps involved. Create a plan for applying each strategy to increase the online visibility and authority of your practice.
Keyword research is a basic but essential tactic for SEO. Start with a list of words and phrases potential patients are likely to use when searching for a dentist, including search terms associated with your location and the surrounding area. Use tools like AnswerThePublic.com to discover additional phrases, questions and words associated with your main list. You’ll likely wind up with a large collection of potential searches, but you don’t want to include every single one on your website or in your content. To find the best phrases to use, you have to narrow the list down.
Keyword research tools, such as the Keyword Planner provided in Google AdWords and the Keyword Explorer by Moz, show you the metrics associated with each word or phrase. Information like search volume, trends, organic click-through rates and how difficult it is to rank highly for any given term provide insight into which keywords have the potential to be most beneficial for your dental practice. Apply this data to your list, and incorporate the best words organically into page titles, meta descriptions, image tags and on-page content. Avoid “stuffing” too many keywords into any one page. Search engines see this as an attempt to cheat the system and penalize sites using the practice.
Because of the targeted nature of your practice, you need to make the location of your office very clear on your website and in your content. Onsite content should include relevant words like your city, town and county. If you serve a wide area, incorporate location-based keywords for every city within the scope of your practice. Include the name, address and phone number (NAP) of your office on every page of your site to ensure it appears in local search results. To improve visibility and provide more ways for potential patients to contact you, claim your profiles on directories like YP.com, Yelp and Google My Business. These listings are known as citations and are an integral part of successful local SEO.
Reviews also affect search engine rankings and influence the decisions people make about where to go for dental work. The more positive reviews you have, the higher your practice will rank. Encourage current patients to leave reviews and comments about their experiences with your practice, and follow up with new patients via email or text message to remind them they can review your dental office on Facebook, Yelp, Google and anywhere else you have a listing.
Relevance and quality are important to Google and other search giants. They want to provide the best results based on search terms, and one of the ways they determine whether or not a site is a good match is by the links leading to it from other sources. Content with links from “high-authority” sources like social media, industry websites and influential blogs enjoys better visibility than sites with few or no backlinks.
You don’t have to look far to get these types of links for your site. The other practices you work with and the companies providing the tools, equipment and products you use in your dental office have their own online presences, and this network is the best place to start building a collection of links. Reach out to see if any of them are interested in a guest blog post and would be willing to let you include a link to you practice in the content. You can also seek out influential bloggers and content creators in the dental industry to gain more visibility by sharing guest posts on their platforms.
Despite repeated reports of its demise, content marketing remains king for SEO. Starting a blog gives you a platform through which to provide useful information to potential patients and establish your practice as an authority in the dental industry. Incorporating keywords into your posts increases the number of pages with the potential to appear in search results, and consistency prompts search engines to crawl your site and index pages more often. Delivering high-quality content increases the amount of time people spend on your site, telling Google and other search giants the information you’re sharing is not only relevant but also helpful and is worth placing higher in search results.
Be sure to post content on multiple platforms outside your website, including social media. Video is especially popular right now and has the potential to increase traffic from search results by 157 percent. Consider creating videos explaining what patients can expect during a routine visit, showing the types of procedures performed at your practice and addressing the most common questions patients have about dental visits.
SEO for dentists isn’t something you can work on once and then forget about, but it’s hard to find the time to devote to an ongoing strategy when you’re busy running your practice and focusing on providing quality care to every patient. To stay on top of the changes search engines routinely make to their algorithms and ensure you’re always using the best strategies, you need help from a dedicated SEO expert.
SEO Direct can provide tailored Dental SEO solutions for your practice to boost your position in search results and increase visibility in the local market. Whether you need help making sure your business information is uniform across the web, building a strong network of backlinks, incorporating local keywords into your content or managing your citations, SEO Direct has the expertise your practice needs to succeed.