While many dentists struggle to create awareness, there are a few who leverage dental SEO practices to reach more patients and scale their business growth.
One thing is certain: Patients no longer only obtain information from the yellow pages or the telephone book.
Nowadays, a suitable doctor is mainly searched for on Google.
Every practice needs to be optimally placed. If you want to promote the findability of your web presence, you should deal intensively with the topic of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in your journey as a dental expert.
At Embarque, we understand the value of a great SEO strategy that allows you to reach potential clients who need your dental services.
Although the phrase SEO for dentists may seem like an expert topic at first, there are simple tips and tricks that anyone can implement without much programming knowledge.
This article sheds light on what dental SEO is how you can effectively optimize your website to get more patients to come to you.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
What is SEO?
The abbreviation SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and describes the optimization strategy of a website for search engines.
You want to ensure that the website is recognized by a search engine as being thematically appropriate and that it is displayed for relevant search queries.
Every website published on the Internet is scanned and classified by search engines. Texts, images, and HTML codes that make up a page are analyzed and added to an index.
There they are sorted according to certain search terms, the so-called keywords. When a search is performed, the search engine will show the user the most relevant answers found in the index.
As an example: You open your Internet browser, start a search engine, and enter the search term “dentist”.
What you will then see is the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). This shows a list of websites that contain the relevant keywords and have thus been classified as relevant by the search engine.
What is SEO for?
How often do you go past the first google page? Probably rarely.
You are not alone in this. Three-quarters of Internet users only select results on the first page without even looking at the next pages.
Therefore, achieving a good position on the SERP is particularly important to increase the visibility of your page and the chances of a click.
There are some ways to get to the top of a search engine:
- Create SEO content, such as blog posts and landing pages, that target relevant keywords
- Get links from relevant websites (the more links you have, the higher you’ll rank).
- Invest in sponsored ads called Google AdWords or invest in an SEO strategy for your website.
SEO is used to improve the positioning of a website on Google and to increase website visits.
Marketing experts often rely on a combination of integrated AdWords campaigns and SEO activities. It is ideal to invest in these options. If the marketing budget is low, it is advisable to go for the SEO strategy. This also lets you get traffic in the long run without much effort on your side,
In summary, SEO is a long-term strategy that pays off over time. The work on the positioning and the content serves to reach the right target group.
Why Dental SEO?
For dentists, in particular, it makes sense to pay attention to SEO, as it leads to concrete results.
The Italian dentist Dr. Uberto Piccardo from Genoa, who ranks fourth in the SERP with the website of his practice said:
“Creating a website is the first step, but it’s not enough. You need a powerful tool to position them. I started with curiosity, I didn’t know anything about SEO. Today, ten years later, 60 percent of new patients come from my website”
Dr. Piccardo was able to optimize his website by combining a keyword search with relevant traffic and the use of SEO functions in WebSiteX5 - the program with which he created his website.
There are three main reasons for including an SEO optimization strategy in your marketing plan:
- Optimal information content: Many patients look for answers online that you can provide.
- Measurable results: Avoid unmeasurable advertising investments in the industry. They can get costly in the long run.
- Special chances of success in special areas: e.g. in the dental area.
How can you improve the positioning of a website on Google with SEO?
Generating a lot of content or filling pages with search terms is not enough to optimize your website.
According to “Google’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization”, the most up-to-date document on SEO, here is a list of the most important factors to look out for to optimize the content and improve page positioning.
- Analysis of the user search of your market.
- Selection of keywords that are often searched for.
- Write optimized content that is tailored to these high-traffic keywords.
To search for suitable keywords for your SEO optimization strategies, you can use the following tools:
- Keyword Planner
- Google Keyword Planning Tool
- SEMrush, Ahrefs and Moz
These are very useful tools for researching the appropriate keywords that will bring users to your website.
For example, you already have a website, SEMrush offers you a complete analysis of your current positioning.
To successfully implement your strategy, you should look for keywords in your market that have high traffic.
Think of combinations of words your patients might use to find your practice and information about your services.
This can be a tedious thing for you when you’re just starting in SEO. However, content marketing agencies like Embarque can easily handle the task for you.
Local SEO for dentists
To position your dental practice for local search, also analyze the search volumes in your region.
This strategy is called Local SEO and can be very useful for a dentist.
At the end of your analysis, load the selected keywords into an Excel document, and note the corresponding search volume.
This information serves as a starting point for composing the content of your website.
Here are the 5 keys to building a local SEO campaign that increases your visibility on search engines, attracts perfect patients, and adds to your bottom line.
Step 1: Keyword research
Start this step by listing the services your practice offers. This list may include fillings, crowns, teeth cleaning, and orthodontics.
Within the Google AdWords platform, you can enter each of your services in the Keyword Planner Tool to identify the keywords that people are using when they search for dental procedures and services.
Focus on using intent keywords first.
2 types of keywords apply to dental practices:
- Phrases with the intention to hire (i.e. to try out your services)
- Phrases with informational intent
Your main focus should be on ranking for intentionally hiring keywords, as they usually signal that the person doing the research intends to try out your services.
For example, a keyword like “teeth whitening dentist” indicates the intention to hire.
Step 2: Keyword optimization
There are two main types of pages that you want to optimize.
Your Google My Business page is what appears in the “Map” results for searches related to local dentists.
Your Google My Business page can provide the fastest improvement. But, of course, you will also want to optimize the main pages of your website.
A fully optimized Google My Business page will play a key role in your SEO efforts and provide an attractive introduction to your practice to potential patients.
On your website, the initial focus will be on editing your “main pages” (home page and service pages) to make them compatible with the keywords that potential patients search for. In particular, you should focus on hiring intent keywords first.
Step 3. Citations and links
Optimizing your website and Google My Business page are the initial steps necessary to start ranking on Google.
But to compete in a crowded field, you will need to do more. Building local citations (e.g. including your business in local directories) and links is the next big step in separating yourself from other dentists in your area.
Citations are mentions of the name, address, and telephone number of your practice (known as “NAP”).
First, you will want to include a quote for your practice on your website, on your contact page, and, ideally, also at the bottom of your website.
Next, you will want to create citations on the web, listing them in relevant directories.
The most important directory list is your Google My Business page, which we’ve already covered.
But there are dozens of other business directories that you can list, which, in turn, will create more quotes - and help you rank higher on Google.
There are 3 main categories of directories that you want to submit to:
General, national business directories
A good starting point is to get listed in the main national business directories. For example, in the USA, some of the top directories include Yelp.com, yellowpages.com, and citysearch.com.
We also recommend creating a Facebook page for your practice.
Industry-specific directories for dentists
You will also want to submit to specific dental and medical directories, such as everydentist.com and implantdirectory.com.
Some industry-specific directories will be free, while others will require a fee. We recommend focusing on free directories first.
If you choose to be listed on paid directories, check to see if you’re generating any referral traffic from those directories (which you can track using Google Analytics).
Finally, you will also want to search for local business directories in your area. An example of a local directory would be your local Chamber of Commerce website.
Important: You will need to ensure that your company name, address, and phone number information remains 100% consistent across all directories.
By “links”, we mean hyperlinks pointing from another website to your website. These are also known as “inbound links”.
Google places a lot of emphasis on the types of websites that are linked to you. Links act as a vote in favor of the authority and relevance of your website.
So how can you create links to your website?
Step 1: Directories
As mentioned above, we recommend sending it to general, dental, and local directories.
Directories are especially useful for local SEO because they are a source of obtaining quotes and links.
Most directory lists will provide a link to your website, as well as a reference to your clinic’s name, address, and phone number.
Step 2: Offline relationships
Take an inventory of the offline relationships you’ve created and see if you can get links from those relationships.
For example, you may already have a referral relationship with other medical professionals and can link to each other as resources recommended on their websites.
Or maybe you are a member of an association and can get a link in that directory listing.
You either sponsor a local event or a small league team and you can get a link as part of your sponsorship.
Step 3: Competitor research
Another step is to see which sites are linking to your competitors’ sites and then see if you can get similar links as well.
You can search which sites are linked to your competitors by looking for your competitors in a tool like Moz Open Site Explorer.
And in that way, you can find other directory opportunities or find other ideas on how to attract links to your website.
There are several other strategies for gaining links, but these tips will give you a good start.
Step 4: Reviews
Ratings are another factor that can offer an advantage over local competitors and offer higher ratings on Google SERPs.
Focus on Google My Business reviews
There are many places where you can get reviews, including on Yelp.com and medical sites like HealthGrades.com. But we recommend that you focus your attention on getting positive comments on your Google My Business page.
Getting reviews on your Google My Business page will help your Google My Business page to be higher so that you can have more exposure to potential patients.
Also, when potential patients see all of your positive reviews, they are more likely to contact you.
What is the secret to receiving reviews from your patients?
Well, first of all, you need to provide excellent services. But also, you need to ask patients to review it, and you need to make it easier for them.
One of the best ways to ask and make things easier is to send a “review request” by email, with a link to leave a review on your Google My Business page.
Optimizing a website with the title tag, meta tag, and h1 description
In addition to the general information about your dental practice, there is special information that you should put on your website and never forget.
This information helps with search engine optimization. They are contained in the HTML code of the page and are displayed to the search engine with corresponding abbreviations, called tags.
To take advantage of the full potential of content and SEO copywriting, you should write long texts between 300 and 500 words. This is the minimum to be included in the Google index. You should also observe the following elements:
The title tag is the page title that is displayed in the SERP. It must contain the main search term of the page, uniquely identify your website, and be no longer than 65 characters.
The meta description is the descriptive text that appears in the SERP under the title tag and explains the content of the page. This short description of the content must not be shorter than 155 characters.
Finally, there are the internal elements of the page text. These enable Google to recognize the structure and the topics:
H1 is the title that the user sees when they click on the article. It is used to attract attention. At the same time, the title must also contain the main search term for better positioning, but may only appear once on the page.
This is the title of the main paragraph in which the article is divided. This can occur more often on a page.
Can Images Also Be Optimized?
Good image optimization is very important, especially for photo websites. But also, in general, it is quite useful to optimize a website for the image search. Your keyword should be included:
- In the name of the image (e.g. dentist.png)
- In the alt tag (e.g. photo of a root canal)
How are SEO results measured?
To measure the success of your SEO strategy, you can use the Google tools “Google Search Console” _or “Google Analytics”._
Note that the Google Search Console is a tool that allows you to send a page overview of your website to Google, which is used to find pages to review.
It is best to link both tools to your website via a Google account. This will give you access to all the data that will help assess the user traffic on your website.
The parameters that are important to you and that you need to keep in mind are the volume and quality of the traffic.
If the bounce rate, i.e. Internet users who leave your website immediately is very high or the length of stay is very low, the traffic that you brought to your website contains users who are not interested in your content.
In this case, you should double-check and adjust your strategy and keyword selection.
You should also check the total number of inbound links and links from relevant websites, as link building factors also influence positioning.
How much time does an SEO strategy take?
It takes at least 3 to 6 months to assess the impact of an SEO strategy and website repositioning.
However, the opportunities presented by SEO and search term optimization with good traffic make for a quality audience.
The efforts will therefore pay off in the long term.
Also, given the average investment required for an AdWords campaign in healthcare, SEO optimization is a cheaper and more profitable alternative or addition.
Which agency can assist dentists with SEO content?
Writing content that resonates with both the search engine and the audience is a complex task but not seemingly unthinkable.
You can involve several professional content agencies to help you handle all the troubles.
You see, hiring an SEO content agency is an investment, not an expense, that pays huge dividends in the long run.
At Embarque, we specialize in great content that helps you get dental clients. Our team is equipped with content writers who specialize in writing beautiful pieces that scale your business growth and beats the competition.