Dental practices, like any other local business, are realizing the importance of marketing themselves online. They’re putting effort into their websites, quality content marketing, and social media accounts, all with the purpose of attracting potential patients and maintaining strong relationships with existing ones.
While all these dental marketing tactics are important, they may not gain the traction they could without search engine optimization (SEO). People used to search for local dentists using the Yellow Pages, but those searches have now gone online. Most people look to the first page for results, so dentists who don’t rank high on Google are missing out on valuable traffic.
SEO is the process of helping your website and content rank higher on search engine results pages. When you show up on the first page, you’re more visible to search users and attract more visitors to your site.
Dental SEO marketing focuses exclusively on optimizing a dental practice’s website for search engine results to improve its visibility with relevant searches. These practices include dental SEO services, local SEO for dentists, and orthodontist SEO.
Much like SEO for doctors, real estate SEO, or HVAC SEO, most of a dentist’s clients are going to be local. People seek out dental practices in their area, so SEO for dentists focuses on general visibility and local visibility for prospective patients in the vicinity.
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Without SEO, it’s difficult – if not impossible – for prospective patients to find your dental practice online. Research shows that 95% of search traffic goes to the first page of search results, and the top five search results account for 68% of all clicks, demonstrating why it’s so important to get a high ranking.
If you can get your ranking this high, that means you’ll generate more website traffic, more leads, more authority, and more patients.
In addition, your competitors are likely using SEO tactics to improve their own ranking, so you could fall behind and miss out on patients. If your competitors aren’t yet investing in dental SEO services, this is a chance for you to gain a competitive edge and attract patients to your practice instead.
SEO is the backbone of digital marketing for your dental practice. Most dentists can’t market their practice effectively without the visibility that comes from SEO, which offers benefits like:
A lot of website traffic is organic, or unpaid. When you attract more traffic to your site, you have more opportunities to convert visitors into leads and leads into paying customers.
SEO is also an inbound marketing tactic. Instead of you reaching out to patients and hoping they want to hear from you, dental SEO brings prospective patients to you when they’re already looking for a dentist.
This is the equivalent of putting the exact product someone wants to buy right in front of them as they’re searching for it. As a result, you will gain high-quality leads and improved conversion rates.
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Part of Google’s ranking factors is the credibility and authority of a site, which earns it a higher spot in the search engine results pages. Users also click on these top rankings more, reinforcing their position by showing Google that the results are valuable and relevant.
So, it begins a cycle – the higher your ranking, the more users will click on your site. The more users click on your site, the more Google believes your site and information to be trustworthy and credible.
Effective SEO tactics include a positive user experience to boost rankings according to Google’s criteria. By extension, these tactics also leave a better impression on the user, making them more likely to spend time on your site and visit again in the future.
It’s likely that at least some, if not all, of your competitors are using SEO to boost their ranking. More and more patients are looking for businesses of all kinds on the internet, including dental practices.
With dental SEO, you can stay competitive with other businesses, or possibly rise above them and stand out as the top choice. For example, if a prospective patient is looking for dental implants in [city], they’ll see a list of dental offices, content, and reviews. If you’re among them, you’re more likely to get business from that patient. Otherwise, they may choose another dental practice in the area.
Related: Guide to SEO for Doctors
When you type a query into Google (or any other search engine like Bing and Yahoo), it’s interpreted as a question. If you were to type in, “treatment for cavities” or “cosmetic dentistry near me,” the search engine tries to gauge intent to provide the most relevant and credible answers to ensure a good search experience.
That’s the core purpose of SEO – optimizing your online presence to position your site as a trusted source of information that can provide answers to relevant search queries.
Google considers both on- and off-page ranking factors and technical SEO, which are crawled by bots to gather information and understand what your site is, what you provide, and what value you have for search users.
There are many on-site ranking factors, but they generally include:
Off-page ranking factors include link-building information like:
Altogether, Google considers this information to determine which results to show, such as your blog posts, web pages, or reviews, and where they should appear. This is also influenced by the keywords someone uses in their search, the search location, and previous searches that help Google ascertain the search user’s intent.
Ready to put this to work? Here’s how you can improve your SEO for dentists.
Keyword research is vital to your dental SEO strategy. You must add relevant keywords to your content – without stuffing it. Your keywords should be added naturally throughout your content to capture search queries without compromising the value and relevance of the information.
For example, if you have a dental practice in Boston, MA, your keywords may be “dentist Boston MA” or “best dental care in Boston” to target local search terms.
Headings in your website content make your site easy to skim, not only for Google but for users. It promotes a better user experience and helps users engage more with your content, leading to more time on site and better conversions.
Linking to other pages on your site provides a lot of benefits, such as improving engagement by encouraging users to explore and helping search engines crawl your site easily.
For example, if you have a main page with a list of dental services like routine dental care, preventative dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and teeth whitening, link each of those to a dedicated page that discusses the service in more detail.
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Linking to other websites in your industry demonstrates relevance to the Google algorithm. For your content, that may be linking to authoritative pages like the American Dental Association or pages that highlight your local community.
Your Google My Business page is an online directory, like the Yellow Pages, to help local search users find relevant results for their area. It includes information like your name, address, and phone number (NAP), a Google Maps listing, and user reviews.
It’s important for you to not only claim your Google My Business page but to update all this information to make sure it’s current. It should also be consistent across all pages, from your website to external directories like Yelp, so Google knows the information is accurate for users.
A high search engine ranking does help with new patients, but they’re not everything. Traffic doesn’t matter if no one converts, so don’t waste your efforts on links from disreputable websites, link farms, or other questionable sources.
SEO for dentists is a must in a competitive environment. Many prospective dental patients are looking for dentists online in their area, and if you don’t appear on that first page, you could be missing out on a lot of business.
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SEO for dentists is the process of optimizing your website for search users to improve its visibility in organic search results pages. This includes a lot of tactics, such as on-page SEO and technical tactics like improving your website speed and building links.
Dental SEO efforts take at least six months to see positive results, but at the start, you may notice improved traffic, more leads, and other effects. SEO is more of a long-term strategy than advertising, which provides short-term results but costs much more.
There are numerous factors that go into dental SEO. If you’re doing it on your own, it only takes your own resources, but you may not see great results as you learn through trial and error. If you’re working with a dental SEO company or a dental SEO expert, it could cost a few thousand dollars a month, depending on the services you choose. SEO is a strategy that takes time to work, however, so it’s better to invest in proven tactics to reap the benefits.