How To Get Started With SEO For Your Dental Practice
As a dental professional, you are used to working with teeth all day, so the topic of search engine optimization (SEO) can feel overwhelming. Major search engines, like Google and Bing, use hundreds of ranking factors to determine which practices appear when your potential patients are searching for the services they need. Many of these factors are not understood by the average person, and it doesn’t help that the “best practices” can frequently evolve.
So what are the “best practices” and how can your dental practice utilize them to compete with the other options in your area?
As SEO has evolved, it has become more difficult to “game” the system. In the past, there were established ways to make a page rank higher, but search engines have started to detect those methods and penalize pages that seem overly curated.
This means that dental practices like yours need to be extra diligent to create high quality content that gives the searchers what they are looking for. The good news is that if you are a dental practitioner that has your potential patients’ best interests at heart, you will naturally have an edge over your competition.
Let’s go through some simple steps you can take to create quality SEO content that benefits your potential patients as well as your dental practice:
Research and optimize keywords
When potential patients are searching for their next dental practice online, they tend to start with broad searches like “dentist near me.” While these terms get a lot of searches and visibility, the flip side is that a lot of practices will compete to rank for them.
Doing research on specific keywords will make a big impact. These keywords are called long-tail keywords, and they can help your practice rank higher for terms with less competition. Catering to potential patients who are searching for specific services will allow you to draw in more relevant users with higher potential for conversion.
For example, ranking for “root canal near me” might bring in more relevant searchers than a more general term like “dentist near me.”
Create high quality content
After you find the keywords that you need to rank for, both general and specific, you can start creating content for your potential patients and post it on your website and social media pages. Blogging is one of the easiest ways to generate valuable content that ranks on search engines, but it is not the only way. High-quality content can include videos, ebooks, and podcasts.
With the keywords you’ve researched, you’ll want to cater your content specifically for the questions your patients might be searching. It is best practice to include those keywords as early in the content as possible. If it is a blog, this means weaving the main purpose of the content in the first few sentences.
These keywords should also be included in the meta description, URL, and alt-text for images. When it comes to weaving in keywords, balance is key. Do not overdo it to the point that the keywords feel unnatural or robotic because search engines will detect this and your content will come off as unnatural.
On the same note, it is important to highlight your dental services in a way that seems genuinely helpful rather than “salesy.” When it comes to converting searchers to patients, you want to establish a long-term relationship, not make a quick sale.
The goal should be to establish your practice as a credible leader in the dental industry.
Not only will this help with your SEO, but it will also keep your practice at the top of searchers’ minds. They might not contact you right away, but if your content helps them and makes a good impression, they will be more likely to think of you in the future when they do need dental work.
So how do you know when you’ve created great content? When you look at your website analytics and see a high average time spent on page, lower bounce rate, and high click-through rate, these are all good signs that your readers are engaging with your content. This makes it much more likely that they will become patients.
Localize your content and practice information
One of the best ways to attract searchers with a high likelihood of conversion is to make your content relevant to your local market. When your potential patients are choosing a new practice, they will want a practice that is convenient and close to their home. That is why it is so important to include your city, neighborhood, zip codes, and other relevant local information.
Getting your website to rank in the first ten results is a great goal to reach for, but there are other SERP areas that your practice can take advantage of, such as the local SEO 3-pack. The local SEO 3-pack is a listing of three practices that show up when people search for a practice near them.
To reach this point, it is important to claim your Google My Business profile. Make sure your practice’s name, address, and phone number are consistent across your website, review sites, directories, and listing. This will improve your practice’s visibility on local SEO features.
Review technical SEO elements
Having a great website with strong SEO is not a “one and done” effort. As the best practices of SEO continue to evolve, your content will require ongoing maintenance to improve. To accomplish this at the highest level, you might consider hiring someone to handle your website and SEO or getting help from a marketing agency.
While you are busy running your practice and caring for patients, your marketing team can help create content, track your website page speed, and make necessary adjustments to improve your ranking. If you have a slow or outdated website and a lot of pages that redirect to other URLs, it will be a negative user experience and will not rank as highly. A good marketing team will be strategic enough and have the technical know-how to avoid this.
A large majority of your potential patients are conducting their searches on their smartphones. Adjusting your content to be compatible with a mobile device will show that you care about their experience. Plus, it will improve your SEO rankings, so it is a win-win for all.
Track and measure your results
Once you build a solid foundation for your SEO strategy, it is important to track your results, but don’t get discouraged too easily. Organic SEO tactics take time to show results, so be consistent and persistent.
To have a full understanding of the results of your SEO efforts, analyze your keyword rankings, organic traffic, click-through rate, users’ engagement, the success rate of each page, and what channels are bringing in the most traffic. This will help you personalize your strategy to your practice, understand your audience, and convert them into long-term patients.
Ready to learn more about how to succeed at SEO to help your dental practice? Contact the marketing team at Scorpion.