Growing a successful dental practice requires you to consistently provide exceptional customer service and quality care to your patients. This generally will result in a solid base of established patients and could lead to many referrals. However, you also need to reach potential patients who are searching for quality dental care in your community. While some of these individuals will ask their friends and family members for referrals, many will also turn to the internet to research the reputable options that are located reasonably close to their home or workplace. Dental websites are undeniably important for all practices, but simply having a website is not enough. You need to develop a solid strategy to direct a healthy volume of targeted traffic to your website.
You may have heard about search engine optimization, but you may not be sure how SEO ties into your practice’s growth strategy. Your website will be ineffective at driving prospective patients to contact you if these individuals cannot find your website. More than 90 percent of search engine users do not browse results beyond the first page. This means that if your website is not on the first page of results for the keywords you have targeted, you miss out on an incredible amount of quality traffic.
With so many dental office websites vying for those top spots, how can your website rise above the competition? The answer is found in developing effective SEO strategies and in refining those strategies over time.
The Value of SEO for Dentists
A well-designed website is a powerful marketing tool for a dental practice. It showcases the level of care and the types of services that your practice offers. It may highlight experience, certifications, or other qualifications that make your practice stand apart from others. Prospective patients in your area who are in need of dental services could be eight times more likely to contact your office if they can gather information about your business online. This means that they need to be able to locate the website easily.
Through a well-designed SEO marketing campaign, you can reasonably expect to enjoy superior placement on search engine results pages, a boost in your website’s traffic, and a substantially higher conversion rate. With a limited number of prospective dental patients in your local area and with many of these individuals looking at only the top few results on search engine results pages, the profound value of SEO for dentists is clear. If these individuals are not contacting your practice, they will likely contact competing dental practices. When they are converted to established patients at another practice, you may never have another chance to garner their attention and their business.
Using Dental SEO to Reach Potential Patients
What does it take to bolster your website’s placement on search engine results pages and to reach the right users? The key to using SEO for dentists effectively is to target the keywords that those users are searching for with the right strategies. A general search for dental care may yield an extensive list of practices located too far away from the user to be practical. Because of this, users will often conduct a query for results “near me” or in a specific city.
As many as 97 percent of consumers use the internet to search for local businesses, and approximately one in five Google search queries is for local businesses. When your SEO strategies are effective, your website will be the powerful marketing tool that it was designed to be.
Essential Elements of SEO for Dental Practices
Using dental SEO to generate those exciting results, however, is often easier said than done. An SEO strategy is not a fixed aspect of your online marketing campaigns. As search engine algorithms change and competitors adjust their strategies, you will need to keep tabs on analytics and make savvy adjustments to your campaigns. This can seem overwhelming, but you can get the ball rolling in the right direction rather easily.
Google My Business is a free online resource that every local business should be using. You can claim your Google My Business listing directly through Google. Some of the data on your business’s listing may already be populated by data that the Google bots found, so you will need to ensure that the information is correct and fill in the blanks. When a prospective patient makes a local or “near me” query, the Google My Business listing information will pop up. Therefore, the information must be complete and accurate. You can include photos, hours of operation, a bio, and other information to add some meat to your listing.
The next important element of an SEO strategy is structured data, which may also be referred to as schema. Google and other search engines must be able to accurately determine what your website is about by crawling over it. The algorithms are designed to read contextual clues as the bots crawl over a website. Still, you can speed up the process and take control over that information’s accuracy through structured data markup on your website.
Your attention should also focus on the static content on your website. This content should be optimized with keywords that have been thoroughly researched. At the same time, the content should be useful to your target audience, and the pages should be well-designed with quality images and fast load times. Search engines take into account everything from bounce rates and load times to backlinks and more to determine which websites are the most relevant for specific searches. While a solid keyword strategy is critical to your website’s ranking on search engine results pages, you can see that creating a positive user experience overall is also vital.
Beyond this, search engines utilize analytics on a variety of other factors to determine the relevance and authority of a website. Some of the factors analyzed include the number and quality of backlinks and how recently the website has been updated. One strategy you can use to keep your dental website updated is to regularly post meaningful blog posts on your website.
The power of positive online reviews on search engine results cannot be understated. From providing a great patient experience to soliciting reviews from patients after their appointments, several daily factors will affect an SEO campaign’s an important aspect. To impact search engine results, reviews can be placed on independent websites as well as on your Google My Business listing. You can also create a link on your website that makes it easier for your patients to write a great review about their experience.
Citations can be powerful SEO tools as well. A citation is a listing of your practice’s name, address, and phone number on a third-party website. Some of these third-party websites include yelp.com, healthgrades.com, youtube.com, dexknows.com, and others. Both the number and quality of these links are important.
The Return on Investment for Your SEO Marketing Campaign
SEO yields powerful results for business websites today, and many leading SEO experts agree that its importance and relevance will continue to increase in the near future. However, you understandably need to analyze how cost-effective your marketing campaigns are. The general formula for return on investment is to divide the net gain from your investment by the cost of the investment.
Utilizing accurate analytical data to calculate your return on investment is essential. You can draw critical facts from Google Analytics. There is a wide range of other applications available that you can use for free or at various price points. Keep in mind that the ROI should be analyzed by channel for the most refined look at results. These channels may include social media platforms, direct searches, organic searches, and more. Gathering data and making sense of that data as it changes over time can be complicated. These challenges are often combined with determining what a good ROI is and what intervals to use when pulling data. While these factors can create challenges, data analytics are essential for determining how to improve your SEO marketing strategies going forward.
Best Practices for Dental SEO
Whether you are beginning to focus on SEO or you are ready to improve your SEO marketing strategies to boost results going forward, you can utilize a range of best practices to get your phone ringing with new patient inquiries. Some of these best practices are easier to implement and can produce more significant results than others. A good starting point is to place your most relevant keywords as high up in your content as possible and in the first sentence or two on the home page. Likewise, your primary keyword should take the first position in your title tags. This is because Google places more emphasis on the content at the top of the pages and on the home page.
At the same time, however, you must avoid stuffing your content with keywords. Google and other search engines generally penalize websites that seem to be artificially manipulating ratings. The content should be written with the reader or user in mind. While it is crucial to have your main keyword at the front of the title tag, only one keyword should be used in the tag. Likewise, the content should be written naturally and specifically with the reader in mind. This will help you to avoid keyword stuffing penalties, and it can keep visitors on your website for longer periods of time. Page view times and bounce rates play a role in search engine rankings.
Another SEO essential practice is to avoid duplicating content across the static content, the page descriptions, and the page titles. You also need unique content for the image alt text and the category pages. Google has specifically stated the importance of avoiding the use of duplicate content. If some of your pages have comparable phrases, consider using canonical tags or combining that content together on a single page. Generally, if you create individualized pages and create high-quality content that offers true value to the readers, this will not be an issue.
Because of the importance of creating unique content that is relevant to your website’s visitors, consider creating a blog calendar. Brainstorm numerous topics that your visitors will want to know more about, and publish the content at regular intervals. Then, market each post with links on social media platforms and on other websites that allow third-party posts. When your content is truly meaningful and unique, it is more likely to be shared, bookmarked, and linked to.
Google’s algorithms analyze page load times on both desktop and mobile devices. While images and embedded videos can improve aesthetics and add value to the user, they can also weigh down the page loading speed. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will yield valuable information about each of your website page’s current load times. It also gives you customized recommendations to improve the load time for each page. Some of the recommendations may be to compress images and to use an optimized website theme.
Search engine bots cannot visually determine the relevance of an image on a website, so the bots take contextual clues from the image file name and the ALT text. Depending on your dental office website’s size, going back to rename the image files and adjusting the ALT text can be a big job. However, the effort will be rewarded.
Quality backlinks, or inbound links, are crucial for good placement on search engine results pages, and outbound links also play a solid role. These are internal links that you create within your text to link to other pages on your website. While these links are beneficial, you can optimize their impact by anchoring your links with relevant keywords. If you are torn between creating a link to several different pages, consider using internal links to the pages that are most in need of authority. Because older or established pages on a website will usually have more authority, link building to these pages to new pages on your website could be a productive strategy.
The Hassle-Free Approach for Effective SEO Marketing
If you are not actively implementing SEO marketing techniques and fine-tuning those strategies regularly, your dental practice is likely missing out on tremendous growth opportunities. The reality is that your SEO efforts require constant attention, and many busy dentists simply do not have the time or the expertise necessary to garner optimized results from SEO marketing efforts. While there are numerous companies that you can reach out to for SEO services, consider the benefits of working with an expert consultant or provider with a track record of generating great results for dental practices.
Published on: 2021-03-30
Updated on: 2021-04-08