Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving field. Search engines like Google and Bing are continually updating their algorithms to reflect current standards and information. If you want to stay relevant (and on top of the searches), you should consider dental SEO marketing.
Nowadays, many dentists are redesigning their sites to ensure they retain old customers and attract new ones. However, regardless of how creative your online marketing strategies are, your efforts are futile if you don’t optimize for the search engines.
Many years ago, people searched for dentists in the Yellow Pages. Nowadays, they go online. In most cases, people don’t look beyond the first page results. That means sites that don’t rank high or don’t make it on the first page of the search results are often ignored.
SEO for Dentists in a Nutshell
Dental SEO focuses on optimizing a website for users and search engines to increase the site’s visibility in the search results. Optimizations can also entail making the site fast, mobile-friendly, and highly useful for visitors and patients alike.
Why Dental SEO Matters
If you have not implemented dental SEO yet, now is the best time to do so. Remember that without search engine optimization, no one will be able to find your site. Some studies indicate that the top five search results account for 67.6% of all clicks.
A similar ranking can translate to more website traffic, greater authority and credibility, and, ultimately, more patients for your practice.
Dental SEO Best Practices
Below is a list of powerful dental SEO best practices that can help improve your rankings, optimize your site, and generate more leads and conversions for your dental practice:
1: Pick Long-Tail Keywords for Each of Your Pages
Since long-tail keywords are more specific, they are also less competitive than head keywords (also known as short keywords). For instance, even if you cannot rank for a general keyword like “dentist,” you rank higher for a more specific keyword such as “emergency dental services in Seattle.” Remember, the less competition, the more qualified leads you’ll likely generate.
2: Ensure Your Content is Easy to Read
When writing about a scientific or technical topic like dentistry, ensure you don’t use too much jargon. Ideally, your content should be easy to read, even for those who are clueless about the topic. To help you out, consider using the Flesch Readability Test. A score of 70 or 80 is ideal. It means the average 13-year-old should be able to understand your content with ease.
3: Use Keywords in Your URL
Creating keyword-rich and memorable URLs is another effective way to optimize your dental site. When possible, aim to include keywords, including local keywords in your URL. For instance, a URL that incorporates a keyword and your city is way better than one that doesn’t. Ideally, it should not be more than 70 characters.
4: Help Google Index Your Site by Using LSI
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. LSI is considered a core component of powerful SEO. LSI is designed to help Google’s bots add context to your site. For instance, a simple keyword such as “tooth whitening” can be related to various services and sites, including a dental practice, a home remedy website, or a toothpaste manufacturer.
For a quick reference list of LSI, type one of your keywords into Google. At the bottom of the page, you can see searches that are related to the keyword you used. This strategy can require a little trial and error, but you can use the list to incorporate LSI into your content.
5: Make Your Site Accessible by Decreasing Lag Time
Some research indicates that people nowadays have the attention span of a goldfish. That means you need to ensure your site loads quickly before your visitors hit the dreaded “back” buttons on their browsers. Start by picking a reliable host with lightning-fast servers and compressing files so you can significantly and drastically reduce the visitors you’ll lose.
6: Ensure Your Site is Effortless to Navigate
Apart from using internal links, it is crucial that visitors (especially the new ones) can easily find whatever it is that they are looking for. In line with this, consider putting menus on the left-hand side of the top of the page. You can also put a search box on the upper right-hand corner of each page. Lastly, ensure they have a quick and easy way to navigate back to the home page.
7: Fix Broken Links
Every few months, conduct an audit of external links on your site and fix them. Broken links can be a source of frustration for users. They also do nothing when it comes to boosting your rankings. Consider finding a replacement link for the broken one. If not, you also have the option to remove the link.
8: Enable Breadcrumbs on Your Site
The snippets of information that show users where they are on your site, is called breadcrumbs. For instance, on the blog page, they can see a trail of breadcrumbs that look like the one below:
Your Site > Blog > Flossing Tips for the Elderly
Ideally, each breadcrumb should come with a clickable link, so navigating from the page is easy.
9: Write a Compelling Meta Description
The brief description of your page that shows up below the title on Google is called the meta description. Google displays up to 160 characters (including spaces), so make sure your keywords are at the front.
10: Link Out to Authority Sites
When writing your content, make it a point to link out regularly to authority sites. However, be careful not to link to sites with questionable connections and content. Pick sites whose authenticity and content you are sure of. Play it safe by choosing authority sites like industry publications, news outlets, and dental journals.
11: Ensure Your Page Title is Short and Sweet
Every page on your site needs to have a title tag since it will be displayed when somebody searches for one of your keywords. Google displays up to 70 characters (including spaces) so ensure you keep your title short and straight to the point. The idea is to ensure people won’t have to guess what the page is about.
12: Post New and Relevant Content on a Routine Basis
While this is one aspect often overlooked, it’s essential not to forget about the importance Google places on fresh content. That being said, ensure you update your site regularly. Ideally, you should follow a blogging schedule you can adhere to with ease. Posting fresh content consistently may also force Google to re-index your page and may trigger an improvement in your page rank.
13: Use Keywords When Creating Your Subheadings and Headlines
Choosing keywords and placing them anywhere on your page won’t always suffice. This might not be common knowledge, but keyword placement is just as essential as keyword density. Use your main keyword in the headline of your blog post or page. Also, make sure you use your keywords in at least one of the subheadings. This can help warrant Google recognizes the significance of your keywords.
14: Build Connections (and Links) Through Guest Blogging
One very effective way to build authority backlink to your site is through guest blogging. However, aside from building links, consider it wise to build a relationship with owners of authority dental or health care blogs. When creating content, pick a topic that’s relevant to both of your sites. It is also ideal to include a keyword-rich anchor text that links back to your site.
15: Standardize Your NAP Listings
NAP, which stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number and NAP Listings, are considered vital components of local SEO. Inconsistent listings can dilute your presence online. In line with this, find your NAP listings and check if all the information found there is correct. If there are any incorrect information, make sure to correct it.
16: Set Up a YouTube Channel
Google owns YouTube. That means you will be able to enjoy significant SEO benefits for your practice when you create a YouTube channel and post content there regularly. When posting videos, make sure you optimize them accordingly by using keywords in your video tags and description.
It would also be a good idea to upload a full transcript and a link to your website. You can also include your name, address, information, and phone number in each video.
17: Optimize Your Google My Business and Yelp Listings
Undoubtedly, soliciting reviews is essential. However, many do not know that optimizing your Google My Business and Yelp listings is just as important. To optimize your listings, ensure you fill out your profile completely. Make it a point also to include the following:
- Site URL
- Business name
- Business address
- Business phone number
- Business hours
- Pricing information
- Photos of your practice (inside and out)
If anything, it won’t take long to optimize these listings, and it can go a long way towards maximizing your off-site SEO.
18: Maintain a Presence on Social Media
Google says social signals are not considered when determining a page’s rank. However, an active presence on popular media platforms can offer incredible benefits you can’t afford to miss. For starters, a social media presence will not only help increase your online visibility, it can also effectively build brand awareness.
Most brands with countless followers have social pages that make it to the first page of Google’s SERP, so it’s important to remember that as you build your social media following.
19: Encourage Your Patients to Leave Reviews
To give your off-site SEO some much-needed boost, consider encouraging patients to leave reviews of your practice. It would also be a great idea to email new patients after their first appointment and politely ask if they can leave a review.
To encourage more reviews, you can also hold contests and provide discounts or enticing prices to the winners. You can also mail postcards or post a review link to your Yelp page so you can generate more reviews.
20: Be Active on Authority Blogs and Forums
Off-site SEO involves creating an authoritative web presence. One of the best ways to do that is to find ways to associate your name with those considered authorities in the dental industry. Follow influential and popular dental and medical blogs and sign up for forums where people discuss dental care and leave informative and thoughtful comments.
Often, you have the option to leave a comment with a URL that points back to your site. Even if the forum administrator uses “do not follow” links, you will still be able to build your authority with each comment you leave.
21: Refrain from Buying Backlinks
While backlinks are important, you must build them accordingly. Otherwise, it will do your site more harm than good. In line with this, stick to building organic links by creating quality content that people would want to link to.
It is crucial to keep in mind that buying backlinks can hurt your SEO. In some cases, it can also result in penalties from Google. That’s a risk you should avoid at all costs. At all times, consider building links the old-fashioned and organic way as the best way to go.
Dental SEO can be tricky, especially for those who are just starting out. However, it is necessary if you want to increase your online visibility, build authority, and maximize your revenue. Ready to elevate your dental practice? Partner with our specialized dental marketing company and healthcare marketing agency today. Let’s create a smile that resonates with your audience and grows your business. Contact us now!