Dental SEO is the process where a dental practice optimizes presence and rankings in major search engines like Google so their dental practice is found faster by new patients searching for a dentist or dental related procedures.
For the success of any dental practice today, being found at the top of Google search results and overall online visibility has become a requirement for success and growth.
Unless of course your dental practice is over 50 years old and you have a loyal base of repeat patients to your dental practice.
Over 8 out of 10 patients who need a dentist, and who don’t already have an established relationship with a dental practice, will simply turn to Google search to find their new dentist.
Dentists therefore need to implement search engine optimization to ensure that these patients can find them.
If you’re wondering where to start with SEO for dentists, consider the tips below:
Tip1: Choose Dental Practice Search Terms
Although SEO has changed a lot over the years, keywords still continue to be central to a successful SEO strategy.
After all, people use keywords to find information online using search engines.
It is important to choose the right keywords.
This will ensure your target audience can find you.
Put yourself in your potential patient’s shoes.
What words would you type into the search engine to find a dentist?
Most people would type in words like ‘dentist’, ‘dentist in …’, ‘Orthodontist’ or ‘dental surgeon near me’ and many other variations.
You can use a keyword research tool to help you identify the best keywords to use.
These tools will provide you with information about the keywords including how often they are used, competition, click through rate and much more.
Tip 2: Keep User Intent in Mind
Search engines have evolved from being used for simply searching for keyword matches to analyzing queries to determine user intent and provide the best possible results.
It is therefore not enough to simply sprinkle keywords in your content.
You have to think about the user’s intent in making the query using the keywords.
People use different keywords depending on what they are looking for.
A user searching for ‘how to whiten teeth’ is searching for information on how to whiten teeth. This user would be best served with educational content about the teeth whitening process.
A user searching for ‘best teeth whitening dentist’ could soon be ready to spend money on teeth whitening and is looking for more information on dentists that provide this service.
This user would be best served with information on why you’re the best dentist for the procedure.
Tip 3: Use Semantically Related Keywords
In the past, dental SEO was all about the primary keywords.
Many people focused on using these keywords to achieve better rankings.
However, search has since evolved to focus on the intent of the user as opposed to getting an exact match for the keywords.
This is largely thanks to innovations in artificial intelligence programs.
Search engines are now able to analyze queries and their context to discern the user’s intent.
Use this to your advantage by using secondary keywords in your content.
These are keywords that are related to primary keywords.
You can use comprehensive keyword tools to identify secondary keywords.
A great approach to creating content that will address the semantic search is to answer questions that your audience is likely to pose. Write with real people in mind not search engine bots.
Semantic Search Resources:
- What Is Semantic Search and What Should You Do About It? (Moz)
- Semantic Search: What Is It And How It Impacts Your SEO (Alexa)
- The Plain English Guide to Semantic Search in 2020 (Hubspot)
Tip 4: Prioritize Local SEO for Dentists
The Internet has opened up opportunities for people to connect across the globe.
It is therefore not surprising that many people think globally when designing their SEO strategies.
However, as a dentist, it is more useful to target local audiences.
People often use search engines to search for services and products within their localities.
The introduction of zero-click search, where the query is answered on the top of the search results page itself without the need to click on the ranking results, has made local SEO even more important.
Many of the zero-click searches are local searches also known as a ‘local pack.’
Getting your practice in the local pack will give it great exposure.
This requires you to prioritize local SEO.
Start by getting your practice on Google My Business.
In addition, incorporate geo specific keywords in your content.
Finally, your dental SEO strategy must include leverage dental directories.
Directories for dentists not only helps you gain more exposure across the web, but the relevancy factor of a high quality dental directory can drive substantial amounts of authority for your rankings and visibility in Google search.
Tip 5: Make Your Dental Practice Website Mobile Friendly
Nearly 73 percent of internet users will only use their smartphones to access the internet by 2025.
It is evident that mobile is becoming more important for search and Google is becoming more mobile focused.
The search engine giant rolled out mobile-first indexing in 2019.
This changed the way the search engine ranked websites.
The search engine now primarily looks at the mobile versions of websites instead of the desktop versions.
If you hope to make any sort of impact with your website over the next few years and beyond you will need to ensure that it is mobile friendly.
You can check just how mobile friendly your website is using Google’s free test.
You can get more details about how you can improve the mobile-friendliness of your website after running the test.
Tip 6: Write Education & Informative Dental Related Content
In the past, it was enough to have content on your website that included your target keywords to get great rankings.
However, as user experience becomes more important, search engines such as Google are stressing on the importance of having quality content on your website.
So exactly what is quality content?
There are three factors that are indicative of quality content.
They are trustworthiness, authoritativeness and expertise.
Creating content that is not only relevant to dentistry but also reflect these three factors will greatly improve your SEO.
In order to ensure quality content, you’ll need to understand your readers.
77 percent of internet users read blogs and 61 percent of online consumers admit to making a purchasing decision after reading recommendations on a blog.
Providing readers with educational content will therefore improve your bottom line.
Ask questions such as what kind of content are they searching for?
What type of information would they consider of value?
Map out your readers’ journey to finding a dentist and create content that readers will find engaging.
Tip 7: Publish Long Form Dental Related Content
Using long-form content is another great way to enhance user experience while improving your SEO.
Long-form content gets 77.2 percent more links than shorter content.
Content with over 2,500 words have been shown to earn the most links.
This type of content has also been shown to earn the most organic traffic and social media shares.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should ramble on about just anything.
The length of the content will depend on your topic.
You should also keep the principles of quality content mentioned above in mind when creating content.
Make your long-form content easily readable by breaking it up into sections.
Finally, make sure you use dental procedures as headers and sub-headings throughout your long form content.
People typically use Google to ask questions about dental procedures, unless they are searching specifically for a dentist near them.
So using dental procedures as your headings and sub-headings will help your pages be optimized better for a wider range of search traffic.
You can use free SEO content template tools to help you optimize your content for search engines.
Tip 8: Optimize for Voice Search
Voice search is quickly becoming the primary way people search, especially when searching from mobile phones.
Don’t believe me?
Check out some of these crazy voice search statistics from WordStream.
Voice SEO is how you optimize your dental practice for voice search results.
Innovations such as Siri on Apple, Alexa from Amazon and Google Assistant on Android are changing the search landscape.
As voice technology continues to improve, more people are using it on their mobile devices to search.
Trends show that at least 55% of households will own a smart speaker by 2022.
What does this mean for SEO? If you want to make an impact with your website over the next couple of years, you should optimize your dental practice for voice search.
This means getting into the mindset of people searching for dental services and identifying keyword phrases they would use to make searches.
Optimizing for voice search often requires the use of longer form keyword phrases that are more natural sounding. People tend to abbreviate when typing.
However, they will speak the entire phrase when using voice search.
For example, someone searching for root canal services may type ‘Root canal Illinois’.
However, when using voice search they would say ‘Find root canal dental services near me.’
Tip 9: Assess Your Dental Practice Webpages for User Experience
Resources: Check out Crazy Eggs User Experience Testing: UX Methods and Tools.
Search has come a long way.
It’s no longer just about keywords, but enhanced user experience.
Google’s introduction of their Artificial Intelligence Algorithm, Rank Brain, shows just how important user experience is to the search engine.
While Google hasn’t revealed exactly what elements Rank Brain uses to rank web pages, SEO experts believe that signals such as click-through rate and the time users spend on pages are some of the primary factors the algorithm considers.
How then can you optimize your pages for RankBrain?
There are various elements that enhance user experience such as readability and design of the page.
There are also signals that RankBrain will use as a measure of user experience including the number of backlinks and time spent on the page.
You can review all these elements by using an on-page SEO checker.
This tool will help you determine the strength of your page.
It will also assist you to identify areas that you need to improve on.
Tip 10: Optimize Your Images
Images are a great way to capture the attention of your audience and keep them engaged long enough to deliver your message.
They will bring your content to life. They will also contribute to your SEO efforts if you optimize them.
Images are more important to SEO than many people realize.
Google stressed the importance of images in search when unveiling its vision for the future.
The search engine insists on images having proper optimization and markings.
If you want to improve your SEO, it is important to optimize the images on your website properly.
Check out TinyPNG.com as a one simple way to improve the overall optimization of your images.
Use high quality images that are relevant to the content.
Customize the file name and label the photo to describe the content on the page.
Tip 11: Include Dental Related Keywords
It is also important to include alternative text (alt text) to highlight the identity of the image.
This text is useful for describing to readers what the image is about in case there were problems rendering the image.
Alt text is also used by screen readers to assist those that are visually impaired navigate the web page.
Including a simple alt image tag will provide search engines with enough information to know what the picture is about and thereby improve your SEO.
Resource: Learn more about the power of semantic search and how it can impact your SEO.
Tip 12: Incorporate Dental Videos
Online video has surpassed all other forms of content currently available for consumption on the Internet.
Many people would rather watch a video than read text describing the same content.
Mobile users especially prefer video content.
With the number of people using the Internet to find information online increasing, it makes sense to create content that mobile users prefer.
This doesn’t mean that just any video content will do.
You not only have to provide your audience with high quality and informative video content but also optimize the content to ensure your target audience can find you.
This includes using keywords in your video description.
Be sure to keep your videos short.
Get straight to the point to avoid losing your audience’s attention.
You should also do your best to tell a story with your videos in order to capture attention.
Animated videos are a great way to get more views.
Tip 13: Use Featured Snippets
Close to 3 out of 10 internet users click on the first search result in a Google search.
The click through rate for results thereafter falls sharply with each position.
If you want to increase relevant traffic to your website, you should strive to be at the top of relevant search results pages.
Google introduced featured snippets in 2017.
These snippets show a preview of what the reader can expect on the webpage when they click on the link.
They have become an easy way to gain prominence on relevant search results pages.
This is because they are featured at the top of the search results page above the organic search results.
You can create effective snippets by focusing on common questions internet users use to make queries around relevant keywords.
Use the People Also Ask function on Google search results pages for inspiration on information to include in your snippet.
Use rich snippets whenever possible.
These include images, listings of dental services as well as star based reviews from previous clients. Rich snippets attract a lot of attention.
Tip 14: Make use of Google Discover for Inspiration
Running out of ideas for content?
Google Discover is a great resource to use to improve your content and provide information that is relevant to users.
Launched in 2017, the AI driven tool provides recommendations to users based on their internet behavioral patterns.
The AI tool learns the habits on Google and provides suggestions for content that is likely to interest the user.
The search engine doesn’t provide information on how the content presented on Google Discover is ranked.
However, SEO experts believe that factors such as browsing history, location history, app usage, search history, work or home locations and calendars play a role in the ranking.
You can use the information presented on Google Discover as an inspiration for content that users would be interested in.
Tip 15: Get Online Reviews for your Dental Practice
Ninety five percent of customers read reviews about products or services online before they make a purchase.
Ninety three percent of customers will read reviews about local businesses in order to determine the quality of the business.
Just like word-of-mouth, people trust reviews from other customers.
Reviews influence the decisions that potential patients make when searching for a dentist.
It is important to get reviews from your patients.
Make it easy for patients to provide reviews by including the opportunity to rate your services in their invoice or receipt, next appointment card, a follow up email or promotional email.
Patients are often happy to leave reviews of their experiences.
Tip 16: Measure the Performance of Your Dental SEO Strategy
SEO isn’t something that you implement once and forget.
SEO is something that you need to keep working at in order to reap long term benefits.
Measurement and analysis are therefore an important part of a successful SEO strategy.
Most people begin to see the results of their SEO strategy about two months after implementation.
It is therefore important to start tracking the metrics of your strategy’s performance at least a month after you have implemented it.
There are various factors to consider in measurement.
These include page loading times, bounce rates, visibility, organic traffic, indexing redirects, the number of times your URLs are being crawled by search engine bots and much more.
There are several analysis tools available online to help you make better sense of the numbers.
It isn’t enough just to measure and analyze metrics, you also need to make changes to improve your SEO. Continual improvement will help you improve your online presence. You’ll benefit from your SEO campaigns in the long term.
Tip 17: Stay up to Date with the Latest Dental SEO Trends
The SEO landscape is evolving.
Long gone are the days when SEO was simply about including keywords in your content.
As search is becoming more advanced, SEO strategies and techniques are becoming more complex.
Search engines continue to introduce innovations for better user experiences and metrics change almost every day.
If you want to be successful with your SEO strategy it is important to stay on top of the SEO game.
Keep up to date with the changes and trends in the SEO industry.
Try different techniques and incorporate different tools in your SEO strategy. Keep those tools and techniques that work for you and continue learning about other advances.
Sign up to newsletters and watch videos on the latest news.
Continual learning is vital for a successful SEO strategy.
Apply the tips above for a successful SEO strategy in 2021.
Remember that Dental SEO is a long term strategy.
You should therefore give it a couple of months to begin seeing the fruits of your labor.
Optimizing your dental SEO strategy to improve your rankings and visibility in Google is critically important to growing your dental practice.
If you’d like to learn more about how Bipper Media can help you improve your Dental SEO, contact us today.