Did you know that every month, there are 1.8 million searches for ‘dentist near me’? That’s a ton of people looking to find a dentist at any given moment. More than likely (well over 90% of searches) won’t go past the front page. That means if your dental practice is on the second page, you could be losing out on a ton of business.
That’s why dental SEO is so important. While you might have other marketing efforts such as print media, paid ads, or even commercials dental SEO brings in organic visitors that are just browsing.
In order to rank on the front page and above your competitors, you need to follow some basic SEO tips. With a strong foundation and continued commitment, you can strengthen your rankings and grow your dental practice.
Optimize Your GMB Profile
Your Google My Business Profile (set to change to Google Business Profile shortly), should be the first place you start. It’s your one chance to ‘control’ what shows up on Google as your rankings will be decided by Google’s algorithm.
The first place to start with GMB is to simply claim your profile. Countless businesses see that Google made a profile for them and figured that was it. Or, someone claimed the business profile years ago and is yet to make any updates.
Simply Google your business name and find ‘Own this business?‘:
From there, you can go through the process of claiming your business and making edits.
Update Business Information
Have you ever looked at a business’ online profile only to find the hours or contact information to be incorrect? Incredibly frustrating, right?
Having incorrect information is a surefire way to make sure people can’t get into contact with you and forget about your dental practice forever. Make sure things like your phone number, address, and website are all correct and up-to-date.
Business Categories and Services
This is pretty easy. As a dentist, you’re obviously going to want to choose dental categories.
One common mistake that dental practices make is they aren’t specific enough. Instead of putting the type of dentist they are, they simply put ‘dentist’.
Instead of simply putting ‘dentist’, try to narrow down your categories such as child dentist, family dentist, oral surgeon, etc. The more specific you are, the better you’ll help your practice.
For services, simply list out the services you already have on your website. This makes it easy for Google to connect your website and your GMB profile.
Ask for and Respond to Reviews
Reviews show Google that your practice is relevant and connecting with customers. Reviews are the easiest way for Google to verify that you’re open for business and people are actually walking through your front doors. Plus, over 90% of online consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision.
Come up with a system to ask for reviews. Many medical businesses send emails or text messages with a direct link to leave a review. Another trick has been printing off a postcard with a QR code that takes your patients right to the review page.
Don’t be too pushy (and don’t offer incentives), but if you can have 20% of your customers leave a review, that could do wonders for your local SEO.
It’s also helpful if they mention the service they received in the review. Google looks at reviews to help determine services you offer and can help bump your rankings.
Target Local Keywords
As a dentist, you’re all about capturing your local market. While you might have some clientele make a big trip to come to have their teeth cleaned, the vast majority of clients will be neighbors.
That’s why you should be targeting local keywords for your business. What do we mean by that?
Instead of simply putting ‘Family Dentist’ on your website’s homepage, put Nashville Family Dentist instead. Not only does this help your site with local keywords, but it also helps Google understand a bit more about your location and business.
You should also make dedicated pages for your high-level services. You could have a page layout that looks like this:
- General Dentistry
- Emergency Care
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- Root Canal Therapy
This is just an idea, but the more content you have dedicated to specific services, the more likely the individual page is going to rank in Google. It’s important to remember that websites don’t rank, but pages do. For these pages, you could insert your city name throughout the website copy.
It’s important not to overstuff your content. Instead of saying, “We are Nashville’s top dentist that offers Nashville dental emergency care in and around Nashville,” write “As Nashville’s top dentist, we provide emergency care and other services.” It’s important to include local keywords but not to overwhelm Google or the reader.
In this context, we’re referring to any content that’s not service-based. So items like blogs, white papers, eBooks, etc. may show up on your page.
This is an opportunity to look for what we call long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are search terms that are over four words. So ‘Nashville dentist’ is not a long-tail keyword but ‘how long does it take to recover from root canal surgery’ is.
Long-tail keywords are generally less competitive and you can bring in additional traffic. That traffic could turn into leads and help you build a recognizable brand.
This also helps your website establish authority for certain topics, helping your rankings long-term.
Have a Strong Site Structure
Easier said than done, right?
When you’re building your website or reorganizing it, it’s best to map everything out ahead of time. You can either do this with old-fashioned pen and paper or use a free program like Xmind to help map out your website.
The first key element to your site structure is uniformity. Which example below looks better?
It may seem obvious, but we’ve seen Example B play out more times than it should. Example A has their services listed out under the same folder structure, making it uniform across the site. With this kind of structure, it’s also much easier to practice strong interlinking.
What is an interlink? An interlink is any link on your website that points to another page on your website.
For both Google and your users, it makes sense for your internal links to be pointing towards your website’s most important pages. If you have content based around a certain service, such as wisdom teeth removal, then it would be ideal to have links on those content pages directed towards your wisdom teeth removal page.
This is part of your overall site structure. You want to make things organized and easy to follow for Google to crawl. If it can see you’re pointing towards a page or certain pages, then it’s understood that those pages are important.
Fix Your Citations
Going through your citations is part of your local SEO audit checklist, but it’s worth mentioning them again here. Citations can play an important part of your business. Not only do they provide your dental practice’s information across other parts of the web, but they can also secure a valuable backlink for your website.
There are countless citation websites out there. Which ones are the most important? Here is a short list:
- Any local listing site (that’s specific to your city or local area)
- The local Chamber of Commerce Site
- Yellow Pages
- Google My Business (of course)
- Better Business Bureau
Don’t worry about getting your dental practice on every listing site out there. The task is too tall and will take up too much of your time to fully implement.
Start Link Outreach
Backlinks are a vital part of SEO, but acquiring them can be quite difficult. Just like in sales, you’ll expect to hear ‘no’ a lot before you find a yes.
Why are backlinks important? Let’s think of an example first.
If you are looking for movies and you see some positive online reviews, you might start leaning that way. But if all your friends, your spouse, and coworkers started raving about another movie, which one do you think you’d be more likely to go see? Probably the one with rave reviews from people you know.
Google works in the same way. If you’re a website without any backlinks pointing towards your site, then Google is less likely to trust you. But if you have several backlinks coming from reputable, authoritative sites, then Google is more likely to favor you.
There are entire agencies devoted to backlink building so don’t worry about going out and acquiring hundreds and hundreds of links.
So, how can you get links for your site?
Through guest posts, not only can you gain exposure to a new audience, but you can help establish yourself as an industry expert. It’s best to start looking local, such as a magazine or local newspaper, for the chance to write and acquire a link.
In addition, you can go big and look all over the web. Search for items such as:
- Dentist guest post
- Write for us dentist
- Dentist guest contributor
From there, you can find editorials or websites that are looking for a dentist’s opinion.
Another way to acquire backlinks is for people to pick up content that you’ve created.
That could come through a number of ways:
- Long-form content
If you have top-level content, other publications or sites may pick up your content and give you credit with a valuable backlink. It’s also a way to improve your brand authority and voice.
Atiba is Your Dental SEO Partner
SEO is just part of the digital marketing package and our dental SEO services can help you increase brand authority and improve your visibility. Through the tips listed above and much more, your dental practice can get to the top of the organic rankings to improve your leads and reach.
If you’re looking for a project quote or just have a few questions, reach out and contact us today!