While dental SEO isn’t something they teach you in dental school, it’s a marketing technique every dental practice owner should have a good understanding of.
Still, SEO or search engine optimization can be confusing for dental practices that haven’t tried it before and even more so if you have tried it but didn’t see any noticeable results.
That’s why we’ve decided to clear up any dental SEO confusion you might have in this blog, where we’ll discuss what SEO actually is, how it works, why you need it for your dental marketing strategy, and how to follow best practices.
Let’s get started.
What is dental search engine optimization (SEO)?
Search engine optimization is a set of tactics, processes, and techniques that you/your marketing agency apply to help your dental practice website appear higher in Google’s search results.
When was the last time you searched for something online and clicked on a website on the second or third page of the search results? You likely can’t remember because it happens so rarely. In fact, on average, 75% of people don’t go past the first page of results.
The aim of SEO is to get your dental website onto the first page of Google’s search results page so that current and potential patients can find you online.
Unlike Google Ads and other forms of online advertising, with SEO, you’re not paying for your website to appear on the first page of results.
Instead, your website will appear in the “organic” search results that sit underneath the ads and won’t cost you anything if a user clicks on it.
4 reasons why SEO is important for dental practices
You might be thinking, “we get a lot of our business from patient referrals and Google Ads; why does my dental practice need SEO?”
That’s a fair question if your marketing activity has worked reasonably well so far. But if you’re interested in better online visibility, long-term growth, better ROI, and a more “steady” influx of new patient inquiries, then SEO is your new best friend.
1. SEO builds dental practice credibility
When potential patients are searching for dentists online or heard about your dental practice and are seeking out more information, if they can’t easily find you online, alarm bells might be going off in their minds.
A successful SEO strategy makes you easy to find online and shows potential patients that Google trusts your website enough to bump you up to page 1, helping them trust your dental practice more. And if they trust your practice, they’re far more likely to book an appointment with you.
2. Dental SEO widens your patient net
Search engine optimization increases the amount of non-paid traffic to your website. The more potential patients who visit your website, the more chances you have of turning them into long-term patients.
The beauty of SEO is that potential patients searching for your services are already in the right headspace to decide on their next dental purchase. Rather than potential patients clicking on your ads out of “curiosity,” you’ll receive high-quality leads who are ready to bite.
3. SEO delivers a better patient experience
When you follow SEO best practices, you’re ultimately increasing the overall quality of your website to deliver a better experience to those who use it. Best practices include things like:
- Making the content original and concise
- Formatting pages so they’re easy to read
- Designing a fast, mobile-friendly website
- Ensuring your website is easy to navigate
Not only do these help with SEO, they also make your patient’s experience of your company more enjoyable, convenient, and straightforward – leading to a higher volume of new patient inquiries and increased patient retention.
4. SEO increases dental marketing ROI
While SEO doesn’t cost nothing, as you may still need to hire a professional SEO expert to implement your strategy, it’s highly cost-effective and produces a fantastic ROI.
SEO is relatively affordable because what you get in return will typically far outweigh the cost/time/effort involved in getting your dental website page one on Google. The SEO work you put in now will make a positive impact not just short term but for years to come and will only get better with time.
How dental search engine optimization works
Now that you understand dental SEO and its importance, let us explain how the whole SEO process works and what best practices you need to follow for a successful SEO strategy.
Remember, Google wants to offer users the best possible answer to the keywords/query they’re typing in, like:
“How to look after teeth after professional whitening”
“Best dentist in Calabasas, LA”
“How much does a tooth implant cost?”
To do so, they will take into account a list of SEO ranking factors and apply their complex algorithms to sort every website page into a specific category. Let’s take a look at some of these ranking factors below.
The list below is by no means exhaustive (there are hundreds of ranking factors!), but it will give you an idea of what Google considers when ranking dental practice website pages.
SEO ranking factors
- The content on your website
- What keywords you include
- How long your website copy is
- How old your website is
- Your average loading speed
- Engagement with your website
- How mobile-friendly your website is
- If your website is easy to navigate
- What other websites link to yours (off-page)
- How many websites link to yours (off-page)
Getting to page one on Google: SEO best practices for dentists
Now for the “juicy” stuff. How can your dental website make it to the first page of Google? Follow these dental SEO best practices below, and you’ll be well on your way.
Fix any technical issues on your website
Google wants to send users to dental websites that are user-friendly and well-designed. So make sure you take care of the following “technical SEO” factors on your new or existing website:
- Add meta titles and descriptions
- Make sure every page loads fast
- Fix any broken website links
- Add alt text to your images
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
- Make the website easy to navigate
Optimize your content with target keywords
The process of “optimizing” your content begins by understanding what your target patients are typing into Google to find you. These search queries are also known as “keywords.”
Using a free keyword research tool like Ahrefs, you can see what keywords are most relevant to your practice and how often people search for them a month (search volume.)
Create a list of the keywords you want to target (make sure there are enough people searching for them) and include them in your website content in the following places:
- Meta titles and descriptions
- H1s, H2s, H3s, H4s, etc.
- Throughout your body copy
Create engaging website copy and blogs
Google has always rewarded websites that write informative, user-focused, and engaging content, but even more so since they recently launched their “Helpful Content” algorithm update. This update gives more points to website pages and blogs with content that:
- Gives patients the information they seek
- Is easy to read, engaging, and original
- Is written for humans-first (not SEO-first)
- Includes keywords naturally in the content
So make sure you’re creating quality content that talks about things your patients care about (not just what your practice cares about.)
Make it enjoyable to read, compelling, and well-optimized but not over-optimized (adding in too many keywords/irrelevant content to chase SEO results).
Optimize your Google Business Profile
For dental practices, getting traffic from local searches is essential. After all, most of your patients will live close by. A vital practice for any practice targeting local patients is to create and optimize your Google Business Profile by:
- Adding images of your practice/team/treatments
- Updating your opening times and location
- Adding posts regularly that may interest patients
- Including keywords in your company description
- Including keywords in your services section
- Adding information about parking, accessibility, etc
- Ask patients to leave you Google reviews
Create a dental backlink strategy
Getting links to your dental practice’s website (a.k.a “backlinks”) from credible websites significantly improves your SEO rankings as it tells Google that other trusted websites think you’re trustworthy.
- Set aside budget for sponsored content
- Share your blogs on social media
- Reach out to other websites and offer to write a free article
- Get your practice listed on online directories
It’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice!
We hope we’ve helped to clear up any confusion you may have had about dental SEO, and you now feel ready to get your SEO strategy into place and make it to the first page of Google!
If you’re looking for an SEO partner that focuses solely on dental practice websites and can walk you through the process step-by-step, why not talk to our experts here at PatientBoost?
At PatientBoost, we offer SEO, web design, digital marketing, and business growth consultancy services for dental practices ready to streamline and automate their processes, attract new patients, engage their employees, and upsurge profits.
With a long-term, strategic, and data-based business plan, we can help you reach your growth goals at a pace that works for you. Interested? Book a free 15-minute Clarity Call™ today!