There are plenty of ways to waste both time and money when it comes to search engine optimization for dental practices.
To help you avoid that, we are going to take a deep look at dental SEO, what you should expect from your SEO company and some mistakes that must be avoided along the way.
Before we dive into the guide, I want to take just a minute to address a common concern. Many dental practice owners believe that if you choose a company that only does SEO for dentists, you are going to get better service and greater results. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes you will pay more for lower quality services because you are dealing with “dental SEO experts”.
At Stellar SEO, we believe in two things: going to battle for our clients and using a process-driven approach to get higher search rankings. This means that, unlike a company that only does dental search engine optimization, we are not going to work with your direct competitors. It also means that we have the internal processes and experience to get results in any industry, even those which are far more competitive than healthcare SEO.
Now, let’s jump into dental SEO, starting with a look at what it is, and why it should be among your top marketing channels.
What is Dental SEO?
As you consider the best methods for dental marketing, one of your top priorities should be an SEO strategy. Search engine optimization is a key aspect of the online presence of your dental practice.
When potential patients are looking for dental services, online search is where they start. In today’s digital age, having a website is critical to gaining new customers for any brand that hopes to grow, and this is no different for a dental business.
The vast majority of research is done online, especially when looking for a specific service, which makes an online presence a complete necessity for most businesses. But having a website to demonstrate your service offerings is not enough. People have to be able to find the site, and it is not as simple as just purchasing a domain and throwing together a few web pages.
That is where dental SEO comes in. While pay-per-click methods like Google Ads can generate leads, organic traffic can achieve a much higher level of exposure. Search engines provide an avenue for consumers to perform search queries for questions or topics that they would like to know about.
These platforms use complex algorithms to determine which results are the most relevant to any given search query. Webpages are judged based on their expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness before they are ranked in organic searches. Sites with a higher degree of those three factors will rank higher than competing sites more often than not. The entire purpose of SEO is to improve the relevance of a website in the eyes of the search engines so that you are found when people are searching for what you offer.
For your dental practice, an effective SEO campaign can boost your rankings in organic searches by increasing the level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness that your website has. These three measuring sticks are used by Google, Bing, and other engines to evaluate the relevance of every site on the web. But why does this marketing strategy matter?
How Does Dental SEO Benefit Your Practice?
The importance of ranking highly in search results cannot be understated. Research about clickthrough rates shows that the top result in any given search query receives over 25% of the available clicks. The second result receives about 16% of clicks while the third will receive 11%. If you move down to the 10th position, which is still a first-page result, you are down to 2.5%. That is a steep and sudden dropoff just from the top three results to the next few, and if your pages are ranking on the second page or beyond, you are extremely unlikely to see much organic traffic. Very little engagement happens with lower-ranked results for the average search query, so having poor SEO can directly affect the amount of traffic your website experiences.
This is why search engine optimization is so important for dental practices. In a competitive market with various dentists competing in the same geographic areas, being the top result when people search for topics related to dentists, such as teeth whitening, could make or break your patient base.
SEO is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on building the credibility of the website so that it moves up the search rankings and can be found more easily by potential patients. Dental websites that do not pursue SEO will miss out on gaining new patients through a search engine results page.
SEO services can increase the number of website visitors that your practice will see, putting your brand in front of more prospective patients. A digital marketing effort focused on improving SEO will benefit your dental practice in the following ways.
Increases Brand Awareness & Trust
When you rank higher on search engine results pages, consumers will likely see your practice more often. They will also understand that this brand is one that they can trust because it has earned a top spot in their search for whatever keywords related to dentistry that they performed. This will increase the chance of attaining new dental patients from organic traffic. Brand awareness and trust are critical to the potential for growth in any business, and dental practices are no exception.
Attracts Highly Targeted Traffic
Local searches can make a huge difference in the marketing efforts of a dental business. A strong SEO campaign aimed at improving the online presence within specific geographic locations and for target audiences will put your brand in front of more people and the RIGHT people. After all, there is no need for your practice in New York to be found online by people living in Idaho. You want most of your potential traffic to come from your target audience, which SEO can help focus on more specifically.
Enables You To Get More Patients and Grow Your Practice
Presenting your dental service to more people is the key to gaining patients. Dental SEO efforts will connect internet browsers with your website and inform them of what you have to offer. Plus, if you have achieved a high ranking, they will know that your practice is a leader in the field. Page one in the rankings sees dramatically more interactions than any subsequent page, so pursuing the top three positions is of paramount importance. As a result, your business is more likely to gain new patients and experience growth.
Allows You To Target Very Specific Service Offerings
For example, say you want to promote a professional teeth whitening or Invisalign service. A custom-built landing page that describes these services, combined with an effective dental SEO strategy, will help you rank for these related keywords. The higher you rank, the more authority your brand has and the more likely you are to see the benefits of those top positions on search engine results pages. The more pages you have dedicated to individual services, the more likely your site visitors can find the answers they are looking for.
What Should A Dental Search Engine Optimization Campaign Include?
An effective dental SEO marketing campaign should entail many stages that are designed to optimize each area that will improve the online presence of the practice. There are many different methods for implementing successful search engine optimization that increases expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and the right plan can accomplish more than one strategy for growth.
Every industry has a unique target audience, and every business within that industry has different needs. SEO for dentists and their practices is no different. A plan for improving SEO could work for one practice but not for another. That is why, when you are looking for a digital marketing agency to partner with for your efforts, you should be on the lookout for a process that allows customization around your business needs. At Stellar SEO, our heavily researched process includes the following steps.
Intake Meeting & Onboarding
Not one step will be taken before we understand your business and what your goals/struggles are. After all, it is impossible to craft an effective dental SEO plan without first getting to know the practice. We will walk you through what this process will look like together for total transparency upfront. As a dental practice owner, we believe that you should be a part of the planning process along with anyone on your marketing team. The intake meeting and onboarding process will get both parties started on the right foot and establish a trusting relationship from the get-go.
Technical SEO Audit
While keyword research, content creation, and other aspects of SEO are important, your website’s technical structure can be a massive indicator of overall optimization. Does each page have a meta description to help Google and other search engines crawl and index your site? Are there broken links that are hurting your chances of a high ranking and need to be repaired? Are your images not optimized and slowing down the loading speed of your pages? Do headings make the page easier to navigate? All of these questions and more will be evaluated during a technical audit. This is a key step to establishing an effective strategy because search engines will punish your business if its website has functional issues or bare-bones structuring.
Content is the most effective way to connect with potential patients and demonstrate your understanding of their needs. It is an important step in building trust that you and your practice are industry leaders. As such, evaluating your past content for keywords related to your services will be a key component of this stage. New patients often come from having their questions answered by content that is published, and the right content gives you the perfect avenue for sharing helpful information or dental tips. We will measure the effectiveness of your current content plan to guide us as we craft one that will lead to more patients seeing your brand.
Google My Business is a tool for business owners offered by Google to take ownership of their brand. An optimized profile impacts who can find your website, especially when it comes to local searches. Your location on Google Maps, appearance in geographically relevant searches, and other information are affected by your GMB listing and we want to make sure that it is optimized for better performance that will generate leads. As a local business, you must appear in locally-based searches.
SEO Competitor Analysis
Your competition with other dental practices plays a big role in your SEO campaign. We will conduct keyword research and find what your competitors are ranking for to help craft a plan for your dental marketing efforts. Achieving a higher Google ranking than your opponents will be the number one priority, so the first step is to analyze the status of the competition. It is important to see what you are up against and how an SEO strategy can give you the necessary advantage.
SEO Backlink Analysis
Link building services are another aspect of SEO that greatly affects the level of authority for your site. A strong profile of backlinks from other quality sites can increase your search rankings, so we will perform an analysis of your current profile to determine its strengths, weaknesses, and where growth could occur. From there, we will create a strategy for obtaining strong backlinks on high-quality sites to improve your website’s authoritativeness in the eyes of search engines. Although the number of links can be a good indicator of authority, we will make sure that quality is emphasized.
Dental SEO Strategy Creation
Now that we have performed the necessary audits and analyses, it is time to craft a campaign. Using various tools like Google Analytics to determine how your website has been performing, we can adjust your marketing strategies to create the most effective campaign to improve SEO for dentists. Our goal will be to raise your position in a given Google search for the dental SEO keywords that you want to rank for. This campaign will encompass many different aspects, such as content creation, link building, on-page optimization, and much more. Setting goals ahead of time, which will occur during the onboarding process, will give us realistic and time-bound standards to strive toward.
Google, Bing, and other engines tend to knock websites that have poor on-page optimization. The search engine does not want to see broken links, slow loading speeds, disorganized structures, or other red flags that will turn users away from your dental website. Simple changes can make a big difference like adding a meta description to each page, optimizing headings, and fixing broken links. On-page optimization will be a priority to ensure that your website is clean and professional. Also, it will focus on fixing any poor performance issues that can be a turn-off to visitors and a red flag for a search engine.
Your dental site needs to have an optimized GMB profile to have a better chance of being seen by any potential patient that is performing a local search. Certain keywords will often trigger local web pages to pop up at the top of the search engine results, and for a dental practice looking to grow, this method will help you attract website visitors. Plus, showing up as a business on Google Maps can bring more visitors to your website. A refined GMB listing can result in new patients learning about the practice.
Content Strategy & Creation
Maybe you want to start being seen as an expert in your field to build trust. A plan involving keyword research and publishing of content can accomplish this. Common dental search terms such as “teeth whitening” can be used to benefit your Google search results position by creating content around that topic. You can do this with blogs, videos, or other forms of media. The point is to craft solutions and answers to questions that potential patients have on dental topics. The right content formats in the right channels can result in new patients that already trust your expertise. If you are unable to dedicate time to creating content yourself, we can enlist our team of creatives to get the ball rolling.
Link & Citation Building
Moving up the search results can also be achieved by link and citation building. Your backlink profile indicates how much authority your website has according to search engines. The higher your authority level is compared to other websites in the search query, the higher your position will be. Citations, or mentions of your business by name from other websites, are also important, especially with local businesses. They will also include your phone number and address so that people can contact you directly after visiting this exterior website. If you can obtain a shoutout from a respected local business in your target area, it could convince a potential patient to give you a call. Building links and citations from outside sources will help improve your rankings and local credibility.
Tracking & Reporting
How many patients have scheduled an appointment after finding your GMB profile? How many clicks to your website are being generated from a new piece of content about teeth whitening? What keywords from potential patient searches have led to interactions with your website? Determining the right KPIs to track and report the results of every aspect of the SEO campaign will inform how to move forward.
Using Google Analytics, Search Console, and other similar tools, we will see which strategies worked and which were less effective. As a digital agency that is committed to improving your ranking on the first page of the search results, we will use this data to make adjustments to our plan when necessary to better achieve your goals.
This step is important because it holds us accountable for all the work we have done to implement your SEO strategy, ensuring that your resources are not going to waste by repeating the same mistakes over and over. Speaking of SEO mistakes that can derail a campaign and waste resources…
What SEO Mistakes Must Dental Services Avoid?
There are plenty of great dental SEO tips that can guide you down the right path. But there are also plenty of wrong ideas that will lead to a waste of money and time. Although improving the SEO of dental websites can take time and isn’t a perfect formula for success, understanding which methods give you a better chance and which ones will hurt you can save you a lot of trouble. Here are some of the most common digital marketing mistakes that can be made with your SEO efforts.
Focusing on the Wrong Nearby Locations
Patients generally should be within 5 miles of your practice, unless you live in an area with limited practices. This is something you must discuss with your dental SEO company of choice. Since new patients are unlikely to come from outside your immediate geographical location, you must waste no time or resources on improving your search results position in irrelevant locations. Otherwise, the only traffic you will gain will come from people who are unlikely to ever come near your practice.
Not Creating Enough Unique Landing Pages
Each audience you target by location or service type needs to feel like you are speaking to them specifically. Through keyword research, you must identify which searches require a unique service page and map out your site accordingly. Avoid listing all of your services on one page.
Dedicating separate landing pages to teeth whitening, x-rays, oral surgery, and other services will make for a more customized experience for your dental website. Customers want to know that a business understands their needs, and unique landing pages that address their various questions and concerns will demonstrate that your practice is one to be trusted.
Failing To Produce Local SEO Content
Creating locally relevant blogs and content that also talks about your area of expertise will allow you to attract potential patients and potential link-building opportunities. If you ignore content creation, you will miss out on the opportunity to rank for keywords like “teeth whitening.” Create blog content and distribute it across your social media and GMB channels. Specialized content can be just as powerful of a lead generator as Google ads or other pay-per-click methods.
Not Spending Enough Time or Resources on Your GMB Listing
When it comes to local SEO for dentists, your GMB listing is gold. It will generate calls and patients if you are in the top three spots. So long as your location(s) are within an area with a reasonable population, you should make local SEO one of your top priorities. Otherwise, your overall plan for improving your online presence could go to waste.
Skipping Geography-Focused Landing Pages
For the city where your dental office is located, GMB rankings are important. When it comes to areas just outside of your city, geography-focused landing pages are what will allow you to capture additional traffic within your service radius. Effective dentist SEO will refine the GMB listing to gain as much local traffic as possible. Skipping this step will nearly guarantee that you will miss out on lots of potential traffic.
Avoiding Link Building for Your Dental Practice’s Website
As part of your dental SEO services, you should be getting quality links built to your website. Inbound links allow you to establish trust and authority with Google, enabling you to gain higher search engine rankings.
Many dental SEO services avoid link building because it is costly and they do not have the expertise to do it right. Don’t waste your time or money on such services. Every search engine loves to see a strong backlink profile for a website. The right digital marketing agency will prioritize link building to maximize authority for your website and knows how to do so effectively.
Focusing Only On the Appearance of Your Dental Practice Website
Some things are built for show, others are built for “go”. Having a professional dental website is important, but don’t make the mistake of getting so wrapped up in the aesthetics of your website that you neglect search engine optimization best practices.
As with most things in life, finding the balance of the two is where the magic happens. Whichever dental SEO services you choose should not be overly focused on aesthetics, so be on the lookout for this red flag. Functionality is what matters more to search engines.
Looking for Help With Your Dental SEO Project?
Whether you are looking for specific services that can help in areas like keyword research or you have no clue where to begin, the right SEO agency can dramatically improve your search result position. SEO is a marketing strategy that is becoming more and more relevant as consumers look to the internet for more of their product and service needs. Even in-person services like dentists acquire most of their patients online.
Just think about how you make most of your decisions. If you are looking for a new restaurant to try out for the first time, you will likely open a browser and type something like “restaurants near me” to get some ideas. You’ll then scroll through the various options that come up first until you find a place that looks good and will suit your current craving.
Finding a dentist can work in the same way, which means that showing up as a top result in a search query could make the difference between you or your competitor gaining patients. As you can see, there are many ways that an SEO strategy can be ineffective or poorly executed, which is why you need to partner with experts who know what they are doing.
Stellar SEO has a history of achieving results for our clients. We repeatedly help businesses move up the rankings in the search results to the point where they are seeing huge boosts in organic traffic to their websites. Our auditing process can catch the SEO mistakes or shortcomings of your current website. Then, our team of experts can craft a plan around your specific practice that will engage more of your target audience. Finally, we will track progress and use the data to inform our strategy going forward, keeping you in the loop and openly communicating for the entire process.
That is the SEO partner that your dental practice deserves. One that is committed to your success and to improving your business’s online presence with tried and true methods that have worked for so many of our partners. If you are serious about growing as a practice and improving your SEO efforts, let Stellar SEO be the team you turn to.