SEO for dentists and dental practices might sound complicated. But this guide is designed to take you step by step through all the key points, you need to rank high in the organic map listings. Following these simple strategies can help you generate more revenue this year.
If you haven’t go time to read the whole thing now download it now for later.
Have you ever wondered why you actually need SEO for your dental practice at all? Well, It might come as no surprise that most of your prospective patients will start their journey looking for a new dentist online. In fact, many patients actually find online reviews just as credible as a personal referral. So, for that reason alone your online presence better be top notch.
Running a dental practice can be challenging and one of your ever growing needs is pulling in more patients and paying clients to your practice. So how do you do this on a regular basis?
90% of people use search engines to find local businesses in their area,
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (e.g., Google)
This means, in no uncertain terms that your potential clients are using the same method to search for local dentists and dental practices.
The reality is that people use search engines every day. They use it to find important information about medical experts such as dentists, implant specialists and orthodontists. Not just for themselves but for their families too.
Ask yourself this
How many potetntial clients will find your dental practice when they use keywords that indicate they need dental procedures?
Where will you appear in the search results when people search for:
Teeth Whitening/ Laser Whitening
If you’re not ranking on the first page , then you’re already losing huge streams of money from potential customers that could be using your services again and again. And better yet refer you to their friends. This is why you need to optimise your website and social media channels for Google
How can you achieve this?
Let us explain exactly what you need to know to make sure that your dental practice website shows up for the right keywords your potential patients are using on Google.
1) How to choose the right keywords for dental SEO
So, local SEO for dentists where do we start? Well when looking at keyowrds, what you need to consider is how difficult will it be to rank your dental practice for a competitive keyword?
Back in the day if you searched for a particular keyword, you had organic listings and maybe a few paid ads. With the paid ads traditionally sitting on top of the organic listings. These days the ads can sit beneath the organic lisitings. To make matters worse now, search engine results pages are more complicated than that.
For example, when we enter the keyword “dentist in north london” in Google, this is what we see. They are arranged as follow: A single ad on top followed by the map listings, the organic results and a few ads at the bottom of the page. These days paid ads dont have the click through rate they once did so it really pays to invest your time into dominating local search results.
If you’re optimising your practice for local and organic SEO, then you have a good chance to show up among the 3 local map pack results as shown above here. This is really where you should be aiming. The organic lisitngs are also very important but notice how the first listing is for Yell.com.
Consumers now are always checking out reviews from their peers. It’s in our DNA we can’t help it. It’s something known as “Herd Mentality” if many people are all doing the same thing, going to the same place, a dentist in this case then it can’t be wrong. So optimising for great reviews is also essential. More on that later.
Not too mention that 83% of consumers trust the word of an impartial review over that of a company testimonial!
And finally at the bottom of the page are the paid ads. I don’t know about you but if I am paying for a ad campaign and they are coming in way down the bottom of the page beneath the map listings and organic results. Which are free remember! I wouldn’t be too impressed. This is why learning how to optimise a dental practice for local SEO is so important.
How to conduct solid keyword research for dental SEO.
Whether your customers are typing the queries into their laptop or mobile or using voice search, keywords are how people will find your practice online.
Which keywords should you target for your dental practice? To give you a simple answer it’s the phrases that your potential patients might ask Google.
You can use keyword research to find these keywords. Generally, you have an idea of possible keywords that people might use when they need dental procedures.
Some possible keywords could be:
- Dentist near me
- Dentist + [location]
- Dental surgeon + [location]
- Best + [service you perform ie dental implants] near me
There are many other variations and you should make a list of these..
The next step is to use keyword research tools to analyze whether they are valuable to your business.. In some cases, the keyword you have in mind might be one that searchers rarely use. If it is only searched once in a blue moon. You will be wasting your time optimising your site for it.
Most keyword research tools will show you details about the chosen keyword to check if it’s worthwhile targeting them. Some details you can get from your keyword research tools are:
- Keyword difficulty
- Monthly search volume
- CTR ( click through rate )
- SERP analysis
Some free keyword research tools we suggest are SEMrush, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, Moz KeywordTool.io, Ubersuggest, etc.
Another important factor is you should enter your location into your target keywords.
So in the image below ( taken from Moz Free Keyword Explorer ) this looks like a relatively easy keyword to rank for.
Google has evolved so that it can show local searches without users adding the location. But it can still use the location on your page to match the searcher’s location.
After you have made your list of keywords, you must incorporate them into your page. For example:
- Page title
- Page url
- Alt text
- Organically include them in the body of your text.
Do not stuff your page with keywords. This can attract a Google penalty. Use them a few times and ensure your content sounds natural. For example does this sound natural?
Best teeth whitening services in london by best teeth whitening dentists in london at the best teeth whitening dental practices.
No! It looks awful and Google will mark you down for that.
Take advantage of “user intent” for keywords
In the early days of SEO it was far easier to rank pages high for keyword with high monthly search volumes by stuffing the keyword in as many times as possible. Now, this simply just does not work. Google introduced something called Rankbrain. Here is a great article written by Backlinko’s Brian Dean.
How to use user intent to rank your keyword?.
By understanding the user intent behind the keywords you target you are more likely to attract customers that are actively looking for the services you supply.
What is user intent?
It’s simply the reason a user puts a search term into the search box. Keywords are grouped into 4 types based on their user intent:
Navigational keywords: These are keywords that people use when they’re searching for specific pages online. An example of this is [your business] + reviews or [your business] + contact us.2
Informational keywords: these are keywords that searchers use when they’re looking for information about a topic. For instance, if a customer searches “How to whiten teeth naturally” or “how to repair chipped teeth,” they’re looking for specific info. This is important when we look at your content marketing strategy. More on that later.
Commercial keywords: these are keywords that show your potential clients could be ready to buy but they want a little more information. A good example of this could be “best orthodontist in North London.”
If you optimised your surgery or practice for this search term and you appeared in the maps, you are highly likely to get a stream of paying customers calling you up to book appointments. And notice this is all organic map listings not a paid ad in sight. Less to compete with!
Transactional keywords: these are keywords that show the searcher is ready to buy and are searching for the best deal.For your own dental practice, this might be “where to get dental implants in North London”
2. Fully Optimise Your Website
Consider your website as a digital business card. It is the first chance to make a good impression. This is the what each potential patient will see before scheduling an appointment.
Keep navigation as simple as possible. Make sure your users can find everything they need within no more than 3 clicks. Having a clear menu at the top with access to all the main pages is vital. If people can’t find your contact us page they simply wont contact you. Make sense?
However although looks are important. Your customers don’t want to visit an ugly website. It must function well. So on to our first point.
Google puts a lot of weight on to things like pagespeed. To check if your site has a quick page speed you can use free tools like:
Both options will offer advice on how to fix certain aspects thst may be slowing down your website. In some cases the installation of a lightweight free plugin may do the job for you. No developer skills needed.
Research has shown that if a webiste takes longer than 3 seconds to load the user will most likely “bounce” or give up waiting and look elsewhere. So having a fast loading webiste is extremely important. quite often image heavy sites take longer to load so consider using free tools like tinypng.com to compress and optimise images. You will be surprised how much of a diference it makes
Other tips you can use to improve your page speed are:
- Use a fast website host. Siteground is very reliable provider that we recommened to a lot of our clients.
- Compress Images and videos to reduce size.
then compress it over at tinypng
- Removing unnecessary code and plugins is also a great idea although if you are not the most technical minded please think twice before playing around with your website code!
- Using Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) has been heralded as a godsend to improve mobile page speed. However we have found that it totally changes the appearance of the site and we think that if you optimise as much as you can you won’t have to sacrifice the design in order to climb the rankings.
Make it mobile friendly
Mobile devices account for over 60% of total Google searches reports show this year. So optimising your site is a must in 2019 for your visitors. To improve the mobile-friendliness of your website is a sure fire way to climb the rankings.
Consider this, most people looking for their next dental practice are carrying out local searches from their phone and 83% of mobile searches lead to an actual site visit. Think of the revenue you are losing by simply not having a webiste that functions well for mobile.
To check your website’s mobile-friendliness, use the free Google mobile-friendly test to check.
Google bots crawl your website through links on your pages. It’s important to link your website pages together to make it easier for search engines to crawl your website. However not just this. It keeps your potential customer on your site longer increasing your dwell time and increasing your rankings.
For example this blog post from a london dentist answers a common problem, but if you notice at the bottom the last 4 bullet points are all other commonly asked questions relating to dentistry but they are hyperlinked to other pages on their website.
3. How to Optimise your local SEO for dentists & Dental Practices
Local search results are what you see when you search for a local business within a particular area or location. e.g. Dentist in Clapham or Dental implants in West London.
In the past, local seo for dentists wasn’t given too much attention. Now it’s essential! Google places a lot of weight on local results as Google Maps is now a core product and they want to laser targeted and highly relevant results to the best reviewed businesses for their users.
So, how is it relevant for a dental practice?
Getting your practice to show up when someone searches for keywords like Dentist in London or South London Orthodontist will help you get tons potential clients.
Think about it, no one wants to drive 40 miles across London to see their dentist, so usually they look for the ones that are closest to them. But what do you do if there are hundreds of 4 and 5 star reviews? Chances are that patients will be ready to commute for that long. This can all happen when you are seen by hundreds of new potential patients.
Identify what your prospective patients might type in the search bar and what services you offer, use this information to develop keywords with geographic modifiers that will help you get in front of your ideal patient in the area you have your practice.
Besides finding the right keywords to target, local search consists of:
- Claim & Optimise your local search presence on Google Maps aka Google My Business.
- Build relevant citations on local business directories e.g. Yelp, Squarespace, Yell, etc.
- Get reviews on your Google Business Page to amplify word of mouth.
Working with an experienced and trusted SEO agency will of course help you to implement all of the aforementioned strategies properly as any wrong information, duplication, or inconsistency can have a seriously negative impact.
How to establish and claim your Google My Business Local Page:
After your website, Google’s local listing page now known as Google My Business hands down the most important platform for your dental practice
To set up and get a verified listing, you will of course need to have a postcard sent to the address and use the verification code to claim your listing. Start by doing a regular search on the Google My Business dashboard,
Head over to the GMB dashboard and claim your listing.
Ensure you enter all the relevant details and really build out the profile.
You must include:
- NAP Name Address & Phone Number. These are essential.
- Photos. The more the better. As a rule of thumb you should include 3 of the exterior, 3 of the interior and some team photos as a minimum. You can of course add some custom photos and videos.
- Opening hours. This is of course extremely important
- Company bio and about us section. This gives you a chance to tell the work what you specialise in and why they should choose you.
- An appointment link. This is where customers can book a direct appointment with your surgery
Once that’s all done you will have a profile that may look somethung like this.
Build Citations on Local Business Directories:
Getting your business listed on Google My Business is great. But it’s no way near enough to reahc the desired effects. To truly rank high in the map results you will need to find and submit your business to a number of relevant local business directories. This will directly affect your chances of ranking on Google Maps as Google get local business data from these directories.
PRO TIP: Make sure your NAP ( name address and phone number ) is consistent across all listings
The links from these external sources ie your dentist profile listings. Yelp or Yell pages are considered votes of credibility and authority. Without them Google wont even give you a second glance when determining your business ranking.
One of the best ways to show your potential patients know that you are a professional who delivers value and quality services is to establish credibility through reviews and testimonials. Use sites like trustpilot or GMB to do this.
Research suggests that people trust the reviews they see on the Internet almost as much as referrals from friends and family. Google gives huge weight to reviews on Google Local Business page and it is one of the important ranking signals.
Think about this, when people are visiting a dentist for the first time. 2 things are going to go through their mind.
- How much it will cost.
- Are they in safe hands
Online reviews will answer both of these. By seeing what past patients have said gives people a great indication as to what they can expect.
Without online reviews, it would be difficult to know what to expect.
No one wants to guess when it comes ot medical professionals. Also reviews are a solid way to jump up in the map listings. In a Moz survey of local SEO professionals, they claimed review signals is the 5th most important signal for local map pack rankings. So do not overlook customer reviews!
It is vital to have a fool proof strategy set in place to collect reviews from your patients.
PRO TIP: It is better to get some feedback from your patients before pitching them for a review as this gives you enough room for error to amend any dissatisfaction and also solicit some type of discount for patients to take the time to write a positive 5 star feedback.
4. How to build a solid content marketing strategy
Content marketing is one of the best inbound sales methods out there.
When it comes to content, the best marketers know that self-promotion is good!” — Kieran Flanagan, VP Marketing, HubSpot
Use your website as a free tool for you customers to generate answers to potential questions related to your practice or procedures.
Dentists that are winningl online are putting in the time and the effort to help and educate their customers. Why? It gives them a far greater chance of doing business with them.
We help dental practices in the same manner by crafting a bespoke content strategy that will not only put you in front of them, but also connect you on a deeper level when you answer their questions. For example:
How much do veneers cost?
What is the cost of teeth whitening?
Or does root canal hurt?
These are some of the questions that a potential patient might have in mind and answering them will help you build that credibility. As research has shown that patients 9 times out of 10 will conduct research before getting any sort of procedures done.
Link building is the most important off-page SEO activity. But the frank truth is that it’s probably the most difficult SEO tactic to execute if you have a new website.
What do backlinks mean for your dental practice? It’s a means through which other websites vote for your website.
When another website provides a backlink to your website, they’re saying they trust your website.
When many websites do this, Google will see your page as a relevant page and rank it higher for relevant keywords.
One of the difficulties with link building is that you only have a bit of control over the backlinks you gain.
Other people will ultimately determine whether you get a backlink or not. But that shouldn’t be an excuse to give up. In some cases, you gain backlinks without asking and these are called editorial backlinks.
Other times, you need to ask or engage in activities that will attract backlinks. What are activities to engage in to build more backlinks to your website?
This is one of the most effective link building strategies. As a Dentist, you might be discouraged as writing is not your strong trait. But look at it this way: Guest posting gives you these possible benefits:
- You reach a new audience where you can gain more patients.
- You increase your authority as an expert in the industry.
- You gain a precious backlink.
If you’re serious about getting patients online, then guest posting is an activity you must embrace.
To find dental-related blogs to pitch your guest post, simply go to Google and enter any of these search operators:
- Dentists + write for us
- Dentists + submit guest post
- Dentist blog + write for us
- Dentist + contributor
Why not join health forums like Quora. Quore recieves obscene amounts of traffic each day with your potential cleints searching for answers on topics that an expert like you can answer.
There is potential untapped pool of patients just waiting for you. For example
A potential patient might ask a question loike does having braces hurt. You could give a solid and in depth response and that person may enjoy the rapport you built and pay you a visit and then refer you to all his/her friends.
Another plus of answering questions is that you get more quality backlinks to your website. That is seo for dentists 101 🙂
Ok, this sounds like a lot of work. But if someone asks a question that has been answered in depth in one of your blog posts, you can answer this question in short on the forum and add a link to your website.
In fact you could go to Quora to find common topics your patients are querying, create articles for your blog as per your content marketing strategy. Then propmote them on forums like Quora. This will save you a ton of time in the long run.
Here’s an idea to get you started
Speak at local events
At local events you have a chance to literally meet your potential customers. The more popular you are in your community the more likely you are to win over the hearts and minds of families looking for a local dentist
Local events are great to get your name or practice mentioned by either local press or other local businesses that might be blogging about the event. You may even get a link to your website.
Getting your dental practice to the top of the organic search results is totally doable. Yes it might take time, it wont happen overnight. But dominating the first page on both organic search results and the local map listings will pay out for years to come.
Learning and following these steps is certainly worth the effort. The revenue you can generate from having just 5 more sales calls a day could be huge. Then think if each of those 5 calls referred you to another 5 people and so on and so on. the results could be staggering for you and your practice.
Simply haven’t got time to implement the steps outlined in this article?
We can help you. Contact us and speak with one of our team and start building a solid organic SEO strategy to dominate local search results.