As a dentist or dental practice, your primary goal is to improve your patients’ smiles. However, getting patients through the doors and growing a practice has become a challenge for many dentists. To increase their patient numbers and revenue, many dental practices have turned to SEO for dentists.
Search engine optimization or SEO makes dental practices more easily discoverable by potential patients. In fact, SEO has the highest ROI for any marketing investment. When your dental site optimizes for search engine visibility, prospective patients to locate nearby dentists via their smartphones or desktops.
Dental SEO is a way to make your practice’s site more visible to more prospective patients on search engines. This means, more people looking for a local dentist will find your practice.
Searching engines such as Google use webcrawlers to visit and sort the billions of pages on the world wide web. As they do so, they gather data to improve their search results. As these webcrawlers visit a page they begin categorizing information and storing it in an indexed format. Google then uses this data in their ranking system to decide the order of display search results.
The data a webcrawler gathers includes:
All of these factors tell Google about your dental practice and why your site deserves to be displayed higher in search results.
If your dental website doesn’t appear on the first page of search results, you’re missing out on a large amount of traffic. How much traffic? Only 25% of searchers click beyond the first page of results.
Ranking in the top three results gives you the lion’s share of traffic as shown below.
Making where your website ranks even more important is the fact that local businesses like yours appear in the Google Map Pack. And these top results receive over 50% of the clicks from searchers.
If you’re not using SEO best practices, you’re putting your dental business at a disadvantage. Why? Other dentists are already optimizing their sites to appear higher in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). So, it’s likely your competitors’ URLs appear above yours in search engine results.
Furthermore, perception is reality when it comes to dental practices–people trust top-search results more than lower results. And when it comes to dentists, trust matters.
Google uses a lot of algorithms to collect data points on every website. Each of these individual algorithms is an opportunity to optimize your website. Should be easy, right?
Well, Google keeps most of their proprietary algorithms secret. However, they do give site owners guidelines as to what they’re looking for, and SEO experts have tracked and analyzed the effects of countless website changes. This guide will prioritize the most impactful SEO changes dentists can implement for best results.
The first thing you need to know is that dentists should optimize for local SEO. This is because your dental practice is a brick-and-mortar business that will appear on both Google searches and Google Maps searches.
While most SEO best practices are the same whether a site is strictly an e-commerce site or a local dental office, there are some tactics the work better for local businesses. We’ll cover everything you need to know.
The best SEO is built on a strong foundation. So, while it may not seem like a big deal to jump right into keyword research, we recommend taking these steps first.
As you review these steps for dental SEO strategy, use our SEO glossary to help sort out the industry terminology that can trip users up.
A Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business (GMB), is a necessity for any local business, especially dentists. With a GMP profile, you will immediately appear in local searches, and you can begin using your profile to manage your business’s reputation.
When you arrive at the categories section, you will want to list dental specialties. Be sure to list the specialties you want to be found for most, first. Google will prioritize these on your GMB listing. So, if you want to be found for teeth whitening, put that first. If you run a family dental practice, dental implants, or specialize in cosmetic dentistry, list these categories at the top.
There are several issues that can crop up if your business has duplicate listings in Google Maps.
To find duplicate listings, simply Google your business name. Then repeat with all dentists at your practice.
If a location comes up that is not relevant to your business,
You can also remove locations in Google Maps. Here’s how according to Google:
Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA) provide users with the most accurate and up-to-date data. They’re also completely free to use. These tools will be imperative to tracking your website’s organic traffic. In fact, if you decide to sign up for a more detailed analytics tool like Search Atlas, you’ll need to connect your GSC account to the software for the most accurate tracking.
What’s the catch? Neither platform will begin recording your web traffic before you sign up. Learn how to get the most out of Google Seach Console and connect it to your Google Analytics account.
When you’re first getting started with SEO, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly what your goals should be. But goals fuel progress, so begin getting used to looking at your GSC metrics.
After about a week of collecting data and exploring your GSC reports, you will have a clearer idea of what your current organic traffic looks like.
Here are some goals you may want to modify for your dental practice:
Appear in Google’s Local 3 Pack: This is by far the most effective way to gain clicks as a dental practice.
Rank for more keywords: Be found for more searches
Increase organic traffic by X: More traffic means more business. A well-rounded SEO strategy will increase your overall ranking and total keywords, which will increase overall organic traffic.
Increase average ranking: As your average ranking increases, more searchers will find your website.
Once you’ve set your goals and become familiar with SEO metrics and terminology, it’s time to start implementing SEO best practices for business optimization.
As you work your way through this action plan, consider which tasks you want to complete yourself and which would be better to outsource. If you’re a tech-savvy marketing professional at a dental practice, you can do many of these on your own. You will have to be familiar with your practice’s Content Management System or work closely with your web development team.
Google wants its users to e protected from malicious online attacks and data breaches. In order to safeguard searchers, Google uses security practices as a quality signal for PageRank.
One of the important (and easiest) safety practices to protect your patients and boost your site’s security level is an SSL certificate. (Here’s a free SSL service). SSL encrypts your visitor’s data as it transfers from their browser to your site’s server. This makes stealing patients’ credit card numbers, insurance information, and other information nearly impossible.
Without this certificate, your site visitors will be confronted with a warning message.
With an SSL certificate, your website can actually speed up with the use of HTTP/2, which has a wide array of improved performance features.
Google wants to reward websites that provide the best user experience. Part of the user experience is how fast your website loads after a visitor land on it from the SERPs. This is why Google’s algorithm
To test your page’s page using Google’s PageSpeed Insights or with a Site Auditor tool. All you have to do is enter your URL into the text field.
After identifying what elements are slowing your website down, take the time to fix them. Focusing on Google’s Core Web Vitals is a great start to optimizing your website for speed.
Since most searches for dental services are performed on mobile devices, be sure to view your mobile speed in addition to desktop speed.
If you notice a pattern, for example in the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) or First Meaningful Paint, you will want to compress your images and videos above your page folds.
When you’re first starting your SEO strategy, you will want to target keywords that you’re already ranking for, but not as well as you could. Then you want to begin increasing the number of keywords your dental practice website ranks for.
If you’re a new dentist, you will want to skip to the second step and begin building a robust keyword profile with keyword optimization techniques.
As we’ve pointed out, dentists want to rank in the top three local search results. So, targeting keywords that are close to SERP position 3 is a great strategy. Additionally, pushing any pages from the second SERP page to the first should also increase your overall organic traffic.
To, identify these pages, you will want to sort your Top Keywords by Position and SEO Potential in the GSC Insights tool.
To optimize your existing content for improved visibility in the SERPs, you will want to enter the URL into the SEO Content Assistant.
Then, use the SEO Content Assistant’s recommend Focus Terms, length, citations, and readability to improve the content’s topical depth and quality.
The SearchAtlas SEO software suite makes finding new keywords easy. Within the tool, you can perform competitor research, discover potential keywords, create a content calendar task list, and explore content ideas.
To begin, enter potential keywords into the Keyword Researcher tool. Then modify the search location to reflect your target audience’s location.
After the Keyword Research retrieves the analytics, you can begin creating clusters of keywords that you want to target with the Suggested keyword report or Competitor keyword mosaic.
To determine if the keywords are worth targeting, you will want to aim for Easy keyword difficulty with high search volume.
You will also want to look at the SERP overview to assess if your website has the potential to rank. If your domain rating (DR) is on par with these pages, there’s a good chance you can rank for the keyword.
Use Google Search Console or another keyword tracking software to traffic and analyze your SEO efforts. Upward trends are a sign that your efforts are working.
To make tracking specific SEO efforts easy, create site events in GSC Insight. These will appear along the x-axis of your pages’ historical trends mapping alongside major Google algorithm update events.
Every web page has HTML tags. The URL, meta title, and meta description appear in your SERP listing and provide searchers with information about the page. This information can encourage more clicks since it appears in Google’s search results.
There are also image alt tags, which improve your site’s accessibility and heading tags. Each of these “tags” is an opportunity for better site optimization since Google’s algorithms use this information to better understand your site.
Title Tag: Keep your title between 40 and 60 characters & include your Target Keyword. If it makes sense for the page, include your city and state in the title.
Meta Descriptions: Keep these between 120 and 160 characters and include your Target Keywords towards the beginning of the description. Your services pages need to include your city. Additionally, try to differentiate your listing from your competitors. Always provide an accurate description.
Image Alt Tags: Image alt tags appear if an image doesn’t load. They are also read aloud by screen readers for those with visual impairments. They’re also used by Google’s bots to help determine the subject of your content. To optimize these, give an accurate description and include any Focus Terms related to your Target Keyword. You will also want your image filename to reflect the image.
Heading Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc): Your age should only have one H1 heading that includes your Target Keyword. Other headings should be used in descending order, logically.
Schema markup may seem like a foreign language to someone that specializes in dentistry. However, schema is not as complicated as it sounds. It’s one of the easiest ways for Google’s algorithm better understand how to categorize your business.
Using, Schema for Dentists, be sure to include the following schema on your homepage and webpages, including your services page:
After you’ve performed your keyword research (Step 3) for your dental practice website, you will want to compile a list of keywords you want to target. After you have a list of keywords, you will want to categorize them by how they relate to your primary services or a primary topic.
From there, you can create a content calendar that prioritizes the most important keywords in your list or those that have the greatest SEO potential.
Many prospective patients use directories to find dental professionals. If you’re not listed in these directories, you could be missing out. Listing in these directories also provides you with backlinks and the perfect opportunity to verify your address and phone number elsewhere on the web.
Here are the most common directories practice listings:
Backlinks help your site build domain authority, which indicates how likely your company website is to rank at the top of Google results. Of course, building backlinks takes time, but it’s well worth the effort. So, as your practice’s site begins to build content, it’s a good strategy to become a trusted leader in your niche and community. This is a natural and effective way to build backlinks.
To build your brand as well as backlink profile:
You can also find backlink opportunities using SearchAtlas’s Backlink Analyzer tool’s Suggested Outreach report.
If you want to build backlinks more quickly or in a more time-efficient manner, consider using an SEO company that specializes in backlinks.
As a local company, your Google Business Profile is key to increasing your organic traffic. Your Google Business Profile is even considered more important than your website’s home page by many strategists.
In addition to keeping your GBP updated, you also want to ask happy patients to review your business. Prospective dental patients put a lot of emphasis on how others’ services went with a business.
Pay-per-click (PPC) dental SEO campaigns are a great way to increase traffic to your website when your practice’s site is still getting established. PPC campaigns include Google Ads. These PPC campaigns run your practice’s site at the top of Google results, so searchers see them first.
SEO takes time. However, the results also stand the test of time in ROI and your brand reputation. If you do not have the time to implement every aspect of SEO for dentists, using an SEO strategist from a dental SEO company can be a cost-effective investment.
Dental SEO services can be tailored to your practice’s site as well as your budget. Your SEO company can help you identify where to spend your budget for the biggest impact. They can also perform more tedious SEO dentist-related tasks such as finding and eliminating duplicate content.
For the best chances of being a snippet on the top of Google’s results, you need to be proactive with your approach to SEO. Begin with signing up for Google Search Console, getting acquainted with your metrics, then moving on to creating a Google Business Profile and beginning your keyword research.
The next steps will take time but will result in a better experience for your patients from the time they first find you to when they schedule their follow-up appointments. So, get started on the right path with SearchAtlas’s suite of SEO software tools that are easy to use or contact our team for SEO dentists can count on.
“They are dedicated to our success and are a thoughtful sounding board when we run ideas by them - sometimes on ideas and projects that are tangential to our main SEO project with them. Also, I love that they allow for shorter-term contracts compared to the usual 1-year contract with other SEO companies. Lastly, they deliver on their promises.”
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