Being a dentist can be one of the most rewarding professions but it can be hard at times.
More and more dental practices are starting up and it can be difficult to get clients. But with SEO and digital marketing, you can rise above your competition and get new patients coming in on a weekly or daily basis.
With SEO, you can drive targeted traffic to your dental website and acquire new patients looking for a good dentist.
In this guide, I am going to show you how to use SEO to get more patients into your dental office.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the methodology of optimizing your website so it ranks higher in search engines, resulting in organic visitors coming to your website from search engines.
With SEO, your website can rank above your competitors and send you free traffic 24/7, 365.
SEO can be broken down into 2 subcategories of Local SEO and National SEO. Since dentists take local clients, we will be talking about how to do local SEO in this guide.
Since a part of the Google Algorithm looks at the location you are searching from, you can actually rank your dental website for searches like ‘dentists near me’ or ‘dentists in + your city’ and get a considerable amount of appointments and patients.
Why Is SEO Important for Dentists?
In 2020, SEO is as important as ever for dentists.
Did you know that “97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else.”?
That means that people are searching for your dental practice way before they even think about contacting you. This is why it’s so important for your business to rank in Google.
“Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years according to HubSpot.
You can see that the number of searches for dentists is about 384,000 searches a month. Now, this is an accumulation of all the locations in the US, but its still a pretty staggering number.
If your website is not bringing in more patients to your dental practice, then you need to implement the SEO guide below.
SEO Guide for Dentists
In order to rank your dental website higher in Google, you will need to take a number of steps to optimize your website and build some links to your website.
Here is a step by step guide on how to rank your dental website and Google My Business listing higher in Google.
1. Dental Website Optimization
Optimizing your dental website is imperative to ranking well in Google. Here is a 27-point checklist of all of the items you should be optimizing on your website:
|1||Meta Titles||Meta titles briefly and concisely explain what each website page is about.|
|2||Meta Descriptions||Meta Descriptions explain a summary of what each website page is about.|
|3||Canonical Tags||These tags tell search engines what the correct URL of the page should be.|
|4||Schema Tags||Schema tags help crawlers determine certain information about a website, business, product or video.|
|5||Heading Tags||Heading tags are the section titles of your content. They should be structured correctly.|
|6||Alt Tags||Alt tags tell search engines what your images are about since they can only read text.|
|7||Internal Linking||Linking to all of your internal pages helps bots find all of your pages, as well as users.|
|8||External Linking||Linking to relative and authority websites will help you rank with them.|
|9||Anchor Tags||Google looks at the anchor tags in links to help decipher what a page is about.|
|10||Deep Linking||having links to all levels of your website will help Google crawl it easier and create a good UI.|
|11||Page speed||Having a fast website has never been more important for SEO and user experience.|
|12||Responsive Design||With a mobile responsive website, you will rank better in the mobile index.|
|13||Fix any External Broken Links||Linking to broken or nonexistent pages can hurt your own pages.|
|14||Fix any Internal Broken Links||Linking to internal pages that are broken or redirected can have a bad effect on rankings.|
|15||LSI Keywords||LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are keywords phrases that mean the same thing.|
|16||Google Search Console||Manage your website in Google eyes with Google Search Console. See rankings, errors and more.|
|17||Google Analytics||Track your website traffic, usage and load times with Google’s free tracking software.|
|18||Open Graph Tags||Tags that allow you to control what content shows when a webpage is shared on social media.|
|19||Security (HTTPS)||Having a secure website can help build trust and will help you rank better.|
|20||SEO Friendly URLs||Keywords are not only important in your content but your URLs as well.|
|21||Link Social Media||Social media plays an indirect role to help you rank better in search engines.|
|22||Keyword Consistency||The keywords most used on your pages are likely the keywords you will rank for.|
|23||Robots.txt||This file tells robots what they can and can’t crawl on your website.|
|24||Add Business Address (with schema when prohibited)||Adding your business address to your footer can help you rank better locally.|
|25||Content Heavy Pages||Google loves content. The more content that’s on your pages, the more keywords, and traffic.|
|26||Website Structure||The structure of your website and pages is important to ranking better in Google.|
|27||SEO Images||Image searches are almost as popular as web so optimizing your website’s images is important for SEO.|
Now, you may not need to do all of these in order to rank well locally but I would suggest implementing as many as possible.
The most important for local SEO is your meta tags.
The meta title is a tag that goes on every page and shows the name of the page. You can see the meta title in the browser tabs and its also what shows in Google.
For dental clients, we recommend using your city, state and ‘dentist’ in your homepage meta title. Below is an example of meta title code:
<title>#1 Tampa, Florida Dentist - Tyler's Dentistry</title>
This helps you rank better for ‘dentists near me’ searches and similar queries as Google can see your location in the meta title.
The meta title should be 65-70 characters in length and should be unique on every page.
The meta description tag goes on every page as well and is a longer description of what each page is about. This is the text description that you see in Google when you are searching.
Below is an example of meta description code:
<meta name="description" content="Tyler's Dentistry is Tampa Bay's #1 dental practice, serving hundreds of customers with our patient-focused dental procedures. "/>
The meta description should be 155-160 characters in length and should be unique on every page.
2. Google My Business Optimization
Google My Business is a platform created by Google for you to create and manage your business profile on Google.
When you search for local businesses, you will oftentimes see the first few results are local businesses:
These listings are Google My Business listings, created by the site owner or whoever is managing their GMB.
To show up here, you need to first create a Google My Business listing.
Add your business information, address, phone number, and any other relevant information when creating your account. Make sure your address matches your actual address exactly because they will be sending you a postcard with a custom code on it to prove that you are doing business at the address.
You will receive the card within 5 business days of creating your Google My Business listing.
Once you verify your dental practice location, you can start optimizing your profile.
Add your business hours, a description, website URL, phone, your interior photos, exterior photos, services and any other information they ask for.
The more information you add to your GMB profile, the better.
Adding Posts in GMB
Posts are a newer feature of Google My Business that allows you to post updates on your GMB listing and it will make you give you considerable results if you regularly add posts.
You can create an update, event, offer, or new product.
Post an update once or twice a week and you will notice a lot more visitors, new patients, and traffic.
Simply linking to a few blog posts is sufficient. You don’t need to be writing new stuff every time. Simply copy a small part of your blog post or page, add an image and publish your post.
3. Building Citations
Now that your Google My Business is set up, you need to build some citations for your dental practice.
Citations are simply directories you add your business information to and increase your location’s web presence. And most of the time, it includes a link to your website as well, which is a backlink.
The more citations and backlinks you have, the better you will ultimately rank.
There are thousands of places you can submit your NAPW (name, address, phone, website) citation:
Here is a great list of citation directories to submit your dental practice.
Now having a ton of citations isn’t the end-all, be-all of ranking well for dentists. You will also need to get reviews on your Google My Business listing to really stand out among your competitors.
4. Getting Good Reviews in Google
Lastly, and most importantly, you want to build reviews on your Google My Business listing.
One of the largest factors in the algorithm is your dental practice rating on Google. If your business doesn’t have many reviews or none at all, you most likely will not rank well in local searches.
The algorithm looks at a few different factors with the rating including the number of reviews and the total average of the reviews.
You can see this image, having the most reviews is not as important as having more 5-star reviews and a higher average.
The good thing is that if you already have a customer base, its pretty simple to get reviews from your patients.
There are a number of different methods you can use to get your patients to give you an online review:
More Reviews with Email Newsletter
It’s a good idea to collect your patient’s email address so you can send them newsletters, announcements, and any other communication. If you already have an email list, you can simply send them an email asking for a good review on Google and then be sure to add the direct link to your GMB profile so they can easily access it.
To get the direct URL, log in to your Google My Business and go to the Home tab. You will see a link to ‘Share your Business Profile’.
This will show a popup with a custom short link you can use to share with your patients and get more reviews.
Regularly send out your newsletter and ask for a review at the bottom.
Offer a Discount for Reviews
Another great way to get more reviews is to offer a free product or discount for giving a review. For dentists, a free toothbrush, toothpaste, or even gum can be enough to entice your patients to give you a review.
Once the reviews start coming in, make sure to review them on your GMB account page.
You can view all of your reviews in Google My Business by clicking the Reviews tab on the left.
You can even ask your patients to give you a review right in your office when they are signing out. Just have an open laptop that they can sign in and add their review.
Once you have implemented all of these strategies, you should she huge improvements over your dental website traffic and the number of new patients coming into your practice.
It takes a lot of work to really rank a dental practice well so if you need help with implementing these methods, check out Medical SEO and grow your dental practice today.
Tyler Horvath is an SEO Expert with over 15 years of experience in search engine optimization, popular blog author and Medical SEO expert.