93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine — that includes potential patients who are looking for a dentist near them. Considering this statistic alone, dentists should be keen on dental search engine optimization (SEO) to grow their practice, attract new patients, and keep the ball rolling.
Dental SEO is how you help your dental practice appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) without having to pay vast amounts for an ad. For example, somebody in Guelph is Googling "child dentist near me." If you're a pediatric dentist in Guelph and you want to be the first thing they see when they hit Search, a good dental SEO strategy is what you need to make that happen.
1. Focus on Local SEOde
When it comes to health and medicine, people look for local service providers. You’re missing these prime prospects if your SEO plan doesn’t target your specific geographic areas, that’s why getting your practice to appear at the top of the search results page requires you to make local SEO a priority.
Besides securing your Google My Business listing, you can also have your practice listed on local citation sites and directories. While these citations don’t need to directly provide your link to your website, it must include your name, address, and phone number.
2. Improve Your Site Speed
Site speed, or the amount of time it takes your website to load and respond, is a ranking factor in SEO performance because it is a sign of quality user experience on your website. A user typically stays on your site longer if your site speed is faster. They also convert better (become paying customers) and bounce less (leave your site).
Failing to improve site speed can lead to lost traffic and revenue. You have 3 seconds to capture the attention of your potential patient. The longer your site takes to load, the greater the chance your prospective patient has already closed your site and moved on to your competition.
This is why website developers in Toronto or Waterloo, emphasize improving site speed. You’ve invested time in crafting convincing calls to action and compelling website content, so don’t lose patients to slow load times.
3. Provide Quality UX on Mobile
More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, which means that more than half of your audience is also likely to be on their mobile phones. This is why your SEO strategy must include a mobile-friendly design to improve user experience. Give your visitors a better experience when navigating and using your site with:
- A clear and easy-to-use navigation menu that will let new and referred patients find what they are looking for quickly
- Useful procedure pages where it accurately describes the nuances of your services to your services
- Clear and engaging calls-to-action
- Visible registration and office hours
4. Post Quality Content
Consistent content that educates and delights your patients and helps them in their decision-making process may be the most effective SEO strategy. Create pages with engaging content that increase time on your page, lower bounce rate, and provide helpful content for the user. Users also want blog pages as they are high-quality content search engines.
5. Incorporate Long-tail Keyword Phrases Into Your Content
Long-tail keywords account for over 70% of online search traffic and are 2.5 times more effective than short keywords at helping improve ranking. This is because long-tail keywords are how your prospective patients actually search the Internet.
In dental markets, the search intent is more specific. One way to do this is by strategically placing keywords in headlines, keywords such as "dentists in London". Using keywords in your headlines help search engines understand what your content is all about. Your goal is to create headlines that match the most common and relevant search queries, all the while grabbing your potential patient’s attention.
Keywords should be at the beginning of your headline and should also be incorporated into the body content. If your potential patient is looking for “dental implants in Sarnia”, it would be favourable if you strategically include those keywords in your headline, body text, tags, and even your URL.
6. Employ Relevant High-Quality Link Building
Link building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. It helps you climb the search engine rankings for your pages or website by increasing the number and quality of inbound links to your webpage. High-quality link building can be done through:
- Internal links
An internal link is any link from one page on your website to another page on your website. Internal links increase patient engagement and generate higher conversion rates. Use internal links as calls to action. When your links are constructed in a way that makes your site easy to navigate, it will index properly and be found quickly by search engines. The more links your page receives, the more important it will seem to search engines.
- External Links/Authority Sites
If another website links to you, this is considered an external link to your site. Similarly, if you link out to another website, this is also considered an external link. Linking out to other respected websites regularly and earning links from other pages will help search engines determine the reputability of your page and sites. Not only will this boost your rankings in search results, but it will also help to position your practice as a leader in the field.
7. Implement On-Page Optimization Strategies
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to earn organic traffic and improve a website's rankings in the SERP (search engine results pages). Implementing on-page optimization strategies helps search engines analyze your website and the content connected to it so that it can identify if a searcher’s query is relevant to your site.
- Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are like advertisements for your website. They appear as the text below the title tag in search results and entices your potential patients to click on your link when they find it in a search engine. The goal is to get potential patients to click on your link. When this happens, your click-through rate will improve, and so will your ranking algorithm.
- Optimized Images
To help Google better understand your site’s image, use specific file names, add alt text, and reduce file sizes in order for your site to rank higher, increase visibility, and remain competitive in the SEO game. Optimized images, aside from driving more traffic to your website, also improve page speed which, in turn, improves user experience and results in higher conversion rates.
8. Optimize For Voice Guided Search
According to Google, 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine. Understanding how to optimize your website for voice search can help you generate more organic traffic if you understand and implement conversational searches into your SEO strategy.
You should begin with a headline that asks a common question and use conversational long-tail keywords. Below the headline, provide a concise answer, then use the rest of the page to elaborate your answer.
9. Secure Your Google My Business Listing
If you've ever searched for a local business, you know that the first result shows a map directory. This is called the “local 3-pack.” You must add your practice on Google Maps. This is what you need to do:
- Claim your Google Maps business listing.
- Add as much information about your practice as possible.
- Use a local phone number.
- Add photos of your practice.
10. Get Patient Reviews
If 92% of potential patients read online reviews, it’s no wonder they’ve become a ranking factor for search engines. Having patient reviews signal search engines that your site is authoritative and trustworthy. Undoubtedly, potential patients will click on the practice with the highest star rating first.
Google reviews about your practice are also a ranking factor for local SEO, so make sure to:
- Ask satisfied patients to leave a review.
- Don’t force ALL your patients to write a review.
- NEVER write fake reviews.
- Make sure to respond to all the reviews, both positive and negative.
Published by Louise Marie