A Step-By-Step Guide To SEO For Dental Practices

Dental SEO is a topic that is brought up again and again by dental practices. Still, many new practitioners either don’t know about SEO or do not understand it.

However, SEO has much potential for boosting your business, but how? And why is it something that dental practitioners need to take seriously?

Here we will discuss SEO and its importance for dental practices. This way, you can find out everything you need to know to use SEO.

Check out the guide below to learn more about dental SEO and keep up with your competitors!

What Is SEO?

Let’s start this guide with the very basics – what is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization and relates to how high search engine results in your dental practice’s website and ads will appear.

Every business wants its website to appear at the very top because this is the most likely link search engine users will click on – and this increases the business’s chances of successfully turning more visitors into paying customers.

Think about it from the viewpoint of the search engine user. They want to find a dental practice in their area to sign up for teeth whitening treatment. So, they go to a search engine and type in the query:

“teeth whitening in [name of a town].”

They search, and out of all the results, they check out maybe the first two or three.

By now, the user will have found a practice they want to sign up for their teeth whitening services and if yours is any further down in the search engine results, then tough luck!

As a result, you will want to optimize your practice’s website so search engines will view it as a legitimate, high-quality website to show to their users.

How you can optimize your website for search engines varies with many different methods.

One of the most popular is optimizing the keywords linked to your practice so your practice will be viewed as the ‘most relevant content by the search engine.

This extends beyond words like ‘dentist’. Your keywords will need to stretch to all kinds of dental-related terms, the location of your practice, your practice’s name and more. So it would be best if you optimize your search engine keywords.

But search engines will look at more than just the keywords used often in the content of your website. So, how does a search engine rank websites?

How SEO And Search Engines Work

So, SEO means optimizing your website, so it reaches the top spots on search results pages, but how do search engines decide which websites deserve to be at the top?

Here we will look at how search engines work so you can understand what areas of your dental practice’s website you need to address and optimize.

Later on, we will go into detail in our step-by-step guide but for now, here is how a search engine decides which websites deserve to go at the top of the search results page.

Search Engines And On-Site SEO

Step-By-Step Guide To SEO For Dental Practices

Search engines constantly check out websites online to gather as much information about them as possible. This method is known as ‘crawling’, which allows the search engine to create a kind of ‘picture’ of your website.

This helps them to decide if your website is trustworthy or fake and thus contributes to the overall decision of whether or not to feature your website on the first page of search engine results.

While crawling your website, search engines will look at the content and the keywords used.

This is done for every bit of text featured on your website, from the URL to the file names photos are stored under – so every keyword you add to your website is super important!

The search engines will then rank how easily they can access your website overall and how easy it is to understand your content.

This means that they also look at the layout of your website, how easy it is to navigate on both desktop and mobile versions, and even how fast the pages load.

Search engines even know how long the average visitor spends on your website, which feeds into how trustworthy they find it.

For example, if all your visitors immediately leave, this is a sign that there is something wrong with your website and search engines won’t risk recommending it to their users.

Search Engines And Off-Site SEO

However, search engines will also look at information about your website from an off-site perspective too.

This means that there are factors outside your website that can also help improve your SERP (search engine results page) rankings!

The more websites that talk and link back to your dental practice’s website, the more trustworthy your website appears overall!

Search engines will look at how you ‘earned’ that link and how popular the website linking to yours is. Even factors, including how recent and relevant the link is to your website, are considered.

All of this helps build up your website’s reputation with search engines and makes it appear more trustworthy to them.

However, it’s no good to pay a low-ranking website to link to yours or even try to make dozens of fake websites link back. These methods will only make your dental practice’s website appear less trustworthy and damage your website’s optimization.

Optimizing your website can take a lot of work to cover all of these areas, but it helps get your practice’s website to the top of the search results page, giving it more visibility and boosting your business.

But there are more benefits to dental SEO that increase visibility, so let’s take a closer look at why you need to take SEO seriously!

The Benefits Of SEO: Why Dental Practices Need To Care

There is more to SEO than just boosting your dental practice’s online presence and visibility.

Here, we will go through all the reasons why SEO is vital for a dental practice to succeed in this age of technology and competitive marketing.

Read them through to understand all the benefits SEO can offer you and how your competitors are already using it to boost their business.

Boost Traffic To Your Dental Practice’s Website

Most website traffic originates from ‘organic’ searches meaning that most visitors to your website will come from their searches and not through links or adverts you paid for.

As a dental practice, this statistic is even larger.

All dental practices should be concerned about traffic, as the more people who visit your website, the more chances you have to convince them to sign up for your practice and book an appointment.

SEO helps those potential new patients come to your website instead of you reaching out to your market. They benefit from finding high-quality results for their queries, and you don’t have to waste your time trying to market your practice to those who do not want or are interested.

This will lead to better conversion rates and help you quickly find new patients who can benefit from signing up for your practice.

Good SEO Will Increase Your Practice’s Credibility

So many people never click beyond the first five suggested results on a search engine results page because users believe that the best options will appear at the top of the page.

For dental practices, this means that if your practice’s website is not found in the top five results on a search engine, not only will it be less likely to be visited, but it also sends the message to your potential patients that your practice is not seen as ‘credible’ by Google.

Google and other search engines only want to suggest trusted, credible websites and sources to their users to maintain their solid reputations.

This means that without good SEO, search engines will doubt the validity of your website and be less likely to recommend it to its users and those same users will trust the search engine’s opinion and also distrust your practice.

So, SEO is needed for patients to trust your practice (and your expertise) and view your practice as a legit, credible business.

The better your SEO, the more traffic will visit your website – and the more likely search engines will be to promote your website for free.

Better SEO Means Better User Experiences

SEO is more than just keywords. Search engines also take in how your website is run and designed and how users interact.

This means that to optimize your search engine results ranking, you also need to optimize your website and make it easier for visitors.

Fast loading times, a mobile-friendly version, an easy-to-navigate layout, and organized structured content are all ways to help improve your website for your potential patients.

Providing valuable original content, your visitors want to read helps your SEO ranking.

This is because, as we said before, search engines take into account how long the average user spends on your website – so the longer they stay reading your compelling content, the more relevant your website will appear to search engines when it comes to rank your website on their results page.

So, boosting your SEO ranking means improving your dental practice’s website to where patients will frequently visit and spend their time.

This all boils down to making your website user-friendly so all visitors can have a positive user experience – making it more likely that they will return for more.

Your Dental Practice Will Keep Up With The Competition

SEO is not a new thing and every business is aware of it as they set up their websites and online presence.

Because of this, your competitors are already working towards boosting their online presence using SEO.

This has given them an edge over your business as their websites have been around for longer, already have an established user base, and have had longer to be linked to other websites.

You are already behind and need to catch up to your competitors by concentrating on your SEO. This will help your dental practice’s website climb the ranks and become just as (if not more) recommended as your competitors’ practices.

They have already had a head start – don’t fall behind even more by neglecting your SEO and SERP rankings! Stay competitive and take your rightful chunk of the market by using SEO to reach more potential patients.

SEO And Costs: Is It Even Worth It?

So, SEO is important and a great way to boost your dental practice’s business, but there is always one factor that causes people to put off their SEO and neglect it for some time.

It’s amazing how many dental practices first ignore SEO because they cannot afford a marketing expert or an SEO company to help them.

The truth is that SEO can be achieved at no cost, only time and hard work if you are willing to put in the effort.

This means that a paid marketing strategy is not a requirement to boost your SEO and see instant results, although it does certainly help.

So, SEO can be free – so just how much will investing your time into this marketing strategy bring back to your business?

To work out your SEO strategy’s return on investment (ROI), you must determine how much each new patient is worth.

Find out the average patient value and the average patient ‘lifespan’ – how long they stay at your practice as a patient.

Multiply the two numbers to give you the amount of revenue the average patient will generate for your dental practice during their entire stay as a patient.

Then, once you have an idea of how many new patients your website brings to your practice every month, you will be able to formulate their ‘lifetime’ value to your practice.

This will give you a number in revenue of how much SEO has brought to your business!

This formula is used by businesses to justify the need for SEO and it works. Improving your online presence and visibility will help your dental practice gather more revenue and seeing as SEO can be achieved for no cost, it’s a win-win situation.

So – why wait any longer?

It’s time to start optimizing your website for your SEO. This will help your dental practice stay competitive, improve its visibility, and boost your annual revenue, but where do you start?

Our Step-By-Step SEO Strategy For Dental Practices

Step-By-Step Guide To SEO For Dental Practices (1)

Now you know everything you need to know about SEO, from what it is to how much it costs, it’s time for you to implement your own SEO strategy so you can reap the rewards and benefits.

Below is our step-by-step SEO strategy, made purely with dental practices in mind. Check it out and follow it for yourself to see instant results with your own SEO ranking and business visibility.

Step One: Build Your Dental Practice’s Website

The sooner you set up your dental practice’s website, the better – this is because search engines take into account how long your website has been around when ranking its search results.

However, dental practices have a big question: Where is the best place to build a website?

WordPress is often said to be one of the best places to build a professional website for free because there are so many plugins you can download to add additional functions to your practice’s website.

This can improve its functionality, plus there are tons of templates you can use for free for a clean, easy-to-read layout.

When making the back end of your website, you will need to make sure that you include plenty of important keywords in your website’s URL, meta, descriptions, and more.

Also, ensure that your website is functional and loads quickly – otherwise, no one will stick around waiting for pages to load!

Plugins are available that help speed up a website’s load time so you can check them out on WordPress!

This step is about setting up the back end of your dental practice’s website, which includes all the behind-the-scenes structure that helps lay the framework for your later layouts and design.

Step Two: Focus On The Design

Once you have the back end of your website built, it’s time to start focusing on the front end! This means that you can now focus on the design of the website.

It’s important to ensure that your dental practice’s website quickly conveys to visitors (and search engines) what it is built for – a dental practice!

Add pages, links, and functions that help define the industry your website is a part of.

It’s also important to ensure that your website is secure and complies with HIPAA and ADA, as your website will potentially contain important patient data.

There are templates you can use to help you make an easy-to-use and navigate website layout. WordPress even offers templates specifically designed for healthcare professionals and dental practitioners.

So, you can take advantage of them if you prefer to avoid spending hours designing your dental practice’s website yourself.

This is also a great time to add your brand to your practice’s website. This includes a logo, a colour scheme, and appropriate typography.

You need to inject your website with your practice’s personality and convey what your business values and what you can offer patients beyond somewhere to receive dental treatment.

A safe, accessible place where their comfort is put first?

A family-friendly environment with special amenities for children? Or a kid-free practice with an emphasis on cosmetic services?

It all comes down to your brand!

Step Three: Create Content

So, the back end and front end of your dental practice’s website have been built and perfected.

While these will help with your SEO ranking, you will also need to publish plenty of content to help search engines read your website as a dental practitioner.

To do this, you will need to create original content that captures your patient’s attention and uses plenty of optimized keywords to help make your website relevant to certain search engine queries.

Coming up with content for a dental practice’s website can be difficult, but you can write pieces that discuss the treatments and services you offer, answer questions that your patients may have, or discuss their problems.

It’s important to keep your content focused on dentistry and oral health but you can dip your toes into other topics, such as mental health and food, as long as you can link it back to your practice and dentistry.

Another great way to think of content you can create for your practice’s website is to first research the most widely searched keywords.

These keywords can be used as prompts for articles, questions and answer pieces, or product reviews.

However, it’s important to avoid plagiarism. Your content must be original and anything that has been copy-and-pasted from a competitor will be an instant black mark against your business.

Search engines will distrust your website, and soon your patients will learn to distrust your practice.

Step Four: List Your Practice On Third-Party Websites

Now that the on-site optimization is covered, it’s time to look at how you can optimize your website off-site. You will need to encourage other websites to discuss your practice and link back to it.

Some great directories that you can use include Healthgrades, Yelp and ZocDoc.

These websites will not only publish your practice’s contact information and address but link back to your website and also give patients a place to review your services.

So, list your dental practice on these websites to kick-start this effect.

The more reviews your business gathers, the more trusted your website and practice will become.

Therefore, you need to encourage your patients to leave online reviews.

Yelp is a great place for this, but Google and social media websites like Facebook are also great places where patients can leave a review easily.

Conclusion

SEO can be difficult to wrap your head around if you’ve never heard about it, but it’s something that all dental practices need to take seriously.

It’s so important to the success of your practice as it boosts your business’s visibility online, allowing more new patients to find your business and sign up.

SEO can mean the difference between failure and success, especially as all your competitors are already using SEO to boost their businesses.

So, don’t fall behind; check out the above guide and try it out to boost your SEO ranking! Good luck!