Dental SEO is the process of optimizing your dental website presence on search engines to gain more exposure and more traffic. It uses your website as the main tool to increase your chances of being found online through search engines. Simply put: if someone searches for “dentist near me,” the practice with the best SEO will most likely be the first organic result. This means they got to the top of google search results without having to pay for an ad.
90% of search engine users only click on websites that show up in the first page of their search results. You absolutely want to be on that first page.
SEO isn’t just for dentists. Any business that requires an online presence (and let’s face it, in 2020, isn’t that just about everyone?), also needs an SEO strategy. The SEO strategy for each industry will be different. We’ll talk more about SEO in general later in this post.
Our Dental SEO experts at Digital Logic put together this guide for Dentists that want to attract more clients online through SEO. Why? Because the only thing we love more than Dental SEO is helping our clients dominate their markets.
Many dentists are realizing that in order to succeed in 2020 and beyond, a strong web presence is absolutely essential. But it’s not as simple as just having a great dental website and an engaging dental social media profile.
Let’s start with the basics.
Why is Dental SEO Important?
We know how difficult it is to be a dentist. You had to study hard, get through dental school, pay off your loans, start a practice, buy equipment, among many other things. Attracting new patients on top of this just adds to the already long list of things you have to worry about.
Many dental offices prefer to let a dental marketing agency take care of their SEO strategy. But for dentists who prefer a DIY approach, it’s important to first learn why Dental SEO is important.
First of all, what does a dental practice need in order to grow? More patients. Consider the Average Customer Value (revenue generated by all dentist visits during the year divided by the total amount of visits) and the Customer Lifetime Value (revenue brought in over the lifetime of providing services to a specific patient).
The Average Patient Lifespan (amount of time a patient returns to the same dentist) is about 10 years.
Customer Lifetime Value = Average Customer Value x Average Patient Lifespan
Let’s say your Average Patient Value is $850
Customer Lifetime Value = $850 x 10 year = $8,500
Next, let’s say that because of your awesome SEO strategy, you get 10 new patients a month. This works out to $8,500 per month, and $85,000 in Customer Lifetime Value. An additional 10 new patients every month from your Dental SEO efforts could mean $1,020,000 ($85,000 x 12)
As you can see, your online presence is an incredibly lucrative tool. Your website should be budgeted as an absolutely essential expense for your practice. Coming up with a strategy to optimize your website for search engines is just as important.
Remember, this was just an example! Depending on your location, the amount of people searching for “Dentist near me,” could be in the hundreds, if not thousands.
The right place at the right time
It doesn’t matter what time of year it is– people are constantly searching on Google for dentists in their area. When they have a dental emergency, they will almost certainly pick the first dentist they see in their search results. Did you know that more than 85% of people that use google to search for something never scroll past the first page? If you’re not where patients are looking, they won’t call you.
Here’s the deal: Over 90% of people who search for something on Google never go beyond the first page. If you want to gain the business of all those people in your area who just chipped a tooth or want braces, you need to meet them where they are: on google searches.
How Do I Get My Dental Website to the 1st Page of Google?
How did Google become the most commonly used search engine, not to mention most popular website in the world? Part of their success comes from matching search engine users to the most relevant results. Google’s algorithm makes sure that when people search for “dentist in New York” or “porcelain veneers in NYC,” they find websites that meet high standards. In order to meet these standards, a website has to be relevant to the search term, easy to use, and is overall high quality.
It’s hard to rank organically on the first page of Google. Ranking organically means getting to page 1 without paying for an ad. Your competitors are vying for the first page of google. If they can outrank you on Google, they will snag everyone searching for “dentist near me” without having to pay for an ad.
First, you need to think about what dental patients search for on Google. You want to be considered “relevant,” according to Google. This is where an SEO strategy comes in.
You want your website to be able to deliver any and every answer to a customer’s questions. Think of your website as an employee that works 24/7. It performs all the all duties of a receptionist, directory, and marketing platform. It’s more than a full time employee, and doesn’t even get a salary or benefits! The best part? You have 100% control over your website and how it promotes your practice.
If your website looks like it hasn’t been updated since 1995, Google will not look too kindly on it. Google also wants to make sure that your website looks good on mobile devices– considering so many people search on their phones.
Considering that you’re a medical professional, you want your dental website to look authoritative and organized. Not only do you want to make sure you answer the questions local dental patients are asking, you want to gain their trust.
Before making a big investment in dental implants, or even a few cavities, people do their research online. If your website has the right kind of content to convince them to book an appointment with you, chances are it has what it takes to make it to the top of Google search results.
Dental SEO 101
Ok, so now you know about why SEO is so important to growing your dental practice. But how do you actually formulate your SEO strategy? Here are some bite-sized steps you can take.
You’ve figured out that when people have a sore tooth, they might ask Google about their symptoms and what they should do. You wrote a reader-friendly blog on your website about toothaches. This blog could have many different effects:
- Your site visitors realized their sore tooth was serious. They booked an appointment with you right away (especially if you have an online booking system!)
- Visitors to your site determined that they might not need to see a dentist right away, but were grateful they found your page. They will remember that you answered their questions. You could be their first choice when something appointment-worthy comes up.
- Google took notice that your website provided relevant content for a search and ranked your website ahead of your competition.
Finally, patients want to be able to get information about services from your website, rather than over the phone. The more you can let them know how much a cleaning or exam will cost, the more likely they are to book an appointment right away.
Local Business Schema
Local business schema is a type of structured data. It’s also known as schema markup and it’s a type of code. It’s the language of search engines: it makes it easier for Google to know what information is on your website. There are many types of details you can put into your local business schema that will help your website rank.
If someone wants to know what hours you’re open and search accordingly on Google, Local Business Schema will help them get their answers faster and more efficiently.
Have a great blog page that talks about specific aspects of getting dental implants? Link it to one of your service-area pages. This is called internal backlinking and it can help enlarge your internet footprint. This helps your clients find relevant information. Again, Google will take notice and push your page up in search results. However, make sure none of these links are broken. Check to make sure all your links direct users to working pages. Otherwise, they may get frustrated and Google will not prioritize your page.
If other web users start to notice your informative, authoritative content, they might link to your page on their own websites. This is called external backlinking. If a lot of other pages on the web link to your pages, Google will begin to see your website as an authority. This will further promote you in search result rankings.
Make sure that if your practice is mentioned in a directory such as Yelp or HealthGrades, your information is consistent. You want to make sure that anywhere someone searches for you, they find the correct phone number, website link, and address.
Additionally, lose the ugly URLs. If your practice area pages have an easy-to-read format, such as worldsbestdentist.com/dental-implants, people will be more likely to click on them. A lot of people avoid URLs that look like this: worldsbestdentist.com/page/10-23-2020/dentalimplants/
Your website shouldn’t contain duplicate content. This means that you shouldn’t answer the same question on multiple pages. If multiple pages answer the same search query, they will end up competing with each other and confusing both your visitors and Google. Make sure that your menu is clear and concise. It should be a strong compass for your visitors to navigate your site.
There should only be one H1 per page. The H1, or title, tells Google the main focus of your page. If you have more than one, Google will get confused.
Although your visitors might not see the tags, or Alt-Text, Google does. Alt-text lets Google know what an image depicts, and if it closely matches the content on your page, Google will again prioritize your page.
If someone is searching for an “emergency dentist near me,” chances are, they won’t have the patience to wait for a page that’s taking a long time to load. Even if you made it to #1 on Google search results, if it takes too long to answer a patients’ question, they’ll head right on over to result #2.
You can check to see how fast your site loads by using Google’s Pagespeed Insights.
Another small but effective way to make sure your website loads quickly is to make sure all of your images are no bigger than they need to be.
Having a great Meta Tag, or Meta Data description won’t necessarily put you ahead in Google’s rankings. But it will surely make it easier for your future patients to find relevant information about you.
For example, if someone searches for dental office crown prices and sees your page in google search results, they will first see the meta data. Customize your meta data and make sure it provides a clue to your visitors that they’ll find the information they want from your page. This way, they will be more likely to click on it. Bonus points if you include location information in your meta data so they can call you if they want.
Dental SEO for Your Practice
We hope we’ve demystified Dental SEO for you and given you some jumping-off points to get your website in top shape. If you’re looking for more help, or want a free proposal from Digital Logic, a leading agency in dental marketing, reach out to us today for more information!