From a user perspective, search engines are a modern-day miracle. The fact that you can type in whatever information you want or need and within a second or so receive pertinent and exacting information back in the form of search engine results, is something that could have only been dreamed of just a few decades ago.
From a website owner’s perspective, however, search engines can be frustrating. While the process itself seems simple – get exposure and your website has a greater chance of selling products, having information downloaded or in the context of dental websites, gaining a raft of new patients – the execution can be difficult.
Why is it then that certain websites always seem to appear first in the search engine results every time you put in a particular search query?
Inevitably, luck doesn’t come into it. The reality is that it’s down to the fact that the webmaster or web owner understands how a search engine works.
So if you want to make the best use of your dental website it’s important to do the same.
How search engines work?
Let’s start with the basics…
Typically, users can find the right information they need in two ways. They can either…
- Type in the URL (web address) of a particular website into the address bar along the top of a browser or
- Search for information using keywords or keyphrases
So while a website owner has no way of establishing influence with the former, they can certainly affect the latter.
But how so…
Search engines like Google will want to return the search results they feel are most relevant or useful to a particular search. So one way is to create great content that carefully weaves relevant keywords or key phrases throughout.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say a person was looking for a children’s dentist in the Sydney area. Chances are they will go to Google or Bing and type in something like ‘kids dentist Sydney’ or ‘Children’s dental care Sydney’. When they do, the search engine will then scan its huge index or database of web pages and select dental websites or dental website pages that not only contain those specific key phrases but are also deemed the most relevant to that particular search.
So how does a search engine index web pages?
A search engine creates a page using a program called a web crawler. Every time a web crawler visits a new page, it creates a copy and adds its URL to a huge index. The information that the web crawler puts together is then filed as part of a search engine index.
At present, on Google, this equates to something like 130 trillion individual pages!
How do search engines rank results?
We’ve already mentioned that search engines rank results in the order that they think are most useful or relevant to a search or query. Well, the algorithm that has the unenviable task of ranking all pages is Rank Brain together with a knowledge base called Knowledge Graph. Collectively, they work in harmony to rank and return the most relevant content for users.
In simple terms, search results are a popularity contest. The more criteria a page reaches, the higher it climbs in the search engine results. The exact criteria or ‘ranking factors’ are a closely guarded secret but what we do know is that key indicators such as….
- Quality backlinks
- Trustworthy domains
- The number of words on each page
- The frequency a site is updated and
- The longevity of a page or site
… can all play their part. So whether your page falls on page one or page ten when the search engine pulls results, it has everything to do with ranking factors. This is in effect is how a search engine works.
So, for your dental website’s pages, you’ll need to ensure that you put all these ranking factors into practice. The art of doing this is known as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO for short.
The importance of search engine optimisation for dental websites
When you understand the behind-the-scenes processes that take place when search engines need to make ranking decisions, it not only gives you an insight into why certain pages rank well but also allows you to create new pages or tweak your existing pages to rank them higher. This is where search engine optimisation comes in.
SEO is the art of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to a website through organic search engine results.
To see just how important search engine optimisation is, did you know, for example, that 95% of all website traffic for a particular search result or query, goes to sites on page 1? Moreover those pages lucky enough to be in the number 1 position garner 33% of this traffic.
So going back to our original example…If you can rank above all other dental websites for the key phrase ‘children’s dentist Sydney’ then it’s only natural to assume that you’re going to get a ton of traffic some of which is likely to turn into new patients.
How a search engine works for dental websites?
In essence search engines work in just the same way for dental websites as they would for any other industry by using the Crawl, Index and Rank technique, the only difference being is that competition is likely to be plentiful, So as a top tip if you can…
- Organise and manage your dental website content so that it’s fully optimised to rank in the search results
- Continually add new pages of content in the form of blogs or posts
- Build quality backlinks over a period of time, and
- Ensure all content is of the highest quality and sufficient length
… then you not only fully understand how a search engine works but stand a greater chance of appearing on the first page of the search results and, hopefully, that coveted number one spot.
Although it’s good to master the inner workings of internet search engines yourself, it’s even better to partner with experts. This is where the team at Mediboost can help. We’re Australia’s number 1 rated medical patient growth agency and can work with you to increase your search results and patient numbers using tailored strategies that work.
Call us at 1300 163 058 today for a strategy consultation and let’s get started!