If your dental practice is new to the online world or you are further looking to ramp up your existing online presence, you might well be considering ‘what is SEO and how it works for dental practices’.
Dental SEO is a very important part of any dental practice marketing plan. With more people searching for a dentist online, a dental practice will at the very least need to incorporate a local search in the form of an optimised ‘Google My Business’ page and various other localised business listings. This is to ensure that they can be found online both easily and efficiently.
So what exactly is dental SEO?
Over the years, the search behaviour of people looking for a new dentist has changed dramatically and has switched from scouring through yellow pages or local ads to the internet.
In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 76% of people find a new dentist by searching online. With this in mind, it can be lucrative for any dental practice to align themselves with search engines such as Google and Bing and this is where search engine optimisation (dental SEO) comes into play.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is essentially part of a larger online marketing strategy that includes an on-page and off-page SEO strategy. This means that you can perform SEO both on the pages of your dental website such as your home, about or ‘treatment pages’ and through the clever manipulation of business listings such as Google My Business, social media channels and online ads (off-page SEO).
Good dental SEO identifies and utilises targeted key phrases or words to ensure that potential patients can find your dental website online – ideally within the first ten search results or the free business listings. Key phrases like ‘dentist + city’ or ‘dentist + city + specialisation’ are proven to work well.
Search engine optimisation (or SEO for short) is not always easy, but it is necessary if you want to stay one step ahead of your competition. The great news is that bar a few tweaks here and there, once the bulk of any dental SEO is done, it should continue to attract a steady stream of new patients to your dental practice for many years to come.
So now we know what SEO is. How does it work for dental practices?
As is the case with most bricks-and-mortar dental clinics, dentists will want to rank highly in the local search engine results. Therefore, excellent dental SEO will focus primarily on local search without neglecting traditional SEO.
The first port of call is likely to be your Google My Business (GMB) listing, so look to fill in as much information as possible, including your contact information and a detailed description of your business. This is where you can embellish the content with Geo-specific key phrases.
To understand how keywords work, you first need to put yourself in the shoes of someone looking for a new dentist online. Let’s say that a person is looking for a dental implant dentist in the Sydney area. It’s highly likely therefore that they will go to Google and type in the following
‘implant dentist Sydney’ ‘Sydney implant dentist’ or ‘Specialist implant dentist in Sydney’
When they do, Google will return a whole host of pages that are applicable or relevant to that particular search.
So why were these particular pages, listings or websites returned?
Because the content on that page, listing or dental website has been optimised for that particular key phrase. The holy grail of an effective SEO strategy is to pre-empt exactly what people might be looking for and then incorporating those specific key phrases throughout your dental website, business listings or other content, effectively.
Of course, that’s only half the story because there are is a multitude of other criteria that make up an effective dental SEO strategy such as link-building and a well-designed and structured dental website. But for now, know that the first step in nailing an ideal SEO strategy is to optimise your GMB listing and to encourage online reviews.
Search engines like Google love quantifiable data-driven information such as starred reviews and this along with keyword placement, is one of the best things that you can do for effective local SEO.
What is SEO and how it works – Local search vs local organic
Now that your dental practice is (hopefully) ranking in local search otherwise known as a ‘local stack’ let’s take a closer look at what it takes to rank in the localised organic results.
Since Google aims to satisfy the user’s need, the returned page for any search query not only includes local search but also localised organic results – these are found underneath.
The good news for dentists at least is that geo-targeted search terms with local intent are primarily less competitive than say a generic search term. In effect, you only have to outrank other dental practices in your suburb or state.
So how do you outrank other dentists in your area?
By adopting an effective SEO strategy. While the above tips for local SEO will help, you should also be looking to…
- Build links back to your site from trusted industry-specific, authority sources
- Ensure your dental website is well-designed and easy to navigate
- Optimize content with geo-targeted key phrases
- Include geo-tags in meta titles and headers
- Embed a Google map on the contact page of your dental website
Hopefully, this has given you some insight into what SEO is and how it works and while you can, of course, try implementing your own dental SEO strategy, it pays to work with an experienced team who understand the intricacies of SEO in your industry. This is where we come in. Mediboost are an industry-specific digital marketing company who specialise in the dental and medical sector.
Call our friendly team today at 1300 163 058 for a strategy consultation and see just how we can help.