Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most crucial tools used in digital marketing, which makes it one of the most essential tools for modern dentists. Because most people find services they need on search engines like Google instead of soliciting word-of-mouth recommendations, maintaining a strong online presence is very important. There’s no excuse for ignoring SEO in 2022, so if you operate a dental practice, find out what you need to know about SEO rankings for dentists below.
What Is SEO for Dentists?
Dental SEO refers to the process of optimizing your practice’s website to improve its chances of ranking high on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) when users query related terms. It’s a fantastic alternative to pay-per-click (PPC) ads because when conducted properly, SEO will provide long-term results without incurring the same ongoing costs. It’s the best way to maximize the return on investment (ROI) for your practice’s digital marketing campaigns.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO is important because it creates what experts in the field call organic traffic, which tends to be the most valuable. Most people click on one of the first five top-ranking pages on Google searches without even considering the lower-ranking ones, and over 25% of people click on the first link.
If your website isn’t well-optimized, it won’t even appear on the first page, let alone capture the attention of the average user clicking on the very first organic link. Even the best-designed website won’t do your practice any good if potential patients can’t find it. SEO for dentists is always worth the investment.
How SEO and SEO Rankings Work
An effective SEO strategy appeals to both potential patients and Google’s search algorithms. These AI-driven algorithms are designed to stand-in for actual users, which means they prioritize high-quality and highly relevant content that people might want to visit. When users input a query into the search bar, the SERPs Google provides are chosen based on the results of search algorithms.
SEO for dentists involves a combination of optimizing webpages, updating local listings, creating relevant and high-quality content, building backlinks, and several other activities. There are more than 200 different ranking factors that go into determining how a page will be ranked on the SERPs, and Google doesn’t release comprehensive information about how its search algorithms prioritize content.
Most SEO experts focus on what they consider to be the top on-page and off-page ranking factors. Some of the most important on-site ranking factors include:
- Keyword presence
- Length of content
- Content quality
- Age of the website
- Ease of indexing
- Load speeds
- Ease of navigation
When it comes to off-site ranking factors, most SEO strategies rely on building backlinks. Backlinks come from other websites and lead to the page being optimized, and not all of them are created equal. Backlinks will be more heavily weighted by Google’s search algorithms if they are:
- Earned naturally
- From popular sites
- Related to the linked site
- Recently created
- From trustworthy and authoritative sources
As mentioned, a lot of work goes into optimizing both on-page and off-page content. This is true for any industry, but it’s especially true for dentists who must target competitive keywords.
The Importance of Local SEO
Keywords pertaining to dentistry tend to be competitive. This shouldn’t get you down. If you run a local practice, SEO can work in your favor. Using local SEO techniques can improve your site’s visibility among the markets that are most important: your neighbors and potential patients.
These days, Google’s constantly evolving search algorithms include proximity factors, which means they take a user’s location into account when providing results to a query that displays local intent. The best part is that there’s no need for your patients to include the geographical area or even the phrase “near me” in the query to activate those proximity factors. All it takes is searching for a type of service that usually requires local results.
If you want to improve your practice’s local SEO rankings, you should focus on:
Every page on the website should include your practice’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). It should be clearly displayed, consistent across all pages, and relevant to local users. Make a point of including not just the local address but also a local phone number.
Whether you’re trying to implement local or national SEO strategies, optimizing keyword use is always a top priority. You can include geographic indicators, although it’s not strictly necessary to instigate the use of Google’s proximity factors. That said, many people still search for things like “dentist in Los Angeles” or “dentist near me” instead of just querying “dentist” and trusting Google’s advanced algorithms to do the rest.
It’s fine to include some references to place, but don’t overdo it. Keyword stuffing is not an effective strategy for boosting SEO rankings in 2022.
Creating and Maintaining a Blog
Blogging is one of the most effective forms of content marketing. Publishing blogs allows you to provide useful information to potential patients while simultaneously building links and signaling to Google’s search algorithms that your site is trustworthy and authoritative. Relevant blog articles will allow you to include not just keywords related to dentistry but also up-to-date information with current timestamps and succinct answers to users’ questions, which can be showcased in the “featured snippets” section.
Including Geographic Information in Title Tags
Title tags are the short descriptions people see when they visit your website, and they’re some of the most heavily weighted SEO ranking factors. Include not just your practice’s name, but also its city to maximize local SEO impact.
Improving SEO Rankings Takes Specialized Expertise
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by this information, don’t feel bad. Dental practices are supposed to focus on providing patients with excellent care, not on learning and implementing SEO strategies. That’s where digital marketing firms come in. If you’re having trouble creating and implementing an effective strategy for boosting the practice’s SEO rankings, Upswell can help. Contact us today to speak with an industry expert.