If you’re a dentist and you’re looking to increase sales for your practice, SEO is the way to go. Having worked with many dental practices in the past, search engines are the number one source of high-quality leads for dentists everywhere.
While many dentists are reluctant to move away from traditional forms of advertising, such as the local newspaper, direct mail, and the infamous YellowPages, search engine optimization (SEO), and other online marketing efforts, come with the luxury of big-time analytics allowing you to track results like never before. Additionally, it’s much more cost-effective and yields a higher return on investment.
In this article, I’ll be providing you with information on how to optimize your website for search engines to generate more leads and consequently more sales. Although some elements of dental SEO are more complex, primarily backlink and citation building, some are pretty straightforward and fairly easy to implement.
Let’s start with the appropriate keywords your dental practice should be targeting.
When searching Google for dental services, prospects insert search queries, or keywords, into search engines. Google then returns the most qualified websites for the searched keyword, ranking them 1-100. The first 10 will be located on the first page, or the Promised Land as I call it. Why? Because 98% of search engine users never scroll past the first page.
The targeted keywords for your practice will be what you are and the services your practice offers. So, who are you? A dentist. What services do your practice offers? Dental Implants, teeth cleaning, Invisalign clear braces, etc.
Being that your practice operates locally, each of your keywords should include your geolocation or city of operation. If your practice is in Matthews, NC, here’s what your keywords would look like:
- Dentist —> Dentist in Matthews, NC
- Dental Implants —> Dental Implants in Matthews, NC
- Teeth Cleaning —> Teeth Cleaning in Matthews, NC
- Invisalign Clear Braces —> Invisalign Clear Braces in Matthews, NC
Because people search for dentists more often than they search for dental services, “dentist in [Your geolocation],” and variations of it, will be the most important keywords for your SEO campaign. It’s important to note that, although you’ll be targeting the above keywords (and others), you’ll also receive traffic from close variations of each, due to the search engine’s semantic search capabilities.
Now that you have the keywords, it’s now time to incorporate them into your website. You’ll do this in a way that informs search engines that your website is now qualified to show up in search results whenever they are searched. Once your website has been fully optimized for the keywords, within a month or two, you’ll be able to see the natural search engine placement of your website for each keyword (assuming you don’t go any further than on-page SEO optimizations).
The goal of on-page SEO is to let search engines know exactly what each page on your website is about. By doing so, they’ll know which search inquires or keywords your website should populate for. Therefore, it’s important that each of your keywords have its own web page. Many dental practices hurt their ranking ability by having all their services (which are the keywords) listed on one web page.
Meta Tagging Your Keywords
Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a webpage’s content. While they don’t appear on the page itself, they are visible to search engines. Although there are other tags, not all of them impact search engine rankings. For your practice, the title and description tags are the most important.
- Meta Titles: This is the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page. For each page on your website, insert the targeted keyword along with the name of your practice. It should look like this: [Keyword] | [Name of Practice].
- Meta Descriptions: Meta descriptions provide search engine users with a brief description of the web page. Essentially, they serve as “organic ad text.” They do not affect search engine rankings. However, they do affect click-through rates (CTRs), or the rate at which someone sees your listing and decides to click on it. Inserting your target keyword here has proven to be effective.
Utilizing Header Tags
Header tags refer to the HTML markup used to distinguish headings and subheadings within your content from other types of text (e.g. paragraph text). Your primary keyword should be inserted into the H1 tag. If applicable, insert variations of your primary keyword in subheadings.
Increase Your Word Count
For search engines to understand each page’s content better, you’ll have to give them enough information about each service, or targeted keyword. Idealistic, 300-400 words of content would suffice. Yet, to maximize this ranking factor, try to have more words than the pages ranking in the top 5 positions, on Google, for your targeted keyword.
Optimizing Your Images
Having keyword-rich file names is crucial for image optimization. Search engines not only crawl the text on your web page, but they also search for keywords within your image file names. So instead of keeping default file names given by your camera or Shutterstock, rename your image files with your targeted keyword.
Alt tags are a text alternative to images when a browser can’t properly render them. They enhance your website’s SEO by associating keywords with images. As with other tags, your targeted keyword should be inserted here as well.
Speed Up Your Website’s Load Time
Search engines value fast-loading websites. Not only does Google aim to provide users with the most relevant information based on their search inquiry, but they also focus on providing users with a great experience. As this study shows, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Faster load times will improve your website’s ranking, as well as help you gain more organic traffic. Here are a few ways to speed up your website’s load time.
- Reduce the size of your images: If you have a WordPress website, download Smush It. It’s a plugin that will allow you to decrease the size of all the images on your website.
- Content Distribution Network: A CDN allows your website to be loaded from various servers across the world based on the user’s geographical location. Learn more here.
So, What’s Next?
Now that you’ve taken care of the more common on-page SEO elements, the next step is to track your results. You can do this by setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console, which are free tools that work together to provide quality data about your website’s visitors.
While these changes alone will positively impact your rankings, off-page SEO is what really moves the needle. Consider on-page optimizations as your website’s presentation to search engines, in which it introduces itself and explains what it’s all about. Off-page optimizations (backlinks, citations, social signals, etc) serve as references vouching for you and your services. The more vouches you receive, the more search engines value your presentation resulting in higher rankings.
Hopefully, I’ve been helpful here. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out.