In today’s digital era, every business needs a strong online presence to attract new customers and expand their client base. The dental industry is no exception. With an increasing number of people turning to the internet to find dental services, it has become crucial for dentists and dental practice owners to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to stay competitive in the market.
Dental SEO involves optimizing a dental practice’s website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant search queries. This helps the practice to attract more organic traffic, improve its visibility online, and ultimately increase new patient appointments.
In the following sections, we will discuss in more detail why dentists and dental practice owners need dental SEO and the benefits it can offer to their practice.
Is it Necessary?
The goal of SEO is to improve your practice’s searchability and visibility in search results, but why is this so important? What is the significance of SEO for dentists?
Many dentists and dental practice owners are perplexed about dental SEO. It can be a particularly frustrating topic for dentists who want to focus on providing excellent patient care rather than becoming marketing experts. However, the reality is that dentists cannot afford to ignore SEO in 2023.
A dental SEO strategy is essential if you want to expand your practice and keep booking new patients. Having some background and expertise in this area will ensure that you understand the importance of SEO and are better prepared to do what it takes to climb the rankings.
What is Dental SEO?
As we all know, SEO is the process of getting to the top of a search engine result page (SERP) without paying for an advertisement. Dental SEO is the process of increasing the visibility of your dental practice in search engine results.
For example, when a potential patient types “dentist near me,” “implant dentist,” or any other combination of dental search terms into Google (or Bing, Yahoo, or another search engine), an SEO strategy is what helps your practice appear on the first page and in the top results. If you want patients to find you online, you need an SEO dental marketing strategy.
SEO is Essential for Dentists; Here is why?
When looking for a new dentist online, 75% of people never look past the first page of Google results. People trust higher organic results even more in 2023, with 39.8% clicking on the top result compared to 39.6% in 2022.
The most compelling argument for a dentist SEO strategy is that it is an effective way to attract new patients to your practice. But there’s a lot more there to unpack!
Consider SEO to be the foundation of a modern online marketing strategy for dental practices. Without SEO, dentists will be unable to effectively market their practice in 2023.
- It will increase patient trust and credibility.
There’s a reason why the majority of people click on one of the top three results in SERPs: they believe the dentists at the top are better. Google believes the same thing! The higher you rank the better you get, and as we mentioned above people don’t look past the first page of Google results.
The higher you rank in searches, the more likely potential patients will trust you and reach you through your website. The more people who click, the more Google trusts you as a reliable and credible source, and you will be pushed to the top of the search results.
- It drives more traffic to your website
According to the most recent research, organic (non-paid) search accounts for 53% of all website traffic. It could be even more for your specific location and website. This is particularly significant for two reasons:
- The more people who visit your website, the more chances you have of convincing them to book an appointment.
- Instead of reaching out to patients whether they want to hear from you or not, dental SEO makes it simple for potential patients to find you when they need you. As a result, you’ll get more high-quality leads (the patients you really want) and higher conversion rates.
There is also one interesting statistic, you would like to know, according to 2023 research, the average click-through rate for the top three paid search results has decreased slightly compared to last year. We can conclude from this that more people are avoiding search ads in favor of the top organic results.
- It Offers better Website User experience
A quality SEO service from a reputed company like SAG IPL will also focus on website user experience. In fact, Google recently pushed an algorithm update that emphasizes the importance of user-friendly content, layout, and design.
Best practises for offering best user experience include:
- Quick page load time
- Responsive and mobile-friendly design
- Page headings and subheadings
- Useful content
- Simple site navigation
All the above strategies will make it easier for potential patients to find what they were searching for. Google has earlier stated that websites that provide visitors with this type of satisfying experience will be rewarded.
- Your competitors may also be using SEO
The internet is a crowded and competitive environment. Dental SEO may be new to you, but we can assure you that there will be a few practices in your area having a proper website and SEO strategy. With your own SEO strategy, you can keep up with your competitors or, better yet, rise to the top and stand out as the best option for patients.
For example, if a person with a missing tooth searches “Mumbai tooth replacement” on Google, he/she will find a plethora of reviews, dentist directories, and competitor websites. Improving your SEO game will not only help your practice appear high in SERPs, but will also assist you in standing out and gaining him/her as a patient.
How Much Does Dentist SEO Cost?
The cost depends on various things, like current status, effort required, time required etc. and these things are not fixed in most of the cases.
You may hire and pay an in-house marketing expert or outsource dental SEO services from a marketing company, but SEO is not a pay-to-play strategy. You will have to be flexible with cost and duration to see long-term results without using paid marketing.
What’s the ROI of SEO for Dentists?
To calculate the return on investment of a search engine optimisation strategy, consider how much a new patient is worth to your practise.
Here are some numbers to consider:
- The number of patients generated by your SEO strategy over a specific time period.
- Average patient worth
- Average patient lifespan
- The cost of implementing your strategy
Lets understand with an example-
Assume you calculate your average patient value to be $653 per year, with a patient lifespan of 10 years. With that formula, $653 multiplied by ten years equals $6,500. As a result, each new patient who visits your practice will generate approximately $6,500 in lifetime revenue.
Let’s pretend you have a search engine optimisation strategy in place and your website is bringing in a conservative estimate of 5 new patients per month. Using the formula above, the lifetime value of those 5 patients is approximately $32,500. Over the course of a year, at a rate of 5 new patients per month, you will have added approximately $390,000 in future revenue solely through search engine optimization.
Consider that number in relation to how much time or money you spend on your SEO strategy per year, and you’ll have a good idea of the ROI for your search engine optimization strategy.
Here, You will also have to understand that unlike a short-term ad campaign, SEO is a long-term strategy that will benefit your practice. Paid advertisements are an excellent option when you urgently require new patients. However, SEO is the foundation upon which your practice’s marketing strategy is built. Optimizing your online presence today will yield consistent results for years to come and a higher ROI.
How Can a Dentist Rank on Top in SERPs?
Ranking on top in any search engine is hard, but it is possible. Nonetheless, keep your sights set on landing on the first page. Even climbing one or two spots can make a big difference! Understanding how SEO works for dentists is essential for understanding how you can appear higher in search results.
How Do Search Engines Work?
When you use Google or another search engine to find something, it is interpreted as a question.
For instance, if you search for “professional teeth whitening,” Google may believe you’re looking for a “good cosmetic dentist near me.” or “who is the best dentist in my area for teeth whitening?” The search engine will return results it believes are the most relevant and important answers to your query.
That is the essence of SEO! Optimizing your online presence so that Google believes you are a reliable source and can provide the searcher with the answer they seek.
How Does a Search Engine like Google Determine Where You Rank?
Search engines including Google want to provide the best results possible for every search. They do this by taking into account both on-site and off-site ranking factors. Let’s talk about both one by one.
On-site Ranking Factors for Dentists
On-site ranking factors refer to all of the data Google examines on your website. That’s right, Google and other search engines are constantly “crawling” through every single website, gathering data to paint a picture of who you are, what you offer, the questions you answer, whether or not you’re trustworthy, and more.
Dentists’ on-site SEO ranking factors include:
- What are the contents of your website’s pages?
- Keywords in copy and in places such as headers, URLs, meta titles and descriptions, and photo file names
- Copy length and quality
- Your website’s age
- The ease with which search engine robots can access, understand, and index your content (as close to 1 second as possible)
- Whether or not your website is mobile-first.
- How long do visitors stay on your site?
- Your website’s design
- How reliable your website is as a whole
Off-site ranking factors for dentists
Off-site ranking factors are all about what other people think of your website. Yes, the activities you and others engage in outside of your website can help you rank higher.
The number of websites/places on the internet that link to or discuss your website is the most important off-site SEO ranking factor for dentists.
The following are the specific off-site ranking factors:
- How did you get the link? (naturally, manually, or self-created)
- The popularity of the linking site
- How closely related the topic of the linking site is to the site/page being linked to
- The age of the link
- The credibility and authority of the linking site
- The number of hyperlinks, and more.
Now coming back to the main question i.e. How does a search engine like Google determine where you rank?
A search engine will consider all of the discussed on-site and off-site SEO factors when a potential patient searches for “Invisalign dentist” to help determine:
- Which outcomes should be displayed?
- What kind of outcomes should be displayed?
- The order of those outcomes
Furthermore, the search engine results will differ depending on:
- The keywords that someone searches for
- Where the individual is looking
- The individual’s search history
How to optimize a dental website?
Because your entire SEO strategy is based on your dental website, you must begin with optimizing it. Here are some steps to take when creating a website.
- Choose a CMS and Build a website
WordPress is a popular and easy to use CMS and you can use it to create good dental websites. WordPress sites are adaptable and scalable, and they look and perform very well on every size of screens.
After choosing a CMS, start building your website. To ensure that search engines can not only find but also read your site, avoid using flash, Silverlight, iFrames, or other media-heavy techniques.
Additionally, you should also take care of permalinks, meta titles, meta descriptions, alt text, Image and video file sizes, Page load times, broken links, etc.
- Create a stunning dental website.
The design of your website can make or break whether or not potential patients have a positive experience on it. And, as stated earlier, user experience is an important ranking factor for SEO.
Focus on creating a dental web design that makes an excellent and instant first impression. A modern, custom site designed only by a professional who:
- understands the dentistry industry, and
- has a background in SEO.
While doing web designing make sure to:
- Making certain that your website is mobile-friendly
- Ensure quick page load time
- Making certain that your website follows ADA and HIPAA guidelines
- Making the site easy to use and navigate
- Create unique, compelling, and keyword-optimized content
Great design requires unique, compelling, and keyword-optimized content.
- Content that is copied and pasted will be penalized. Always write in your own words, with your own distinct voice and tone.
- Google wants the content on your site to be helpful, dependable, and people-first. Make sure your content is focused on your patients (not you), that it answers common questions, that it addresses their problems, and that it outlines how to solve those problems.
- The most important aspect of SEO is that your content is keyword-optimized. This entails conducting keyword research for each and every page of your website and ensuring that those keywords appear in headings, meta information, and copy.
We recommend reading Google’s Helpful Content System and following its guidelines when planning, writing, and evaluating your content.
- Make a brand that embodies your core values.
An engaging brand communicates to your target patients what makes your practice unique. It also conveys the experience patients will have at your office as well as the services they will find there.
What is a brand? To begin, consider your practice’s logo, the colors and marketing materials you use on your website, and the typography you use on the web and in your physical office space. It is also the personality you project to the rest of the world in everything you do.
A strong brand will engage patients, aid your SEO efforts, and build trust with potential new patients who visit your website.
4 keyword research tips for dentists
Keyword research allows you to find out what your potential patients are typing into search engines when looking for the dental services you provide. As you might expect, this is an important component of increasing your online visibility and increasing traffic to your website.
We could write an entire guide for dentists on how to do keyword research, but for now, here are four pointers to consider when choosing your starting keywords:
- Use a keyword planning tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, SEMrush.
- Using one of the tools listed above, determine which keywords your competitors are focusing on.
- Create a list of the services you provide.
- Use search engines’ suggested searches (auto-complete).
Time for Local SEO
The most important details in this text are to add your practice to Google Maps, add as much information about your practice as possible, use a local phone number or call tracking number, add photos of your practice, list your practice on local citation sites and directories, build patient reviews, and make sure your backlinks aren’t broken.
To do this, you must claim your Google Maps business listing, add as much information about your practice as possible, use a local phone number or call tracking number, add photos of your practice, list your practice on local citation sites and directories, build patient reviews, and use a broken link checker to investigate any broken links. Finally, make sure your backlinks aren’t broken.
How Can Dentists Know If SEO Is Working?
Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing efforts is a critical component of a successful dental practice SEO strategy.
The following are the most important data points to consider:
- Conversions — Conversions are the desired actions that a potential patient should take. We recommend calls, form submissions, online bookings, chatbot conversations, and driving directions for dentists.
- Traffic — Consider the column, quality, and source of your website visitors.
- Keyword rankings — How your site ranks for each of your keywords, as well as how that ranking changes over time.
- Reviews — Make sure this number is increasing, and don’t forget to respond to your patients’ reviews.
Putting it all together
SEO is an important strategy for dental practices, but it can be difficult to implement. Our team of dental SEO experts use their years of experience to keep your practice ahead of the competition and ensure new patients can easily find you online.
We work with dentists throughout the globe and know the specific SEO tactics that work best for the dental industry. If you want to learn more, book an intro call.