Upon hearing the term digital advertising, many dentists immediately think of SEO – Search Engine Optimization. There are many misconceptions about SEO which leads business professionals to either underestimate its value in marketing or give it entirely too much weight.
The truth is somewhere in the middle.
SEO can be a vital tool in increasing organic web traffic and helping new patients find you, but due to constantly shifting algorithms it can be needlessly expensive for those who pay for placement.
It’s true that most people using a search engine won’t look past the first page of results, but there are simple and savvy best practices for using SEO in dental marketing to get noticed.
How SEO Works
Search engines like Google or Yahoo implement automation that categorizes webpages then adds them to a giant database or index. Depending on certain factors, those pages or sites show up when people submit an online search.
Basically, SEO is tasked with showing these algorithms that your website is the best choice. The two key components that determine this are relevance and reputation.
Relevance refers to how appropriate a page is for the query in question. This is particularly important for local searches and those for specific services, such as “implant dentist near me.”
Reputation isn’t about the practitioner’s character, but the trustworthiness of the site and its content. Search engine algorithms don’t “like” pages overloaded with keywords, zero keywords, excessive external links, and more.
Quality of content is most important when optimizing your website for search engines and it doesn’t have to mean dumping money in Google ads to rank.
How to Make SEO Work for You
Your goal isn’t to get everyone in a hundred-mile radius to visit your website, which makes SEO much simpler. You’re looking to attract qualified, ideal patients in your area that seek your services. Here are some SEO best practices that will make Google and the others work for you:
- Keywords. These are words and phrases that you anticipate potential patients using in their searches. Research beyond the basic “dentists in Atlanta” format and use words that are more specific to your specialties, like orthodontics, teeth whitening, sedation dentistry, etc.
- Images. Photos can be as important as written content. Oversized (uncompressed) images can hurt search rankings so use JPGs rather than PNGs. Also, add alt text to be user-friendly and change file names of photos to be descriptive – possibly with keywords, if applicable – rather than meaningless tags like IMG-123.
- Mobile Responsive. The majority of web traffic, including those looking for a dentist, use their smartphones. Make sure your site responds well on mobile or risk SEO failure.
- Link it Up. Including links in your content is vital for SEO and there are three types to consider. Internal links take your visitors from one page to another within the website. External links go to an outside URL from your page so make sure it’s also relevant and trustworthy. Backlinks lead from an exterior site to your page and can be great if from a valued source. Examples are social media posts, writing as a guest on a professional blog, published work in the industry, local news, etc.
- Breaking Down Your Services. It’s important to dedicate an individual page for each service you offer. SEO will be much less likely to rank a practice for restorations if it’s simply listed on the main page and nowhere else.
Ultimately, planning for SEO is worthwhile but shouldn’t be solely relied upon for dental marketing. RAMP can help set up your website to maximize SEO using foundational techniques that aren’t at the mercy of Google’s algorithms, as well as provide you and your practice a complimentary evaluation and consultation for an overall marketing strategy. Let’s talk.