The internet has opened up a new avenue for small businesses and large alike to market their products and services. Dentists are among those who have turned to the internet to generate leads and for digital marketing purposes. The key to a successful practice lies in being among the top ranked practices on Google searches, or even better being top ranked on Google.
There are countless numbers of dentists to choose from, which is why a practice must differentiate themselves from their competitors and captivate their niche market. But what are the ways to best achieve the best online presence in your local care to grow your dental practice?
Perform and Plan Local SEO Research
One of the most difficult things to do for many business owners is to identify the keywords that people are searching to find their product or service. SEO should not be a trial and error practice where you throw things out and hope that something works. Search engine optimization requires using real and quantifiable research tools to find the keywords that will drive the most traffic.
An experienced digital marketing company can help you find the right keyword targets for your Dental Practice’s SEO campaign.
The key to finding the best keywords is pinpointing the user’s intent. You want to find keywords that indicate that a consumer is doing a query in which they intend to make an appointment or a purchase.
When researching keywords, you want to find those that drive traffic that is convertible from viewer to customer. Some viewers are looking for answers and information only, which can be fine because those searches add value to your website ranking. But if you are going to aim to answer questions, make sure that you do so quickly, or they will bounce to another site. And a high bounce rate will put a dent in your rankings.
A “bounce” occurs when someone visits your website and leaves without taking action and interacting further with your site. Your bounce rate shows you the percentage of your visitors who bounce off of your site. Therefore a high bounce rate is bad news!
When using keyword search tools, keep in mind that the main purpose of them is to generate ideas and determine their search volumes from month to month. Dentist keywords can be harder to rank due to the level of competition, but if you find the correct ones, and implement the right strategies, it will increase your traffic and your patients!
Keywords related to dentists are usually location specific like “dentist in Charleston”, or “best dentist in Orlando, FL”. After you have a healthy list of them, you can start to incorporate keywords and key phrases into your content, being careful to use them in subheadings, titles, meta descriptions and throughout the body. If you incorporate blogs, it’s a great place to target your keywords as well.
Before Your Target Local SEO for Dentists, You Need a Great Dental Website Design
Most dental practice websites have basic static pages like Home, About Us, Contact Us, and Services. But to have a successful, high-ranking website that captures more long-tail keywords or key phrases, it’s best to create focus pages for different services such as:
- Dental Checkup
- Emergency Dentist
- Cosmetic Dentistry
- Dental Implants
- Dental Crowns
- Teeth Whitening
- Dentist Open Now
Focusing on long-tail keywords for your dental practice is a fantastic SEO tactic. Long-tail keywords are keywords that are more specific and typically longer than more commonly used keywords. Long-tail keywords like “Invisalign Raleigh NC" get less search traffic than general keywords like “dentist", but will usually have a higher conversion value, as they are more specific.
Using keywords throughout your website in titles, urls, and meta data is important for Google. Each page of your website should showcase one keyword or key phrase.
For instance, if you offer Invisalign, you should definitely have a page or multiple pages highlighting Invisalign and really giving your visitors great content about the service. If you offer Botox for TMJ, there should be a dedicated page for that service, and so on.
Next, you will want to organize internal links. Link your dental secondary pages to the main navigation menu, which is located at the top of each page. That will help funnel Link Equity from the secondary pages to the homepage. Navigation must be clear and easy to access internal pages.
Technical SEO: How to Audit Your Existing Dental Website
If you already have a website up and running, there is likely still a whole lot of work to be done. You must be continually auditing your site to see where it stands and what areas can be improved. If you neglect bugs or errors in coding, they can severely affect your Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs. Some common technical SEO issues that might require your immediate attention on your dental website are:
- Crawl Errors – these are errors that make it impossible for search engines to reach pages on your website
- XML Sitemap – Is a list of all of the URLs coming from your website. This helps Google find out what your site is all about.
- Robot.txt File – Is a file that is meant to teach search engine crawlers against crawling to specific files
- Toxic Links – Are unnatural or unsecured links that point to your website
- Page Load Speed – Your page load speed is highly critical to reducing your bounce rate and session timing. Your site needs to load quickly and be speed optimized.
- Duplicate Descriptions, Titles, and Headers – When possible, eliminate duplicates
- Broken Links – Broken links happen when URLs addresses change and don’t update or they have added or are missing URLs. Avoid 404 errors at all costs.
Google has now launched a mobile-first index, so creating a mobile-friendly design has become critical. Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking so your mobile design must be on point!
Google has a mobile-friendly testing page that helps to analyze if your site offers an appropriate mobile experience to meet the standards of search engines. They will help to pinpoint pages that aren’t compatible with various mobile devices.
Having a mobile-friendly design is important, but you also have to have the correct content and information that help search engines classify your practice like promotions, events, phone numbers, addresses, and reviews. Make sure to have local elements that will help rank highly in local search results, so that when people are searching location-specific they find you first.
Best Practices for Optimizing Local SEO for Dentists
Image ALT Text
Dental images can significantly help your search engine optimization. Whether it is a blog or a landing page, every page of your website design should contain a relative image. Once the image is placed, you also have to optimize the alt text. The alt text is also referred to as the alt tag and it is a brief description of what the image displays. When possible, include the primary keyword in the image alt to get the highest ranking. If you are displaying an invisalign image, your alt tag might be “Invisalign Charleston SC".
Word count does matter, so optimizing it is critical for ranking purposes. Webpage content should ideally always be from 300-500+ words, but try not to add filler content that isn’t accurate or relative, or Google will flag it as spam. Your dental homepage should include things like the services you offer, where your practice is located, and a call to action that allows people to either phone or email you.
And don’t forget to include your primary keyword, which should be embedded in the first paragraph of your text, and then at least two times in the body with slight alterations to get full SEO coverage.
H1 headings are what main titles are called and they help to identify the content located on the page. They are meant to give a little more information about where the focus of the content is. In H1 headings, always include primary key phrases and keywords.
In practical terms, the meta description is the most essential component of each web page. The meta description is used to give a heightened explanation of what the focus of a web page is about. It should be kept to between 130 to 160 characters, which includes any symbols or spaces for Search Engine Results Pages.
When writing meta descriptions, focus on writing a very concise and poignant summary of the main page purpose. When possible, include both the primary keyword as well as a CTA (call to action) to get the maximum benefit.
Title tags are a very critical component for SEO purposes. A title tag should only be about 65 characters in total and include the keyword, or key phrase, or both. If you exceed the character limit, it might get cut off, so be careful to follow the guidelines.
Site URL Structure
Keep URLs keywords short and stick to lowercase letters and dashes.
Sound like a lot? Let Fu Dog Media Help!
This is just a quick overview of things you can do to maximize your Search Engine Ranking, but devising the overall strategy should not be completed by trial and error. There are a vast number of opportunities to increase your online presence if you understand what Google is looking for and how to make each page of your website count.
At Fu Dog Media, we specialize in local SEO strategies to catapult your dental practice to high rankings and get you noticed. Once we drive traffic to the site, we also know how to design your website to capture visitors via call, contact forms or other actions. Contact us to help create, design, or revamp your existing website and implement expert local SEO for your dental practice today!