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7 Must-Read SEO Tips for Dentists & Orthodontists

SEO Tips for Dentists

According to ADA Health Policy Institute, 95% of Americans believe that oral health is very essential to their overall health.

Teeth whitening kits and charcoal powders are all the hype right now.

But these products can’t replace dentists and now, more than ever, people are looking to spend on their “million dollar smile”.

At Omnicore Agency, we’ll help you to drive more patients and revenue to your medical practice. Speak with one of our experts today.

If you run a dental practice, one of your constant needs is getting more patients and clients to your practice. So how do you find these patients:

  • 90% of people use search engines to find local businesses in their area,
  • 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (e.g., Google)

If that’s the case, it then means potential clients are using the same medium to search for local dentists.

It’s the reality, people use search engines every day. They use it to find important information and medical experts such as dentists, primary care doctor, dermatologists, and so on.

One important question to ask right now is: will searchers find your dental practice when they use keywords that indicate they need dental procedures?

If they won’t, then you’re already losing money and you need to optimize your website and other online properties for search engines.

But how can you go about this?

We’ll go through everything you need to know to ensure your dental practice website shows up for the right keywords in the search engines, especially Google.

The State of Google for Dental Queries: How dental queries have evolved

Think about it for a minute: how difficult is it to rank your dental practice for a competitive keyword? Let’s check it out, shall we?

Many years ago, if you search for a keyword, you only have 10 blue links and probably a few more that are ads. Now, search engine results pages are more complicated than that.

For instance, when I input the keyword “Chicago dentist” in Google, I got 20 results. They are arranged as follow:

3 ads above the results and 3 ads below.

Chicago Dentist Search Result

3 organic local map pack results and an ad.

Organic Local Map Search Results for Dentist

10 organic results to websites with 2 going to Yelp and 1 going to ZocDoc.

Yelp and ZocDoc Search Result for Dentist

If you’re optimizing your practice for SEO, then you have a chance to show up among the 3 local map pack results and 7 search results.

Consider the number of dentists in Chicago and you’ll see how difficult it can be.

Another thing you can do is to take advantage of local listings’ ability to rank and ensure your profile ranks high on these platforms. When you click-through the ZocDoc result, these are the pages you see:

1. Choosing the right keywords

Whether people are typing the queries or saying it (voice search), keywords are the way people find pages on search engines.

And as someone who runs a dental practice, you get no benefit from showing up for a term like “gynecologist.”

Which keywords should you target for your dental practice? To give a simple answer, keywords that your potential patients use in search engines.

You can use keyword research to find these keywords. Generally, you have an idea of possible keywords that people might use when they need dental procedures.

Some possible keywords could be:

  • Dentist
  • Dentist + [location]
  • Dental surgeon + [location]
  • Orthodontist

There are many other variations and you should write these keywords down.

The next step is to use keyword research tools to validate these keywords or eliminate them. In some cases, the keyword you have in mind might be one that searchers rarely use.

Keyword research tools will show you details about your keyword to see if you should target them. Some details you can get from your keyword research tools are:

  • Search volume
  • Competition
  • SEO difficulty
  • Paid difficulty
  • Click-through rate (CTR)
  • Cost per click (CPC)

You’ll also get more keyword ideas that you can also target on some pages.

Dentist Keyword Research Tool 1

Some keyword research tools you can use are SEMrush, Majestic SEO, Ahrefs, Moz, Cognitive SEO,, Ubersuggest, etc.

Another point to note is that you should incorporate your location into your target keywords.

Google is now smart enough that it can show local searches without searchers adding the location. But it can still use the location on your page to match the searcher’s location.

After making a list of your target keywords, you need to incorporate these keywords into your page. Some locations to have your target keyword on your page are:

  • Title
  • URL
  • First few paragraphs
  • Image name
  • Image alt text

You need to note that you don’t need to stuff your page with keywords. This can attract a Google penalty. You can just use it a few times and ensure your content sounds natural.

2, Understand the User Intent for Target Keywords

In the early days of optimizing pages for search engines, it’s easier to rank pages high as you can just target a keyword with high search volumes and add the keywords as many times as possible.Now, this would get you in trouble. Because Google is now smarter, especially with the introduction of Rankbrain.

Google Brain Vs Baidu - IQ Scores

That said, the competition is getting stronger each passing day.

This means apart from the traditional metrics about a keyword that you get from keyword research tools, you also need to understand the user intent behind the keywords you target.

What is user intent? It’s simply the reason a user puts a search term into the search box. Keywords are grouped into 4 types based on their user intent. These are:

i). Navigational keywords: These are keywords that people use when they’re searching for specific pages online. An example of this is “Facebook login” or “Amazon homepage.”

If a searcher puts your practice name into the search box, then that’s a navigational keyword.

ii). Informational keywords: these are keywords that searchers use when they’re looking for information about a topic.

For instance, if a searcher searches “How to remove tooth decay” or “how to repair fractured teeth,” they’re looking for information.

iii). Commercial keywords: these are keywords that show the searcher could soon be spending money but they’re not ready yet. They’re still trying to settle on a choice. An example of this could be “best dentists in Chicago.”

Best Dentists in Chicago Search Result

iv). Transactional keywords: these are keywords that show the searcher is ready to spend money and are just looking for the best deal.

For your dental practice, this could be “get a dentist” or “where to repair fractured tooth” or “dental practice in Chicago” or “dentist in Chicago.”

When targeting a keyword, it’s vital to understand why searchers are searching for it and ensure that you meet the searcher intent. You can also put your keyword into the Google search box to see the results that come up.

This would give you an insight into what the searchers are looking for.

Keyword Targetted Search Results for Dentist

3. Building a good website structure

Google wants to send its users to websites where they can have a great user experience. Because a website with a poor user experience will lose visitors before they can even enjoy the great content.

To make your website easier to use for your visitors, you need to build a good website structure. But to do that, what are the actions you need to take?

i). Make navigation easier

The best practice in terms of navigation is to have your website pages accessible in no more than 3 clicks. If your visitors have difficulties in accessing your page, it can lead to a higher bounce rate.

Coronado Dentistry is an example of a dental website with good navigation:

Sample Dental Website - Coronado Classic Dentistry

Furthermore, you lose users before they can even take the action you want them to. Some considerations to make for your website structure are:

  • Whether you have a single dental practice or many in various cities.
  • URL structure that makes it easy for visitors to understand what your page is about.

With a better website structure, you make it easier for visitors to use your website. Consequently, you reduce bounce rate and increase time on site. These are positive signals that can help you rank higher.

ii). Increase Speed

Google has specified that website speed is a ranking signal both on desktop and mobile devices. Users hate slow websites and this usually leads to a high bounce rate.

In a study, Google found that the probability of a user bouncing from your website has risen to 32% once your website loads for more than 3 seconds.

Website Speed - SEO Effect

What are the steps to take to increase your website speed? The first step is to know your website speed. And you can use tools like Google Pagespeed insights, Pingdom, or GT Metrix.

Website Speed Tools

These tools will show you details about your website speed and what you can do to improve it.

Website Speed Tools Site Improvement Suggestions

Other steps you can take to improve your website speed are:

  • Use a fast website host.
  • Compress Images and videos to reduce size.
  • Remove unnecessary code and plugins
  • Use Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMPs)

iii). Improve Mobile-friendliness

Another way to improve the user experience for your visitors is to improve the mobile-friendliness of your website. Mobile devices account for 60% of total Google searches.

When you consider that most of the people looking for your dental practice are carrying out local searches, then this proportion could even be higher.

To improve your website’s mobile-friendliness, use the Google mobile-friendly test to check.

Google Mobile Friendly Test

You’ll get more details on how to make your website more mobile responsive when you click on “More details.”

Google Mobile Friendly Test More Details

In most cases, using a mobile-responsive theme will help you achieve mobile-friendliness. You should avoid having a different desktop and mobile versions of your website.

iv). Engage in internal linking

Search engine bots crawl your website through links on your pages. It’s important to interlink your website pages to make it easier for search engines to crawl your website.

Olive Chapel Family Dentistry is a great website that takes internal linking seriously. The content marketing team makes sure to always link to a relevant post they previously published. Here’s an example:

Website Internal Linking - SEO Improvement

Another important factor to consider is that very few people will link to your service pages where they can get more details about your services. Most of your backlinks will be to your homepage and your blog posts.

You can use internal linking to connect your blog posts to your service pages. Through this, you can transfer some of the link equity on authoritative pages to the less authoritative ones.

With this activity, you increase the possibility of ranking your service pages on search engines. Another benefit of internal linking is that it provides a better user experience for your visitors.

For a visitor reading about tooth decay on your website, they can follow a link to another page that explains a similar topic.

This gives them all the important information they need and also keep them longer on your website.

Don’t forget that a low bounce rate is a sign of quality pages to search engines. It tells them that your website is providing value for visitors. In turn, your page rankings will improve.

4. Optimizing Your Dental Practice for Local Search

The reality of running a dental practice is that most of your patients will be from your community. As a result of that, your practice can be categorized as a local business.

For local businesses, there are a set of activities that help you to show up when people in your locality search for your practice. Some of these activities are:

1). Create and optimize your Google My Business page

This is one of the most important steps to improve your local SEO. Google is by far the largest search engine and most people looking for a dentist in your area are using Google.

Dental Business for Local Search

Without a Google My Business page or a well-optimized page, it’s difficult for your business to show up for local searches and almost impossible to show up on local map packs.

Well Optimized Google Business Page

To create your Google My Business page, go to the page and fill in the necessary details about your business.

Google My Business Tutorial - Homepage

You should ensure you have your keyword in your Google My Business page title to improve your chances of ranking for that keyword.

If you have a Google My Business page already, there are some activities to carry out on the page to optimize it for your locality.

2). Add your business to other local listings

Apart from appearing on Google My Business, you need to add your dental practice to other local listings. Every mention of your dental practice on local listings is a way to establish your practice as a local business.

When there’s a local search query, search engines usually look at local listings to find credible local businesses. However, you should note that some local listings bear bigger weight than others.

You need to add your business to core local listings. These are both general listings and health listings. Some examples of local listings your practice should appear on are:

  • Yelp
  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Healthgrades
  • ZocDoc
  • RateMDs
  • WebMD
Rate MDs Local Listing - SEO Improvement

It’s important that you ensure the name, address, and phone number (NAP) of your dental practice are consistent across all the local listings you appear.

3). Encourage online reviews

Going to a dentist usually give people two concerns. They want to know how much it will cost. But most importantly, they want to know if they’ll be safe.

One way to find out is to check online reviews and see what their past patients said about them. Without online reviews, it would be difficult to know what to expect. No one wants to be unsure when it comes to their health. Another point to consider is that online reviews help you to rank higher on local map packs. In a Moz survey of local SEO professionals, they think review signals is the 5th most important signal for local map pack rankings.

Moz Local Ranking Factors - SEO Improvement

Carry out a local search query today and you can easily confirm the importance of online reviews. It’s difficult to see a high-ranking business in the local map pack without reviews.

Having said all these about reviews, patients rarely drop reviews about your dental practice. Very few people think of reviews when they leave your practice. It’s your duty to tell people about dropping reviews on your pages.

In some cases, you may add incentives like discounts or other forms to encourage people to leave reviews.

5. Building a Valuable On Site Content

You’ve probably heard this before and you’ll continue to hear it: useful content is the way you get results online.

Without useful content on your website, there’s a low probability of showing up on search engines. But what do we mean by useful content?This is the type of content that provides the solution a page visitor is looking for. According to the Google search quality evaluator guidelines, a high-quality page is determined by its purpose.

Building Valuable Content for Dental Site

As a dental practice, your content is even more important and Google wants the best and most accurate pieces of content on your website.

This is because wrong information about dental procedures or practices can lead to loss of money and personal harm to searchers. Hence, these pages are called your money or your life (YMYL) pages.

Your Money or Your Life Page Sample

In fact, the Google E-A-T update was nicknamed the medic update as it was targeted at ensuring that health and medical sites provided authoritative and accurate content.

You should ensure that your content fulfills the E-A-T requirements. These are:

  • A high level of expertise of the author.
  • A high level of the authoritativeness of the author and website.
  • A high level of trustworthiness of the author and website.
Google EAT Update - SEO Improvement

Another consideration to make in your content is the length. How long should your content be? It depends. If you’re writing about a wide topic, then your content will be longer than if you’re writing about a narrow topic.

Content Length - SEO Improvement

Having said these, creating useful content goes beyond the written content alone. You should also consider other content formats as some visitors will engage with them better.

You should repurpose your content into other formats like:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Slides
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars

In some cases, visual content drives better engagement and you should take this advantage.

Building Trusted and Relevant Inbound Links

Link building is the most important off-page SEO activity. But the frank truth is that it’s probably the most difficult SEO tactic to execute if you have a new website.

What do backlinks mean for your dental practice? It’s a means through which other websites vote for your website.

When another website provides a backlink to your website, they’re saying they trust your website.

When many websites do this, Google will see your page as a relevant page and rank it higher for relevant keywords.

One of the difficulties with link building is that you only have a bit of control over the backlinks you gain.

Other people will ultimately determine whether you get a backlink or not. But that shouldn’t be an excuse to give up. In some cases, you gain backlinks without asking and these are called editorial backlinks.

Other times, you need to ask or engage in activities that will attract backlinks. What are activities to engage in to build more backlinks to your website?

1). Guest blogging

This is one of the most effective link building strategies. As a Dentist, you might be discouraged as writing is not your strong trait. But look at it this way: Guest blogging gives you these possible benefits:

  • You reach a new audience where you can gain more patients.
  • You increase your authority as an expert in the industry.
  • You gain a precious backlink.

If you’re serious about getting patients online, then guest blogging is an activity you must embrace.

To find dental-related blogs to pitch your guest post, simply go to Google and enter any of these search operators:

  • Dentists + write for us
  • Dentists + submit guest post
  • Dentist blog + write for us
  • Dentist + contributor
Related Blog Search - Dental Website

You can either create the content yourself or get some help. If you feel your writing is totally hopeless, you can hire a health writer to create useful dental-related articles for you.

You should also read through their content before publishing to ensure the details are accurate.

Dental Website Authors Page - SEO Improvement

2). Answering questions in forums

When people have questions and need answers from experts, they sometimes go to forums where they can state their specific problems. As a dentist, you can join health forums or general forums like Quora.

By answering questions on these forums, you can establish yourself as an expert on these forums and also gain more patients.

A potential patient might visit your practice if you answer their questions in a satisfactory manner.

Another benefit of answering questions is that you can add backlinks to your website.

If someone asks a question that has been answered in details in one of your blog posts, you can answer this question briefly on the forum and add a link to your website.

To do this, you can go to the forum and search for a keyword related to your blog post. You can then provide an answer and link to your post for more details.This is an example of a search on Quora:

Quora Search Result for Dental Website

You can answer any of these questions and link to a relevant blog post.

3). Participating in local events

Through local events, you gain more popularity in your community as an expert.

Another benefit of participating in local events is that local websites can mention your name or practice and provide a link to your website

Through this, other people in your community can visit your website and get in touch with your practice.

If you need help with Link building to increase your medical practice’s website ranking in Google, Omnicore Agency can help.


7. Measuring the Impact of SEO on Your Dental Practice’ Website

If you’ve taken all the steps explained earlier in this guide, it’s important to see if you’re getting your intended results. Have you seen an increase in your organic visibility or traffic?

To see if your efforts are leading to positive results, you need to track important metrics. First of all, you must know that SEO efforts take time before you begin to see the desired results.

Generally, it will take months before you start to see considerable results. You should track these metrics after a month or a few months after you implement SEO activities.

1). Check visibility

Even though you might be getting no traffic yet from search engines, you can check the number of keywords your website is ranking for.

You can use the SEMrush tool to find the number of keywords your website currently ranks for.

Building Valuable Content for Dental Site 2

2). Check organic traffic

When you’ve implemented these strategies for a few months, you can check the number of visitors coming to your website through search engines.

To do this, go to audience under Google Analytics. Click on “+ Add Segment” and add organic segment. This will show you the number of visitors coming to your website through search engines.

3). Check organic traffic to valuable pages

You want visitors to your website to visit valuable pages where they can find information to contact your practice. Therefore, you should check where visitors are landing on your website.

To do this, go to Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages on Google Analytics. Add organic segment and you’ll see pages where your visitors land.


Having your dental practice show up for important keywords would help you gain more patients to your practice. However, it takes a lot of time and effort.

You can follow the strategies outlined in this guide to help you achieve those high rankings. What next? Start generating organic leads and patients to your medical practice, we’ll show you how. Speak to our marketing expert today.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam is the CMO at Omnicore, a leading Healthcare Digital Advertising & Marketing Agency helping clients across the globe. You can follow him on Twitter for tweets and rants about latest news, tips and advice on digital marketing.

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