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Dental SEO Explained: A Step-by-Step Guide for a Thriving Dental Practice

SEO Tips for Dentists

When was the last time that all your 10 patients for the day made appointments because they found your business on Google?

Never?

Then read on and find out why dentists need SEO for their practice and how you can benefit from it.

In this article, we’ll explain what dental SEO is, highlight what the key actions in implementing a dental SEO strategy are and present to you which steps you should take if you want your dental practice to rank higher on the search engines.

Why?

Because:

  • There has been a 150%+ growth in searches on mobile for “___ near me today/tonight” (for example, “dentist near me” or “orthodontist near me”) on Google in the past two years, according to Think With Google.
  • There has also been a 200%+ growth in searches on mobile for “Open” + “now” + “near me” (for example, “dentist open now,” “orthodontist near me right now,” and “pharmacy near me open now”), according to the same source.

If you’re new to SEO, some parts of the language we use will probably sound confusing, but no worries. We will do our best to make it as clear as possible, even to the first-time readers.

Take this piece as a starting point to understanding the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and staying ahead of the competition to bring in new patients with higher conversions and growing your dental practice.

What Is SEO for Dentists?

Dental SEO is a process of  driving more visitors to your dental practice’s website by increasing your website’s position in the search engine results page. The higher you rank, the better your chances are of attracting visitors and customers to your site.

For instance, if a potential patient goes to Google and types in keywords related to dentist services or dental service location like “veneer dentist” and “dentist near me,” they will find your dental business on the top of search results due to your SEO efforts and Google ranking.

What are Google rankings? It’s the order by which the websites are showing on the results pages when you type in specific words into Google. So, next time a patient looks for a “dentist near me,” you can no longer afford not to show up as the first result on Google.

Introduction to Dental SEO

Dentistry is a highly-competitive field of business, so it’s extremely difficult to stay at the top of the game, keep the old customers and get an influx of new ones constantly.

One half has to do with the quality of service and word-of-mouth recommendations by previous patients, but the other half has to do with marketing.

That doesn’t mean giving out old-school leaflets or putting ads in the local newspapers. It means investing in digital marketing for dentists.

In other words, not only do you have to be a great dentist but you have to wipe out the competition with top-notch advertising work.

Why Do Dentists Need SEO?

Now that you know what dental SEO is and how your site can become more visible on the search engine results pages, let’s find out why is this important.

1. Building Trust

A patient has to believe in the credibility of your service before booking an appointment. Dentists should invest in SEO to build more trust with first-time visitors to the site and patients alike.

2. Getting More Traffic

Trust improves your visibility on Google, which subsequently gets you more appointments and brings in new patients through your door. They might find you on local searches or local citation directories.

Most of your future customers will click on one of the first five results on the search engines, so a meticulously-planned dental SEO strategy can help you to get more traffic.

3. Defeating Competition

The third reason is the fact that you’ll stand out among the competitors. In the overcrowded dental market, there is little space for you to shine. Optimizing your site means getting on top of the dental SEO game and staying ahead of the competition.

4. Center of Expertise

Another reason you should invest in dental SEO is the fact that your dental site can become a hub of knowledge for future and current dental patients.

5. Offering a Better User Experience

Lastly, with a little SEO effort, you will always strive to have a user-experience-friendly dental practice website that will look professional and trustworthy, especially among first-time visitors.

Why Do Dentists Need a Dental Website?

Today, even your nearest auto mechanic has a website. It’s beneficial to him to become visible online and eventually get more customers but it’s even more beneficial to his customers who can easily find his workshop online, look for prices and decide to hire a business they find reliable.

The same goes for dentists. You need a website to:

  • Show what services you offer
  • Give useful information to the readers, e.g. answering the questions that the potential patients might have, like:
    • “How much do veneers cost?”
    • “How long do dental fillings last?”
    • “Do tooth implants hurt?”
    • “How to prevent cavities?”
    • “Does Invisalign work?”
  • Be able to rank higher on Google search engines
  • Get more patients booking appointments at your place.

Also, you need a dental website to fill out your Google Business Profile so that potential patients can visit your website when they’re looking for a dentist in Google Maps, which we’ll mention later.

Dental SEO Strategy: Our Approach

Devising a successful SEO marketing strategy means we have to start with areas related to your business that will have the most impact.

When a dentist comes to us, the first thing we do is understand where they rank in Google when a potential patient searches for Dentist in [City].

Moreover, we look for keywords related to specific services being offered and see if these keywords are  bringing any traffic and what can we do to improve results.

Keyword Research for Dental SEO

The first step in creating the perfect search engine optimization strategy is getting to know the keywords. Keyword research is crucial to know what words to use on the site to show the potential patients what you do. There are different ways of making a list of primary keywords that we will use in the content later.

Competitor Sites

Our approach also consists of looking at your competitors and seeing what kind of content they publish. Seeing what keywords bring traffic to your main competitors will tell us where to focus in our keyword research.

We usually find out what the competitor sites are by simply Googling one of the primary keywords from our list.

Sites that rank on the first page for each keyword are the sites Google deems most relevant. Here we will look at what type of content they publish, if they use many different keywords throughout the text on the site and whether those keywords differ from the ones we came up with earlier.

Buyer-Intent Keywords

Next, we put ourselves in the shoes of one of your patients. What would they look for on search engines when needing dentists’ services? What would they type into the search bar?

They would probably look for an “expert dental fillings dentist” or “best teeth whitening service.”

These types of keywords are called commercial or buyer intent keywords. They signify an intention of your potential patients to find a dentist who does dental fillings and the best teeth whitening service near their location and once they type them into the search bar, Google will try to answer their question.

You can see that the first results are local businesses listed on Google Maps that are near you when you’re searching for the keyword we mentioned. In other words, they put their dental practice on Google My Business listing. Read on to find out how we can set up your GMB listing and start ranking in those local searches.

Now back to the importance of intent keywords. These keywords are one of the most significant ranking factors you can have on your site. Why? Because they help the patients get exactly what they came looking for.

Another activity we do in our approach is coming up with questions and answers based on these keywords to add them to the FAQ page on the site but also to fill out other pages with content that answers people’s questions.

By replying to the questions, as well as optimizing the site for local searches (which we’ll mention later), the patients can find you and get the information they need easily. At the same time, Google recognizes your business as a trustworthy dental practice and lifts your site on the search results pages based on its algorithm.

Once we find out what type of keywords your patients use, we should think about the intent behind those keywords to create new content accordingly.

If the searchers want to know more about dental procedures and in case we come across many keywords like “what is a dental crown” or “is tooth extraction painful,” these are great sources for creating new content like articles or newsletters.

Related Search Terms on Google

Related search terms on Google are the next key step in dental keyword research. Those are the keywords that appear at the bottom of a Google search results page when typing a specific keyword.

For instance, here are some of the related searches that come up after typing in “teeth whitening” into Google:

This is a clear indication of what people are searching for along with the keyword “teeth whitening.” We sometimes take advantage of this by including some of the keywords from related searches to the content on our clients’ websites.

Creating an in-depth article such as “Professional Teeth Whitening: Step by Step Process” or “The Science Between Teeth Whitening Strips” or adding keywords like “best teeth whitening” on a specific page is the first step to optimizing dental content with the help of related searches.

After that, we can discover more keywords by typing in some of the related searches and finding more related searches. Soon, there’s a whole library of fresh keywords at our disposal.

Keyword Research Tools

Your competitors, buyer-intent keywords, and related searches will most likely be an excellent source of ideas for the keywords. Still, we won’t be able to find some hidden gems with low keyword difficulty numbers on your competitors’ sites if they don’t target them.

That’s where keyword research tools come into play. These tools can pull out hundreds of related keywords based on a single keyword you entered into the search bar.

The most popular free keyword tool our agency uses is Google Keyword Planner that comes with Google Ads (formerly Google Analytics) account. It is an excellent tool to track the performance of the site but in this case, we use it to find fresh keywords.

There are other keyword research tools that we often use:

Here are Ahrefs’ suggestions for the keyword “dental fillings.” We can see that there are a few items on the list whose keyword difficulty (KD) is less than 15, so we aim to target such keywords.

A great idea would be taking “do dental fillings hurt” as the primary keyword and doing an article on this topic. Not only will this give website visitors credible information, but provide a piece of professional advice and invite them to book an appointment at your dental practice.

Start Writing to Boost Your Website Ranking

When we decide what tools we are going to use in the keyword research and come up with a list of relevant dental SEO keywords for your business, it’s time to start the rest of the dental search engine optimization strategy.

Your dental website needs to be filled with informative and readable text. Be it the Service page, the About Us page, the Blog section, or the FAQ section, the content has to solve the reader’s question, make them stay on the site and decide that your dental office is the right place for them.

Search engine rankings also depend on the amount, type, and quality of the text on a dental practice’s website. So, let’s find out what writing-related tactics to implement.

Many dental websites will ignore this step completely and miss out on the opportunity to bring in new patients. That’s why our agency always takes publishing informative content seriously.

Article Writing

Dental SEO efforts aren’t complete without investing some time in writing articles. Frequent article publishing on dental websites means more chances of getting to the first page of Google’s search results for the specific keyword we target.

Today the best types of articles are those that can show a potential patient that you’re a trustworthy local business and a credible source of information for any dental topic they want to read about. Here’s a hint: longer in-depth pieces always perform better in dental practice rankings.

When writing articles, our dental SEO experts are always making sure to:

  1. Create original content – All of the articles have to be original. If copying anything, there’s always a link to the source.
  2. Providing credible information – People dislike wrong information, especially when it comes to their health. Giving them a reason to stay is easy when providing useful information.
  3. Focus on the potential patients – Let’s say there’s an article on tooth decay in the making. Here, we would add links to related content, like a YouTube video on tooth-healthy foods or an article explaining why fluoride toothpaste is important for tooth health.

Useful Content on Other Website Pages

When they land on your dental website homepage or any other web pages, your potential patients want to either book an appointment, read about the dental services you offer or check out what do you have to say about dental fillings or any other similar topic.

Before that can happen, we need to make sure that the search engine optimization is going in the right direction. No matter how many pages there are on the site, they all have to have useful content on them. The content that answers the people’s possible questions.

Link Building – Interlinks, Backlinks

If there’s a page with explanations on the types of procedures you offer, the text should go in-depth about each subject and link to articles on the site about each procedure.

In that case, we need to provide useful information and give the reader an option to know more about the topic by simply clicking on the link.

It is called interlinking. It’s essentially linking pieces of website content to other articles on your site and it is an invaluable tactic in search engine optimization. In each article, there has to be at least one link going to another article or another page on the site.

Another tactic to implement is getting backlinks to your site. Those are the links on the other sites that lead to your site. One way to get them is to do guest posting – a technique in which we provide the insights and expertise in the form of an article and include a link to your site. To start, we have to check the list of dental guest posting sites and focus on the sites with high domain authority (DA).

Another part of our interlinking activity is to post only professional and in-depth content on the blog/article pages, including linkable content, such as videos and infographics. This way your website becomes more credible and can become a source of knowledge to other writers who will link to your site when creating their new pieces.

Lastly, we can take advantage of local citations, which we’ll discuss a bit later since they’re a part of local SEO.

FAQ Section

The FAQ section is where you can catch some of Google’s featured snippets with various dental search terms.

A snippet is a search result displayed before the link to the site and other search results. It is more visible than other search results and in the form of a short explanation of the search query.

Implementing an FAQ section in the articles or as a standalone page on the dental site can help you bring more potential patients.

Google determines whether pieces of information on your site are good candidates for featured snippets. The five biggest parameters we have to fulfill so your site can rank in featured snippets are:

  1. Creating content that answers different questions regarding dental practices or dental issues
  2. Knowing your patients and the possible questions they might have
  3. Implementing FAQ sections throughout the site
  4. Creating high-quality and trustworthy content
  5. Trying to give the best possible answer to the reader

The Science Behind Metadata and Tags

Sometimes the biggest difference in search engine optimization results will come from the metrics that you don’t see explicitly on the website. It’s the metadata or the information about the content on your dental website.

Since Metadata is stored in your WordPress database, we have to log in through WordPress to be able to change it. It’s the place where we change other content on the site as well. But let’s focus on the almost invisible content first.

Title Tags

A title tag is what people will see in big blue font on search results.

The optimal length of a title tag is 50 to 60 characters (including spaces), so we have to be within the limit when optimizing your pages.

Otherwise, Google will cut off a part of the tag and the potential visitors won’t be able to read the whole page name in the search engine results pages.

No need to count the characters manually. Moz Title Tag Preview is a great tool to easily check if we’re within the limit number.

As for the page title, we have to include the primary (target) keyword in it. It’s also good to run it through the Capitalization Checker to see if all of the words are capitalized (because only prepositions and conjunctions should stay lowercase.)

Lastly, you’ll see many local business websites using ampersands instead of “and” and pipes to save character space. So if there’s a need for more characters, we will use those as they won’t negatively impact your SEO. For example:

  • Manhattan Dental Care: Manhattan Dentist | New York Dentistry

Meta Descriptions

A meta description is the second thing a potential patient will see in the results pages. It’s the explanation of what the page is about and it shows beneath the link.

This chunk of text isn’t a ranking factor anymore and Google doesn’t really care about it but it’s still an indicator of what the page is about and helps with CTR (click-through rates.) It helps people to find out what the page is all about.

When potential visitors know what the page is about and the explanation is clear, they will choose your site over another one.

There’s no need for us to include the target keyword in the meta description; However, if it fits, we will always add it in.

This metadata part also has a character limit, so anything between 120 to 155 characters will nicely show on the search results. Title Tag and Meta Description Length Tool is an excellent helper to show you whether your words will show or not.

Headers (H1s, H2s, H3s)

Another thing to look out for is the headers on the pages. These on-page elements give meaning to the parts of the text below them.

H1s

There should be only one H1 per page and it’s the theme of the page. In the case of blog posts or articles, it’s usually the article title.

This one should always revolve around the target keyword. For example, if we want to do a blog about teeth whitening, here’s what we would use:

  • Target keyword: teeth whitening
  • H1: What Is Teeth Whitening and Why You Need It

On the other hand, if we want to talk about dental fillings:

  • Target keyword: do dental fillings hurt
  • H1: Do Dental Fillings Hurt: Textbook vs. Reality

H2s

H2s are always used as subheaders to the H1. These are your usual paragraph titles. It’s important to have various H2s but we should always follow the header hierarchy.

The best practices include having at least one H2 that contains a target keyword and splits the text of the page into bigger pieces of information.

H3s, H4s etc.

H3s, H4s, H5s and more are used as subheadings to the H2s, which you can see in this article as well. Let’s demonstrate how a dental service would use H’s on a blog page:

Target keyword: teeth whitening

H1: What Is Teeth Whitening

H2: History of Teeth Whitening

H2: About the Procedure

H2: Benefits of Whitening Your Teeth

H3: Looking Good

H3: Improving Your Mental Health

H4: Boosting Your Self Confidence

H4: Socializing More

Alt Tags

The last thing within the Metadata range is the alt tags on images. The rule of thumb is to always add the alt tag to an image when uploading it to a page in WordPress. We have to make sure to:

  • Describe what the image represents in a few words
  • Include the primary keyword
  • Limit the text to 120 characters or less

Quick Edits on WordPress

When the content for the pages is done and there are a few published articles on the site for some time, it’s good to update their Metadata. Here’s how it looks in WordPress:

The fields that are marked red and the date should be updated once a year or more if needed.

If we take the previous teeth whitening article, this is how the fields could be updated:

  • Title: What Is Teeth Whitening
  • Slug: what-is-teeth-whitening
  • Author: whoever is the author of the article
  • SEO Title: What Is Teeth Whitening | Healthy Gum Dentistry
  • SEO Description: Have you ever considered doing a teeth whitening procedure? Find out what it is, how it looks, and what benefits it can bring to your life.
  • Primary Focus Keyword: teeth whitening
  • Canonical URL: https://healthygumdentistry.com/blog/what-is-teeth-whitening

Local SEO Tips

Let’s venture into the local part of your dental search engine optimization a bit. Boosting your local search rankings can be done with the help of citation sources and Google Maps – Google My Business page.

Taking Advantage of Local SEO Citation Sources

Citation sources are the pages with references to your business. Once we add your business to these directories, it will be easier for your dental patients to find you online.

The most crucial element to take care of here is the NAP info – your business’ name, address, and phone. It has to be consistent across all citations that are filled with your business information.

Including a link to your site on these pages is essentially a part of the link building strategy, so we can fill two needs with one deed.

The place we often start the local SEO journey is a ​​list of local SEO citation sources.

Setting Up Google My Business

Another way to rank in the local dental searches is by setting up a Google  Business Profile formerly known as Google My Business (GMB.) This is a page that displays local businesses on Google Maps.

Sometimes you don’t have to find prospective patients – they will find you on Maps. The bonus benefit of setting up Google Business Profile is that you’ll be able to rank in Google more easily than with your site.

We will have to verify the account and add the name, address and phone number of your dental practice to the profile. There are also categories, a description, and additional information like working hours and images to add to the account.

There are rules to follow when making a Google Business Profile listing, so we always check Google’s guidelines before creating the account.

Asking for Reviews

Your dental online presence isn’t complete without real testimonials. If there’s a lack of reviews from the existing patients, we have to make sure to ask them to leave a review on your site or on the directories where they can find your business.

A friendly sign somewhere in the physical location of your practice is a good idea, but our approach consists of asking for reviews in newsletters or adding a CTA (call-to-action) throughout the site.

The most crucial tip here is to always answer the reviews – good or bad – to show that you strive to help your patients and provide the best possible dental service.

How Much Does Dental SEO Cost?

The biggest question to answer in the dental SEO tips is “How much does it all cost?”

Well, when talking about the return on investment (ROI), we should first look at whether the SEO efforts were successful. In other words, how many patients did you get in one month on average after implementing SEO?

Another item on the ROI checklist is looking at how long do patients stay with your practice and multiply it by their average value per year (how much they spend at your practice.)

Once we know how much a new patient is worth, we can multiply that number by the number of new patients that you get each month from optimization.

Now subtract the cost of professional SEO services and you’ll get the future dental revenue you can count on just from SEO.

Dental SEO prices can vary depending on what you need, but be prepared to spend anywhere from $2000 upwards on a monthly basis for a professional SEO plan and service.

Should You Hire a Marketing Agency for Your SEO?

Hiring a dental SEO company is the best choice if your goals include reaching and turning prospective patients into real dental customers.

You could hire a full-time employee to do the work for you; however it will cost twice as much as hiring an SEO company, but they will probably offer only some parts of the work you need. Moreover, you’ll have to manage them.

As a dental practice owner, you should look at premium SEO providers or marketing agencies that offer an all-inclusive type of service. That way you’ll get to work with people with years of experience at a lower cost.

Make sure to check the prices and see if they’re within your budget. The cost of the service depends on the competition; e.g. it will take considerably less effort to rank a local business in a city with a population of one hundred thousand people than in a city with a population of one million or more which means there will be more competitors.

However, the best decision is to avoid the overwhelm and hire a specialist like Omnicore that has the industry experience to take your practice forward while you focus on what you do best – being the best dentist in your town.

At Omnicore, our team of Dental Marketing experts with over 10 years of experience can keep your practice miles ahead of your competition and ensure you keep increasing your patient base.

You can fill out our simple online contact form today to get in touch with us for a no-obligation quote.

FAQ

What is Dental SEO Marketing?

Dental SEO Marketing is a set of activities used to place your website on the first few positions on the SERPs (search engine results pages) so that your business becomes more visible to potential patients online.

Why Do Dentists Need SEO?

Dentists need SEO to improve their visibility on search engines, build trust with old and new patients, rank in Featured Snippets, improve visibility on Google and get more traffic to win in the race with the competition, as well as have a resourceful site for the readers that also serves as starting point for different future projects.

How do Dentists do SEO?

Most dentists hire a marketing agency to do the work for them. It’s the best option to choose since SEO experts with years of experience will not only get you the results you wanted but implement an SEO plan that you can reuse each year with slight changes.

Why Do Dentists Need a Website?

Dentists need a website to display what dental services they offer, provide useful information to visitors and give them the details about the practice, to take the local rankings and to rank higher on search engines and get more patients.

Why Do Dentists Need Digital Marketing?

Dentists need digital marketing to position themselves in the sea of harsh dental competition, become more visible to the people who need their services and want to know more about a specific procedure, as well as become the prominent dental practice in the area.

How Do You Market a Dental Clinic?

You can market a dental clinic on various sites and social media platforms, but the easiest way is to use SEO and some tactics within it, like creating a Google My Business account and using numerous local SEO citation sites.

What Can a Dentist Do to Improve Their Site’s Ranking?

Improving a site’s ranking is done with the help of multiple techniques. Some of them are writing useful content on the site, optimizing metadata and related information, utilizing local SEO and asking for reviews from the existing and new patients.

What Are the Benefits of SEO for Dentists?

The benefits of SEO for dentists are better visibility on Google search results, having a user-experience-friendly website, standing out among the competitors, and having a site that is helpful both to the people and the organizations you might work with in the future.

What Is the Goal of Digital Marketing for Dentists?

The goal of marketing for dentists is to create a prominent dental website that will become a source of information for the patients, make the business a well-known practice in the dentist niche and be a trustworthy epicenter of knowledge for various people.

Dental Marketing Done Right

Every niche needs marketing of some sort, and dentistry is no different. When you decide that your dental practice website needs retouching, it’s best to hire only premium companies to get the best results.

Using SEO for dentists is a no-brainer for bringing in the patients you need and becoming the leader in the industry whose story will be told for years to come.

Contact Omnicore Agency to grab the best SEO service deal and crush the competition.

What did you learn from this article? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam
Salman Aslam is the Managing Director 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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