SEO For Dentists: What You Need To Know

Dental SEO

Dental practice owners and managers know the struggle of trying to generate new leads every single month. Allowing your lead generation strategy to grow stagnant could damage your practice over time.There is one marketing strategy that can help you to enjoy a steady stream of new local patients without continually investing in digital advertising. How can dental practices achieve this? With search engine optimisation, or SEO.

What is dental SEO?

Search engine optimisation is the process of making your website more discoverable to search engines. In the early days of the internet, this involved some pretty manipulative practices to try to achieve better rankings in the search engines. Today, search algorithms are very advanced and will prioritise the content that is the most relevant.

So, what does this mean for dental practices? You have an excellent opportunity to get your website in front of local people that are actively looking for your services. No spam techniques are required; you just need to provide relevant content and a strong user experience to succeed.

Search engine optimisation can be split into different categories. There are the changes you can make to your website to help improve your rankings, and there are the improvements you can make to your reputation (off-site factors) that will help to improve your rankings.

On-site factors include things like:

  • High quality content

  • Descriptive page titles

  • Signposted content with headers

  • Meta descriptions that convert

  • A well-planned URL structure

  • Internal linking

  • Image alt-text use

  • User experience

  • Structured markup

Off-page factors include things like:

  • Customer reviews

  • Social media presence

  • Citations and local listings

  • Guest posting and brand mentions

Combined, these create a picture of your dental practice that enables search engines to determine when and where you should appear in search engine results. This allows search engines like Google to ensure they are showing the best possible results when users search for dental services.

How can SEO help your dental practice?

SEO can help grow your dental practice by improving your local search visibility and allowing you to increase the number of leads you receive every month. Modern dentistry is a lead-generation industry as many patients will go looking for the dental services they need.

They might be looking for a great deal on orthodontics or dental implants. Or they might be curious about composite bonding. With the rise of private cosmetic dentistry, there is far less loyalty to one family dentist. Many people aren’t registered with a dentist and will simply go looking for services as and when they need them.

SEO allows you to enjoy good local visibility so you become the obvious choice when a potential patient goes looking for a specific service.

Even if you’re fully booked and turning patients away, being in demand is an excellent sign that it’s time to grow your practice. This could mean expanding your existing practice to bring in more dentists or add additional services. Or it could mean expanding to an additional site. Or it could mean selling your practice to a larger dental group. By increasing demand, you increase the resale value of your practice.

SEO allows you to enjoy good local visibility so you become the obvious choice when a potential patient goes looking for a specific service.

What steps are involved in optimising your website for search engines?

Now we know about the importance of optimising your website for search, it’s time to look at what steps you need to take to dominate the local search listings. These are how we would advise our dental SEO clients at the start of a new campaign:

Optimise your website content

Your website content may have been an afterthought for a long time, but it’s time to bring it to the fore. Your website can help to inform the patient journey by pre-qualifying them for treatment before they even get in touch. Start by expanding your website to include treatment pages and offer information about what each of these treatments can achieve.

Remember to speak to the patient in terms that they can understand and provide additional context for those patients that would like more information in the early stages. You can also add things like patient journeys, testimonials, pricing guides, finance calculators and smile galleries to help convince patients to get in touch.

Make your footer work harder

When you are trying to appear in search engine results pages for specific local terms, you need to make sure that your address is visible on your website. The easiest way to achieve this is by adding your contact details to the footer of your website. This will make it appear on every page, so you don’t have to worry about optimising for specific local keywords.

Be active on Google My Business

Google My Business is an incredible tool for increasing your visibility on search engines, specifically Google. And when you consider that Google’s market share is currently around 93% worldwide, it’s easy to see why this would be a worthwhile task.

A well-completed Google My Business profile can help to add additional context to your web presence and allows you to share timely updates, such as changes to your opening hours. It can also result in zero-click conversions, when users don’t even need to click through to your website to get the result they want. They can simply choose to call your direct from the SERP.

Ask patients for reviews

Being popular and visible is another strong Google ranking signal. Having lots of reviews on popular rating platforms like Trustpilot, Google My Business, Facebook or Yelp can help to increase your visibility and improve trust. This will help to convince prospective patients that you are worth checking out, and will also let search engines know that you are active and relevant.

How will you know if your strategy is working?

SEO is often misunderstood and this makes it difficult to measure and track the results. An increase in traffic won’t always translate to an increase in conversions, so be wary of any company offering to simply boost website traffic. For your SEO campaign to be successful, you need to be driving relevant, high-intent traffic to your website.

To know if your SEO campaign is working, keep an eye on your new leads and identify where they are coming from. Remember that some will come directly from SERPs, so don’t be disheartened if you see a spike in direct conversions without an associated spike in web traffic. If you’re unsure where your patients are coming from, you can try adding a question to your new patient intake forms to allow you to properly attribute conversions to SEO activity.