Gaining more visibility for your website in search results for queries related to your area of expertise is the primary objective of SEO. While traditional SEO increases your awareness on a broader scale, local SEO marketing aims to raise your rankings in local search engine results pages (SERPs) so that you can attract patients from the area to your clinic.
Your position in local search engine results pages is still based on Google’s algorithms, which take into account more than 200 ranking factors—not all of which Google has made public. Before you become discouraged, remember that these elements were chosen with Google’s mission statement in mind. Once you do, you’ll know where to begin with dental SEO in general.
Relevance, quality, and usability are given priority in Google’s rankings. Producing high-quality content that is relevant to people’s search intentions should therefore be your main priority.
It’s tough to rank on Google’s first page as a dentist. What steps can you take to differentiate your practice from the competition and increase its exposure? Implementing a local SEO campaign using a tried-and-true step-by-step procedure is the solution. You can outperform your regional rivals by taking the five actions listed below.
Here are the five essentials for creating a local SEO plan that improves your online presence, draws in ideal clients, and boosts your revenue.
Step 1: Conduct keyword research
List the services your practice offers as a starting point for this stage. Fillings, crowns, tooth cleaning, and orthodontics may be on this list. You may enter each of your services into the Google Ads platform’s Keyword Planner Tool to find out what terms consumers are searching for while looking for dental procedures and services. (See related article: Google Ads for Dentists’ Guide.)
In relation to dental practices, there are two categories of keywords:
Keywords used to acquire
Ranking for hiring purpose keywords should be your main priority because they typically indicate that the person conducting the search intends to take some sort of action. For instance, a keyword like “dentist teeth whitening” denotes a hiring intention. The homepage and your services pages can then be optimized using these kinds of transactional keywords.
Keywords used for research
According to their name, keywords with a research objective are used primarily to gather data. A search for “teeth whitening at home” or “teeth whitening DIY,” for instance, does not indicate that the user wants to pay a dentist. In the same way, someone looking for the “cost of dental implants” might not be ready to go to the dentist just yet; instead, they’re probably just gathering data.
But keywords with a research objective can also be helpful. Due to the fact that they make excellent themes for FAQ pages or blog posts, research-intent keywords can support your SEO campaigns in a supporting capacity. To get material provided by your practice in front of potential patients as they conduct research, you could turn a research intent term like “cost of dental implants” or “benefits of electric toothbrushes” into a blog post.
Step 2: Google My Business page
When a searcher types “local dentist” into Google, your Google My Business page appears in the “Map” results. A completely customized Google My Business page will be essential to your SEO efforts and give potential patients a strong first impression of your practice. The fact that it is frequently quicker and simpler to rank your Google My Business page in Google than your website is a second advantage of optimizing your Google My Business page. These map pages are also included at the top of Google’s search results.
To accomplish it correctly, follow these suggestions:
You must first claim and authenticate your¹¹ page with Google before making any changes to your profile page. By login into your dashboard and looking for a checkmark with the term “Validated” next to your business name, you can verify that your profile has been verified. You’ll notice a “Verify Now” popup on your dashboard to begin the process if you haven’t validated your business. If you find that the same site has many pages, you should consolidate them so that only one is shown.
Name, Address, and Contact
Use only the practice’s legal name, and be sure to mention your precise address because Google will use that to pinpoint your location. Additionally, to boost your presence as a local firm, utilize your local number rather than an 800 number when it comes to the phone. Your Google My Business page, website, other pages, and other directory listings must all have consistent Name, Address, and Phone number information (including your Facebook page, Yellow Pages online listings, and so on).
According to Google’s recommendations for local pages, each category should define your practice rather than list its services. You may, for instance, include a category that only mentions “orthodontics” and not “teeth straightening.” You should list all the categories that apply to your profession. Dentist, Cosmetic Dentist, Dental Clinic, Dental Implants, Periodontist, Emergency Dental Service, Endodontist, and Pediatric Dentist are a few examples of the categories that are accessible for dentists. Choose the top three categories that apply to you the most.
You will be introducing your company to potential clients in this phase, so be sure that it is well-written and spell-checked to remove any errors. You should use a conversational writing style and include all of your dental services/specialties’ keywords in the description of your office.
Make sure the business hours listed on your website and local page are always correct. This is crucial if you experiment with opening your business throughout the weekend, later at night, or during seasonal hours.
Step 3: Optimize Your Website
Your website’s “core pages” (homepage and service pages) will initially be edited with the goal of making them more keyword-relevant for potential patients. You should first concentrate on hiring-purpose keywords in particular.
Your title tag is the most crucial element to optimize on the homepage (also called the page title). Although the title tag cannot be seen on the page itself, it is what is displayed at the top of the browser.
Title tags for web pages can be compared to chapter titles in a book. Additionally, the most significant title tag on your webpage is similar to the title of your book. Therefore, you should optimize it for your main keyword.
What is the primary keyword you use?
Consider the most obvious search term people would use to find a dentist in your neighborhood. The major keyword can be “Dentist in Your City,” for instance. To be sure you are selecting keywords that potential patients actually search for, you should develop a list of potential keywords and then double-check it using Google’s Keyword Planner.
How should your title tag be written?
The following is an example of a title tag: Dentist in Your City | Name of Your Practice. Therefore, your title tag might read Dentist in NYC | Manhattan Dental Associates if you’re a dentist in NYC and your practice’s name is Manhattan Dental Associates. You should aim for between 50 and 65 characters.
For your homepage, you should also create a special meta description that showcases all of your services. Although the meta description is not displayed on the website, it is the text that Google displays beneath the link with the blue underline in the search results.
Additionally, you should ensure that a pertinent term appears in the page’s H1 prominent headline. Your headline should be accessible, succinct, and descriptive. As an illustration, “Type of Dentistry” in “City, State.” Consider General & Cosmetic Dentistry in New York City.
Step 4: Focus on keyword optimization
You should optimize 2 different types of pages in particular. The quickest improvement can be found on your Google My Business page. Of course, you’ll also want to optimize your website’s important pages.
Pages Of Services
Having a single “Services” page that just displays all of your services/specialties with a brief explanation for each is a common mistake here. It’s crucial to have distinct pages for each of your dental services instead. You’ll have a higher chance of ranking in Google when people search for each of your services if you make a separate, in-depth page for each of them.
For instance, if you offer both general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry, you should have distinct pages for each. Additionally, you want to have subpages for each of the many forms of cosmetic dentistry you provide (for example, teeth whitening, dental implants, etc). You’ll have specialized, focused pages for each of your services in this manner.
Naturally, you should optimize each of those sites for pertinent keywords using the same procedures that we covered for your homepage.
It’s crucial that every page on your website has a distinct title tag, meta description, and body copy. Duplicate page names, meta descriptions, or content can prohibit your website from rising in Google’s search results.
Pages of Content
It’s time to start building content pages, also known as “content assets,” after you’ve optimized all of your “core pages” (homepage and service pages).
To find out what kinds of pertinent topics people are researching, the first step is to undertake keyword research (using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool). If you offer dental implants, for instance, you can discover that individuals are looking up the “cost of dental implants.” Therefore, you may make a page on your website that details the price of dental implants.
Where on your website should you host these pages?
Creating a frequently asked questions area for your website is one of the greatest ways, to begin with, content pages. List all of the queries you frequently get from both prospective and ongoing dental patients. If patients are asking these queries, there is a significant chance that they are also doing Google searches for answers. After that, make a page for each query and its response and connect it to your main FAQ page. As a general rule, each question and answer can be between 100 and 1000 words long (as much content as you need to answer the question).
A blog is yet another useful tool for publishing information on your website. We normally advise going a little more in-depth for blog entries, with word counts ranging from 300 words to several thousand per post
Use the same optimization techniques and procedures for content pages as you did for the homepage and service pages. Make sure the body material is well-written while containing pertinent keywords, and create a unique title tag and meta description (based on those keywords).
Step 5: References and Links
The first measures you need to do to start ranking in Google are to optimize your website and Google My Business profile. However, you’ll need to go above and beyond to stand out in a crowded field. The next crucial step in differentiating yourself from the other dentists in your area is to build citations and links.
Citations are references to your practice’s NAP, or Name, Address, and Phone number. First, you should put a reference to your practice on your own website, ideally also in the footer and on your contact page.
The next step is to increase your online visibility by registering with pertinent directories. Your Google My Business page, which we’ve already discussed, is the most significant directory entry. There are thousands of more business directories where you can list your company, which will increase your number of citations and improve your Google ranking.
Hyperlinks leading to your website from another website are referred to as “links.” These also go by the name “inbound linkages.” Google gives a lot of weight to the kinds of websites that link to you. Links are like a vote in favor of the authority and significance of your website. Generally speaking, the more links you have, the more authority your website will have with Google and the higher it will be able to rank for competitive terms.
Your top marketing expenses may include an excellent local SEO strategy for your dentistry practice. For the greatest outcomes, you should take an incremental approach to SEO.