What is SEO for dentists?

Did you ever wonder what it means when someone says, “That’s great for dental SEO”? 

This strategy can help drive more traffic to your website, and get more patients through the door by helping you move up the search engine results.”

Many dental practice owners and dentists are confused about dental SEO. For dentists who want to focus on providing excellent patient care instead of becoming marketing experts, this topic can be especially frustrating. 

In 2021, dentists will no longer be able to ignore SEO. Having a dental SEO strategy is essential if you want to grow your practice and keep new patients flowing. If you have some knowledge and expertise on this topic, you will fully appreciate the importance and will be better equipped to do what is required.

We wrote this guide to help dentists everywhere achieve success with SEO – we want to provide clarity and drive success.

First, let’s get the basics out of the way…

In what ways does search engine optimization (SEO) benefit dental practices? With dental SEO, you can appear higher in search engine results for your practice – that is, without paying for an ad, you are at the top of the page.

Search engine optimization helps your practice appear in the top search results when potential patients type dental search terms such as “dentist near me” or “implant dentist”. 

For patients to find your dental practice online, you need an SEO dental marketing strategy.

Insights into why dentists should use SEO

We discussed the purpose of SEO – to make your practice more searchable and visible on search engines – but why is that so important? What are the benefits of SEO for dentists?

About 70% of people will click on one of the top 5 suggestions in a dental search engine results page when searching online for a new dentist. Most searchers do not look past the first page of results.

One of the strongest arguments for utilizing a search engine optimization strategy for dentists is that it will bring new patients to your practice. However, there’s a lot more to it!

SEO is the cornerstone of a modern dental practice’s online marketing strategy. Dentistry practices will not be able to market effectively without SEO in 2022.

  1. Building trust and credibility with patients is the first benefit of SEO for dental practices
    In Google, most people click on one of the top 5 suggested results – they believe the dentists at the top are the best. Google agrees!

Getting higher rankings in searches makes potential patients more likely to trust you and click on your website. Google will continue to push you to the top of the search results as more people click on you as a trustworthy and credible source.

Your website will receive more traffic from search engine optimization
Most website traffic originates from organic (non-paid) searches, according to the latest research. It may be more depending on your location and website. There are two reasons for this:

Having more traffic to your website means you have more chances to persuade someone to schedule an appointment.
The goal of dental SEO is for potential patients to find you easily when they need you, instead of contacting them whether they want to hear from you or not. As a result, you get more qualified leads (the patients you want to see).

  1. Better SEO results in a better user experience on a website
    A good SEO strategy places a lot of emphasis on the user experience of the website. Examples of best practices within the dental industry include:
  • Page loading time is fast
  • with a mobile-friendly design
  • Subheadings and headings on the page
  • Content that is original and compelling
  • Easily navigable
  • This process makes it easier for website visitors (called good user experience) to find what they need, which enhances your SEO ranking.

Some dental practices use search engine optimization (SEO)
You may be new to SEO, but other practices in your city have been doing it for years.

We live in a crowded and competitive world on the internet. By creating your own SEO strategy, you can keep up with your competitors, or you can even rise to the top and become the best choice for patients.

A person can find plenty of reviews, dentist directories, and competing websites by typing “Portland tooth replacement” into Google. You will not only be able to appear in these results by improving your SEO, but you will also stand out and win her over.

SEO for dentists: How much does it cost?

Although you may pay an in-house marketing expert or partner with a dental SEO firm, SEO is not a pay-to-play strategy. Paid advertising is not necessary.

Do dentists see a return on investment from SEO?
You need to consider how valuable a new patient is to your practice to determine the ROI of your search engine optimization strategy.

Consider these numbers:

  • Patients generated by your SEO strategy in a given time period
  • and their average value
  • as well as their average lifespan
  • Manage the strategy yourself (or hire an agency) at your own cost.

For example…

If you calculated an average patient value of $653/year with an average patient lifespan of 10 years, your average patient value would be $653/year.

This works out to $6,500 if you multiply $653 by 10. In other words, every new patient that comes into your practice will generate around $6,500 in revenue over their lifetime.

With an SEO strategy in place, your website can generate, on average, five new patients a month. In terms of lifetime value, those 5 patients are worth roughly $32,500. Just from search engine optimization, you’ll have created roughly $390,000 in future revenue over the course of a year.

If you compare that number to the amount of time or money you spend on your SEO strategy every year, you’ll have a good idea of your search engine optimization strategy’s ROI.

Another important point to remember…
SEO is a strategy that will benefit your practice over the long run, unlike ads that are only run for a limited time. Today you can optimize your online presence and reap the benefits years from now.

What does it take to be ranked #1 on a search engine?


It is possible to rank #1 for any given search, but it is never guaranteed (after all, someone must rank #1). Nevertheless, aim to make the first page of search results. It makes a big difference if you climb just one or two spots!

How SEO works for dentists is essential to understanding how you can appear higher in search results.

What are search engines and how do they work?

In Google or any other search engine, what you search for is seen as a question.

By typing “professional teeth whitening,” Google may believe you are searching for “what cosmetic dentists are in my area? or “what is the best teeth whitening dentist near me? It will then give you results that it believes are the most relevant and important answers to your query.

It’s all about that in SEO! Optimising your online presence so Google believes you are a credible source and can provide the answer they’re looking for.

When search engines rank dental websites, how do they decide where to place them?
What factors do search engines like Google consider when deciding how you rank?
It is their goal to provide the best results possible. Ranking factors both on and off-site are considered in this process.

Factors affecting dentists’ rankings on their website

Search engines look at all the information on your website when ranking websites. You read that right, Google and others are constantly “crawling” your site for information to help them paint a picture of your company, what you offer, how you respond to questions, and even how trustworthy you are.

Dentists should consider the following factors when ranking for on-site SEO:

  • the content of their website
  • Copy and place, such as headers, URLs, meta titles and descriptions, and photo file names, contain keywords
  • based on copy length and quality
  • and the age of the site (the longer the better).
  • The ease of indexing, understanding, and accessing your website by search engine robots
  • and the amount of time it takes to load your page (as close to one second as possible).
  • Does your site work well on mobile devices?
  • What is the average time spent on your site?
  • Does it have a good design?
  • Does your site seem trustworthy overall?
  • These are just some of the questions we need to ask!

Factors affecting dentists’ rankings off-site
Off-site SEO refers to how other websites perceive your website. You’re right – your ranking can be boosted by activities you or others perform outside of your website.

For dentists, the number of websites that link to or mention your website is the most important off-site ranking factor.

These factors are:

The method you used to earn the link (natural, manual, or self-generated)
Authority of the linking site
Topical relevance of the linking site to the page/site linked
Date of the link
authority and trustworthiness
The number of links
Compiling everything
To return to the original question, how do search engines decide where to rank dental websites?

A search engine will consider all the on-site and off-site SEO factors discussed above when a potential patient searches for “Invisalign dentist,” in order to help determine:

Where to display the results
Review, directory, website pages, blog posts, etc. Type of results to display.
Order in which they appear.
Additional factors affecting results include:

Keywords used to search
from the location of the search
on the person’s history of searches

SEO optimization for dental websites

Starting with your website is the most important part of your SEO strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing your website.

  1. Use WordPress to build your site
    WordPress is the best platform for building dental websites. A WordPress site is scalable, flexible, and looks and performs just as well on mobile as it does on a desktop computer. Then, ensure that your site can not only be found by search engines, but can also be read by them. Consequently, you must not use flash, Silverlight, iFrames, or any other outdated, media-heavy tactics.

Additional SEO details to consider on the back-end of your website include:

URLs
descriptions and titles
Image alt text
Sizes of images and videos
Loading times
There are no broken links
On every page of your website, make sure all these things are addressed.

  1. Create a beautiful dental website
    If potential patients are having a positive experience on your website, it will be due to the design of your website. In addition, user experience is a ranking factor for SEO, as we discussed earlier.

Design a website that makes a great first impression by making it fast and easy to navigate. Having a modern, custom website designed by a professional who 1) understands the dental industry, and 2) is knowledgeable about search engine optimization is the only way to achieve that.

These professionals will use the following web design tactics:

Optimizing your site for mobile devices
and ensuring it loads quickly
Adopting ADA and HIPAA compliant practices
for site navigation and understanding

Create original content that is keyword-optimized
Content that is unique, compelling, and keyword-optimized must support great design.

Original content is favoured over copied and pasted content. Your voice and style should always be your own.
Attractive – The copy on your website should be focused on your patients (not you), address their common questions, and explain how to eliminate their problems. A good starting point is a StoryBrand strategy.
Content that is keyword-optimized is of the utmost importance for SEO. You need to conduct keyword research for every single page on your website, and ensure that the keywords are included in headings, meta information, and copy
Here are some tips on keyword research for dentists
Researching keywords is the process of finding out what potential patients search for when they search for the dental services you offer. Increasing the amount of traffic to your website is an extremely important part of increasing your online visibility.

Here are the 4 tips we recommend for selecting your initial keywords, but we could write a whole guide on keyword research for dentists:

Consider using a keyword planning tool, such as:
Google Keyword Planner
Moz Keyword Explorer
SEMrush
Use one of the tools above to find out what keywords your competitors are targeting
to find out what services you offer
in the search engines by using suggested search (auto-complete)

The importance of off-site ranking factors for your practice
You shouldn’t ignore offsite SEO opportunities. Remember, these factors are just as important and will complement your on-site efforts.

  1. Create a Google Map for your practice
    A map directory is usually the first result you see when searching for a local business or service. Local 3-Pack is how we refer to this. It’s crucial not only to have your practice listed on Google Maps, but to optimize it so it appears as high on this list as possible.

Follow these steps:

Add your business to Google Maps
and fill out as much information as possible
possible
possible, including a local number or a call tracking number
Include pictures of your practice

  1. Register your practice with local citation and directory sites
    Citations on the web that mention your practice are local citations. You do not necessarily need your website linked in these citations, but you must include your name, address, and phone number anyway. Examples of local business directories include:

Healthgrades
ZocDoc
Yelp

  1. Collect patient reviews
    It is very important to demonstrate to Google that you are a trusted dentist. Patient reviews are a very effective way to build trust in SEO – whether on Google, Facebook, Yelp, or any other platform. Follow up on the reviews you request from patients and develop a strategy for asking for them. Make sure your website includes lots of great testimonials.

It’s imperative that you fix any broken links if another website is linking to yours. A broken link redirects to a 404 error page.

Check the link with a broken link checker. Your developer or designer should fix any broken links if they are identified in the report. You can ask another site to fix the broken links if they are coming from another site.

Finding out if SEO is working for dentists

An effective SEO strategy requires measuring the results of your efforts.

Among the most important metrics to monitor are:

You want your potential patients to take the desired action by converting them. We recommend calling dentists, submitting forms, booking appointments online, chatting with chatbots, and getting driving directions
Traffic to your website – Examine the quantity, quality, and source of your visitors
Rankings for keywords – Which position on your site do you rank for each keyword and how does this ranking changes over time
Make sure your number of reviews is growing and respond to the reviews of your patients
Bonus: Check your site’s ranking with this easy trick
A new private or incognito window should be opened
and you should type the keyword you wish to rank for
and you should browse the results until you find your site

Have you gotten to page 10 yet? Search engine optimization would be a great help to you!

Dental SEO services can help you get more patients
Now that you know why SEO is important for dental practices and what’s involved, we hope you will have a better understanding of the method. Dentists often struggle with implementing search engine optimization strategies, even though understanding the basics is one thing.

We understand. Optimising your online presence takes time and expertise and requires a detailed, comprehensive approach.

This shouldn’t be your responsibility. Your focus should be on providing excellent patient care – what you do best. That’s what we’re here for.

Having years of experience, our team of dental SEO experts at Delmain can keep you ahead of the competition and ensure that new patients can easily find you online. Throughout the US, we work with dentists and identify the best SEO practices for dental practices.

Contact us for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Jakaria Hossen
Jakaria Hossen
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