Dental SEO: Why is it important to grow your Dental Practice?
Dental SEO, or Dental Search Engine Optimization, can sound daunting at first. Many articles throw around industry-specific acronyms and technical language as if everyone should understand. This just further muddies the waters, and can leave you with more questions than answers. So let’s break it down simply.
First, what is a search engine?
“Search Engine” is a technical term for sites like Google, Yahoo, or Bing, that allow you to search the internet for information. We’ll use Google as our example in the rest of this article. Dental SEO, then, is an ongoing process that optimizes your dental website for these search engines. It allows Google to find your website more easily, index the individual pages on your website, and show your website in their search results, when relevant.
Dental SEO is not a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it process.
It requires regular upkeep to make sure that your site is putting its best foot forward to rank highly on search engines. Google itself says that when it comes to hiring someone to handle your SEO, “A great time to hire is when you’re considering a site redesign, or planning to launch a new site”. Dental Website Builders has ongoing dental SEO built in to several of our dental website packages. All our websites are built on a foundation of dental SEO best practices.
There are a few questions you need to ask yourself when you redesign or launch a new website.
– Does my website show up on Google?
– Am I providing high-quality content to people visiting my website?
– Does my dental office show up on Google, with the correct information?
– Does my website load fast and look beautiful on all types of devices?
– Is my website secure?
Each of these questions is important to your search engine ranking, so let’s take a closer look at each one.
Does my website show up on Google?
It seems obvious, but your site needs to be able to be found by Google. Web crawlers can usually discover and index most of your website, but if your site is particularly large, or if it’s new and doesn’t have many other sites linking to it, you may want to consider creating a sitemap to help Google out. As a side note, if there are pages you don’t want Google to index, you can specify those in a “robots.txt” file or in the head of your HTML, using a <META> tag. You can read more about robots.txt files at https://www.robotstxt.org/. Pages that use content from other sources should not be indexed as they could negatively impact your dental SEO score.
Am I providing high-quality content to people visiting my website?
One of the best things you can do for your dental SEO is to have content on your site that your users want to interact with. Beyond the basic information, continually providing valuable content to your clients via your website is a great way to help Google recognize that your web page should be placed higher in their search results.
This can be done with patient education pages, SEO blogs, or even videos. A great way to create valuable content is to start keeping a list of questions you frequently get asked from your patients and publish content answering those questions. Start thinking of your website as an ever-growing marketing tool rather than a simple online brochure.
Does my dental office show up on Google, with the correct information?
When you type in “dentist in <your location>” in Google, does your office show up on the map with your correct address, phone number, and hours, along with a link to your website? If not, you may need to log in and manage your Google My Business account.
To optimize it, fill out the following completely:
- Your business’s categories
- Main phone number
- Business description
- Hours of operation
- Address or service area
- Your Website
Does my website load fast and look beautiful on all types of devices?
According to statista.com, mobile traffic (excluding tablets) has accounted for around 50% of worldwide website traffic in the past few years. The U.S. is closer to 40%, but either way, it’s clear that your website needs to look good no matter what device your customers are using. This is commonly referred to as responsive design, and is a must-have feature for your website.
So, your website looks great on the gamut of devices out there. Great! Unless it doesn’t load quickly enough. A study by Google shows that as the load time increases from one second to five seconds, the bounce probability (likelihood that visitors to your site will get tired of waiting and simply navigate elsewhere on the web), increased by 90%!
Is my website secure?
No one wants to have to worry about security, be it in your home, workplace, or online. There are some steps that need to be taken to ensure that your website stays secure. If your site is compromised, it could be blacklisted by Google, which could lead not only to lost customers, but also a drop in your organic dental SEO. Using https (keeping an up-to-date SSL certificate) is important. In addition, you may consider using a firewall, as well as keeping any themes and plugins up to date, as there are often security updates as vulnerabilities are found.
What do I do now?
Our hope is that this article has been able to demystify some of the common dental SEO practices, and put these recommendations to work for you! If you find any of this overwhelming, or just plain don’t have the time because you’re too busy running your business to be able to implement these things yourself, we’re here to help. We offer stand-alone SEO services, as well as complete website packages with dental SEO built in.
As you can imagine, better search rankings on Google and other search engines means more people visiting your website instead of your competitors’. This means more clients for you. Check out our SEO page to learn more.