How Do I Get My Dental Practice to Rank Higher in Search Engines?
We've been getting a lot of questions about how dental practices can improve their SEO – or more-specifically, how they can get their Web pages to rank higher in search results for the most-popular keywords and phrases consumers use to search for local dentists. This question is far more complicated than it sounds. If there were a quick and easy way to improve the rank of your Web pages, you would already know about it. There are literally thousands of SEO tips and tricks you could implement to help improve the ranking of your pages, which is why we recommend you increase your knowledge of SEO or hire a resource to help you manage this effort on an ongoing basis.
Whether or not you plan to hire SEO help, or you already have a dedicated resource for SEO and are looking for some fresh ideas, the following list of five marketing tips will help you to improve your results in the short-term. If your dental practice has already done all five of these before reading these posts, please share your feedback in the comments for our readers – let them know what’s worked best for you and what results you’ve been able to achieve since implementing these tactics.
SEO Puts Your Practice On A Busier Street
We’ve used this example in past posts, but it’s an important comparison to introduce to our new readers – and to reinforce for our repeat visitors. Your physical location has a lot to do with how many new customers find your dental practice and decide to come in for a cleaning. A lot of new customers will visit your practice simply because they’ve driven by it for years leading up to their first visit. Your virtual location – your website – works in a similar way. The internet is a busy highway. When customers are driving down the road (browsing the Web) looking for a dentist in the area, search engine optimization (SEO) helps make your practice stand out on the side of the road. If a customer searches for local dentists and doesn’t find your practice, they’re simply going to keep driving down the road.
Most dentists, office managers and other employees managing the shop’s website understand this concept. They know that it’s important to rank highly in search engines. Some might even know that more than 30 percent of search engine users will click the first search result that comes up (which is actually good news for all of us, when you consider that number used to be more than 85 percent – there is more room for competition today).
Knowing that you need to do something differently isn’t the challenge. Knowing what to do is where most dental marketers get stuck. What should you be doing to ensure that you have a good, functional website that will be found when people are searching for a local dental practice? As we mentioned above, there is a long list of things you could do to improve your website’s performance. It’s not necessary to do everything all at once. Instead, let’s focus on five relatively easy things any practice can use today to improve the performance of their website.
In the remainder of this post, we’ll cover some of the components that make up a “good” website in the eyes of search engines such as Google and Bing. By following this guidance, you’ll improve your standing with the search engines – and as a result, improve your local and overall search engine rankings. And remember, the higher you rank for keywords and phrases potential customers are using to search for dentists in your local market, the more new business you’ll see coming into your shop as a result.
Five Quick Tips to Improve Your Practice’s Search Engine Rankings
#1 – Complete Your Google My Business Profile
Google My Business is one of most important platforms provided by Google and acts as a vital lifeline for all businesses, especially smaller businesses that provide a good or service to a local area. For a lot of searches, especially local area searches, your Google My Business profile is the first impression that a user gets of your business. They can see pictures of your office, hours of operation, user reviews, website listing, and key details of your practice. Not only that, but your profile is also the listing that your business gets when someone is searching across Google Maps. For these reasons, it is important to make sure that all possible information fields are filled out and that you claim the business listing with Google so that users get as much information as possible. The final key to getting your Google My Business listing into tip-top shape is to make sure that customers leave reviews for your business through your Google My Business profile page. The more reviews your profile receives, your listing gains a bit more favorability for being shown in the local search results.
#2 – Use of Meta Tags Appropriately
Your primary meta tags are one of the most important factors to make sure that you get right when it comes to website optimization. Page tags are one of the main channels that your website uses to communicate with Google about what type of content the website contains and hopes to be found relevant for within the Google search results. Typically, your title tags are used to highlight a few keywords that give a good idea to viewers and search engines about what type of content can be found on the page, and the meta description is used to give your potential audience more of a clear, brief description about the content found on the landing page. Most importantly, meta tags help search engines understand what each web page is about, which will help rank your site.
#3 – Publish Relevant, High-Quality Content Consistently
The content aspect of a website goes hand in hand with making sure to use effective meta data to label pages within your website. A webpage’s content acts to bolster the title tags of that page in terms of sending signals to Google further indicating what topics of a page are relevant for search. Google accomplishes this by scanning the meta tags and content of a page. This is an important part of the search process and is possible because of the amount of data that Google has access to every day, allowing them refine their algorithm over time. It is important to keep in mind when you write this content that you should not just load each paragraph down with a ton of keywords for your industry, as this was once commonplace and was a good way to rank for essentially anything, however Google updated its search algorithm to counteract having spammy meta tags and content. That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be sure to include your main keywords a fair amount of times throughout your content, but as a rule of thumb you just want it to be read naturally. An example of what to avoid would be – “Our dental service is the best dental service in Atlanta. Not only will our dental service have your teeth cleaned painlessly, we’re the only dental service to offer a free teeth whitening package. Check out our dental service for all of your teeth whitening needs today.” This is an example of excessive keyword usage and Google will spot it and penalize you for it.
#4 – Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
In 2015 Google reported that more searches were taking place on mobile devices than on computers in general. That, combined with the fact that websites that are not mobile-friendly are not typically given a priority in Google search results after the Mobilegeddon update, really means that a website should not be launched if it isn’t also going to be mobile-friendly. eDentalImage websites are mobile-friendly and built to best fit dental practice's online marketing needs. And while the argument could be made that if you have a niche user base that rarely uses your website with mobile devices, then you may not have to worry about having a mobile-friendly website as much, however this is very rarely the case and with mobile search growing to dominate the market over the past few years, it would be best for no website to overlook this functionality.
#5 – Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) Consistency
NAP consistency, an acronym referring to the consistency of the Name, Address, and Phone Number of your business listings across the web, is another important factor taken into consideration for search results, especially for physical stores. If you’re following the traditional route that most businesses take when diving into SEO for the first time then you’ve most likely submitted your business to all of the well-known directories such as Yelp, YellowPages, Angie’s List and so on. These are also websites that Google indexes daily, taking note of the information listed for the businesses posted so it can be compared against information already collected to check it for consistency.