SEO is one of the most powerful and confusing dental marketing techniques. Many patients use Google and other search engines to search for dentists. Thus, getting your practice on the first page of search results can help you earn dozens of new patients every month.
At the same time, search engines are an enigma, using a secret algorithm to rank websites based on how relevant they are likely to be to the person performing the search.
Although the tech side of SEO for dental practices is complicated, the concept itself is quite simple.
Understanding what SEO is and how dentists can use it to get more patients is important so you can become a better consumer when hiring an SEO company or delegating SEO to a team member.
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym that stands for search engine optimization. In simple terms, SEO is the way a company naturally enhances its presence on search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. The goal of SEO for dentists is to put things in place that make your practice more likely to appear on the first page of search results when someone looks for a dentist in your area.
Why is SEO important for dentists?
Enhancing your practice’s presence on search engines is important because of what we know about consumer behavior. In fact, two things we know about how consumers behave when using a search engine demonstrate how important it is for dental practices to enhance their search engine presence.
These two things are what people do with search engine results. First, the majority of consumers stay on the first page of search results and never make it to the second page. This includes searches relating to healthcare and dentistry. Thus, it’s very important to get your practice to appear on the first page of search results when people search for a dentist in your area.
Second, when people are in a buying mindset, they tend to only click on one of the first three results. Thus, getting in the top three results when someone in your area performs a search for a specific procedure, such as “dental implants near me.”
Because many people search for “best dentist in Tampa” or “dental implants near me” when looking for a dentist and most people won’t go beyond the first page when looking for a dentist or the first three results when shopping, it’s important to appear in those top three results. To do that, you must understand how SEO works as part of your dental marketing plan.
SEO is particularly valuable because the people it attracts to your website are people who are actively looking for a dentist. Thus, having good SEO for your dental practice helps you earn free patient referrals from search engines.
What’s the secret to getting to the top of search results?
Although the details can be quite complex, at least with respect to one type of SEO for dental offices, there are essentially two ways to get to the top of search results: paid or unpaid.
Paid search engine marketing is pretty simple. You pay money to Google or another search engine to be listed on the top of their search results. There’s definitely some tricks of the trade, such as identifying the most cost-effective searches to pay for, which a good SEO company for dentists can help with, but overall, it’s a pretty simple concept. You pay a search engine money. In return, they list you atop the search results as a sponsored result when someone performs the search you paid for.
Unpaid, or organic search engine optimization, is more challenging. Essentially, to appear atop the unpaid search results, you need to be seen as authoritative, credible, and relevant to the searches you want to appear for. This includes a number of technical and content-specific things. For example, Google and other search engines measure how people act when they go to your website. They evaluate a number of things, such as how engaging your content is, whether your content answers questions their customers search for, and how long people spend on your site after clicking over. Do you have pictures of dentists, team members, and your office people can click through? Those clicks tell search engines your site is high quality.
Do you have a video office tour or a high-value opt-in offer to get people to subscribe to your newsletter? Those customer actions tell search engines your site is something people interact with.
Activities outside of your website, such as claiming and optimizing your local citations, collecting online reviews, and getting other websites to link to your websites communicate similar authority, credibility, and relevance to search engines.
How do you get more visitors to your website?
In its simplest terms, SEO is about creating a web presence that tells search engines your website is something people will find useful. If you’re considering hiring a dental-marketing company to help with SEO or asking an internal team member to help you, ask yourself if your dental website and overall web presence tells search engines your practice is authoritative, credible, and relevant.
To learn more about these and other ways to improve SEO for your dental office, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.
You can also join my free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook group where thousands of dentists and I help each other build better practices.
Also, if you want to learn more about how Facebook can help you target the right people with your ads, check out my free guide: Facebook for Dentists: The Definitive Guide to Regularly Attracting New Patients to Your Dental Practice right here.