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The Ultimate SEO Guide for Dentists: 5 Steps to Rank #1 on Google

The Ultimate SEO Guide for Dentists: 5 Steps to Rank #1 on Google

The Ultimate SEO Guide for Dentists: 5 Steps to Rank #1 on Google

The online space for dentists has become extremely crowded and the competition to rank at the top of Google is fierce. You can see that clearly when searching Google for keywords like “dentist” in your local city and tons of your competitors are on page one…but what page is your dental practice on?

Your competitors are either optimizing their websites or paying a lot of traffic just to be there on the first page on Google.

The only solution to setting yourself from your competition is to implement an effective local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy by following the steps in this article.

In doing so, you’ll be able to get an edge over the other dentists in your local area.

Why Should Dentists Invest in Local SEO?

Here’s a few reasons why dentists should invest heavily to boost their SEO efforts:

1. Google is the go-to place for search

Many patients used to depend on the Yellow Pages or 1-800-DENTIST to find a dentist.  However, many patients nowadays go to Google to look for dental practices in their local area.

In fact according to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online, of which 40% come from mobile searches.

Google is the go-to place for search

2. Traffic is essentially free

When your website is ranked on the first page of Google, you get organic traffic which is free since you don’t have to pay per click.

With Zivvy’s proven SEO strategies, we will be able to get you on the first page of Google for many of your keyword phrases.

3. Relatively quick results

The general idea for many is that SEO takes time.  Sometimes it can take 6 months to a year to see good results.  In some cases, this is correct.

Relatively Quick Search

However, if you’re trying to rank for a local area it can take way less than that, sometimes it can take 30 days to start seeing traction and visibility. When you follow the steps in this article it’s very likely that you see results within the first 30 days.

Here are the 5 steps to building an effective local SEO campaign for dentists that will boost your visibility and increase your number of new patients.

Step 1 – Proper Keyword Research

You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to identify the best keywords that describe your services.  Try entering your services in there like teeth whitening, crowns, fillings, etc. and the tool will present you with a list of keywords that people are using to find your dental services along with the search volume of each keyword. There are 2 types of keywords that relate to dentists.

1) Keywords with Buying Intent
2) Keywords with Research Intent

Proper Keyword Research

Start by focusing on keywords with Buying Intent because users normally type those keywords in Google when they are ready to visit a dentist.  Some of the Keywords with high buying intent are “dentist near me” or “teeth filling dentist” and you can use these keywords in your optimization process.

Keywords with Research Intent are used when a person is looking for information online.  Some examples are “cost of teeth whitening” or “cost of dental implants” which is someone who’s just gathering information about this topic.

These keywords can also be used as topic ideas for your blog or your FAQ section on your website. You can use topics like “best ways to whiten your teeth” and these topics will be seen and read by readers interested in these topics and that can boost your SEO efforts a lot since the more readers read your blog, the more Google sees you as an authority in dentistry.

We believe that both Research-Intent and Buying-Intent Keywords are important.  The buying-intent keywords can bring business fast and the research-intent keywords can boost your SEO which also brings users to your website and that can translate into more new patients from your website so you should focus on both.

Step 2 – Page Optimization

There are two very important pages that you need to optimize for.  The first type is your Google My Business (GMB) profile and the second are the important pages on your website like your homepage, services pages and landing pages.

Page Optimization

Google My Business Profile Optimization

Your GMB listing is what comes up in the maps section on Google when searching for a local keyword. Google My Business is very important to your SEO efforts and it also introduces your dental practice services, bio, and reviews to your potential patients that are looking for local dentists.

If you keep your GMB profile fully optimized with your business information such as name, address, phone number, business description, and reviews, you will have accomplished to first step to making sure that your dental practice pops up in the top 3 listings on Google (a.k.a: Snack Pack or Local 3 Pack) when users search for dentists in your area.

Depending on what your competition is doing, just making sure your GMB profile is accurate by filling in all the required information about your GMB profile can be an easy way to propel your business to the Snack Pack.

Follow these steps below to optimize your Google My Business profile:

Claim and Verify Your Profile

Your first step is to claim and verify your Google My Business profile in order to start editing any information on it. Find where it says verified on your profile next to your dental business’ name.

There are two ways to verify your profile–either by mail or phone–and we recommend using the phone verification since it’s much faster than regular mail. You will get a pin code either way so you will need to input this pin code in your profile in order to verify it.

Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP)

NAP is crucial for helping users to contact you. You need to use the name of your practice address so that Google can know your local location and have your profile visible for your local area.

You also need to add your phone number and we recommend using a local phone number (over out-of-town or toll-free numbers) to relate more to your local presence.

You need your NAP to be consistent in all your local profiles, website, and social media, otherwise inconsistent NAPs will confuse search engines and hurt your rankings.

Choose Your Business Categories

You should choose the most related category for your practice which is “dentist.”  If you’re a specialist, you can choose the appropriate specialty such as orthodontist or oral surgeon.

You also have the option to choose sub categories to also describe the services that your practice offers.

Some examples of the available categories for dental practices are: Dentist, Cosmetic Dentist, Dental Clinic, Dental Implants Periodontist, Emergency Dental Service, Endodontist, and Pediatric Dentist. You can choose up to 5 relevant categories for your practice.

Add a Comprehensive Description

You need to write a very detailed and comprehensive description of your dental practice since this is your business introduction to your future patients so make it sure it is correctly written and error free.

You will also need to add as many keywords and services as possible in this description to help boost your profile visibility on Google Maps.

Add Your Business Hours

Make sure to add the hours of operation of your dental practice including any seasonal hours.  Also, if you have any special hours due to COVID-19 make sure to add them too.

Your hours of operation should be consistent on all your social profiles and your website too.

Upload Images

Adding images to your dental practice profile is a great way to increase your engagement with your future patients and add more credibility to your profile.

Since Google allows exterior and interior pictures, as well as the logo for your practice, make sure you upload enough images to help boost your dental practice’s credibility.

Make sure your images are clear and high resolution.  Poor quality images could actually decrease your credibility with prospective patients.

Website Optimization

When optimizing your website pages, you need to start with your main pages such as your home page and services pages. You need to include as many Buying Intent keywords as possible in the content of these pages.

Homepage

When you are optimizing your homepage, you need to start with your title tag which is your page title as it appears at the top of your browser.

You need to think of your primary keyword and the most obvious one that your future patients would use to look for local dentists in your area such as “dentist” in “your city.” You can use Google Keywords Planner to come up with a list of primary keywords that have high search volume and would be more likely to be used by future patients to optimize your home page for.

Writing a title tag is easy as it should include your city and practice name.  For example, if you’re a dentist in Denver and the name of your practice is Bright Smiles Dental, then your title tag should be something like:  “Dentist in Denver | Bright Smiles Dental. You want to aim for 50-65 characters in length.

You also need to add a Meta Description that gives a snapshot of your practice and services.  The Meta Description is what Google shows below your website URL on the search results pages.

Here’s an example of a Meta Description: “Bright smile dental offers quality dental services in Denver specializing in teeth fillings, whitening and more, Book your appointment today.” You should target 100 to 150 words for your Meta Description.

Your headline, also known as H1 Tag, should incorporate related keywords and at the same time be descriptive and concise. For example: “Dental Fillings Denver, CO” or “Teeth Whitening Denver, CO.”

The website copy on your homepage should also provide background information about your practice including your various services. You will need to include relevant primary keywords in your web copy.

The tricky part sometimes is making sure you’re not overstuffing keywords everywhere and that the wording sounds natural and encouraging enough to your prospective patients to reach out and make contact.

Service Pages

It’s very important that you have a separate page for each of your dental services instead of just one page just lists all of your services.

The reason for that is by creating detailed pages, you have a better chance of boosting your placement on Google for that specific service since you have a dedicated page that talks exclusively about this specific service.

For example, if you provide cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry, then you need to create two separate pages for these two services.

You should also have sub-pages for the specific types of cosmetic dentistry that you offer (for example, teeth whitening, veneers, etc.). That way, you’ll have targeted pages for each service that you offer. This also has a great impact on your SEO rankings.

Once you create the necessary services pages, you’ll want to optimize each of those pages for relevant keywords, following the same steps that we discussed for your homepage such as your Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Headers, and Web Copy.

Landing Pages

The first step you need to take when optimizing your landing pages is to do keyword research on the Google Keywords Planner Tool to identify the most relevant keywords and topics that are being searched for online.

The best value for your landing pages is to rank higher on Google organic results by using relevant keywords and creating landing pages and content that talks about a specific search term.

Google will index these pages and based on the quality of your web copy and your keyword repetition along with backlinks (we’ll talk about links later in the article) Google can boost your rankings on the organic results.

 

We recommend developing a frequently asked questions section on your website to post all this content since your future patients will have many questions.  So try to think of each and every question they may ask and with your keyword research you can focus your content on these topics and get ranked on Google for these terms.

You can also create a separate page for each question and answer off of your FAQ section to optimize for organic results. We recommend that each question and answer page should have anywhere between 200 to 1000 words, and your writing has to be concise and interesting to read.

You can also win big with content by posting these types of Q&As on your dental blog. Google loves blogs and so do your readers.  If your post is SEO optimized and has the right word count, it can rank on Google’s first page which could increase your traffic dramatically. In general, you should aim for 400 to 2000 words per post.  However, a best gauge of how many words you should write would be to do your research on Google and see how many words your competitors have written for similar topics and top that number. Keep in mind that there are other factors to rank fast on Google other than content that we will address later in the article.

Similar to your homepage, you must also create a unique Title Tag and Meta Description (based on keywords) and make sure that the web copy is well-written and keyword-rich.

Step 3. Build Citations and Backlinks

Starting the optimization process for your website and Google My Business page are the initial steps you need to take to get your dental business to start ranking high on Google. But to dominate in a competitive field, you’ll need to put in more effort; building citations and links are the next major step to separate yourself from the other dentists in your area.

How to build citations
Citations are online mentions of your dental practice’s Name, Address and Phone number (known as “NAP”). You can start by adding a citation of your practice on your own website.

From there, you can start building your citations across the web by listing your practice on local and national directories. The most important directory listing is your Google My Business page, which we’ve already covered.

But there are also many other directories out there that you can get listed in which will increase your number of citations and that will turn into higher rankings on Google.

There are 2 main types of directories that you’ll get listed in:

1. General Directories

A good starting point is to get listed in the major business directories like Yelp.com, Yellowpages.com and Citysearch.com. We also recommend setting up a Facebook page for your dental practice.

2. Niche-Specific Directories

You also need to submit to dental and medical-related directories, such as Everydentist.com and Implantdirectory.com. Some industry-specific directories will be free while others require a membership fee.

We recommend focusing on free directories first. If you choose to get listed in paid directories, you’ll want to make sure that you’re generating some website referral traffic from those directories.

Key Tip: Make sure that your business Name, Address and local Phone number information are accurate and consistent across all directories.

How to build backlinks

By “backlinks,” we mean hyperlinks pointing from another website to your dental website. These are also known as “inbound links.” Google considers having quality inbound links coming from reputable websites a great ranking signal.

Backlinks act as a vote in favor of your website’s authority and relevance. As a general rule, the more quality and related links your website has, the higher your website’s authority in Google and the higher your website will rank for competitive terms. There are 2 main ways to generate backlinks for your website:

Directory Submission

As mentioned above, we recommend submitting to general, dental, and local directories. Directories are helpful especially for Local SEO because they are a source for getting citations as well as links.

Most directory listings will provide you with a link to your website, as well as a mention of your practice Name, Address and Phone number.

Competition Analysis

A great way to identify valuable inbound links is to do a competitor analysis and find which websites are linking to your competitors’ websites and then see if you can get similar links as well.

You can research what websites are linking to your fellow dentist competitors by looking up your competitors in Keyword Research Tools like Ahrefs or SEM Rush. And in this way, you may find additional directory opportunities or come across other ideas for how you can attract links to your website.

Step 4. Get Reviews

Reviews are another ranking signal that can give you an edge over local competitors and give you higher rankings on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

Focus on Google My Business Reviews
There are many places you can get reviews, including on Yelp.com and on dental and medical sites. But we recommend focusing your attention on getting positive reviews on your Google My Business page.

Getting reviews on your Google My Business page will help increase your GMB page rank so you get more visibility and exposure to prospective patients. Plus, when prospective patients see all of your positive reviews, they’ll feel more confident in your dental practice and they will be more likely to book an appointment.

How to Get Reviews

Getting positive reviews is not that hard but it takes time and effort.  Your first step is of course to provide excellent dental services. But aside from that, you’ll need to ask patients to review you, and you need to make it easy for them to provide reviews.

One of the best ways to ask, and make it easy, is to send a “review request” via email, with a link to leave you a review on your Google My Business page.

In order to find your GMB page, you can search in Google for your practice name and location, and your Google My Business preview will typically appear in the Google search results.

Then click “Write a Review” to pull up the 5-star prompt.  Then, copy that link and include it in the example email template below.
Here’s an example of a review request that you can send to your patients:

“Hello {Patient name} we care about our patients’ experience at our office and we always think of them as part of our family.  So if it’s not so much to ask, we’d love to get your feedback on our quality of service. You probably know that most of our patients find us through Google so please take a moment to leave a review about our practice on our Google My Business page (Link Below). Thanks in advance”

We recommend having your assistant send out review emails to all patients who haven’t yet left you a review in order to receive as many reviews as possible.

Also, remember that if you get a bad review, it’s not the end of the world.  Just address it immediately and once the issue is resolved with your patient, see if they can update their review.  Make this part of your ongoing business process.

Step 5. Tracking Performance

Tracking is absolutely critical to the success of your SEO efforts since it gives you a detailed view of how your dental SEO campaign is improving.

Here are the 3 core metrics you’ll want to track, and how to track them.

1.Track Rankings

The first metric you’ll want to track is your keyword rankings. Generally, rankings are a metric you’ll want to check once or twice per month.

You can track your keyword rankings using tools like Google Search Console or some paid tools like Ubersuggest.com to track the progress of your rankings on a monthly basis.

When tracking your keywords, you may see progress in some keywords and other keywords may lose some ranking after a while which is nothing to worry about as organic rankings usually fluctuate.

Also keep in mind that your website will rank faster for long tail keywords such as “dental veneers in Fresno, ca” but will take longer to see progress for more competitive terms such as “dentist San Diego.”  Your keyword rankings also depend on how competitive your local area is and the population in that area much like the above example.

Ranking for Sunnyvale, CA is much easier than ranking for San Diego, CA so keep your SEO expectations and efforts in line with how competitive your keywords and local area are.

2.Track Traffic

You’ll need to track how much “traffic” you’re getting. By traffic, we mean unique website visitors as well as page views.

The best way to track traffic is with Google Analytics.

Track Traffic

You’ll first need to install the Google Analytics code on every page of your website (Ask a developer for help with this). Then, when you log into Google Analytics, you can see how much overall traffic you’re getting, how much traffic you’re receiving from Google, and which pages are receiving the most traffic.

We recommend reviewing traffic levels on a monthly basis so you can see how your SEO traffic is growing over time and which pages are getting the most views.  You’ll want to market the successful pages that are getting the most views.

3.Track Conversions

If you’re getting traffic but not converting as much, then you may have a conversion issue.  That’s why you’ll also want to track how many “conversions” you’re receiving from your dental SEO efforts. A “conversion” is a specific action you want your website visitor to take.

For example, you may have a web form on your website for patients to “Schedule an Appointment.” Tracking Conversions is an essential part of your entire SEO process to determine how many new patients you’re receiving from your marketing efforts and whether or not your SEO is paying off.

You can set up Goal Tracking on your Google Analytics for all the web forms on your website, so you can track how many people are taking specific actions. And then, you’ll want to track how many conversions you’re receiving per month from dental SEO.

Final Thoughts

Local SEO for dentists can be one of the best marketing investments that you can make to grow your practice if done right.  We believe that if you follow the steps in this article, you will be able to get there faster than most of your competitors who don’t have access to this information.

For best results, you need to approach SEO in a step-by-step fashion.  Follow these steps to achieve higher rankings and generate more qualified traffic which will in turn turn into more New Patients for your dental office.

At Zivvy, we specialize in helping dentists attract more local patients online. If you’d like help with your SEO, contact us for a free no-obligation consultation from one of our experienced dental marketing strategists.

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Walid Nofal

Walid is the head of acquisition and client success at Zivvy, he has over 12 years of experience in helping businesses expand and grow. He's also the author of multiple digital marketing articles which can be found on this blog and also LinkedIn.

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