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How Dental Practices Get Found on Search Engines
Let’s start with why SEO is important to a dental practice.
There are many marketing services to help attract new patients. Direct mail. Email. PPC. Social media. Cold calls. These are all common marketing tactics that work for some dental practices.
Then, there’s SEO (search engine optimization). Why do we love SEO? Because appearing in search rankings for dental services drives predictable traffic every month. It’s much easier to grow a practice when a dentist can rely on a certain number of new patients each month.
For example, “dental clinic” is searched 6,400 times per month across the United States. “Dentist Near Me” is searched 413,000 times per month. If your practice website appeared in search rankings for these terms, then a percentage could convert to new patients.
So, how does a Dental SEO company attract new patients?
1. Create content targeting keywords that will increase visibility online.
2. Build backlinks to content so it outranks competitors.
3. Allow search engines to discover content so it is indexed.
That’s the simplified explanation. When a dental marketing company follows this approach on a monthly basis, the end result is more traffic, more patients, and less ad costs.
The diversity in search terms and specialities.
For example, did you know “pediatric dentist near me” is searched 23,000 times per month, while “emergency dentist near me” is search 18,000 times? These search volumes around specialities are more popular than the “best dentist near me” (14,000 searches) and “dentist office near me” (11,000).
Dive deeper into keyword research, and Dental SEO marketing becomes even more fun.
There’s significant search volumes around “dentists who accept medicaid.” Users are searching Google on “how to find a good dentist.”
Practice specialities and patient questions represent opportunities to attract a new patient. That’s fun, and interesting.
A practice website should be designed for both users and search engines to be successful with SEO. A few critical factors of what a dental website needs includes:
- Web Design
- Page Titles
- Google Analytics
- User Experience
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these areas.
Organic traffic that does not convert to a new patient is not very valuable to a dental practice. That’s why web design is important. It helps convert a new visitor to a new patient.
Some web design elements that impact SEO include:
- Page Speed (does a website theme slow down the loading time?)
- Broken Links (do pages lead to a broken page?)
- Contact Form (can patients easily submit information?)
And more. You can’t do good SEO without a good foundation in web design.
The better a search engine like Google understands your practice, the more likely you are to appear in search results.
For example, is your practice in Scottsdale, Arizona? Are you a pediatric dentist? Do you accept Medicaid?
These are all distinctions that can be included in Page Titles. Page titles are what a user clicks in a search engine results page, and it’s what search engines use to determine what a page is about.
Let’s use our example above. The Page Title “Home – Brett’s Dental Practice” could be edited to “Scottsdale Pediatric Dentist – Brett’s Dental Practice (We Take Medicaid)”
“Scottsdale Pediatric Dentist” helps communicate my services better than the word “Home.” That’s why Page Titles are important. They help search engines understand content.
How do you know if your organic traffic is converting to a new patient? How can you tell the number of potential patients visiting your practice website?
Installing Google Analytics enables a marketer and orthodontist to review the same set of marketing data.
Are website visitors consuming your content? Can a phone number or office address be easily found?
User experience is something every dental practice should strive for. A good user experience can result in increased phone calls, and an increase in search ranking.
The majority of searches for dental services are conducted through local searches.
The business listings on Google, Bing, and Yahoo display the phone number, address, and name of local businesses. This enables potential clients to call a dental practice to schedule an appointment.
Let’s say someone is searching for a “holistic dentist near me” – a search that happens 5,100 times per month. The first result on a SERP are sponsored ads, in which about 18% of searchers click. Then, a searcher will see a Google Places section, in which 3-4 dental practices will be listed.
These Google Places listings are wonderful for lead generation. Users can call your practice with a single click. Or, they can request driving directions or visit your website to learn more.
Then, below Google Places are organic search results. These competitive listings are also valuable, and less dependent on a local search.
Overall, Local SEO is a critical element to any dental marketing strategy.
While our agency does not offer social media as a service, we can’t deny that social media plays a role in an online marketing strategy.
Social media can benefit SEO in a few ways for dentists:
- Reviews. Social media can help solicit reviews from fans, which can help a local business profile appear more prominent in search engines
- Shares. Social media helps amplify content marketing efforts. The more content is shared on social media, the more visibility a practice may have online.
- Branding. Dental practices are highly human. Social media enables practices to showcase their humanity, which helps connect with prospective patients.
Yes. “Dentist near me” is searched 413,000 times per month in the United States. An estimated 18% of that volumes clicks on paid advertisements through PPC (pay per click) services like Google Ads. Another 82% goes to organic search, where potential patients check results to determine which dentist to trust.
Other interesting dental search terms include:
- pediatric dentist near me (23,000 searches per month)
- kids dentist near me (5,700 searches)
- holistic dentist near me (5,100 searches)
- walk in dentist near me (2,700 searches)
- cosmetic dentist near me (2,300 searches)
- dentist that accept united healthcare near me (1,600 searches)
Keyword research is the start to an SEO strategy. An SEO agency should analyze search engine results to review what keywords a dental practice already ranks on the first page for. Then, keywords with the highest potential to convert organic traffic to new patients should be targeted in a content strategy.
Google was founded as a hypertextual search engine. That’s a fancy way of saying that Google was founded with the idea that “links” could be used to categorize information online. Since then, links, or backlinks, still matter.
A backlink is when one website links to another. A dental office may find that a backlink could come from a dental directory profile or partner in the community. Every links counts, but some are more important than others.
For example, let’s say the American Dental Association (ada.org) added a backlink from their website to your practice site. This link would be more relevant than if Better Home and Gardens (bhg.com) added a backlink. While both are authoritative sources, the link from ada.org would be better than bhg.com.
Relevance matters. But, so is authority. A link from the Arizona Dental Association (azda.org) would be both relevant and authoritative if you were a dental practice in Scottsdale.
So, how do SEO agencies and dental practices build backlinks? The best way is to nurture relationships with relevant and authoritative sources.
An SEO campaign should cost a dental practice between $1,500 to $2,500 per month.
Return on investment can be calculated by analyzing the number of new patients. How many patients made appointments after coming to the website through organic search? And if an SEO campaign cost $1,500 to $2,500 per month, then what’s the return?
Other methods of measuring ROI includes:
- Phone calls (from Google My Business)
- Appointments Set (measured through Google Analytics)
- Increase in Organic Traffic (Measured through Google Search Console)
- Increase in Organic Impressions (Measure through Google Search Console)
Google shares that in most cases, SEO agencies need four months to a year to help your business see potential benefit from a SEO campaign.
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If you Google the term, “digital marketing company,” you’ll most likely find Markitors on the first page of search results. There’s more than 15,000+ digital marketing agencies who offer SEO services in the United States. Yet, Google consistently ranks us as one of the top choices for search engine optimization.
We launched and have built our digital marketing company in a sustainable and predictable way through SEO. We do the same for small businesses, and for orthodontists like you.
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