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SEO for Dentists – Most Comprehensive Search Engine Optimization Guide to Get More Dental Patients

SEO for Dentists is the answer to how your dental practice can get found on search engines. SEO or Search Engine Optimization allows you to rank high in Google, Bing, or another search engine you would like.

By implementing SEO techniques you can increase viewers of your dental website leading to more brand awareness and eventually, patients! You can begin to grow your practice by organically ranking on the SERP (search engine results page). To start wrestling with SEO, you can book a free strategy session, or continue to read for more information.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means optimizing your dental website to be the best it can be for search engines. There are tons of research involved in making dental SEO work for you. Including on and off-page strategies, such as:

  • Keyword research
  • URL structure
  • Citations
  • Social media presence

These are just some of the many ways dental SEO can help your dentistry. It can lead to better targeting and can potentially be cheaper than running ads if done right.

Another thing to note is that if you optimize your dental website for Google, it will be optimized for other search engines as well. You do not need to follow different directions for Bing or Yahoo. If you are just getting started, refer to our dental practice checklist.

Why SEO for Dentists?

Improved visibility

As a dentist, you want to stay on top of the minds of your patients whenever they are looking for dental treatments.  With the use of SEO strategies, you’re making it easier for your potential patients to find you online. In fact, according to a survey, 90% said that they are more likely to click on the top results of their search query.

So, if your dental website makes it to the first page based on a user’s search query, then you are more likely to get more traffic which eventually could give you more opportunities in converting page visitors into your actual patients!

Better user experience

Aside from using relevant keywords on your dental website, another factor that search engines also look at is how websites provide an excellent user experience to their page visitors. If we take a closer look at SEO and User Experience, these two strategies share a common goal and that is to provide a hassle-free experience to your page visitors.

As you can see, SEO is all about doing efforts to attract your target audience while User Experience (UX) is all about making your website easy to navigate so that users will stay longer on your dental site. When done right, these two strategies when used together will make a huge impact on your dental practice.

More traffic, conversions, and engagement

The higher your position on the SERP is, the more clicks, and conversions your dental website gets. As a matter of fact, 75% of users visit the first page of search results only since most of the users are probably in a hurry of looking for the nearest dentist or too busy to look for other options. So, if your website isn’t on the first two pages of search results, you’re probably missing out on a lot of potential dental patients!

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Types of SEO that will help boost the traffic to your dental website

1. On-page dental SEO for your Website

On-page SEO is the practice of using techniques on your website to rank high on Google. Including:

  • The loading speed of your dental website
  • URL structure
  • Image Alt-tags
  • Meta description
  • Internal and outbound links

All of these can help your site do better and get found.

Loading Speed

Basically, your dental website and all its pages must load super fast. No one likes to visit a slow site, and most people will not wait for your page to load if it takes too long. 1 in 4 people will click out of a website that takes longer than 4 seconds to load.

You can use Pingdom or GTmetrix to check the speed of your site. If it isn’t at the speed you are hoping for, you can compress all images on your site. If they are too large they can significantly slow down your site. There are even plugins for WordPress that can help with compressing multiple images at once like Smush and Autoptimize.

Smush Plugin

Another way to speed up your site is to search its code for anything unnecessary. Having useless code on your site can slow it down a lot.

URL Structure

When it comes to the URL structure of your dental website, it is best to keep it concise and keep your keywords close to the root. A keyword is a word or phrase that you would like to show up for in a search engine. It can be a service like teeth cleaning or root canals.

You should:

  • Cut out unnecessary words from your keyword or phrase (e.g. the, a, an)
  • Eliminate punctuation
  • Make it straight to the point

Examples of URLs would be:

  • dentist.com/services/checkups/teeth-cleaning
  • dentist.com/checkups/teeth-cleaning
  • dentist.com/teeth-cleaning

Each of these means different things because they are structured differently. Allow your potential patients to have easy access to your page by implementing QR codes for your dental practice.

Image Alt-tags

Adding alt-tags or alternative text is an accessibility feature and a bonus for your SEO. Most importantly, adding these descriptions to your images gives them context and meaning. When the visually impaired use tools to have website content read aloud, the reader will also let them know the alt-tag you input for the image.

Since you are adding information about images on your dental site, it helps with SEO. These alt-tags allow Google’s site crawlers to index your website more efficiently.

Image Alt-text Example

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Meta Description

A meta description is a caption or text that appears below a title in the SERP (search engine results page).

Meta Description YoYoFuMedia Example

Your meta description must grab searchers’ attention since it will appear anytime someone searches for your site or a page on your site. This is another chance to grab and keep the searchers’ attention and interest.

Make sure that every page and post on your site has a meta description. Even your home page and contact page should have one! Include relevant keywords to the page/post in your description so you are properly optimizing it.

Ex:

  • Homepage
    • For your homepage use keywords like “dentist + location,” or “Dental services.”
  • Services page
    • Keywords for a services page should include all the services you offer
    • Ex: “Teeth cleaning,” and “Root Canal.”

Along with your keywords, highlight important details of what your site’s page is about. This can be focusing on the benefits of receiving care at your dental practice or testimonials of what others think about your services. You can even talk about your expertise in the dental industry like how long you have been doing this and if you have won any awards or recognition.

Internal and Outbound Links

Internal and outbound links are seen as votes of confidence. It adds value to your site and to other sites by showing Google that your link or someone else’s link can be trusted. Search engines will see that these links are reputable.

To be specific, internal links are links to other pages or posts on your dental website. It offers your readers more context and details while at the same time also providing value to your other pages. This is great for SEO because it can allow you to rank higher in the SERP.

However, this doesn’t mean you can just add internal links wherever and whenever you want. You should only add them when necessary and when you believe they can be helpful to readers.

For example, a blog post on your dental website about dental care during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you decide to discuss different dental emergencies that cannot wait for the pandemic to end, you can link to more information about these issues.

Internal Link

Internal Link example

Brush and Smile dental care did this on their site, which is a perfect example of internal linking.

Outbound links are links to other websites. This shows Google there is a connection between the two and associates your site and the other one. It is important to link to sites that are well-known and trusted in the dental industry.

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2. Off-page dental SEO for Dentists

Off-page SEO for dentists includes:

  • Quality backlinks
  • Google My Business
  • Citations
  • Social Media

All these are ways to help your site do better in the SERP with work outside of your dental clinic’s website.

Quality Backlinks for Your Practice

Links are a vote of trust and confidence. So just as much as you are giving that trust to other sites by linking to them, you want other websites to trust you and link to your site. This is what a backlink is, a link back to your dental website from a different one. These are super important in SEO.

Since this is an SEO guide for dentists, you should obtain backlinks from others in your industry or from local news publications that highlight your practice. Obtaining backlinks can be as simple as asking any fellow practicing orthodontists, who have their own site, to link to you on theirs. You could even ask your suppliers for dental materials and appliances to link back to your website.

You can check where you are obtaining backlinks from on the Ahrefs free backlink checker.

Google My Business

To help control more of how your business shows up after a Google search, you need to sign up for Google My Business. This will allow your business to become more visible by showing up on Google maps and searching with your location, business hours, phone number, and more.

Having your dental practice show up on Maps, can mean more potential patients.

Search results for Dentists near me

In a quick search for “dentist near me,” Google Maps shows up first with suggestions. By setting up your Google My Business account, this can be your dental practice showing up first to all locals.

In fact, this tool is attributed to being the number one factor in the ranking of local packs. These are the top 3 search results in a local search. Make sure that you fill out as much information as possible when creating your Google My Business account. Google My Business Dentist profile

Part of your page also includes a questions and answers section, as well as a review section. It is super important that you answer every question and every review.

Even if it is a question about your hours which you already input into your Google My Business and your dental website. This shows that you still care enough to respond to prospective patients.

As for reviews, all of them need to be responded to as well.

It doesn’t matter if it was a terrible review or the best review you have ever received. By responding to each one, you are letting others know that you value patient opinions and that their feedback is appreciated.

If you are struggling to obtain reviews, do not be afraid to ask your current patient list to leave you one. You can even add a section on your site asking patients to leave you one if they were satisfied with their care.

Dentist Citations

Citations, or online directories, are another opportunity for your dental practice to be mentioned and linked to. Yelp, Yellow pages, and LinkedIn are all examples of citations. This is a great way to obtain backlinks and create more brand awareness of your practice.

If you need help figuring out which citations to sign up for, you can use your competitor’s site and Ahrefs backlink checker for this. You can input their site into the checker and go down the list to figure out which directories they have signed up for. Any directory they are on, you can sign up for too to better optimize your site.

Apple Maps is another great example of a citation your business can use. Create an Apple ID to set it up and input all your practice’s information just like you did with Google My Business.

Social Media

It is key for all businesses to have social media accounts, even dental practices. Social media serves as social proof to others of your technical know-how and that you are trusted. People like to search for images and see what they are paying for, so it is great for you to have accounts giving them that proof. It would be beneficial to include photos and videos of your services like teeth cleanings.

Find out which social media platforms you are comfortable with and believe your audience will be on. For example, if you are uncomfortable with videos don’t sign up for a TikTok account. Or if your audience is older people, 50+ years old you might want to reconsider using Instagram to display your services.

No matter which platforms you decide to use, know that you can repurpose your content across all of them. If you made a TikTok, you can post it to Instagram as a Reel. If you created a really great Facebook post, go ahead and reuse it for LinkedIn.

Instagram post from a dental clinic

In this example, a dentist used a before and after photo to showcase her work.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO is a part of On-page SEO but the only difference is that it focuses on improving the technical aspects of your dental website to improve its rank on search engines. This includes:

  • making sure that there are no dead links
  • removing duplicate content
  • ensuring that your website is secure

Make sure there are no broken links

Fixing broken links for SEO

Broken links happen when a user clicks on a link and they’ll be redirected to a page saying either the page no longer exists or it has been moved to a new destination. If your dental website has lots of broken links in it, not only will it negatively affect your page visitor’s experience, but also cause search engines to think that your page is outdated and which will make a huge impact on your search rankings.

Tips on how to fix broken links on your dental website:

  • Find broken links using Google Analytics
  • Create a report using Spreadsheet so that it’s easier to keep track of changes that will be made
  • Analyze the possible reasons behind the broken links (before making changes)
  • Fix issues (e.g. if you migrated to another domain and forgot to update the URL of a specific page, point it to the right page)

Removing duplicate content

Removing duplicate content for SEO

Duplicate content occurs not just within your domain (the same content is found on your dental website) but also outside your domain (the same content is found on two different websites).

Having this issue on your dental website will prevent you from getting potential traffic from your website and confuse search engine crawlers to choose which should rank higher because both pages have the same content.

Some of the possible reasons why you have duplicate content on your website are probably because you’re using the same target keyword on your pages, due to URL parameters, or copied content.

That’s why you should regularly monitor the performance of your web pages to make sure that all of your pages are functioning properly and ensure that each page on your website is unique. If you want to find out possible issues that prevent other pages from your website to rank, you can use Ahref’s Audit tool.

Making your website secured

SSL certificate installed in SEO website

Website security is very important, especially in today’s time when hackers and cyber thieves can easily get the personal information that your patients will be entering into your dental website. In addition to that, installing an SSL certificate on your website will not only protect your customers but also makes your site trustworthy.

That’s why we recommend that you install an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate on your dental practice’s website so that all of the personal information (i.e. passwords and credit card details) that is transferred from your patients to your dental website) will be encrypted.

If your dental website is not yet secured, check out this guide on how to get an SSL Certificate.

Track your Search Engine Optimization Progress

After you have set everything up; URLs, meta descriptions, alt-tags, Google My Business, etc, you can begin to track your progress. Google Search Console is an amazing tool you can use to track how you are showing up in the SERP. It will let you know your clicks, impressions, and even what search queries your dental website is showing up for.

Use this to know what is working and what you need to improve on. Remember, SEO isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it strategy. You have to adapt and overcome obstacles at times.

As mentioned earlier, SEO can be cheaper than running ads. This will mainly cost you time to set up and time to continually maintain. Once you have a handle on it, you will bring in new patients through organic results.

However, if you need quicker results you can try creating dental Google Ads. Your efforts to rank high and do well on search engines can lessen the work in the future to broaden your patient list.

Begin your dental SEO for Dentists journey today!

Start implementing everything discussed to become visible in the SERP over time.

Don’t have the time to start and keep up?

Book a Free Strategy Session

Check out this related case study we created for one of our clients:

Dental SEO Case Study: Increase Organic Traffic And Leads By 15.6X For A Local Dental Clinic

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