Dental clinics are among the most competitive sectors on the market today. To be successful, you need to stay ahead of the competition and ensure that patients find you when they need a dentist.
To be in the TOP 10 Google search results, it is essential to implement effective SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies. This is the only way you can reach the first positions of Google and Bing search engines.
In this post, we're going to talk about search engine optimization for dentists and how to influence SEO positioning for the success of your dental clinic. If you are looking for a detailed guide, keep reading and feel free to ask questions below.
What has changed in SEO since 2021?
Not much. A couple of core updates and dozens of smaller updates, which Google rolls out regularly, but the same focus on quality content and relevant backlinks.
It is a good idea to keep up with all these changes that Google makes so you know what’s working and what’s now and stay up to date.
1. SEO for dentists in 2022 - what is it and how to do it
Let’s face it, SEO is technical and hard.
It is very time-consuming and requires a lot of components to work flawlessly together to get positive results and ROI. There is no magic in SEO – it is just a lot of knowledge and work. Alternative to SEO would be – Google’s pay per click, but due to extremely high competition, it is very hard to achieve positive ROI on ads spent. In 95% of scenarios, SEO is a better alternative and delivers a much better ROI, but it takes time to see results. With Google Ads, you can see results the same or the next day. (Depending on how fast you or your team can collect keywords that convert well, filter out those that don’t convert and just eat up your marketing dollars, add a negative keywords list and start the campaign).
If you are a dentist and have a small or a large dental practice, you can try to do it yourself or hire an SEO company or freelancer that will help you improve your website’s position in search results.
There are a lot of SEO companies for dentists. You can even do SEO yourself. It is not rocket science. But it does require daily work.
We’ve created this guide to help you navigate through all of the steps which are required to get top positions. And we will take one of our clients as an example to show you all the details.
If you’d rather have someone help you with all this SEO work or you are interested in getting more leads - send us a message and we’ll help you get top 1-3 positions in organic results for your city and on Google Maps.
What is SEO?
The word SEO means Search Engine Optimization. To a great extent, SEO is how a company or a brand improves its online presence naturally in search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
The main goal of SEO for dentists is to appear on the first page of the search results when a potential client is searching for a dentist or dental services nearby.
Why SEO is important for dentists
Improving the presence of your dental clinic in search engines is essential, considering the behavior of your potential future patients. It is important to understand what your clients are looking for and how they search.
93% of the clients stop searching on the first page of search results in Google, and never get to the second page. Therefore, it is very important that your dental clinic information appears on the first page of the search results. If your clinic is one of the top 3 results clients will see your contact information and will call your clinic.
When people want to buy or book a service, they tend to click on one of the first three results. They will look at number of reviews and read through them to get a better understanding if it is worth trusting this specific business or not. The harsh truth for all business owners is that potential clients will do it only for 1-2 businesses they see in front of them. Clients won’t go through the complete list of businesses. So it is critically important to be in the top 3 on Google Maps or top 5 in regular search results when someone in your area is looking for a specific request, such as “dental implants near me”, “the best dentist in New York” or “emergency dental services”. These are just some of the keywords that patients use when actively looking for a dentist and, as we have mentioned, they look at the first three results of the first page on Google.
That is why SEO should be the main priority in your dental marketing plan.
What is the secret to reaching the TOP of Google search results for dentists?
Although it is difficult to know the exact formula for how to reach the top of searches for dentists, there are two ways to reach the TOP search results: paid advertising and SEO.
Paid advertising is quite simple. You are paying for Google Ads to be at the top of the first page of search results. One of the main aspects is to identify the most profitable keywords. Without doing this, your marketing budget will be gone without achieving desired results. Be very careful with selecting the keywords you are bidding for.
For that, we always advise you to work with Google Ads professionals that have experience in Google Ads campaign set-up, keyword research, and bidding strategy in the dental niche. Experience in other industries is helpful, but hiring experts who know the industry inside out will get you the best results.
Based on our experience, the most profitable keywords have the highest competition, therefore the price per click could range from $5-$10 and up. Below you can see the example of the most popular searches and prices for the New York area. PPC or price per click means that the client clicks on your ad. However, it doesn’t guarantee that the client will contact your office or book your service. Google charges you for every click. And if someone clicked on your ad, but didn’t call – that’s your wasted marketing money.
What are the pros and cons of paid advertising?
Pros - you get results fast. Google places your ad at the top as a sponsored result when someone searches for the keyword you paid for.
Cons - once you stop paying for ads, your dental clinic information is gone from the search results and nobody will be able to find your business.
If you would like to get leads at the lowest cost possible – you would need to optimize your site and Google my business listing. This optimization process of unpaid search results is much more complex and will require more time to see results than paid ads.
To appear in top search results without paying for ads, the content of your website should be based on relevance and credibility.
Google and other search engines measure the relevance of the content if it answers questions the users have and how much time they spend on your website.
We always recommend producing content that could interest and bring value to potential clients. You can write and update articles on different topics, like
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////(insert picture with the most frequent searches)
In addition, we recommend using marketing intelligence software to record and analyze how the user interacts with the website. Based on this data, you can measure your website’s conversion rate and identify areas to improve.
For example, when your clients subscribe to the newsletter, it positions you as a high-quality page that results in organic placement in the first search results.
What are the pros and cons of SEO?
Pros - it is way cheaper on a per lead basis than running daily ads
Cons- it takes longer and requires more effort to achieve results.
And the reality is - nobody can guarantee when your dental clinic listing will be at the top of the search results. Positioning is work that takes time, consistency, and effort, but it delivers great results.
2. Do dentists need a website?
Yes, to attract users, get bookings, and drive traffic.
Another option - pay for top positions in directories and get traffic from there.
Pros: you control everything.
Cons: requires investment and usually starts at $500/month and up, depending on the city and competition level. Takes time to outrank other businesses in your city.
Servers, hosting, web speed, how do these factors influence my website?
A most recent statistic shows that 1 out of 4 users leave a website if it takes more than four seconds to load. Therefore, the web speed of a dental clinic website can affect factors such as:
- Possibility of having new patients
- Engagement with your users
- User experience
- Usability and accessibility issues
To have an optimal web speed, we always recommend having quality hosting, which will also improve the positioning of your web and, therefore, your number of visits.
It is important to analyze the trend of visitors to your website and then be able to readjust your hosting resources to offer an optimal service at all times.
How to have more clicks and visits to the website?
The main purpose of all your SEO efforts is to create an optimal presence on the web that tells search engines that your dental clinic’s website is a place that users find valuable and useful.
The main factors that influence the place at which your website is positioned are:
- Domain authority: it is recommended to have a website domain that is relevant to the dental industry, ex. nydentalimplants.com vs drmcglynn.com.
- Competence: the greater the competence, the more difficult it is to achieve good positioning. We recommend publishing longer articles and more frequently.
- Searches on the topic: it is necessary to think about what the user writes in the search engine about the sector in which you are interested in positioning because some people don't have searches, and therefore, the general interest.
Optimize your website for mobile users
To have a successful SEO strategy and, therefore, to have more visits to your dental clinic it is important to have an optimized website.
Statistics show that more than 56% of searches are done on mobile devices.
Therefore, it is very important that your dental clinic’s website is optimized for mobile devices so that your potential clients can find your business on their phones.
- Check the speed of your website
- Post and update the content regularly
- Make sure the pictures/images on the website are tagged
What does the quality of online visitors mean?
At City Pros, we recommend analyzing the traffic on your website regularly.
You need to understand the type of audience your website attracts (age, location), how they interact with the website, how much time they spend on your website, what are the most visited pages, and if they add your website to bookmarks, how often they return, etc.
Some of the main criteria for Google ranking are the websites where the audience spends more time and performs more interactions. Best websites are usually placed at the top of the organic search results. If your dental clinic’s website is on the first page of Google search results- expect to see a significant increase in web traffic on your website that could convert into patients of yours.
To get quality visitors to your dental office website, you need to focus on the following:
- Create high-quality content for your target audience.
- Focus on your ideal client’s main interest-update your content regularly, answer their questions and reply to comments and feedback.
- Evaluate how many visitors interact with your website.
- Analyze the online behavior of your visitors.
3. Content for dental website
Keyword research - is a fundamental exercise, and we need to select the keywords we will use in our blog posts. This is crucial to analyze keywords and understand the intent of these keywords, so we can match them.
Google’s Keyword Planner tool for ads is very useful to get as many keywords as possible. Don’t pay attention to competition, it is for ads only, but it gives a good understanding of which keywords are expensive - they should convert better than other keywords.
///////////////////////////////////Google’s Keyword planner tool for ads - (screenshot)
How does the content quality affect my website?
The answer is - tremendously. Organic positioning in top search results is achieved due to the high-quality content. Content that interests users, interests Google as well.
The main steps to produce quality content are:
- Keyword research. Never start writing an article without performing keyword research beforehand.
- Analyze the topics and keywords that users are searching for frequently. One of the best and free tools for this is Google Keyword Planner.
See below some popular keyword searches in the USA to give you an idea of topics and articles that will be of interest to your clients. Numbers are displayed as an average number of searches per month.
3. Publish and update content frequently. Don’t stop publishing new content on a regular basis. It is a good practice to update existing content at least every 3-6 months, add new information, links to research, latest news, and case studies in the dental industry. Create a Q&A page and answer the most frequently asked questions.
4. Add backlinks. In addition, it is important to relate to other blogs or websites where you can leave the link to the website of your dental clinic.
The objective of the content strategy is to provide all the information about your clinic to the user through perfect writing.
Why do long-tail keywords work better for dentists than short-tail keywords?
Short tail keywords have the highest competition and are very hard and expensive to rank for.
Short tail keywords are not always worth the fight, especially for local businesses. The image below is an example of high (super hard) competition for the short-tail keyword Dentist.
On the other hand, long-tail keyword Dentist in Miami has a more reasonable (medium) competition.
4. What is local SEO for dentists?
Local SEO is a very cost-effective way to get new clients and spend less money.
Dental industry and any other location-based business benefit from it. It is free to register for a Google My Business account however, to be in the top results on Google Maps, you need to do some daily work.
- Regular posts/articles on the GMB page
- Respond to reviews regularly
- Reply to questions
- Upload new images
- Track stats like insights
- Number of calls
- Number of reviews
- Number of directions
- Clicks to your website
- Local pack
Some of the things to consider
- Choose relevant keywords in your niche
- Create or optimize pages for the city you are in
- Create pages for nearby areas
- Optimize pages for local SEO
- Get local links from local businesses
- Get local press mentions
- Get citations from local directories
- Number of reviews on your GMB page
- Quality of reviews
Criteria that matter to be in the top 3 results in Google:
- Your business location
- Your company name
- How far the user is located from your business
- Keywords in reviews and business description
- How active is your GMB profile
There is also background work involved to help promote your Google My Business account to rank higher. You need to understand that there are hundreds of dental offices in the Toronto area, but Google shows only the top 3 results on the first page.
The local SEO for dentists means that the website of a clinic that provides dental services in a geographic area is found by potential clients who are in that area and are looking for a dental service.
People want the dental clinic to be located in the area where they live, which is why the user usually searches for the nearest dental office.
In the past, the local search was not considered a high priority, but currently, Google considers that the local results are very important.
Look at the image below to see that local search results are in the top 5, right after the paid ads and before all organic search results.
Getting your clinic name to appear when someone searches for keywords like “Dentist in New York” or “Dentist near me” in local search results will get you even more potential clients.
If you do the local SEO right, you will get a steady stream of high-quality leads within a month, therefore your number of patients will increase progressively.
At City Pros, we specialize in Google My Business optimization and local SEO and are happy to share our years of experience with you.
Below we summarized the most frequently asked questions about SEO and local SEO for dentists.
How long does it take for the SEO of my dental website to be effective?
Usually, it takes 5-6 months to see traffic increase. The dental industry is a highly competitive niche and it takes time to get to the top.
///////////////////////////////////////Insert image where traffic increases in ahrefs
If you do all the technical SEO work and pick the right SEO strategy, considering your location, specialization, and target audience, then you will see results in 3-4 months.
Why are my competitors on the first page on Google and my website not?
To answer this question – we need to perform a deep analysis of the sites and compare their technical side of things, content, backlinks, CTAs. They may look similar, but, in fact, there are many factors that play a significant role, like:
- Technical issues
- Website performance
- Quality of content published
- Specific keywords being targeted and keywords competition
- Website DA (domain authority) and quality and quantity of relevant backlinks.
This is just the start of the website assessment. Answering these 5 questions will give you an idea of why your competitors are on the first page.
I don’t have a budget for marketing for my dental office. What should I do?
Ask for referrals. It is the cheapest way to get new clients.
Even if you can allocate $250-$500 per month for marketing, you can get results and new patients for your dental office.
But you have to invest this money wisely. Based on our experience, we know what works and what doesn’t and how to get the best ROI on your marketing investment. At City Pros, we work with any budget based on the hourly rate.
I need new patients for my dental office/business. Can marketing/SEO help?
There are 3 parameters when talking about any marketing/SEO activities/investment: price, speed, quality
- Paid advertising on Google will bring fast results. However, the price would be high too. The dental niche is highly competitive, so be ready to allocate some budget. The quality should be high too, as long as you target the right keywords and bid on them. As long as you pay for ads, your website will be in the top results, once you stop paying, you stop getting any results.
- SEO (search engine optimization). The price is relatively low. It is a long-term investment that brings results over time. It can take months to see the results and in the dental industry it might take up to 12 months to start seeing the full benefit. SEO is an ongoing process, the more you do it, the better your website will rank in Google search results. The faster you will be on the first TOP 10 results, the more online traffic you’ll see, and the more patients you’ll get. However, if you stop investing in SEO, you will continue to enjoy the results of your SEO work for quite a while and your website will stay in its current position until your competitors rank higher.
- Local SEO or GMB (Google My Business) page. Works the same way as SEO, however, you don’t need to have a website and invest your money into the hosting, domain, etc. It is free to set up a GMB account, however, it requires daily work to keep it active, update, grow user engagement, and ultimately reach the top 3 search results. Local SEO can bring great results. In a month or two, you can see a significant increase in the number of dental patients for your business. It requires some time or money investment in order for it to work.