Search engine optimization strategies for dentists
Adding SEO to your marketing mix can help tremendously
At our dental practice in Toronto, Canada, we've experimented with several forms of marketing through the years. Some of our marketing efforts delivered the results we'd hoped for, while other forms of marketing underperformed.
Always in search of our best marketing options, we recently decided to create a new website and add search engine optimization (SEO) to our marketing mix by engaging a leading local online marketing company to assist us. Over the course of the campaign we've learned a great deal, and we’d like to share some of our findings to help dentists in other cities grow their practices through SEO like we have.
In order to give your dental practice the greatest chance of success with SEO, be sure to keep the following tips and strategies in mind:
Keyword analysis is vitally important, don't rush it
One of the most important things we’ve learned about SEO is that taking the extra time to find exceptional keywords pays off. During the keyword analysis process, our online marketing company produced several iterations of a keyword list that we collectively brainstormed. They uncovered several "hidden gem" keywords as the analysis process went deeper. Our final list was not only extensive, but also contained what we call "hyper-targeted" and "high-converting" buyer-oriented keywords, focused on our exact service offering and locale. Keywords such as "teeth whitening methods" were left out in favor of much more specific keywords such as "teeth whitening downtown Toronto." The former keyword group can be seen as more research-oriented and is likely searched by many different groups (someone considering adding the service in their spa, general information seekers, someone writing a research paper, etc). In contrast, the latter keyword group leaves very little ambiguity in what the searcher is seeking and where that service should be found.
By loading up on lots of specific hyper-targeted keywords that describe our exact services and locale, we receive more targeted inquiries that convert into paying customers at a much higher rate. Our online marketing company spent two full days on keyword analysis alone, and I'm glad they did. As I’ve learned, keyword analysis is the foundation of all subsequent SEO work, and building on a strong foundation is essential.
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Content is key (and lots of it)
Google ranks individual web pages, not entire websites, so the more quality content you have on your dental practice's website, the more chances you'll have to rank in the search engines. When we did our on site/on page optimization work for our website (making the website friendly for the search engines and the first step in the SEO process) our online marketing company added 20 keyword optimized pages to give us more opportunities to gain rankings on a variety of closely-related dental services keywords.
Avoid adding content for the sake of adding content, however, quality content is key. Google measures visitor "time on page" statistics, which provide Google with an indication of the quality level of your website's content versus your competitors' content. The better your "time on page" statistics, the better your individual web pages will rank versus your competitors' pages over time. In this case, Google simply infers that your website's pages provide better quality information to those people doing Google searches, if they spend more time on your pages. Sounds pretty logical, right?
It's all in the links
After completing our initial phase of SEO work, we decided to get more aggressive in our SEO work via a monthly plan. Much of the work performed within our monthly plan involves building links into our website from other industry websites. After all, the main determinant of higher rankings is the quality and quantity of links you have directed to your website from other "authority" websites, and the more closely related your “linking partners” websites are to the topic of your website, the better. With that said, our SEO firm devised a custom linking strategy for our dental office that is designed to deliver quality back links from other industry websites. These websites include dental blogs, dental industry information websites, and even other dental practice websites in different cities. In some cases these linking partners will create a direct one-way link to our website in exchange for valuable tools we provide them (mobile dental apps for their dental practice). In some cases we'll guest blog on our respective blogs and embed links in our individual guest blog posts, while in other cases we'll even “trade” links, in moderation. This has all had a positive impact on our rankings.
If you’re contemplating some search engine optimization marketing, keep what we learned in mind in order to ensure success for your own dental practice. In time, these tips and strategies will provide you with a greater level of success.