How to Think About SEO For Your Dental Practice

Connect the Doc Icon
The Connect the Doc Team
December 18, 2023
min. read

If you want your dental or orthodontic practice to be more visible online, there are few different types of online marketing that you should consider. First, you have your local map rankings, which is heavily influenced by getting a consistent stream of Google Reviews. Then you can consider paid ads on Google, which is a non-permanent way to show up for a wide variety of keywords that prospective patients are searching for. And finally you have Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as most people call it. SEO is the process of ranking organically for different keywords. 

If you've ever been "sold" SEO by a marketing company or you have done SEO but didn't see the results you were expecting, there is a good chance that SEO was not properly explained or broken down for you. And that is what we are going to do in this blog post. Let's get started!

There are 3 different types of SEO:

  1. Local Search Optimization
  2. Organic Search Optimization
  3. Mobile Search Optimization

You can do a variety of different "activities" for each of the above that will help you rank higher for different keywords on Google.

Since the goal of SEO is ranking higher for the best keywords, it is important to understand the different types of keywords to consider as part of your strategy.

Short-Tail Keywords:

  • Typically one or two words in length.
  • They are broad and general.
  • Example: "dentist" "cosmetic dentist"

Long-Tail Keywords:

  • Longer and more specific phrases, usually containing three or more words.
  • They target a niche or a specific audience.
  • Often have lower search volume but can be more targeted and have higher conversion rates.
  • Example: "dentist that accepts blue cross insurance"

Local Keywords:

  • Include geographic locations to target a local audience.
  • Important for businesses with a physical presence or those targeting a specific location.
  • Example: "dentist in New York"

Branded Keywords:

  • Includes the name of your practice, brand, or individual doctor names.
  • Example: "XYZ Dental Practice" or "Dr. John Smith Dentist".
  • Typically you wouldn’t want to spend your SEO efforts on this unless someone has a similar name.

Rule of thumb for SEO in general is that you want to focus your SEO budget on the keywords that have the highest volume of searches, that are within reach for ranking in the top 3, and that are typically more transactional in nature. Usually, top keywords are going to be things like "Dentist {{City}}", "Dental Implants {{City}}, and Cosmetic Dentist {{City}} (insert your city into the {{City}} part). There are lots of tools online to research keyword volume. The ones we use the most at Connect the Doc are SEMRush and the Keyword Planner in the Google Paid Ads Dashboard.

When we are planning our SEO strategy for our Connect the Doc clients (dentists and orthodontists like you), we work using a "bundle" structure. For example, "Dentist" keywords would be one bundle, "Dental Implants" would be another bundle. Within each bundle, there will be about 4-7 keywords that are going to be the best to go after based on competition and keyword volume.

When thinking about "how much money should I spend on SEO?", the answer to that question is that it depends… Your budget will determine the quantity and quality of activities being completed on a monthly basis. More money = more activities. After a proper competitive research analysis is completed, you'll have a much better idea as to how much budget you should allocate to SEO.

With regards to "SEO activities"... Typically there are 4 categories that an SEO team will work on:

  1. Onsite Optimization, Non Technical
  2. Onsite Optimization, Technical
  3. Content (Blog Posts / GMB Posts, Forum Posts)
  4. Backlinking

Now if you think about all the different bundles of keywords that you are going after and all the activities you can do to help boost your visibility, it's no surprise that SEO can sometimes take 12-18 months to get rankings. If you want to speed up your SEO, you either need to add more budget or cut down on keywords.

As far as measuring "success", your definition of success should be improved rankings. Some SEO agencies will base your SEO success on increases in traffic, although we've found that there could be a blog post that goes viral and gets your site a lot of traffic, and this traffic will have no value to you since the website visitors may be in a different city or country.

If you are thinking about doing SEO for your dental practice or you are already doing SEO and you are not happy with your results, please feel free to reach out to the team at Connect the Doc and we can do a complimentary analysis for you.

Interested in working with us?

See firsthand how Connect the Doc can fill your pipeline with new patients.

Book a Free Demo