What are the Factors Google Uses to Rank a Dental Website #1?
On any given day, there are over 63,000 searches per second on Google. It goes without saying that Google is the world’s most popular search platform. Around the world, dentists rely on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) to showcase their dental practices to prospective patients within and around their local community.
For years, many dental practices have seen upticks in traffic - online and in their physical locations - as a result of their ranking on Google’s SERPs. The higher your dental practice’s website ranks on Google, the higher your website’s traffic and conversion rates. As such, several dental practices take active measures to ensure their online marketing strategies are optimized and their website has the best chance of ranking high - or specifically, #1 - on Google.
What does it mean to rank on Google?
With billions of webpages and countless information on the internet, Google ranking systems use a search algorithm to sort and organize information for Google users. This allows users to search for topics, keywords, or subject matter on Google and find relevant webpages that provide them with the answers they need.
The search algorithm selects and organizes search results based on over 200 ranking factors. These factors include the searcher’s location, the keywords used in the searcher’s query, the relevance, and usability of webpages amongst many other factors. Google’s search algorithm uses all 200 ranking factors to determine how to sort and rank search results and webpages but some ranking factors are more crucial than others.
What does it take for your dental practice’s website to rank as #1 on Google?
This is the question on the minds of several marketers - and dentists. With so many web pages and content published daily on the internet, it is important to know the criteria and crucial ranking factors that make your dental practice’s website is searchable and visible to prospective patients who are searching for dental services.
In this article, you will learn some of the top criteria or ranking factors Google uses to rank websites. By considering and applying these ranking factors to your online marketing strategies, you will be giving your dental practice’s website the best chance at ranking as #1 on Google. These factors are not ranked in order of importance but instead, they collectively represent four of the most crucial criteria Google looks at when ranking a site as #1
Backlinks are hyperlinks on webpages across the internet that direct visitors back to your dental practice’s website. When ranking your website, Google’s search algorithm scans the internet for backlinks to your website and the more backlinks from credible sources it finds, the higher it will rank your website on Google’s SERPs.
The essence of backlinks is the credibility they confer on your dental practice’s practice. If webpages on websites - that consistently share high-quality content about dental services and practices - contain hyperlinks that link back to your dental practice’s website, Google interprets that as a vote of confidence for your website. This means that Google will note your website as a trusted source of information that dental patients in your local community may need.
Google’s emphasis on backlinks means that “link-building” is an important SEO marketing practice. There are several ways of earning credible backlinks. From writing guest blog posts on trusted websites to publishing press releases about dental practices on newswires. You can learn more about link-building here.
Keywords refer to the search terms used in your prospective patients’ online queries that can be found in your dental practice’s webpages. For example, if a patient searches for “teeth whitening near me” and your website contains relevant and up-to-date information about teeth whitening, Google will rank your website high in the search results (granted your business is located near the patient.)
Keywords do not have to be exact matches with search terms used in online queries. When ranking webpages, Google’s search algorithm studies the intent and meaning behind the keywords used in the queries and the information published on your website. It is important that your website contains high-quality, credible, and relevant information and content about keywords that your prospective patients are likely to search for.
Blogs are a great way to use and optimize keywords for your dental practice’s website. Google’s search algorithm observes the placement and position of relevant keywords on blogs. It is beneficial to use keywords in the title, meta description, and select headers of your blogs and webpages. The search algorithm uses keywords in these positions as a relevancy signal when ranking pages.
You can use Google Trends to perform keyword researches and find out what terms and queries dental patients are currently searching for. Connect the Doc’s SEO marketing service helps dental practices’ websites rank high for keywords that dental patients are currently searching for. Contact our team to learn more about leveraging dental keywords that are relevant right now.
While it is important for your dental practice’s website to rank high on Google, it is more important for your website to contain information and content that are valuable to current and prospective patients. Marketing strategies - like paid ads, SEO-marketing, reviews, and referral marketing - are vital for gaining more website traffic, increasing conversion rates, and generating new leads. In addition to these strategies, you should ensure your dental practice’s website contains information that can keep visitors engaged - and that they can do so, safely.
Your website’s domain security is a crucial ranking factor for Google’s search algorithm. Google wants users to visit webpages on its SERPs without fear of being scammed or hacked. As such, Google identifies and prioritizes secure websites when determining ranking positions. To secure your dental practice’s website, you should purchase a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate. Websites with an SSL certificate have a HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPs) domain distinction.
Google uses HTTPs domain distinction as a top-ranking factor for webpages on its SERPs. To find out if your dental practice’s website is secure, open the website on a browser and check the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of your website. If the URL begins with ‘https’, it is secure but if it begins with ‘HTTP’ (meaning ‘s’ isn’t the last letter), the website is not secure. If your website is not secure, contact the Connect the Doc team as soon as possible about auditing and securing your website.
Google wants to show its users webpages that have topical authority on the subject matter these users care about. Google’s search algorithm goes further than backlinks, keywords, and domain security to the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness websites have on specific areas.
These three qualities - expertise, authority, and trustworthiness - are the pillars of Google’s standards for evaluating websites and webpages. Using the acronym E-A-T, Google introduced these standards in 2018 and has since used them to measure the authority websites have over subject matters and topics. For your dental practice’s website to rank high on Google SERPs, it must have a history of providing expert, quality, and trusted content about dental services and other queries dental patients may have.
It can take time to meet Google’s E-A-T standards but it is worth trying. The benefits of presenting your website as an authority and trusted source of information for dental patients are endless. Beyond higher Google’s rankings, it makes your website the go-to for vital information about dental queries and helps your practice generate more leads, reviews, and referrals. Having a website that meets Google’s E-A-T standards should be one of the goals of your dental practice’s online marketing strategies.
To start meeting Google’ E-A-T standards:
- Contact the Connect the Doc team to perform a thorough analysis of your website or to create a high-converting and mobile-responsive website for your dental practice
- Make sure your website’s design is responsive and user-friendly.
- Consider creating a blog on your dental practice’s website where you can address relevant dental topics and subject matter that current and prospective patients care about
- Start apply all other criteria and ranking factors (backlinks, keywords, and other SEO-marketing practices) to your online marketing strategies
- Optimize your strategy for gathering online and positive reviews from patients
With so many dental practices vying for the #1 spot on Google’s SERPs, it is easy to see why these factors are being used by Google’s ranking system. Your knowledge and application of these factors can separate your dental practice from the crowd and position your practice’s website as an authority and credible source of information for dental patients within and around your community. By applying these factors, you can make your online marketing strategies work for you now - and in the long run.
Google’s search algorithm uses many more criteria when ranking a site as #1. However, the four ranking factors we have discussed are some of the top-ranking factors with very high relevancy signals. You can start applying the ranking factors to your marketing strategies and kickstart the race to your dental practice’s site being ranked #1 on Google. Contact the Connect the Doc team today to get started.