How to Optimize Your Dental Website for Local SEO
Every dental patient acquisition strategy is designed to target and attract the ideal patients to a dental practice. Many dentists tend to broaden their search when implementing these strategies, but the reality is your ideal patients are just around the corner—figuratively and literally.
Iron Monk surveyed 1500 American dental patients and found that patients are most likely to choose a dentist based on the following criteria:
- The one with the best online reviews
- The one closest to me
- The top-ranked one in the search results
- The cheapest one
- The one with the best-looking website
While some of the criteria listed, such as pricing or web design, may seem obvious, the most understandable one of them all is proximity. After all, you would rather go to a grocery store that’s down the road than drive half an hour to another store. And if that’s the case, won’t your patients want the same thing for their dental practice?
The days of running broad and far-reaching dental marketing campaigns are long gone. Nowadays, you’re better off targeting prospective patients in your local community. And Local SEO is one way you can do just that.
This article will explore Local SEO, its importance, and five steps you need to take to optimize your dental website for it. As much as we try to simplify marketing jargon, parts of this article may seem too technical or broad for your liking. So, if you need more information or advice that’s broken down properly and speaks to your unique situation, do not hesitate to contact a dental marketing specialist from our team.
Before we go further, let’s define what SEO really means for dentists.
What is SEO for Dentists?
SEO refers to a series of actions that boost the chances of your dental website performing well on search engines like Google or Bing. If your website ranks higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and more internet users see your listing on those pages, your website can be said to be performing well. In other words, your dental website’s SEO performance is directly linked to its position, impressions, and clicks on SERPS.
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, meaning it encompasses the steps you need to take to improve your dental website’s position and win more impressions and clicks on SERPs shown to internet users. So, when we say Local SEO, we’re referring to the steps you need to take to improve your dental website’s position, win more impressions and clicks on SERPs shown to patients in your local community or within proximity.
We will go over these steps shortly but first, let’s look at the importance of Local SEO for your dental website and practice.
Why You Should Optimize Your Dental Website for Local SEO
- Boost Organic Traffic
If your dental website is well-positioned (i.e., high and close to the top) and gets more impressions and clicks, you’re bound to receive a boost in organic traffic.
Organic traffic is any traffic (or entrances to your dental website) that comes from search engines. This means patients clicked your website after looking up specific words (keywords) and not through a paid ads campaign or referral link. Organic traffic requires little to no money to secure, and as such, it is a preferred source of traffic for many dentists and business owners.
- Attract More Patient Leads
The more patients visit your website via organic traffic, the more leads you’re attracting and can convert into appointment bookings. As patients find your dental website due to its positioning on SERPs, they can learn more about your dental expertise and services and make an informed decision.
- Show Credibility
Chances are you’ve clicked a website on Google simply because it was much closer to the top of the page than other listings. If you’ve done that, you’re not alone. The first five listings on SERPs receive about 67.60% of all clicks. This means patients trust dental websites that have good positioning on results pages. So, if you can improve your dental website’s SEO and rank higher on SERP, you can show credibility and win prospective patients’ trust.
- Create Local Awareness
The beauty of optimizing your dental website for local SEO is the fact that you’re making it easy for more local patients to find your dental practice online. As more patients in your community stumble on your website, the word can spread faster about your dental practice. Awareness is the first stage of every consumer’s purchasing decision framework, and Local SEO allows you to meet patients at the awareness stage.
5 Steps to Optimize Your Dental Website for Local SEO
1. Conduct Keyword Research
Keywords refer to the search queries your patients use online to find solutions and resources. They could be questions or simply a string of words entered into a search engine’s search box.
The search queries entered in search engines determine the listings that appear in the SERPs. So, if a prospective patient looks up ‘teeth whitening in Phoenix’, the listings that appear would be for dental websites and practices close to the patient in Phoenix and offer teeth whitening services.
Comprehensive keyword research can help you figure out what search queries your ideal prospective patients are likely to look up on search engines. Once you know what keywords to use, you can incorporate them into your website’s content. You can use tools like SEMRush, Moz, and Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords that apply to your dental practice and services.
Ideally, you should always choose long-tail, high-intent keywords, i.e., keywords with three or more words in them, and indicate a likelihood that the searcher, or dental patients, is interested in learning more about a dentist or booking an appointment.
Examples of high intent keywords for dentists include: how much do dentures cost, deep teeth cleaning in Minnesota, affordable dentures and implants Dallas, or denture repair near me.
2. Audit Your Existing Content
Once you’ve figured out the keywords you need to work with, your next course of action should be to improve your dental website’s content. You can do this by auditing your website to find opportunities to optimize your website for SEO. From your website audit, you should be able to find pages where you can:
- Add Keywords: Insert your selected keywords into the copy of specific web pages. From your homepage to your blog posts, add keywords that can help make your content searchable and more visible online. Don’t overdo it; try to keep your keyword density (i.e., the number of times your keywords appear in your copy relative to the total number of words in the copy) down to somewhere between 1% and 5%.
- Add Internal and External Links: Be sure to add hyperlinks or citations wherever possible in your copy. These links should be related to the anchor texts you hyperlink and point to web pages on your website (internal) or other websites (external). Internal and external links are critical to your website’s SEO performance, so use credible and reliable links.
- Use the Right Header Tags: Let your headers be clear and distinguishable. Organize your copy using header tags (H1, H2, and H3) consistent across your dental website. The sizes of headers should correspond with their tags, with H1 being the largest. Using the proper header tags allows search engines to better understand your content structure and suggest your website to the right audience.
3. Update Your Google My Business Profile
Next, you should update your Google My Business (GMB) profile if you have one. From the spelling of your business name to your hours of operation, every detail on your GMB should be up to date. More so, now’s a good time to add a new post or image to your profile.
Google’s search engine uses the information businesses share on their GMB profile to ascertain their relevance to users’ queries. So, give your dental practice the best chance at online visibility by updating your GMB profile. Here’s a checklist to help you get started, and if you don’t have a GMB profile, here’s our recent article on everything dentists need to know about GMB.
4. Ask Patients to Share Reviews Online
As you update your GMB profile, you should consider asking your existing local patients to share their reviews on Google or other top dental review sites. Google’s search engine is powerful enough to pick out the words used in reviews about your practice and use that information to decide where to rank your dental website.
Reviews with words that connect your practice to your local community are especially handful as they boost your chances of ranking higher on SERPs shown to prospective patients. With that in mind, you should focus on getting more reviews from local patients.
5. Monitor Your Progress
Lastly, you should monitor your progress. Decide on the key metrics you’ll like to keep track of as you review your SEO efforts over time. You can use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to monitor your SEO performance as you go.
Optimizing your dental website for Local SEO is an essential part of your patient acquisition strategy—and you shouldn’t ignore it. It can help you attract more patient leads and boost your dental practice’s awareness. Follow the steps outlined to get started.
Also, you can contact a Connect the Docs dental marketing specialist to work with you as you optimize your dental website for SEO and attract more local patients to your practice.