Dental SEO – Take Over Your City in 2021
In this article, I’ll quickly guide you through the 5 most important elements to get your dental office ranking on the first page of Google.
These 5 elements weren’t just picked at random, nor are they misinformation I am regurgitating through the grapevine.
Interestingly, Google doesn’t spell out the exact steps for how they determine rank.
While that might seem like the common sense thing to do, it unfortunately leads to couple of bad apples taking advantage of the system and letting people take short cuts to the front of the line.
If there was a research and development department in the industry of digital marketing, Moz is exactly that. They are at the front lines of SEO knowledge and theory.
They are constantly testing and iterating on a mass scale, and fortunately for us, they are very generous with the information they share.
Here at Pharo, I studied the latest and tested methods of Moz to identify the 5 quintessential factors that go into a Google ranking for a dental practice as well as a zeroed-down estimation of the impact of each.
Here they are:
- Business Signals – 19%
- Link Signals – 17%
- On-Page – 14%
- Reviews – 13%
- Behavioral Signals – 10%
Now if you took theoretical math or calculus in university, you’d see that the 5 numbers add up to about 73%.
This is the 80/20 principle in action.
There are dozens and dozens of different types of local SEO “work” that can be done. And many companies offer them as a service.
Unfortunately, their good intentions turn out to be a disservice because the focus starts moving away from the truly important work.
What brings 73% of the results lies in those 5 factors, and those 5 factors are what your dental marketing agency must provide for you.
So let’s break down what they are.
Business signals are those websites that give signals to Google about your practice.
For example, Google will look at Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Google My Business, and use those trusted websites as the reflection of your business information.
So if you have one address on Yelp, a different one on Facebook, and then a different one on Twitter, Google loses confidence about your location.
When Google isn’t confident that your office is located in Los Angeles, CA, then when a user searches for “dentists near los angeles”, Google isn’t comfortable listing your office because it doesn’t want to mislead the user.
So, the first and most important thing to take care of is what’s called “NAP syndication”.
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number.
It’s is critical that your Name, Address, and Phone number are all consistent through all the citation websites.
Here are the main citation sources for dental practices that you should take care of according to Moz.
Keep in mind that, while it’s not listed, Google My Business is by far the most important citation that you want to have consistent with your website and the rest of the citation listings.
Luckily for us, Business Signals, the most important category, is very easy to take care of.
- Click the link to the dental practice citation source and make sure that your NAP is syndicated across the board.
- Create a Google My Business account if you haven’t already.
The second most important local SEO factor is link signals.
Links signals are also known as backlinks or off-page SEO.
This is Google’s method of establishing your online reputation within the ecosystem of the internet.
When one of these websites creates a “do follow” link, like the one shown above, they essentially pass on some of their reputation to the website the link “points” towards.
In this way, reputation gets passed down a complicated chain and by the time they reach your office’s website, they may have become watered down through a series of hundreds of websites.
Your goal is to receive backlinks from websites higher up the chain.
The best way to do this is through publications.
Not those fancy publications for medical journals. We mean publications to:
- News channels
- Dental industry blogs
- Health blogs
The process is as follows:
- Reach out to the reputable websites in your industry or adjacent industries (medical, chiro, opto, etc)
- Offer to create a quality piece of content that will help the blog with their goals. Typically, they want more readers which means quality content. We like to approach publishers with 3 great content ideas for them to approve 1 of.
- After you receive approval, work with a content create to get it made. This can be an infographic, a written article, or a video post.
- Finally, work it out with the publication to post your content along with a link signal that points back towards your website.
It is important that the links you receive are also coming from websites that are relevant to yours.
A link from a highly reputable website about cooking would mean far less for your reputation than a link from a high reputable dental organization.
Link creation is time consuming and to create good content can be difficult.
The time and effort required is the biggest reason that dental practices will choose to outsource this labor to marketing companies.
- Find the top 10 blogs in your industry.
- Offer to create content for them and suggest three great ideas.
- Have the content created and submit it back to them.
- Receive a backlink with a “do follow” towards your website.
You’re probably familiar with the term on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
The main different is that on-page SEO deals with those things that are in your control (your website).
Off-page SEO refers to those things that are outside of your immediate control (reputation building with other websites).
There are about 30 different things your practice must optimize on-page, too long for discussion here.
When an article is created for a detailed dive into dental on-page seo, I will link it here 🙂
All you need to know for now is that on-page SEO is how Google know what your website is about.
Google knows your information through business signals. Google knows how reputable your website is through link signals. And now, Google knows what your website is about through on-page SEO.
Think of on-page SEO as the direction of your website on a 2D plane.
Up North are websites about psychiatry. East are websites about dentistry. South are websites about alternative medicine. West are websites about veterinarians.
On-page SEO essentially tells Google where to point your website.
Imagine a website that has no words on it, Google would have no idea what it is.
On the other hand, imagine a website with the word dentist appearing on the home page 12 times. Chances are, this website is about a dentist.
With on-page SEO, we give Google a clear understanding of what our website is about. Thus, we help it understand when it would be appropriate to show our website to users.
- List out the cities that you service.
- Create a separate page for each of those cities.
- Use the format: https://domain.com/service-city (https://ladental.com/implants-los-angeles)
- Include “Service + City” as an H1 tag at the start of the page.
Surprisingly, reviews only make up 13% of the importance for local SEO.
In theory, a dental practice with 5,000 reviews and a stellar 5 star rating only has 13% of the equation if they do no other form of SEO. Further, they would be ranked below a practice who simply listed their NAP properly on the citation websites and has mediocre reviews.
This is the power of understanding SEO.
If you have amazing reviews, great! Keep it up. If you don’t have great reviews, the good news is that it’s fixable.
What you need to implement is a reputation management system.
Here are some ideas:
- Create brochures and tuck them away for particularly happy patients.
- Have those brochures remind patients to leave a review for a chance to win a small prize, or even a discount at their next visit.
- Give instructions for how they can find those review websites and give a template so they can leave reviews that not only are good for your on-page, but reviews that influence others to become patients of yours.
- Brainstorm ways you can habitually “capture” good experiences and translate that into reviews.
Lastly, behavioral signals refer to user behavior that signals to Google how compelling your website is.
If Google shows a website 1,000 to users and 100 of those users click-through onto the website, you have a 10% click-through-rate (CTR)
So if users search for “dentists in new york”, and one website starts getting a higher than average CTR, it signals to Google that users find this particular website more compelling than the others.
As a result, Google begins to show this popular website more often.
This is an example of a positive feedback loop.
Just as the wealthy get wealthier, and the poor get poorer, popular websites get popularer.
Not only is the CTR important but how the user engages with the website after they click-through.
If users “bounce out” right after they click onto the site, this is an indication to Google that whatever is inside, isn’t so good.
If users stay on the website for long periods of time and engage with it with clicks and viewing more pages, Google sees this as a positive signal that the website is not only attractive, but it is useful.
Therefore, we encourage you to build websites that encourage user engagement.
Make simple website changes like:
- Make your pages load faster to decrease bounce rates
- Write content that is actually engaging and helpful rather than copy and pasting boring text from another dental practice’s website.
- Mobile optimize it. I know you’re probably close to puking from the number of times you hear “responsive website”. But consider the number of mobile users. If their experience is bad, it will reflect in their user behavior and daddy Google will not like that.
While it might seem inconsequential and petty, these small things accumulate to create a powerful feedback loop for your business that eventually brings in many valuable patients every month.
- Get your page speed down and check it here. Your score should be higher than 90 for desktop and higher than 75 for mobile.
That concludes today’s lesson on local SEO for your dental practice.
I hope it was valuable and I hope you will take action and put this knowledge to use for your dental practice.
And if you know anyone struggle with getting their business to the top of Google, please share this article with them.
Trust me, about 93% of dental practices out there are sitting at around 30-40% optimization. Even the ones at the top are there because they’re barely at 50% optimized.
Implement these 5 simple things and you’ll see significant returns on investment.
To your success!