Search Engine Optimization or “SEO” for local companies like dentists and orthodontists is now more important than ever.
People are looking online for professionals to turn to with questions about their teeth, how to get started with the oh-so-popular Invisalign, and finding out more information about the dentists “near me”.
If you can be listed on the top of any of those search engine results pages or “SERPs” you’ll be one happy dental practice. And why is that?
People use search engines to find local businesses, like dentists, every single day, and most people trust online reviews for local companies just as much as an in-person recommendation.
So, a good first tip would be to start with putting yourself in the shoes of an individual who might be looking for your dental practice using a search engine.
Do an SEO analysis for your dental practice
You can start by running a free service like Neil Patel’s SEO Analyzer on your dental practice website. This SEO Analyzer will tell you what keywords your dental practice is already ranking for, and it will also give you some keyword suggestions to make your life a little easier.
This is where you can start to put yourself into your potential patient’s shoes. Are these keywords going to bring the traffic you want to your website? Are these keywords that will help answer the questions they have?
Conduct Search Queries For Dental Keywords You Want To Rank For
Again, put yourself in the shoes of the people you want finding your website and potentially visiting your dental practice in-person and do two different kinds of searches.
First, search for your dental practice
Search by the name of your dental practice and the name of the dentists in your office. It should be incredibly easy to find your practice doing this. If it’s not, I’d guess that you either haven’t set up your Google My Business page yet or haven’t optimized it fully. If you haven’t, I want you to take a step back and read our guide on listing and optimizing your Google My Business page for your dental office.
If you were easily able to find your dental practice, good! Here’s what you want to take a look at.
- How does your practice look from the outside in?
- Does everything look complete?
- Do you have enough reviews?
- Are your reviews positive?
What can you learn here?
Basically what you want to figure out is if you would visit your dental practice after seeing what you just came up with after that search. If not, now is the time to make those changes. If yes, great! Let’s move on.
Second, search for the keywords you want to rank for.
What will potential patients search for? Think about the most common questions you hear at your dental practice, and type them into the search bar. You want to see the results to better understand what your potential patients are seeing.
Make sure to take note of what other web pages rank highly for the keywords you’re searching for and click into them. What does the content look like on these pages? For example, if most of these pages have a video front and center, you can be sure that you should also have a video.
For local businesses, like your dental practice, it’s important to conduct queries like “Dentists near me” or “Milwaukee Dentists”. Maybe you already rank well for keywords, (which is great) but there are going to be others that you don’t rank for at all.
One big thing that you’re going to notice is that there are Google My Business Listings and also a lot of local directories on these SERPs.
For instance, when I input the keyword “Milwaukee Dentist” in Google, these are the top results that were presented to me.
You’ll want to click into both of them and see where your dental practice stands. Since these local directories rank so highly, it’s important to make sure that you give them the attention they require and make sure your profiles are complete, add images, and ask for reviews.
Long story short, people are becoming much smarter online and Google knows it. Google understands that customers value online reviews and are willing to give them a boost for people to get the information that they are looking for. It’s important to make sure you cover all your bases when it comes to SEO because search results are always changing and evolving.
What can you learn here?
After conducting these searches, you’ll be able to figure out roughly where your business stands online, and at least have some idea of what it will take to rank for the keywords you want to rank for.
Choose the right keywords
You do all of the hard work it takes to rank number one for a keyword and then nothing happens… SEO must be a dead strategy and it was a waste of time, right?
Absolutely not. SEO for local companies like dental offices is absolutely amazing. When done correctly.
The biggest mistake people make is not doing your keyword research ahead of time to see if there is any value in trying to rank number one for a specific keyword.
Some keywords naturally won’t have any search volume while others have so much that it will be almost impossible to rank for them. For example, a local dentist probably isn’t going to want to try and rank for just “dentist”.
Some possible keywords could be:
- Dentist + [your location]
- Dental surgeon + [your location]
- Orthodontist + [your location]
There are plenty of other variations of keywords you’ll want to research, and some of those will include the keywords you were thinking of and searching for above.
Go ahead and throw all of those together on a list. We’re going to do some research to validate these keywords or eliminate them. The keyword research tool we use here is Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest.
Using a keyword research tool is going to show you details that will help make your decision if trying to go after a keyword is worth it or not. The details you’re going to want to pay attention to are:
Search Volume – The number of searches a specific keyword has during a month.
SEO Difficulty – Estimated competition in organic search, the higher the number the more competitive.
Click-Through-Rate (CTR) – How often a click through to a website occurs during a specific search.
Other ranking domain scores – How much online authority or domain authority other websites have who rank for a specific keyword.
You’ll also be able to see who is currently ranking for these keywords, what the search trend has been like, and other similar keyword ideas. The page will look something like this (when you scroll down you get more details):
There is a specific type of keyword called a long-tail keyword that is a bit of a more advanced strategy of SEO. A long-tail keyword is one that is usually more of a phrase or laid out like a question. An example would be: “best dentist for people without dental insurance in Milwaukee”. While that keyword may show a very low search volume, it’s long-tail keywords that usually yield the highest conversions. Something to think about if you feel that a keyword would be a good idea.
Coming up with your list of keywords that you believe are worth going after is your first step in improving the SEO for you dentists and orthodontists out there.
If you are looking for a strategy to actually implement what you learned, we created the Beginners Guide to SEO and the chapters in there will help you get the ball rolling!
Feel free to reach out with any questions and good luck!