SEO for Dentists – Tips, Tricks & Best Practices

Like any other businesses, dentists are becoming more and more aware of the impact SEO and digital marketing can have on their practice and the way they get more patients. 

Whether you’re doing SEO for a dentist or you plan on hiring an SEO in-house, we’ve prepared a list of things that dental SEO services should ensure for their clients. 

SEO for Dentists – Best Practices

Dentists might not necessarily consider SEO as a marketing practice off the bat and might in fact resort to traditional marketing methods such as advertising in a newspaper.

Well, these days almost no one reads the newspaper anymore. Besides, the top 5 search results in any search engine always account for more than 50% of the clicks, no matter whether you’re ranking on Google, Bing, or anything else. 

Being among the first 5 results for a keyword means you will be getting more leads, more traffic, and also a higher authority and credibility. In turn, this means you’ll be able to acquire more and more patients. 

Dental SEO is definitely something that other dentists are considering or already investing in. 

This means that you already have to compete with some people in your area, who are already taking advantage of all the perks that search engine optimization ensures. 

But even if they are not investing in SEO, you can use this detail to your advantage. These days, almost anyone looks for reviews online before deciding to use someone’s service — and this includes dental practices. 

On-page SEO services for dentists

The right keywords

Keywords are essential when it comes to search engine optimization as they are the terms that people use to look for anything in the search engines. 

Needless to say, if you run a dental practice, you do not want to get ranked for keywords such as ‘veterinarian near me’, right? 

So it is important that you use targeted keywords, both in terms of what specific services you are offering (whether you’re an orthodontist or dentist, if you’re also a dental surgeon, etc). 

There are a wide array of keyword tools that you can use for the purpose, and you can also focus on some that have lower difficulty so that you rank faster and easier. 

Here are some examples of keywords you might be interested in targeting:

  • Dentist in (location)
  • Orthodontist near me (and Google will automatically show you among the results if you’ve set up your GMB and have region-specific keywords on your pages)
  • Dentist near me (as above)
  • Dental offers or discounts

These can be any variations depending on what you do and the area your business is located in. Create a list of all of these terms and then run them through Ahrefs or SEMRush (or any other tool, for that matter) to look at their search volume, keyword difficulty, and everything else. 

Also, you can check out the competition and difficulty by simply running a search in Google with your specific keyword. Some other details you might be interested in are PPC, CTR, and CPC. 

Here are some examples of tools you can use for the purpose (although we’ve already mentioned two):

  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Moz
  • Cognitive SEO
  • Ubersuggest
  • Keywordtool.io

After you have selected your keywords, you should aim at creating pages about them. The terms have to be in your URL, title, at least one of your headings, and ideally, in one of the first paragraphs you have on the post. They should also be present in the image name. 

Keyword stuffing goes against Google’s policies nowadays so make sure not to overdo it. 

If you aren’t sure of how many times you should use a keyword, you might as well use each once and then run your pages through a content analysis tool (SEMRush has one but there’s also PageOptimizerPro, which is very good). 

User intent

Besides the actual keywords that you use, you should also consider what you want to achieve with them and what people might actually want from you. 

This is the reason why you should not overlook keywords like the ‘discount’ or ‘offers’ we’ve mentioned before, for example. 

Keywords can be split up into four main categories depending on the user intent. They can be: 

  • Navigational
  • Informational
  • Commercial (keyword switch buyer intent)
  • Transactional 

Navigational keywords might not be something you will want to target since people look for stuff like ‘YouTube music page’ or specific Internet locations. 

You can use the informational keywords that exist in your niche to explain to people what you do, the equipment you use, what types of services you offer and how they can help. These are best used for dental blogs, for example. 

To give you some examples, you can target some of the following keywords:

  • Is whitening your teeth safe?
  • What causes demineralization of teeth? 
  • What happens if tooth decay is left untreated?

In a nutshell, these prospective buyers are looking for information first — and if you satisfy the user intent, they might want to get your services. 

Commercial keywords sound something like ‘best dentists in Edinburgh’. They’re usually ‘best-type’ terms that people use to look at a list of services and decide on one of them. 

They actually want to spend their money but are still having trouble deciding on a specific dental service. 

Transactional keywords are those where the searcher just wants to spend money off the bat (like the offers or discounts we mentioned before). They might also be interested in acquiring your services if they have an emergency, so they might look for ‘non-stop dentist near me’. 

It’s essential for you to match your keywords with the user intent — otherwise, you’re going to get ranked for them, but your rankings will drop as a result of a low click-through-rate or a high bounce rate (meaning that people will end up on your site but are going to leave because they don’t find what they are searching for). 

You can use a standard Google search to see what shows up in the People Also Ask section or what the top pages are — and look at what your competition’s doing. 

Check your headings

Use headings (with keywords in them) throughout your posts, but keep in mind that Google has a specific structure for them. This means that your page/post title is already H1 so there’s nothing you have to do about it. 

Your first H2 should be the topic you want to address first and everything that deals with it should be under it, with an H3 — and so on. 

Don’t use headings like H2, H3, H4 and so on without following a structure. 

Internal linking 

Once you have enough relevant pages on your site, you can start linking to them from your new content. We’d like to note here that you should begin by creating a plan. 

What we mean by this is that you should look at what your silo structure is going to be — in your case, this could be your categories. 

Several examples might be ‘dental surgery’ and ‘dental cleaning’. Whenever you post a new article in the first category, make sure to link to others within it — not the dental cleaning posts as they do not relate to surgery. 

You can place a link on your homepage of your most important post and then link from it as it gets the most link juice. 

Pay attention to your outbound links

Outbound links should be used as sparingly as possible. Besides, you should aim at linking only to highly authoritative or best trusted sources, such as scientific papers, dental colleges, and anything else that’s relevant to your specific niche. 

Since you’re going to be based in a specific area, you can also link to other local business websites — if that’s something you feel would be useful to your patients.

Website architecture

All search engines want their users to have the best possible experience. For that, you should make sure that your website is as good as possible from a technical standpoint. 

Your site’s navigation should be as easy to use as possible, and so should your site speed. In fact, site speed is a ranking factor, so if your website loads in more than 3 seconds, your bounce rate is going to be through the roof. 

You can test your site speed with tools like GT Metrix. To improve this factor, you can opt for a faster hosting service, remove all unnecessary plugins, use AMP, and also compress your images and visual content, in general. 

Another thing that you should consider is making your site responsive or as mobile-friendly as possible. 

These days, more than half of all searches are performed from mobile devices, so you are going to miss out on acquiring a lot of patients if you do not optimize for mobile. 

Content

We’ve already talked about user intent, but making sure that your content is as useful and helpful as possible to people who end up on your site is definitely the right way of going about things. 

There’s something called EAT these days and it’s something that Google uses to tell a valuable piece of content from a less valuable one. 

If you have technicians or other dentists in your practice that can write content or at least fact-check it, perhaps they can be the authors of your articles. 

With a high level of trust, authority, and expertise of the content writer comes a high level of trust and authority for your website. 

The length and type of your content also have a say when it comes to your rankings and the results you get. People often react better to highly visual content, so that would mean creating infographics, videos, or at least some slides that you can include in your posts. 

The length of the content has to be determined based on what your competitors are doing (it would be ideal for you to make your posts slightly longer by comparison). But if you have nothing more to say, don’t beat around the bush as that would affect the user experience on the whole. 

Off-page dental SEO services

Links

Once everything is in top shape site-wise, you can start looking at what you can do in terms of off-page optimization. Getting links is great and you definitely need to acquire them in order to improve your rankings.

But try to stay away from shady techniques such as buying as many as possible, especially from highly irrelevant websites. 

The best types of links for a dental practice are those from other dental-related websites or local directories. You can even get links from coupon sites if you’re offering discounts for a specific consultation. 

If you are already working with a digital marketing company or an SEO, make sure to ask them to check your links on a regular basis. 

You could become the victim of a negative SEO without even realizing it (where your competitors buy toxic links for your website). 

GMB (Google My Business) Optimization

GMB is essential particularly when it comes to local SEO for dentists. You can set up your own free business profile and claim your Google My Business page so that no one else besides you has access to it. 

You’ll be able to fill it out with a link to your site, your business hours, and even a link to one of your landing pages, such as a place where people could set an appointment or give you a call. 

What something dental service owners might not know is that they can make regular updates to their GMB listings, meaning add posts with text or video in them so that people see what you do. 

Patient reviews

You probably know how important reviews can be for a business, especially a dental practice that’s just opened up its doors. 

But patient reviews are also important from a digital marketing and SEO standpoint. You can ask for testimonials that you can showcase on your website, but you can also ask for Yelp or other platform reviews, too. 

If a patient has had a great experience with you, it wouldn’t be too much for you to ask them to review your services, right? 

Finding the best dental marketing company

If you want to hire a company or a freelancer to have all of the things that we have mentioned done for you, you should look at their portfolio before anything else. 

Have they improved the rankings of other business websites? Can they show you actual numbers, whether in terms of increasing the traffic or CTR of such businesses?

Did you know that there are actually companies that specialize specifically in marketing and SEO for dentists? If you can come across one, we’d advise you to consider them first. 

Dental marketing companies already have experience in your field and they have the right approach and can use the right research to provide you with the results you need. 

Tracking your SEO dental marketing campaign

For this purpose, you’re going to need one of the tools that we’ve mentioned — Ahrefs and SEMRush work well in this sense. Just look at the number of keywords you’re ranking for and the traffic they’re bringing in. 

Ask your SEO for a detailed report of what they have been doing every month or at least once every three months and then run several Google searches on your own to cross-check the results. 

FAQs 

How long does SEO for dental services take?

For completely new websites, dental search engine optimization can take a minimum of 6 months to show any results. 

Patience is required, but during this time, you can at least solve every technical issue that you might have on your site and get your GMB listing up to date. 

The time frame can be a little lower in some cases, especially in local SEO, so it could last for just four months instead of six. If you want quick results, you can resort to using paid ads (or PPC) on social media networks or right on Google. 

How much does SEO marketing for dentists cost?

It depends on a number of factors — such as exactly what you are looking to improve, if the SEO is going to do the changes themselves or you have someone in-house that can act upon their recommendations, or if you’ve hired an agency or a freelancer. 

SEO freelancers might ask for just about $700 to $1,000 per month. Seasoned dental SEO experts can ask for $70 to $100 per hour whereas actual agencies are going to ask for a fee of around $2,000 per month or more. 

Need help with your SEO or digital marketing efforts? We have lots of plans and courses available. Get in touch to find out how we can be of assistance!

 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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