If you’re a dentist or periodontist, it’s no secret that there seems to be a new dental office that opens up on every street corner now. Do you know the actual numbers, though?
In 2012, an article by Dental Economics stated, “In the last five years, competition has increased in dentistry. Seventy-five percent of dental practices have experienced production declines since the Great Recession. Many offices are in danger of continuing this trend if they do not come to terms with what it takes to grow a practice in the new dental economy.
In 2015, the United States had 195,722 practicing dentists. That’s the equivalent of having 60.9 dentists per 100,000 population.
Now that you understand the dentistry industry across the board is becoming extremely competitive let’s switch over and go over statistics from the lovely customers in the United States that use local dental services.
Marketing Stats for Dental Practices
Spectrio has provided the below stats.
“77% of patients use online reviews when finding a new healthcare provider.”
It doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in; customers are looking to see reviews from other real customers. It shows social proof on the level of care and quality that your business has to offer. With something as important as finding a new local dentist, you better believe that the potential customer is researching your business and your reviews before making a call.
“75% of customers expect companies to provide a consistent experience across multiple touchpoints.”
In 2020, the majority of the potential customers that are looking to bring their business to you are researching you on multiple platforms. They’re looking at your Google reviews, Yelp reviews, website, and social media handles. They want to make sure that you’re the real deal before they bring you their business. Switching dentists or periodontists isn’t as easy as changing which restaurant you want to eat tonight.
Your online experience has to match across the board. Now is the time to tighten up all aspects of your brand, or your competition who do that well will continue to grow.
“70% of customers say technology makes it easier for them to take their business elsewhere.”
As we’ve mentioned above, with the amount of competition and level of technology we all have at our fingertips, finding a new dentist has never been easier for a potential customer. They aren’t just looking at your business; they’re researching 2-3 dentists and periodontists at the same time to find the right fit for what they’re looking for.
What is SEO?
For those of you who are reading this blog and don’t know or understand what SEO is, fear not, we’ll explain it.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of your website through organic search engine results.
For instance, anytime you type something into Google, the SERPs (search engine results pages) are showing you the closest information that you were looking for. Although there are a lot of variables on how Google shows its results, the majority of the search results on page one or two of Google have heavily optimized their SEO to be seen over their competition.
Example: You’re a Scottsdale, AZ, dentist, and your website pops up on page 40 when someone types in “Scottsdale Dentist” into Google. You decided to hire an agency to improve your SEO, and after a few months, your business now pops up on the first page of Google for “Scottsdale Dentist.” You can see how much value that would be for you. Thousands of people in Scottsdale will now know what your business is and where you’re located, which will increase website traffic and grow your top-line revenue.
Why is SEO important for dentists and periodontists in 2020?
Back in the day, customers would look in the yellow pages to look up local dentists. I’m sure you remember those days. Now, Google and SEO are the new yellow pages. If your business isn’t adequately listed or you haven’t optimized your SEO for dentists, it’s highly likely that not many new customers are finding your business online.
Referral businesses are not scalable. There will be a time when the referrals stop coming in.
When you optimize your website with SEO for dentists, and your website is popping up on the first page of Google, you’re essentially getting free traffic. If your site is optimized correctly, then a percentage of that traffic will convert into paying customers.
Local SEO Stats, you should know:
- 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information
- 72% of customers that did a local search visited that business within five miles
- 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else
- 88% of online searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours
- “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years
Over the last 20 years, our SEO team has been accumulating the knowledge and knowhow to develop SEO campaigns that have disrupted entire industries and grown clients over 2000%.
In this article, we’ll be going over five need to know tips on SEO for dentists and periodontists for 2020.
1. Determining the right keywords
Before beginning SEO, you want to research and learn the right keywords for your business to rank for. We would start by listing the services that you offer and follow that by the general location (city, state, local) search terms. A couple of examples would look like: Teeth Whitening, Crowns, Braces, fillings, local Scottsdale dentist, etc.
You want to make sure that you’re focusing on keywords that have the intention of working with a dentist. For instance, “at-home teeth whitening” is still teeth whitening, but that person doesn’t plan on going to a dentist. You would want to use the phrase “dentist teeth whitening near me.” You have to remember that Google’s primary goal is to provide solutions that match what the user is searching for; otherwise, it doesn’t give the user the best experience. Picking the right keywords is extremely important.
Ideally, you’ll want to have a mixture of keywords that have high search volume but also long-tail keywords that will be easier to rank for. If you try to search for “dentist” when there are 823,000 search volume, that will be much more difficult.
If you don’t know how to do proper keyword research, you can always contact us for assistance. Every successful SEO campaign should have very in-depth keyword research and planning done behind the scenes. The research dives into your brand, your competition, your customers, and carefully decide keywords and key phrases that people are searching for based on the research. The research will be able to tell what your competitors are ranking for and how much traffic is going to their sites based on each keyword. Successful campaigns will ensure that the research is utilized in both the on-page and off-page campaigns to ensure that your website will be on page one of Google for many of your selected keywords.
2. Having a well-built website with user experience in mind
One of the most important aspects of running a successful company in 2020 is having an up-to-date website with the basics that every consumer expects you to have. If you’re a dentist or periodontist with a 5+-year-old website that hasn’t been updated, you are losing thousands of dollars every single week.
Unique Website Design
In 2020, you need to stand out from all of the other dentist or periodontist websites that are out there. You have a one in one hundred chance of having each new potential customer choosing you. If your website doesn’t have a unique design or stand out, you won’t be among their top three choices.
With how many choices are out there right now, your website design, structure, colors, and layout need to match the flow and experience that your potential customers are looking for. If it doesn’t meet their needs, they’re right onto the next competitor of yours.
Avintiv Media has been named top Web Design Agency in the United States for the past two years in a row, and that comes from us understanding what customers are looking for on a website.
Responsive Design & Development
In 2018, over 58% of site visits were from mobile phones. If that alone doesn’t show you the need to have a mobile-friendly (responsive design), we go into more detail why its a necessity for 2020.
Google stated that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead. That’s a pretty significant number.
Back in July 2019, Google switched its search engine to mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. If your website isn’t developed for mobile, then you can expect to take a hit with your rankings while your mobile-friendly competitors start moving up the rankings.
If you’d like to find out how mobile-friendly your website is or isn’t, contact us today.
Website Speed, Performance, and Usability
The world we live in has become more and more impatient. We are all used to being able to access everything with a button press of a phone now. You can order a car, food, and anything else you’d like from your mobile phone.
If your website speed doesn’t meet the standards of what a potential customer is looking for, then they will leave your site and go to your competitor.
Google started using site speed and performance as a search ranking factor for their algorithm starting back in 2010. That means, if your website is slower than Google would like, they are going to move you lower in the rankings as they feel it will give the person searching a lousy experience. Google is a business, and they aren’t going to show off websites on page one that aren’t optimized properly as it shows the business owner doesn’t care that much.
One of our client’s Google rankings started to drastically climb up towards page one after we made significant updates to the speed of their website. The example below is after just one round of updates.
Content, Content, Content – Content is still king
Content on your website is one of the most critical aspects of your website and SEO campaign that you can do. Having the right type of content on your dentist website or periodontist website is crucial. Your website visitors want to learn more about the services that you offer and also know that you’re legit and an authority figure in your industry.
The more optimized pages of content on your website allow you to rank for even more keywords on Google. You can’t rank on page one for “Dentist in Scottsdale” unless you have content on your website or SEO campaigns that matches that description.
The majority of the dentists that we’ve been able to get on page one of Google for over 30+ keywords have over 30 pages on their website.
Each one of your services needs to have its page and go into detail explaining what you offer with that service.
For a great example of one of the service pages, we’ve built for our client, check out Malek Periodontics.
3. Enhancing On-Page SEO for Dentist Website
Before today you have probably heard the term SEO before, but a lot of you want to know, “What is on-page SEO?”
On-page SEO is the SEO work that’s done on your website and individual pages to rank higher in search engines, earning more traffic and an increase in revenue.
One of the most significant factors that Google makes as it becomes more sophisticated is relevance. How relevant is your page or content to the search query? Google doesn’t want to give its users a bad experience by showing a page that has nothing to do with what they were wanting.
Think of it like you’re at a restaurant (Google), you order a hamburger (search for local hamburger restaurant), and the server (search engine) delivers a taco (local taco restaurant). Tacos are still delicious, but it’s not what you ordered. Get the point.
Below are the areas that we would focus on for any beginners with on-page SEO.
One of the most important things to consider for on-page SEO is your meta tags. Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content to Google search engines and crawlers.
Meta tags provide more relevance syncing between your content and a search query searching for similar content. You will get higher rankings if the relevance of your meta tag matches what the user is searching for, along with their satisfaction.
One of the most critical meta tags we’ll be discussing is your title tags. Meta Titles have a drastic impact on your search rankings and are visible to the regular user who’s searching Google. The words will appear at the top of each tab in their browser for both organic results and paid ads.
The title tag explains to the user what the page is about before they click on it. Google and other search engines look at the title tag and compare that to the rest of the content on the page.
If you’re working inside of WordPress, we highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin. The Yoast SEO plugin allows you to create a custom title tag within each page very quickly. Make sure to keep your title tags descriptive and short. It will show “green” when it’s the correct length.
Think of this as you standing outside next to your competitors with billboards in your hands. What would you say about your webpage versus your competition? Be sure to add in your relevant keywords and location to help with rankings.
Meta descriptions help search engines determine the page’s topic and the audience that will find value. More importantly, the meta descriptions explain what users will find on the page if they click on the link.
When writing meta descriptions, keep in mind quality is still king (or queen). A very well written meta description can generate higher rankings in the search results, along with a higher click-through rate with users.
We recommend keeping your description between 165 and 175 characters long. See an example of one of our local periodontist clients below.
If you want to have any success with on-page SEO, heading tags are a necessity. Your website and every page should include multiple heading tags, ranging from the H1 to the H6. The most important heading tag is the H1.
The H1 heading is usually the page title or name of the page or post. On a category page, your H1 would be the name of that category. On a product page, your H1 would be the name of that product. You can only use one H1 heading per page. Otherwise, you will get docked for SEO.
As you write your page content, you can also use the H2 and H3 headings to introduce different sections of your page or content. An H2 heading is just like a chapter in a book. The section you’re reading now is an H4 heading since a section of a subsection. This will help Google and other search engines be able to read the structure of each page and rank them accordingly.
Getting your website content to rank correctly is going to need links. Google begins to rank your pages and posts better when they’re linked to somewhere else on the web.
Internal links are also important in connecting your content to give Google a better understanding of how your website is structured. This will also allow link juice to pass through your site better.
Internal linking can get broken up into two categories: internal and external.
Internal links throughout your site and blogs will deliver a better user experience for your visitors and will also enhance your SEO. An example of this can be seen below.
An internal link is a hyperlink that goes from a word or phrase on your website page to another website page or blog within your website. An external link is a hyperlink that goes from a word or phrase on your website page, which goes to an external website page away from your website.
You want to make sure that the internal links open in the same web browser tab so the user can see the flow. When doing internal links to external websites, you want to make sure they open up in a new web browser tab, so the user doesn’t leave your site.
When doing internal links, make sure you’re using anchor text (the word or phrase that is being linked) that relates to the URL that it’s pointing to so you don’t get penalized by Google.
Optimize Your Images
When you’re deciding what images to use on your website, make sure they are unique and relevant to that page. Users are much more likely to react to an image before they begin reading a post.
With how popular Instagram and social media, in general, has grown to be, our society is trained to react to images first.
When using images on your site, make sure you’re using the highest quality images possible. Google and other search engines prefer higher resolution images.
You always want to keep page speed in the back of your mind when adding in images. Resize your images below a 150KB file size to ensure that it doesn’t negatively affect your website speed.
When adding in an image, make sure that you always add in the image alt-text. An optimized alt-text gives Google another clue on what your page is about. The alt tag should be used to describe what the image is about, so it’s visible by Google’s crawlers.
If you’d like help with your on-page SEO, contact us today.
4. Enhancing Off-Page SEO for Dentist Website
We’ve already gone over what SEO is and also what on-page SEO is. Your head may or may not be spinning already. Either way, fear not, we’re here to help you.
Off-page SEO (or off-site SEO) refers to actions that happen outside of your website that have an impact on how your website ranks within search engine result pages (SERPs).
If you haven’t started with working on your on-page SEO, make sure you start that before diving into your off-page portion of your SEO campaign.
True off-page SEO is one of the most challenging but essential aspects of your SEO campaign. There are a lot of variables that come into play when perfecting your off-page SEO campaigns.
You want to make sure you stay clear from companies that promise you “x” amount of links for $200 per month. The majority of those companies perform black-hat SEO and will eventually get your website banned from Google. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your SEO.
Building quality backlinks is one of the most important aspects of off-page SEO. Google and other search engines use backlinks to indicate the quality of the content that’s linked. A site with more high-quality backlinks will usually rank much better than the same site with fewer backlinks.
For today’s article, we’re going to keep our recommendations simple and geared towards dentists and periodontists.
Citations and Directory Listings
Citations and directory listings are the first and easiest step for you to get more links to your website. Citations are mentions of your practice name, address, and phone number (NAP). You first start with having that information listed on your website, mainly on your contact page and also in the footer of your website.
Citations are a significant factor in how Google ranks businesses in its local listings. The more your business is mentioned online also plays into how high you rank in the listings.
Once you’ve made sure that your citation matches across the board, you can then get it listed in relevant directories.
You will then want to get your business listed in all local directories that apply to your type of business.
Make sure that your actual business name is listed in all of your directory listings, and it’s not a combination of the business name and the dentist’s name. This causes a lot of confusion for customers trying to find your business.
There are a lot of industry-specific directory listings. If you search for “dentist directory listings,” there should be a ton that pops up. Otherwise, you can always hire a company to submit your information to every listing that has to do with your business and industry.
The top three directory listings are General Business Directories, Industry Specific Directories, and Local Directories.
Google My Business
Your Google My Business page will be one of the most important aspects when completing your citations and directories check-list.
Google My Business page is one of the fastest ways of seeing results for SEO. Setting up your account is extremely easy.
- Sign up for Google My Business
- Enter your business name
- Enter the address of your business location
- Specify the services your business offers
- Choose your business category
- Add a contact phone number and URL
- Complete your Google My Business verification
Once your Google My Business page has been verified, you can then add photos and add more content to describe your business better.
Online reviews are critical for many reasons, so don’t bypass this thinking that it’s not a big deal. Over 90% of people searching online look at reviews before visiting the business. That’s a considerable number.
Online reviews are also another way to increase your SEO rankings since Google uses reviews as another way of deciding how to rank your website. If you’re a local business with 10x the amount of 5-star reviews, the chances are that your business is going to be at the top of Google’s local 3-pack.
As you can see, our SEO client, Malek Periodontics, has 38 reviews with a 4.6-star rating, and they are #1 in the Google 3-pack listings. This has drastically changed the amount of traffic they have gotten.
The more 5 star reviews you get on Google, the more Google will want to show your Google My Business page off in the Google local 3-pack and will result in moving up the rankings in the SERPs.
You should always have a patient leave a review as they’re leaving an appointment or in a follow-up email with a small gift or incentive.
As you can see, we went over a lot of information regarding SEO tips for dentists and periodontists. We showed you the data on how many people search online, how they decide on what company they buy from, and how you can be seen by more of your ideal customers. If you follow the above tips and strategies, you should get a lot more website traffic and, in turn, a lot more patients coming through your door. If you have any questions or want a quality SEO agency to assist you with all of this, feel free to contact us today.