Looking for SEO tips for your dental website? Justin Morgan, SEO expert, tells all in this 100 Dental SEO tips blog post:
Dental Domain Name Aspects
1. Domain Age – How long have you owned your domain name? You’re going to need to establish some trust with search engines in order to rank well. One of the ways to show that you’re a trustworthy brand is to be around for a while. Another way is to pre-pay for your domain for 5 or 10 years into the future. This is because a valid brand is in the game for the long haul. While not a substantial aspect to your dental domain name success, this is something that search engines consider to a limited degree when gauging your trustworthiness. According to Google’s own patent: valuable domain names tend to be registered for longer periods of time. It’s a sign of credibility, Google says.
This aspect to dental SEO is a 1 on the 1-10 scale of importance. With 1 being an insignificant aspect, to 10 being of paramount importance.
2. Keywords Included – Domain names which include one or more of the target keywords, tend to appear more relevant. For this reason, click through rates increase due to the user’s impression that “hey, this website is exactly like what I’m looking for!” Currently, many major search engines even embolden the keyword or it’s synonyms, thus increasing the notice-ability of not only the keyword being emboldened but..you guessed it, your website!
This aspect to dentist SEO is scored a 4.
3. Internal Page URLs being keyword-rich – Having SEO optimized URLs is important, as indicated in dental SEO aspect #2, above. Your internal pages, should they have a proper SEO format such as www.dentaldomain.com/your-keywords, can help this particular page to rank. It helps searchers find the most relevant page for their particular search.
It’s important to find out exactly what these searchers are actually expecting or hoping to find once they land on this internal page. If you can give them what they want, superior user experience will help boost you further up the search engines (user experience and how it relates to dental SEO is discussed in more detail later in this article).
This aspect to dental SEO has a 4 score.
4. Exact Match Domain Names – One of the more archaic ways of delivering superior SEO is to simply buy the domain name that exactly matches the commercial keyword being targeted. For instance, if you want to rank for the keyword “Atascadero dentist,” you simply need to buy atascaderodentist.com. However, this style of SEO actually isn’t SEO at all, and buying a domain name for its SEO value could dramatically hurt your brand’s name in the long run. How many legitimate companies do you know that don’t have their brand name in their domain name?
Further, at the time of this writing Google has almost completely blacklisted exact match domains as “spammy,” thus rending any positive SEO effects as outweighed by the fact that many top level search engines simply caught on to the fact that a real brand wouldn’t try to manipulate it’s relevancy levels by purchasing an exact match domain. Yielding stricter standards with respect to the kind of link building that can be done for such a domain name under the algorithms “exact match domain” and other related algorithms which police the manipulative use of spammy links pointed at exact match domains. Simply put, if you have an exact match domain, you better trust your dental SEO Company to an extreme degree. They have the power to unintentionally ruin your chances of ever ranking atop search engines, especially for the keyword that your dental domain name matches.
I rank this a 1 on dental SEO aspects available.
5. History of the Dental Domain – What the domain name was used for in the past can have a big impact on whether search engines will rank this new domain name. Past harmful uses of the dental domain name can include illegal uses or those which involved some sort of hacking or unrelated adult topics.
Domain names are free to be used by anyone willing to buy them, and they may be used for any purpose the owner decides. Checking the ownership history of the dental domain name, known simply as the “whois” lookup, can show the history of ownership of this dental domain name. To check the past contents of a website, visit www.archive.org. There you can see what kind of content this dental domain name has been serving up over the years.
Since the history of the domain name can rarely eliminate most dental SEO efforts, I rank this a 6 on the 1-10 scale of importance.
Page-Level Aspects to Dental SEO
6. Optimization of Title Tags – Title tags are one of the most heavily relied upon measurements of relevancy by all major search engines. By ensuring that your geo-relevant dental keywords are present in your title tags, you can virtually guarantee that you will rank higher than you otherwise would, without such mentions of the area of service and practice expertise. Here is an example of a proper title tag: “Peach Tree Dental Office | Beverly Hills, CA.” Such a title tag optimizes this particular page to be more easily deemed relevant to searches having to do with Beverly Hills, and also Dental Offices. So when a person combines the two phrases, as in the case of a keyword such as “Beverly Hills Dental Office,” the compounding relevancy is readily apparent. The great thing about optimizing the title tag is that it is one of the fastest ways to see a slight lift in dental SEO rankings. Within 10 seconds you can see a higher ranking, upon the search engine bot crawling your webpage for indexation.
This is a 7 scored factor.
7. Description Tags for Your Dental Website – This is your chance to tell the search engine user why they should click on your listing over the competition, and a chance to explain to them what they should expect to see upon clicking. This is an important aspect of dental SEO in that it can help your click through rates. It also is obviously important that you provide great, click worthy ad copy in order to take advantage of the search engine rankings you already have earned.
I score this aspect a 4.
8. H1 Tag Optimization – These meta are like subtitles, and they are given more weight than regular text.
I rate this a 2 as far as dental SEO goes.
9. Keyword Density – Once the bedrock of manipulation by archaic black hat SEO providers, keyword “stuffing” was the act of increasing the keyword density of a particular page to insane amounts. Today, keyword density still matters. But the congruence and cogency of wording, aligned with the appropriate usage of the keywords and synonyms, is the way to show search engine bots that you’re not just cluttering the internet with mindless repetitions of keywords. You’re actually providing scholarly value to your dental website’s users.
I rate this a 4 out of 10 for the weight of this SEO factor.
10. Copy-Cat Copy-writing: Duplicate Content – It used to be that any content was good content in Google’s eyes. Today, search engines can tell the difference between copy paste articles and writings which originated with your website. To check if your website is using so called “duplicate” content, you can run your website’s text through www.copyscape.com.
Since duplicate content can have your page or even your entire website deindexed (or at least seriously suppressed), this aspect of dental SEO is ranked a 9 on my 1-10 scale.
11. Length of Content – While prolix language isn’t helpful for boosting SEO rankings, a common theme related to the search engine query, is. The more robust the content, the more likely it is to be successful in being deemed useful and relevant to your target keywords. However, user experience can suffer if you’re writing just to write. Make sure your prospective dental patients are able to easily navigate to what they want to read or watch most of all. Breaking up text with pictures and videos are an excellent way of providing a useful experience for both prospective patients and search engine crawlers, alike. Remember that, above all else, your content needs to be useful and enjoyable to your target market.
I rate this aspect to dental SEO a 7.
12. Loading Speed – This is an underrated dental SEO aspect. How fast your website loads on desktops and mobile devices is a factor which Google patents describe as important. How clean your code is and how smooth your page loads is a major concern of your prospective patients. It could be the difference between them calling you and them leaving your website forever.
I rate this a 4.
13. Frequency of Exact Matching Keywords – The frequency you use the exact keyword you’re trying to target can have an impact on your search engine rankings. While the exact keyword can be useful any number of times, it’s important to not neglect synonyms. For instance, say the most lucrative keyword for you is “dentist san luis obispo, ca.” You might not want to include “dentist san luis obispo, ca” verbatim within every sentence.
However, you might actually want to use acronyms and abbreviations and synonyms and other latent semantic index relatives. For instance, saying “SLO dentist,” “San Luis Obispo based dental office,” and “dental offices headquartered in SLO county.” This provides a little break to the unnatural feeling that your typing for search engines, and allows you to mix up the vernacular in a way that is easy to read and appealing to your prospective patients. And isn’t gaining new patients for dental services really what it’s all about, after all?
This factor is ranked a 3.
14. Rel-Canonical Tags – This is about to get really nerdy, so brace yourself Dr. Rel-Canonical tags are a technical feature which allow similar pages on your website to “point,” so to speak, to the most relevant result of the pages, based on the search query the prospective patient enters into a search engine.
So, if you have 3 separate but very similar pages about braces, the rel-canonical tag would direct the searcher to the page which best fits their search. So if one of the pages is about an invisalign competitor (who even knows who #2 is, half the time), and another page you have is about invisalign, the search engine will determine which of those pages is most authoritative. Based in part because of the rel-canonical tag, among other factors.
This is definitely not an area you’d need to worry about with most dental office websites. Since most dental office websites are not showing dozens of similar pages about each topic, this tends to be a relatively minor on-page SEO aspect for most dental practices trying to get ranked with SEO.
Because of the limited relevancy to your practice, this nerdy factor is ranked a 1 on my 1-10 scale.
15. Frequency of Content Updates – This is an interesting topic, because who really in your office has time to write fresh, engaging content on the regular? Well, let’s consider an essential economic reality. Everything that we do to increase our competitiveness in the free marketplace is based on the needs of consumers and we are graded on a curve. If your competitor dental offices never post on their blog or update the content on their website, then you only need to beat them by posting more than never.
If they’re posting 10 times a month, you know where you need to be.
On the other hand, engaging content that offers value to your prospective patients will have legs to it, meaning it will get shared on social media, linked to by authoritative sources, and provide dental education and guidance to those that matter most in your target market. So it’s not just quantity of updates that matters. But it is a comparative factor.
I rank this factor a 5.
16. Size of the Updates – Not just how often you update your website with fresh content, but the extent to which it is updated. Search engines love fresh content. They like to show the “news” in the dental industry, so to speak. So providing a substantial update is helpful, if such an update is available.
I rate this factor a 4.
17. Placement of Keywords – If you have a single keyword placed within the first paragraph, this can help search engine bots to attribute a priority level to the relevancy of this keyword on your web page.
I rank this factor a 2.
18. Grammar and Spelling – The quality of your content is partially judged by the appropriateness of your use of certain dental industry phrases and the accuracy of your grammar and spelling.
I rank this factor a 2.
19. H2, H3, and Other Tags – There are multiple tags which can be utilized which preferably would contain your target keywords for that particular page.
I rate this a 4.
20. Image Attributes – Pictures are not recognized by search engine bots for what they are. Alt attributes and image titles, as well as the actual file name of the image are useful for helping search engine bots consider the relevancy of these photos. By properly labeling images for what they honestly represent, you also have an opportunity to provide additional keyword data for search engine bots to crawl. A dental SEO specialist will know how to research for the most accurate and helpful keywords to place on your image. This also helps rank your images on search engines, for any keywords which the search engine chooses to display images as part of the search engine results page.
Another interesting fact is that the alt attribute is how blind persons would know what the image is about. Consider search engine bots similar to those that cannot see images, in this respect. As is the case with your copy writing, it’s important to not keyword stuff, as mentioned in point nine.
I rank this factor a 2.
21. Interactive Content – Depending on your dental website budget, you might be able to provide additional value to your patients through interactive features. Education software tools, and cost calulators are two examples of creative ideas. It’s not for everyone, but who wouldn’t enjoy a good dentistry game on your website? The use of your website over periods of time shows search engines that your website is useful. This earns you brownie points with search engines.
This is a tough one to grade on a scale of 1-10, because of so many variables. But I’d say a 4 out of 10 is a fair rating.
The Power of Online Referrals (Links)
22. Links – Having inbound links to your website is hugely important. The basis of SEO, with all the hundreds of Google patents and other search engine optimization experimentation I’ve performed over the years, boils down to one major scientific algorithmic factor.
Who is linking to you, and why. This is what search engine bots and manual employees (yes they will review your dental website in some cases) are looking at more than most other factors.
If people are linking to your content, that means the content is useful to them, and to the people that they share it with. If the person linking to your dental website is an authority in the industry, or somehow an expert in a field that would judge you well according to your dental abilities, then that matters more than if your dog’s blog is linking to you. Consider links a way of referring someone to your dental website. A sort of endorsement, if you will. By earning editorially granted inbound links, search engines show you favor over those who are unable to get those quality of links. Just like in real life, referrals matter. But who is providing the referral, matters just as much. Therefore, just one back link can be enough, and millions of back links may not create any upward movement. In fact, it can in some cases actually hurt your rankings. Here is a real world dental example of what I mean:
The patient is choosing to live in 1999 and doesn’t know what ask Jeeves is, yet. They’re somehow disinterested in the yellow pages and yeah, they’re pretty much a dinosaur in case you were wondering. Like really ancient. I mean so old they don’t even remember where they placed their glasses, so they can’t read the yellow pages. Anyway, let’s call her Jan. That seems like the kind of name this patient would have.
Jan has a toothache. She knows she wants to end the pain. She may or may not know she needs a dentist or other dental specialist. What she does know is she’s getting her car repaired and she trusts her mechanic. She let’s the mechanic know of her toothache. The mechanic recommends Dr. Farr, DMD. She trusts her mechanic, and takes his advice accordingly. But she’s not completely convinced, so she asks her doctor who is also a family friend and knows many dentists. The family fiend doctor checks her tooth out as best she can, and recommends she go see Dr. Farr. “Boy,” she thinks “this Dr. Farr must be good!”
She doesn’t want to go over the head of her current dentist, who she regrettably hasn’t seen in ages. I’m sure the toothache had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she’s neglected her oral health for years. But I digress.
She goes to see Dr. Fincklestien in her home town. Dr. Fincklestien recommends that the tooth is such a serious issue, she must see Dr. Farr.
In this hypothetical, it’s clear that Jan needs to see Dr. Farr as soon as possible. It’s the same way with links. By having a link from industry experts, you empower yourself to be more credible than if you have a link from an auto shop. The family friend who’s also a medical doctor has more clout in his recommendation. So too, a link form such a person would be more valuable than the car mechanic. Once we see the recommendation from the other dentist, it’s all over. You’re seriously one bad (“great”) dentist! And search engines know it.
This factor of dental SEO is seriously a 10 on the 1-10 scale. Maybe an 11.
23. Variety of Page Media – Search engines know that different people like to consume different types of content at different times. By including images, video, copy writing, and perhaps even a podcast or audio version to your dental website, you will likely be marked by major search engines as a dental website of the highest quality.
I rate this dental SEO aspect a 2.
24. Clean Coding – By having a great dental website developer create your website, without messy and unneeded coding, you provide for yourself an easy to crawl space for search engine bots. This matters because it allows a search engine bot to see all the content on your web page. Which is necessary for high search engine rankings.
I rate this a 3 as a dental SEO factor.
25. Page Relevancy – Don’t include irrelevant pages, such as a side business or hobby. You can feel free to mention these things in your “About Us” or “Meet the Team” pages, but don’t dedicate an entire page to your passion for florist services on your dental website. It will confused search engine bots and turn them off to your website as being too hap hazard and probably spammy.
This is an easy one to avoid. I rank it a 5 for dental seo aspects.
26. Length of URL – Longer domain names tend to perform more poorly in search engines. The general rule is, while it’s nice to have dental or dentist or DMD or DDS in your domain name, it’s entirely unnecessary and also not a good idea from a branding perspective. Longer domain names tend to be looked at with less regard than shorter domain names. ckfarr.com is better in the long run than dentistservicesandinvisalignbydrfarr.com.
I rate this factor a 3 for dental seo.
27. SEO Friendly URL Structure – How your URL structure is set up, and the path of the pages which lead to sub pages, matters. This helps search engines understand the hierarchy of both authority and relevancy to your SEO friendly dental website.
I rate this a 2.
28. Sitemap – How well laid out your site map is will help your local dentistry SEO.
This seo for dentists aspect is rated a 3.
29. Dental Website Layout – While search engine optimization is often thought of as exclusive to web design, the layout of functionality of the website is important because it helps Google see usage metrics which help gauge whether your website is easier to navigate than other dentists in your neighborhood.
If you’re looking to design a great dental website, or possibly redesign your current website, know that this factor of working with a specialist for dental seo is rated a 4 on my scale of things to consider if your a dentist looking for search engine optimized web design.
I rate this a 2.
30. Page Age – Pages which have been around for a while tend to be more heavily favored by Google. While you do want to regularly update content, remember it’s really the page url which should remain the same, unless the name of the service you’re offering changes. For instance, if you change from invisalign to another brand of invisible braces.
This dental SEO factor ranks as a 3.
31. Great Headlines– Just as this dental SEO list has 101 complex and easily misunderstood aspects to dental SEO, yet it’s somewhat easy for a dentist to digest. Do I do the best job explaining the top 101 dental SEO factors? Probably not. I’m willing to bet that there is someone out there who could be more cogent, while still maintaining the integrity of the technical accuracy you need. We want to give people short lists (whenever possible). With dental SEO, there was not much opportunity to shorten this list from 101, but for most marketing-based materials, the top 3 tips are all people want to click on to scan. Notice I said scan, not read. People want bullet points, lists, emboldening those words which matter most. Think of the headline as providing the “scent” by which the prospective patients are staying true to. As they make their way down the page, they’re looking for information which helps them stay on that “scent,” so to speak.
Much in the same way that the dental marketing guy produces a list of 101 dental SEO factors to consider, surely you can think of the top 3 reasons why periodontal care offered by your practice is of supreme value to those at risk of developing disease. Promoting such content in front of the target market can give your website the kind of “buzz” needed to be a highlight in search engine results. A few good headlines to consider would be:
Top 4 Tips for…
The #1 Reason to…
Top 3 Reasons to…
There are lots of great headlines available to the dentist clients that I serve here. We’ll be sure to choose the right fit for your branding. By promoting the right message, people are more likely to link to your content, share it on social media, and tell their friends about you. That makes copywriting hugely important to yourdental website. Even if you don’t consider a redesign, and just want a dental website that ranks highly usingSEO, copywriting is the keystone of such a campaign. Headlines are going to provide 50% of the work, because coming up with the right headline is what makes the content click worthy. If people don’t click. They don’t scan. If they don’t scan, they bounce of your dental website and visit a competitor. Simple as that.
This SEO factor is a 4 out of 10.
Site Level Factors
32. Usefulness of Content – The whole point of using a search engine to find a dentist is to allow someone the opportunity to find useful content that helps the searcher make an educated decision about which dentist is right for them. Or, in short, to find answers. Give them the answers they’re looking for. A dental marketing expert can help you craft content so that it hits home the hidden fears and apprehensions people have regarding seeing the dentist.
I rank this one as an 8.
33. Sitemap Optimization – A sitemap is basically what as it sounds. It’s a technical “map” or the website, one which easily allows search engine bots to crawl the entire website with ease. This comes standard with all websites developed with the dental marketing guy.
Dental SEO factor #32 ranks as a 4 out of 10.
34. Local Web Server – Where your dental website’s server is matters. Since dental marketing is what I call “hyper-local” marketing, the more local your server, the better. This dental SEO factor is ranked a 1.
I rank this factor a 1.
36. Limiting Down Time – How often your website is down can adversely affect your rankings. Find a hosting service that guarantees 99.99% up time.
I rank this SEO factor a 3.
37. SSL Certified – A secured connection may be needed to stay HIPPA compliant, especially if you’re allowing patients to fill out information on the dental website, itself.
This dental SEO factor is a 1.
38. Video SEO – Having videos on your website, if done by a professional video producer with a dental marketing expert who can help guide the production, will help your overall usage metrics. The longer people stay on your website, the more favor search engines will show you. People stay longer to watch video than they do to quickly scan through a dental website, looking for signs that you’re the dentist they want. So if you don’t have a professional video producer, one that is skill in marketing dentists..get one! Also, Google owns YouTube, and YouTube videos perform well in search. Having useful videos on your practice’s YouTube page can be useful. With a professional SEO expert working on your online campaign, you’ll find that your videos may easy outperform the rankings of your website. At least at first.
I rank this a 5 on the dental marketing guy’s SEO scale.
39. Install Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools – This is standard practice. Measuring data is a must for any SEO campaign. Make sure your SEO company knows what kind of traffic and rankings you have.
I rate this a 7.
40. Age of Domains – The age of the domain linking to you is an SEO factor. Older domains tend to be trusted more.
This is ranked a 2.
41. Quantity of Pages – The number of pages which link back to your website matters, just like the quantity of back links.
I rank this a 6.
42. Nofollow Links – Just like it sounds, these are links that Google bots don’t follow to your website. It’s unsure how often, or if this has changed. Many SEO experts speculate that nofollow links are actually followed by search engine bots, just that they create a very reduced impact on your rankings. Examples of nofollow links would be the links you can create on facebook for your dental practice.
This dental SEO factor is a 9, only because if you’re creating back links which don’t impact rankings, it’s not worthwhile for SEO purposes.
43. Quantity of Domains – The number of domain names, or websites, which link to you impacts your rankings.
For this, I rate a 6.
44. Geo-Relevant Domain Links – If a website about your city links to you, this is helpful for your dental SEO since dental marketing is hyper-local. Create relationships with those in your area and find reasons for them to want to link to you. It’ll show search engines that you’re relevant to this geographic area. Which is hugely important.
Which is why I rate this dental SEO aspect a 9.
45. Links from Competitors – If you can earn links from other dentists in your area, this can be hugely beneficial. As explained previously, your local dentist will provide the best opportunity to gain inbound links of the most powerful kind. This is because a link is sort of like an endorsement or referral. Speaking of which, anyone who provides you with patient referrals would be a good candidate to link to you. Should they not offer a service that you do, that’s a good opportunity for them to link to your useful content.
I rate this a 10.
46. Which Page is Being Linked To – A homepage link will offer you the most bang for your buck. However, some of the best links you can get will often be presented by blog posts or other internal pages.
I rate this dental SEO factor a 5.
47. Types of Links – The type of links you provide should be diversified. Be they media sources, blog comments, and forum posts, you want to have a broader variety than just these. Try to earn some links from others in your community. Just make sure they’re relevant to dentistry.
I rate this a 3.
48. Sponsored Content – Having the word “sponsored” or “partnership” can lower the value of the back link. This is because search engines don’t want you to buy links for SEO purposes. They should be editorially granted links from relevant industry experts.
I rate this a 6.
49. Anchor Text – Anchor text is the text which is used within the link. It’s important to know how anchor text which is keyword-rich can help your rankings. But don’t over-do it! Having too much commercial anchor text can look “spammy” and actually get you deindexed from search results. A top level dental SEO expert will know how to best handle this, providing the right balance between branded anchor text and commercial intent anchor text. This ties in nicely with your branding and domain name choice, as well.
I rate this a 10, since it’s a serious risk and big reward, depending on whether you hire the right professional.
50. Location of Link in Copy – Where the link appears in the body of copywriting matters. A link which appear prominently towards the top of an article or web page will be more powerful than one placed at the very bottom.
I rate this a 2.
51. Context of the Link – The context of the link matters a great deal. The body of text surrounding your link is read by search engines and provides the context for the link. Is the content uplifting or negative about your website? Does it satisfy a user’s interest? Is it well written and organized? These things will impact the benefit you receive from your inbound link.
I rate this a 5.
52. Link Use – Links that actually are clicked on by your intended audience are more useful in search engine’s eyes than those that send no referral traffic.
I rate this a 4.
53. WikiPedia Links – If you’re good enough at something that you’re linked form Wikipedia as a source, this can boost your trust factor with search engines. Though this kind of link is nofollow, it does provide trust and value as part of an overall “dental SEO health score,” if you will.
I rate this a 2.
54. Link Lifetime – The longer a link has existed, the more trust flows from such a link.
I rate this a 2.
55. Spam Website Links – If a website is set up for the purpose of dropping links to those willing to buy them, it is what we in the dental SEO industry refer to as a “spam site.” Be wary of anyone trying to sell you links form such a website. Such links may actually hinder your ability to rank. As search engines become more wise to the unscrupulous SEO practices of the past, their algorithms are more and more adept at recognizing this sort of link scheme. Websites which have a high number of outbound links are often spam websites. Your dental SEO professional should know how to avoid building these types of links. If you think you may have been adversely affected by such amateur SEO tactics as the dropping of link spam, contact the dental marketing guy or another dental SEO professional to see about disavowing the link spam within Google Webmaster Tools.
I rank this SEO aspect a 7, since it can be a serious impediment to dental SEO success.
56. Engaging Content – The more people engage with the website linking to you, the better off you’ll be in earning that link. Not only because of the higher likelihood of referral traffic, but also because search engines tend to place high value in websites that appear to be useful to web searchers. The links you get form useful sites are, reasonably so, considered more useful, as well. Therefore your links have a higher value for being earned, increasing your dental SEO overall score.
I rate this 6 on the dental marketing guy’s dental SEO scale of ultimate justice, power, and success.
57. Swapping Links – Integrating links between fellow community members does help. The cross-pollination can help your local SEO, mostly because it shows that you’re an active part of your community. However, if it looks as though you’re simply trading links with others for the purpose of ranking higher, these links will lose value and may potentially lead to SEO penalties.
This dental SEO factor is rated a 2.
58. Name Brand Directories – Directories such as Yahoo, and Yellow Pages. Get them. You also want bout 50 dental niche directories, as well. From health grades to web MD, you want links from dental related websites. Contact a dental marketing and SEO professional to find out the full list of dental directories. It’ll really go a long way to have an SEO specialist fill these out for you. If you go the DIY route, be sure to have the exact copy and paste versions of your information placed on each website. The reason is that Google bots get confused at which directory has the most accurate, up to date information available. You make it easy by making each directory listing consistent. Some SEO professionals also call these “citations,” although a citation may be made in more than a directory. Such as a media outlet who quotes you. Those are good, as well. Even without an inbound link, any authoritative source who cites your practice is going to be noticed by search engines. And they’ll lift your ranking as a result.
I rate this an 8 out of 10.
59. Forum Profiles – If you’re active on a forum such as dental town, use the signature portion to showcase a link to your website. It’s also a nice place to have others see your logo, if you want to link with an image. These forum links are usually nofollow. But hey, it’s relevant, and authoritative, and many SEO experts believe that nofollow links do count. The Dental Marketing Guy is one of them. Yes, I refer to myself in the third person from time to time. I also help you make bank, so I’m sure you’ll forgive me.
I rank this a 2.
60. Click Through Rate – One of the simplest algorithms to understand is that of click through rate related algorithms. Such algorithms provide an objective measure of subjective liking. Simply put, the more people like the way your listing appears on search engines, the more they’ll click on that link over the others being offered. You get a certain amount of “credit,” if you will for click through rates. If the #2 listing is being clicked on 20% more than the first ranked result, you can expect to see the rankings flip, over time. This is partly why great ad copy is essential for any dental SEO expert trying to maintain the rankings they earned through the other methods mentioned in this article. And why you should be extra choosy with respect to who does your ad copywriting.
Pick someone that understands SEO, but more importantly, a dental marketing expert that specializes in your field of dentistry. Don’t be afraid to ask for a small sample of copywriting, specifically ad copy. A good place for the copywriter to direct you would be a major search engine, like Google. Form there they should be able to show you the ad copy they use in the title tag and meta description. Right on the search engine results page. Depending on how click worthy you find the ad copy, you can use that as a yard stick to measure the copywriter’s competence. But be careful! Just because you and I might find it click worthy, doesn’t mean your prospective patients will. Therefore, the best indicator that the ad copy is well written has mostly to do with the length of time the search ranking has stayed aloft the other listings. A good question to ask is “how long has this listing been ranked here.” We’ll be going over the top questions to ask any dental SEO professional, preferably before you hire them, in a subsequent article.
But be careful! Just because you and I might find it click worthy, doesn’t mean your prospective patients will. Therefore, the best indicator that the ad copy is well written has mostly to do with the length of time the search ranking has stayed aloft the other listings. A good question to ask is “how long has this listing been ranked here.” We’ll be going over the top questions to ask any dental SEO professional, preferably before you hire them, in a subsequent article.
I rate this a 9.
61. Bounce rate- A dentist’s website should be one that provides engaging content to a prospective patient. If they patient finds your website on a search engine and they ultimately click back to Google to look for other results, this tells the search engine that your website did not provide engaging content to match the prospective patients searching intent. The reason why this is so important to understand has everything to do with the fact that bounce rate is a strong indicator of a websites usefulness. You can check your bounce rate in your Google analytics account. Any dental SEO professional should provide you with reports as needed. These reports, often times will not include bounce rate data. If that’s the case, you should ask your dental SEO provider exactly what your bounce rates are, and what you can do to lower them, if that is necessary.
For a dental website, I like to see a bounce rate of under 20%. Anything higher than that probably is not engaging the user to move into internal pages quite like they naturally should. It’s not to say that, you should always see engaged users clicking through to an internal page before leaving your dental website, it’s just that you want to have a bounce rate that shows the user is getting what they need the first time they search for your website. Delving deep into Google analytics, you can find which users have been to your website before, and thus figure out, based on a variety of buttons and options available, whether return visitors have a higher or lower bounce rate then first time visitors. The reason why this information is important, is because it tells us if the user who had originally visited the website was able to find the answers to the questions which originally compelled the search to take place. If a user comes back and decides to look for more answers the second time, this could show one of two things. Either the prospective patient is getting closer to making a buying decision, or the visitor is unsure of your dental practice, based on their first interaction with your website.
Bounce rate is complex, but overall I rank it a respectable 4 out of 10.
62. Length of stay – as touched on in the previous paragraph about bounce rates, a dentists website needs to be highly engaging, educational, enjoyable, and easy to navigate. Your dental website needs to provide answers to the questions that match searcher content. One of the strongest indicators that your website is accomplishing these goals is the data which shows within Google analytics, just what length of stay the prospective patient has spent on your website. Make sure your website is encouraging active engagement in providing answers that dental avoiders and procrastinators need to see.
I rank this a 5 on my dental SEO scale.
63. Visitor Return Rates– how often do your patients visit your website? Ideally, a patient would visit your dental website more often than they would visit the practice. If you are putting out content that your patients would value, they are more likely to return to your website. One good idea is to provide an online appointment scheduler that is HIPAA compliant.
This dental SEO aspect is ranked a 6
64. Search Volume – inertia. What does it mean to you? To Google, inertia matters. Did you know that the amount of search engine traffic your website receives actually impacts your rankings? It pays to get to the top, and once you get to the top the momentum tends to keep you there.
I rank this a 4 for dental SEO aspects.
65. Local Mentions – by mentioning your location, you can help enhance your rankings for Geo relevant keywords such as your city name dentist. Sometimes, mentioning your city or other neighborhood location, however it is spoken about around town, is every bit as helpful in determining how a search engine should rank your dental website as is the content you place on the website about dental related subject matter.
I rank local mentions a 4.
66. Freshness- Typically, the longer a page has been in existence, the better for search engine rankings. However, the busier that page is, or the fresher the content on that page, the more likely it is to be reviewed as newsworthy or up-to-date. Most dental website pages do not need to regularly be updated. However, there are certain pages that should be updated as technology changes, tactics change, or as you progress as a dental professional in obtaining new continuing education certifications.
Make sure you have everything up to date. If your prospective patients don’t know, it’s because you weren’t able to effectively convey the unique value that you offer. Your dental website is the perfect opportunity to relay the most important information in an easy to read fashion.
Freshness is rated a 3 on my dentist SEO scale of truth and justice for successful dentistry.
67. Search History – based on a patient’s previous searches within the dental industry, you may or may not show up in the same order as you had during the first search. This is because Google uses a personalized algorithm, based on previous actions that the user took in related searches. For instance, whether they clicked on your website in a previous search for dentist loss Angeles California.
If they did not click on your result, the results that they did click on would likely be ranked higher the second time they search for that exact keyword. Similar searches to do with things such as invisible braces in San Luis Obispo, CA will show up higher, due to personalized results.
Since search history affects search engine rankings for your hottest prospects, I rank it a 5.
68. Copyright infringement – if you are using copywriting which infringes on the copyright of another website, this can backfire in more than one way. Not only are there legal repercussions, there are ethical questions. Most importantly for our SCO purposes, you may become de-indexed or at least de-ranked as part of a penalty based on copyright infringement. As mentioned before, be absolutely certain that your copywriter is using 100% unique content. This doesn’t just go for copywriting, though. This also applies to pictures and videos.
This is more legalese than search engine optimization. I’ll rank it a 2. I don’t care what my lawyer says, it’s not that likely to be an issue if you work with a real dental marketing expert.
69. Dental chain brands – if there are large dental chains in your town, this can create an issue from a search engine optimization standpoint. The bigger the brand, the more authority this brand competitor will have over you in search engine rankings. If you are a dental office which seeks to out rank the large brands, you need real dental marketing. You can’t just do search engine optimization, alone. Be sure to consult with an actual expert in the field of dental marketing, before you hire a search engine optimization firm.
This one is somewhat intangible, so I’m going to close my eyes and rank this a 3.
70. Optimize your images- Sometimes, optimization of the “alternative text” on your images, and also the image title, and also the image file name within your computer, can have a easy and also substantial impact on whether your images appear in an image search. Sometimes images appear during normal searches on Google being and Yahoo. Make sure your images are optimized properly, so that you can take advantage of this search engine traffic which highlights images.
This is usually outweighed so much by organic and map rankings, so I’ll rank picture SEO as a 2. Searches for your brand to show your face and logo do matter, though.
71. Reviews- while there is some use of speculation as to the importance of social signals, there is no speculation about the helpfulness of reviews. Reviews are not only intuitively helpful for users, being your prospective patients, as it helps them find what they need. But also Google has expressly stated that reviews are a noticeable ranking factor for dental websites.
Things such as Facebook likes may not be of that great importance for your search engine rankings. However, the engagement of your audience and how they consume and share the content that you put out, can be a sign of authority. Sense relevancy and authority are the two major ways of contributing to your own higher search engine rankings for dental keywords, this provides you with such authority. Relevancy is also gained by posting about industry related subject matter.
Overall, social media should not be used with the end goal of ranking higher on search engines. It should be used as a way to engage, build relationships, and provide quality content to your target market. Typically, the dental marketing guy would recommend that, in addition to providing great content, you also paid to promote such content on social media platforms, such as Facebook. It is this promotion which allows you to get your message out to the target audience.
Who are your favorite clients? Which patients do you like best? Consider what demographics they may belong to. One of the great things about these social media platforms is that it allows you to show in your paid advertising the friends of the target audience like your page. They can also leave reviews on Facebook. This allows you to display social proof of your competency and compassion.
One of the best ways to show these traits is to allow others to toot your horn. No one likes a braggart. Let your patients, the same way in the real world, using word-of-mouth on social media. One of my favorite platforms to get reviews is Google plus. It is a great place to get reviews they show up as once at least seven reviews good review, but glass is better yelp has costs. However, a stream of positive reviews on yelp will help grow your practice.
3 out of 10.
72. Context – the copywriting surrounding a link provided on social media platforms matters. This also goes for any sort of content being shared across social media, with or without a link pointing to your website.
3 out of 10.
73. Social proof – merely being present on social media platforms can help build the trustworthiness and authority of your dental website.
1 out of 10.
74. Anchor text– What is anchor text? Anchor text is the text that you actually click on to go through to the next webpage. It is also called a hyperlink. As a general rule, we want to use branded anchor text. The reason we want to use your brand name in the anchor text, is because this will help search engines recognize your brand has a commonplace authority, relevant to the dental industry.
We don’t want to use exact match keywords, however. Exact match keywords would be commercial intent keywords that you think prospective patients might be entering into Google.
These keywords being used as anchor text, can temporarily give you a huge boost in search engine rankings. However, because this system of building commercial anchor text has been so abused on a widespread level, you now risk a penalty for the overuse, or over optimization, of anchor text. If your brand name is similar to, or as I call it partial match, then you want to be careful about using branded text, as well. While it may be safer on some level, you also risk and over optimization penalty, just the same. The dental marketing guy recommends not choosing a domain name, and not choosing a practice name, based on SEO.
5 out of 10.
75. LinkedIn – LinkedIn has a very granular ad platform. Your dental office can reach out to various professionals with high elective procedure budgets. Simply being on LinkedIn can be a credibility booster.
I recommend using LinkedIn to show how professional your team is to the professional world. While it not necessarily be quantifiable, I believe that having a strong LinkedIn presents is a benefit to your dental search engine optimization. I believe that so many dental offices neglect the professional perception element to their marketing, and LinkedIn is an easy way to have your staff present with photos and biographies on who they are.
Really, your prospective patients just want to know that you are normal looking, and personable. There are a huge pool of professionals with disposable income who are just waiting to find a dentist who they trust. Why not give them a reason to look towards you as the authority in everything from cosmetic to reconstructive procedures? The more they see you, the more they will trust you with contributing to their oral health.
Search engines work the same way as people do. Or, at least they try. Search engines are getting smarter every day. And the dentists who prepare for the future right now will ensure a place atop search results for years to come. Why not prepare for the search engine optimization strategy that will succeed in the future? Promote your practice on LinkedIn today!
3 out of 10.
76. Number of mentions – how often your brand name is mentioned in various places around the Internet, does have an impact. As much as I like to talk about inbound links, simply having your dental office cited by a media outlet or related blog or some other mention on social media, can make a difference in your brands power.
Higher search engine rankings belong to those who are in it to win it. Make sure your dentistry is one of those brands.
3 out of 10.
77. Panda – this is an algorithm that is widely known. What panda deals with is essentially the quality of your website. One of the most important factors has to do with your copywriting. However, this is a very complex matter. Just make sure you have a true dental marketing professional, one who is not trying to cut corners while building your website, produce a beautiful website which your prospective patients will love. You won’t have to worry about any of the following issues:
7 out of 10.
78. Pop-ups and other annoying ads – just don’t do this. Just don’t.
2 out of 10.
79. Over optimized content – be sure not to stuff keywords into your copywriting just for the purpose of ranking higher on search engines. Make sure that your content flows and makes sense. Patients want to read your website. Patients really, really want to watch your videos. Patients love the custom photography. Don’t deprive them of any of these things by writing at a fifth grade level. Just to appeal to search engines. In the short run, it may help. But eventually, it is a losing game.
4 out of 10.
80. Affiliate marketing – your dental website is meant to market your dental services. Don’t waste time trying to earn commissions on various affiliate products. Extra scrutiny is given towards affiliate websites, that means websites that are specifically set up for the purpose of earning a commission based off of sales of another company. Your dental website is about increasing case acceptance.
2 out of 10.
81. Computer generated content – if you happen to get past an algorithmic review, don’t expect to get past a manual review. Google employees will check your website to see if the content was written by a computer software program. I don’t need to explain to you why using spun content is a bad idea for user experience. Your patients demand more. So do search engines.
6 out of 10.
82. Penalized Server – sharing the same dedicated IP address as another penalized website can cause yours to get penalized as well. Be sure to work with a dental marketing professional who has a dedicated server-side professional.
2 out of 10.
Backlinking Schemes and other Dental SEO Penalties
83. Disproportionate link velocity – if your dental brand doesn’t deserve an extremely high level of links, then the creation of such links may trigger a manual review of your website. Be sure to treat search engine optimization as a marathon, not a sprint. You should be regularly gaining links because of the editorial value of the content you produced.
8 out of 10.
84. Links passing penalty – if many of your links are coming from bad neighborhoods, meaning the neighborhoods which have been penalized, the links which point to your dental website may technically infect your website. Be sure to earn links honestly, and never buy links. You never know when the link seller may be hit with their own penalty, if for no other reason, then the fact that they are selling links. Selling links is against Google’s terms of service. Don’t engage in such business.
7 out of 10.
85. Poor quality linking habits – links that come from blog comments and forum profiles exclusively may not allow your dental website to rank very highly. Many of these low quality links can actually, over time, become downgraded. Causing your website to slip in the rankings.
6 out of 10.
86. Irrelevant websites – where do your back links come from? This is an important question for a dental search engine optimizer to find out on your behalf. You can also use software that is recommended by the dental marketing guy. Google Webmaster tools, now called console, is useful in finding your entire back link profile. If you find that there are irrelevant websites linking to yours, meaning they have nothing to do with the dental industry, then it may be time to call a professional search engine optimization firm. Such professionals can help you deal with the prospect of disavowing toxic back links.
7 out of 10.
87. Warning by Google – if Google Webmaster tools, or search console as it is now called, provides you with messages, please heed the warning. Pay attention. Google will tell you if there is an issue, as long as you have the search console hooked up.
9 out of 10.
88. Lifting a penalty – you may disavow links within the search console, formerly called Google Webmaster tools. You may also submit a reconsideration request through the proper authorities at Google. A search engine optimization expert can help you through this process. Much like walking into a legal proceeding without a lawyer, so to can be lifting a penalty at a major search engine, without a dental marketing expert who specializes in search engine optimization.
9 out f 10.
89. Site Wide Footer Backlinks – The most prevalent form of site wide footer back links would be what web designers use at the bottom of each of their client’s websites. There really isn’t anything that need be worried about in terms of your dental website’s ranking here. But it is worth showing that a web designer might not be able to rank you very easily, even if they are good at on-page SEO. This is because they might not know how to rank your website with links, simply because they’ve never had to do any kind of creative back link building of their own They say that necessity is the moth of invention. So unless your web designer is actually a dental SEO professional parading around as a graphic designer, be sure to take any advice they offer regarding back link building with a grain of salt. Also, be sure your web designer doesn’t just decide to stick your links on their other client’s websites. This is an unlikely scenario, but one worth mentioning.
4 out of 10.
90. Software which “blasts” back links- There are some types of software which used to be prevalent for SEO “professionals” (if you can call them professional, at all) which involved listing your website’s link on hundreds of thousands of unrelated websites. The websites themselves were simply known by many SEO Companies as “link farms,” and the only purpose of the websites was to house links for their SEO clients. It was a time of great harvest for SEO Companies who knew nothing about dental marketing, at all. It was money for nothing, checks for free for SEO marketers. But those days are gone, and this tactic can eventually lead to a Google penalty.
3 out of 10.
91. No Follow Link Blasts – By much of the same methods as described above, or perhaps more meticulously with an overseas contractor who manually enters a link to your dental website, you can earn many links which have minimal impact on your rankings. These links are called “no-follow” because the Google bot (and Bing and Yahoo) are not following the link to the destination, aka your dental website. However, no-follow links DO count, albeit not as impressively as “do-follow” links (links which Google bot follows to your dental website). The key is not just earning both types of links, but the process by which you gain the links. A great dental SEO campaign will EARN links, not just “build” links to your website.
5 out of 10.
92. Over-optimized Content – Often called “keyword stuffing,” you actually can repeat your keywords in your content too many times. This can lead to what many SEO professionals would call a “panda penalty,” which is named after the Panda Algorithm.
A few random dental SEO factors:
93. Dental Copy Writing – To have your copy written by someone who is outside the dental industry can cause user experience issues. Sometimes it’s just best to work with a dental marketing professional who understands the psychology behind what makes people get in the chair. Placing dental-centric words which are target keywords or synonyms of long tail target keywords, all while being careful to avoid over-optimized content – this is a big factor.
8 out of 10.
94. Photography – Having a photographer who is well acquainted with dental office marketing can be very helpful. The way a photograph is labeled in the “coding” of a website is very important to SEO. Search engine bots pick up on what photos are about only if the photos are properly labelled. This can be a big edge for your dental website, especially if Google, Bing and Yahoo are ranking images in their universal search results. People love a good set of photos, and search engines understand this.
4 out of 10.
95. Video Optimization – The on page SEO for videos is very basic. It can be done in a matter of minutes with someone who has only average computer skills. YouTube makes things especially easy to set up and optimize. You can also use Wistia to set up videos with great analytical tracking.
5 out of 10.
96. Dental Website Return Rates – Think of a restaurant that you never went back to. Was it an amazing experience? Probably not. The fact is, if your website is delivering real value, you’ll be able to more reliably count on return visitors. The number of people who visit and revisit a dental website shows search engines how valuable that website is. Google is measuring this sort of data when providing rankings. Be the dental office that everyone is talking about, and search engines will consider you more optimized for a positive user experience compared to other dental offices.
2 out of 10.
97. Review Velocity – The rate in which you’re currently gaining new reviews on Google will impact your map rankings. Be sure to keep a steady stream of positive reviews flowing to your google my business account.
2 out of 10.
98. Being Mentioned – Contrary to some amateur opinions, you don’t need back links to build a good referral engine. Simply being mentioned by an authority in the dental industry can be a signal that search engine bots take notice to. If your name or dental practice name are highly correlated with a certain schema or language, you dental to be valued more as an expert in that field. The more relationships you build with key influencers in the dental industry, the more powerful this effect is.
5 out of 10.
99. Franchise Friction – If the franchise down the street is winning new patients by charging less, simply outrank them by being equated as a business with a higher value proposition. Promote your website with a video about you and your team, your office and your superior technology. The only thing a franchise can’t beat you on is who you are. Your personality can’t be bought at “doc-in-the-box.” when users of your dental website see who you are, search engine bots are quietly recording the activity levels on your website shoot up. A highly engaged audience alone may not increase your rankings, but it can often help top level rankings stay that way.
4 out of 10.
100. Mix Up Your SEO Strategy- Be sure to not rely completely on your dental website. You’ll want to rank all sorts of properties which are favored by search engines. YouTube videos are a favorite at Google, and pictures often are highlighted with Bing. Your fb page may be a great property to rank because the searcher may have a low level of commitment in becoming a new patient, but visiting your Facebook page may allow them to see a bit about you, and allow you the opportunity to convert them into a Facebook “like.” Which can be a nice first step in the long road of gaining them as a new patient months or even years down the road.
3 out of 10.
BONUS DENTAL SEO TIP:
101. Only Work with a True Dental SEO Expert – The best advice I could offer dentists who are looking to gain new patients is to take a holistic approach with a dental marketing expert who knows how to leverage search marketing, and also understands that it is only one single way of gaining new patients. Work with someone who is able to parlay your SEO success into new patients by promoting a system for dealing with new leads. From internal marketing training to online follow up procedures, it’s important to know that many of your prospective dental patients will not call the first time they visit you from a search engine. This wisdom can go a long way in growing your dental practice with search engine optimization. Whether you're a dentist in a large metropolis, such as an Uptown Charlotte Dentist, or a small town, SEO is something you should consider with a dental SEO specialist. This is because you can source the most authoritative, relevant links possible, based on having influence and meaningful relationships with those within the dental field.