I'm sure you know that the dental industry is highly competitive. As of 2016, there were 196,441 dentists in the United States, a number that's only expected to grow.
Sooooo, if you're a dentist, it's important to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
One of the best ways to do that is to use the correct dental keywords to ensure that you show up well in the search results for the search terms that are important to the success of your business.
Some of the most effective keywords are those based on specific themes. For example, local SEO has become increasingly important as search has become localized. Google highlights local businesses using its local three pack, which displays top businesses for keywords in a box at the top of the search results page.
What is the local pack or three pack, or local results? Have a look below. That is where you want to show up in the search results.
In this post, we'll provide you with an overview of how to identify the top keywords for your website based on themes that are likely to be effective, and then we'll give you some pointers on how best to use them.
As of 2016, there were 196,441 dentists in the United States.
1. What Are Keyword Themes?
Let's start by reviewing what keywords are, and the role they play in bringing visitors to your website.
A keyword is any word or string of words that a potential patient might put in Google's search box to find a local dentist. If a searcher lived in Boston, here are some keywords that she might use:
- Boston area dentist
- Top Boston dentists
- Dental tooth whitening service
- Dentists for kids
You get the idea. The search terms vary depending on what the patient needs, and the more specific the keyword, the smaller (and more relevant) the list of search results is likely to be.
A keyword theme is like a pyramid of keywords. You might choose a general keyword as your primary target and use it liberally on your website, beginning on your home page. From there, any additional pages on the site would be optimized for related keywords in the same theme.
Keyword themes are useful because they help give your dental website a coherent structure. Each keyword you use is related to your main keyword and is therefore designed to help patients find you.
2. How to Choose Top Keywords for a Dental Website
Which dental practice keywords should you use on your website? The short answer is that you should use the keywords that patients in your area are most likely to choose when they're looking for a dentist.
A good place to start narrowing your choices is with Google Analytics. By looking at your analytics, you can determine which keywords and phrases patients are already using to find you. In many cases, past behavior can help you determine the best course to take going forward.
There are other techniques and tools you can use as well. Here are a few that we think are helpful:
- Google AdWords has a free Keyword Finder you can use to find keyword groups to use to grow your practice. By entering your URL, your industry, and other information, you can ask Google to suggest keywords. They'll also provide you with general information about the search volume and competitiveness of each keyword group.
- Ahrefs has Keyword Explorer software that you can use to find the most popular and competitive keywords for your dental practice. Not only will it identify keywords you may not have considered, it also lets you know which keywords may have been overlooked by your competitors. Here's a screenshot from Ahrefs' website that shows the kind of information they'll provide:
As you can see, you'll get keyword ideas, search volume, click rates, and more. This is a tool that can help you narrow your keyword choices.
- Another tool we like is the SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool, which provides data for the keyword you enter. It also shows the most-used keywords and additional information such as keyword difficulty, the average price to advertise using that keyword, and the competitiveness of the keyword. Here's a screenshot that shows the results when you type “dental services' into the search box:
You'll note that some of the keywords are location-specific while others are based onservices such as dentures emergency services.
Using these tools can help you get ideas for the best dental keywords to use, but you should also apply your knowledge of what makes your practice special. For example, do you:
- Provide emergency dental care 24 hours a day?
- Provide sedation dentistry for nervous patients?
- Specialize in cosmetic dentistry?
- Have a kids-only practice?
In general, it's a good idea to choose keywords and keyword themes that play to your strengths. The most searched dental keywords aren't necessarily the best choice for your practice if they don't attract the patients who are most likely to want the specific services that you provide.
3. Top Dental Keyword Themes
Now that you know what keywords are and how to research the best dental keywords to boost your SEO, let's look at six of the best dental keyword themes that you may want to consider for your practice.
There's no denying the importance of local SEO for local businesses such as dental practices. I's unlikely that a patient in Chicago will have any interest in a dentist in Long Beach. Most of your patients will live within easy driving distance of your office.
It should come as no surprise to learn that location-based keyword themes use locational words. Google might default to local search results, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't include your location in your SEO strategy.
Here are some examples of keywords that might make up your locational keyword theme:
- Seattle area dentist
- Dental practices in King County
- Cosmetic dentistry services Seattle
- Best dental surgeons in Seattle
You get the idea. Each of these keywords is intended to help the searcher find a Seattle-based dental practice suited to their needs.
If you choose a location-based theme, then you'll want to include your location on each page of your website. You may also want to write an occasional blog post based on your location - and make sure to include locational keywords in your meta data as well. Using Schema code on your website provides rich nuggets of data that include your location, too.
Keep in mind as you continue reading that locational keywords may be used in combination with other themes. We recommend using locational keywords to boost your local SEO.
Dental Problem Themes
Sometimes when people search for a dentist, they're doing it because they have a specific problem that needs to be treated. If your practice specializes in treating a common dental problem, then it may make sense to use the problems you treat as your keyword theme.
Here are a few examples of keywords based on specific dental problems:
- Dentist to treat abscessed tooth
- Root canal dentist
- Boston dentist tooth whitening
Using keywords like these can help ensure that local patients with these problems can find your office and book an appointment with you.
You can use dental problem keywords on your home page and service pages. It's also a good idea to use them in blog posts. For example, you might write a blog post about tooth whitening options and end with a call to action that takes patients to a tooth whitening service page.
Service Keyword Themes
Since dentistry is a service industry, it should come as no surprise that using dental services as keywords is a common SEO strategy for dental practices in the United States.
A dental service keyword strategy makes good sense for any practice, but especially for those that provide services that are rare in their area. For example, most dental practices provide routine cleanings, but things like cosmetic dental surgery are harder to find and can help your practice stand out.
Let's review some examples of keywords based on dental services:
- Pediatric dentistry services
- Adult braces and orthodontics
- Painless root canal surgery
The key here is to focus on those services that define your practice. If you're the only practice in your area that specializes in dealing with patients who are afraid of dentists, then it makes sense to use keywords that highlight your specialty.
Review-Based Keyword Themes
According to Consumer Reports, approximately 60% of patients rely on online reviews to help them choose a healthcare provider. That's a significant percentage and it points to what could be an effective keyword theme for your dental practice.
For patients who live in areas where there are numerous dental practices to choose from, it can be hard to make a choice. Reviews and testimonials can help them do it, and you can take advantage of it by optimizing your website to reflect your performance in reviews.
Here are a few examples of review-based keywords:
- Best rated dentists in Los Angeles
- Top LA dentists for kids
- Dentist testimonials Los Angeles
Any variation on these might be effective as a keyword for your dental practice.
If you want to use a review-based keyword theme, you can do it by using the following techniques:
- Claim your dental practice on review sites like Yelp and Google My Business
- Link out to reviews from your website or embed them on your page
- Ask patients to provide written or video testimonials to put on your site
- Use words like best, top, top-rated, and favorite in combination with other keywords
As a rule, it's preferable to link out to review sites than to excerpt reviews on your site. Patients don't want to feel they're being spoon-fed positive reviews. If you encourage them to see the reviews on Yelp, they'll have more confidence in them.
You can also encourage patients to leave reviews by putting a link to Yelp on your website or by placing a sign in your office saying, 'Find Us on Yelp.'
Education and Experience Themes
For some patients, a dental provider's education and experience are extremely important. Themes based on these things aren't as common as some of the others on this list, but they can be useful if you want to market your practice as a quality provider.
Here are some examples of keywords that highlight a dentist's education and experience:
- Harvard educated dentist
- Tufts University Dental School graduates
- Dentists with 10 or more years of experience
These keywords emphasize your training and expertise. You can use them on your home page as well as on the About Us page on your website. They'll also likely be prominent in dentist and staff biographies.
On service pages, you can emphasize the number of root canals you've performed or the amount of experience your hygienists have. The key when using an education or experience-based theme is to use your chosen keywords in the right places on your website.
Price and Payment Option Themes
Considering that dental services can be expensive, it might be appealing to use a theme that highlights your practice's willingness to work with patients to offer financing and payment plans.
These are some examples of keywords that accomplish that goal:
- Affordable dental care
- Flexible payment plans for dental work
- Dental financing options
Any one of these might help attract patients who are looking for a dentist who'll work with them so they can get the treatment they need. These keywords may be used on service pages, payment pages, or even on your About Us page.
4. Where to Use Keywords
Now, to wrap up, let's look at some of the places that you should use your chosen keywords on your website. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Use keywords in your title tags, meta data (the description that appears under your page name on Google), in the first 100 words of your content, and in alt tags
- Create special tags and categories for your blog that incorporate your keywords
- Add Schema code to your site header so it appears on every page of your site
- When you use keywords, you should also use LSI - related keywords that you can find by scrolling down on Google to check out related searches
- Bold, italicize, and anchor links with your keywords
Using keywords wisely is just as important as choosing the right keywords. Once you've identified a theme, it's your job to select keywords based on research and use them in prominent places on your site.
Choosing a keyword theme and implementing it can help you rise through the ranks on Google, improve your site's visibility, and grow your dental practice.
Are you using a keyword theme that we haven't mentioned here? Tell us about it in the comments!