SEO tips for dentists and orthodontists

Optimising your website for relevant keywords will help your website to be found by potential new patients.

When tasked with marketing a new dental practice, the temptation is always to rely on PPC. This kind of strategy might offer immediate results, but it is not without its costs. And as soon as the budget dries up, the traffic grinds to a halt.

The alternative is to use a combination of long-term and short-term strategies to start building your client base while also laying down strong foundations. When marketing your practice, SEO should be used in tandem with a PPC strategy to help grow your practice and build website authority.

SEO is a highly effective way to grow your dental practice. Whatever services you offer, you can guarantee that potential patients are searching for these treatments. They might not always be using the same terms, but they are heading to Google to research potential dentists.

Some patients will remain loyal to their family dentist for a lifetime, but others will be more willing to move if they know they can get a better deal or better service elsewhere. This is why strong search engine rankings can help to bring in a steady stream of new enquiries.

Speak your patient’s language

You might be the expert in dentistry, but you have to let your patients lead the way when it comes to talking about your services. Even something as simple as hygienist services can be misunderstood. The far more common search term is “scale and polish”, but dentists often try to steer clear of this outdated term.

There is often a wide gap in understanding between what your patients think they are looking for and the service that is best suited to them. Your job is to understand their intent and make sure you are using the language they use. Listen to your patients and learn from their vocabulary. They might talk about fixed teeth instead of dental implants. And while they might ask for Invisalign, any invisible alignment system will be welcome.

First impressions count

Think your website is where patients get their first impression of your practice? You’d be wrong. The first impression typically happens in the SERP, or search engine results page.

Meta titles and descriptions are not only useful for signposting your content, but they can also be used to help convince potential patients to click through to your site. Spelling mistakes or messy formatting will all turn website visitors away. Making the most of structured data will also help to enhance your SERP appearance.

Build a website that can scale

It’s easy to fall for a flashy website design. Many dentists will get swept away by a single page design, impressed by the smooth scrolling and moving elements. But a single page website won’t help you to grow your business.

A good dental website will be fully scalable, allowing you to easily add new service pages as your practice grows. Every service should have an individual, fully optimised page. If you worry about your website becoming too wordy, break it up with subheadings, or include accordion menus. This will allow you to present all of the information required without forcing it on the website visitor. In general, dentists can never provide too much information. Dental patients are often looking for answers and expertise.

Think local

Unless you are selling mail-order orthodontics, your potential customers will all be local to your practice. Don’t worry about national rankings and instead think about the niche terms in your local area. You’re serving a community, and your website content and approach should reflect this.

Make sure your Google My Business page is up to date and that you have claimed your listings. It’s not uncommon for rival practices to suggest changes to your practice listing to confuse your visitors. This might include changing your opening hours or suggesting a wrong phone number. Check your listing frequently and look out for emails from Google to confirm these changes. If you don’t check-in for a long time, the updates might be pushed through without your knowledge.

Keep on top of changes

While SEO for dentists might be a slower strategy, it’s not something that you can set up once and then leave ticking over forever. You might not be tinkering with your website every single week, but you should stay on top of search developments and monitor your website traffic.

A sharp drop in organic search traffic could indicate that you have been hit with a manual penalty or that the latest algorithm update has penalised your website. Working with a marketing agency with SEO expertise could help you to avoid these pitfalls.

If you need help crafting your dental SEO strategy, get in touch with us today.