Dental and Medical SEO Best Practices for 2021
If your website is not ranking on page one of Google, the truth is no one is seeing it. It takes a strong search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to ensure your practice website shows up at the top of Google, ahead of your competition. So, as we move into 2021 and you seek to improve your SEO performance, consider the following best practices to maximize website visibility, acquire new patients, and grow your practice.
Content will continue to be king when it comes to ranking in 2021, and quality is everything. Search engines, such as Google, use your website’s E-A-T — expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness — as one of the key determining factors for page ranking. This means Google evaluates whether users can trust your site according to its overall quality. So, to create content that is unique and useful, consider each E-A-T marker, and be sure to include your doctors’ credentials, patient reviews, and testimonials to clearly convey your expertise and authority. The higher your Google ranking, the better chance your ideal patients will find your site.
In addition to the E-A-T score, long-form content is now becoming a mandatory requirement for your website to rank highly in search. Google’s algorithm is changing to preferentially select sites with quality long-form content, such as your procedural pages, that describe your services with more than 800 words, so make sure to include a few longer content pieces. As you incorporate this content, don’t forget to use H2 and H3 subheads and reputable linking content to ensure your site can be indexed correctly to generate more organic traffic, social shares such as Facebook and Instagram, and branding visibility.
Your overall focus should not necessarily be the length of your content but rather your content should be useful, unique, and engaging to your target audience.
Local Search Optimization
As a dental or medical practice, local search should be an important part of your digital strategy. Why? Because when potential patients search for a procedure, a disorder or simply a dental or medical practice in your area, you want to appear in the local map pack. That is the list of practices within your geographic range that appear at the top of the search results page. How do you land there, above the fold? Start by creating a Google My Business listing and including strong backlinks, both are part of optimizing for local search and getting your practice ranked in the local pack. Learn the search terms the map pack is showing up for and optimize for those keywords.
Voice-Guided Search Optimization
The impact that voice search has on search queries is gaining traction more than ever. In fact, smart speakers in homes have become so popular that over half of households are predicted to use one by 2022. The recent rise in voice search extends to people on-the-go as well, with smart assistants that provide speed, efficiency, and convenience. To optimize for voice search technology, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, use longer, natural-sounding phrases and don’t condense like users do when they type keyword phrases. In other words, rather than typing “top dentist Austin TX”, potential patients might voice search, “What’s the top dentist in Austin TX?” Good SEO campaigns include a digital knowledge management system that keeps your practice website’s information updated. If this is all more than you have time for, allow our SEO experts at PBHS to do the heavy lifting.
User Experience Optimization
Providing a level of interactive ease and engaging your visitors matters. Google uses metrics to understand these perceived experiences and then ranks your site accordingly. For example, well over 50% of all traffic that comes to your site is from a mobile device, and Google aptly prioritizes mobile responsiveness in its ranking algorithms. In fact, Google has switched to a mobile-first indexing model which means Google looks at the mobile version of your site first and considers it the primary version evaluated in search results. You can check to see how mobile-friendly your site is with Google’s online test. Once you’ve optimized for mobile-first web design that’s responsive and adaptive, you’ll want to make sure Google can crawl and index your URLs and that meta tags and descriptions are included. Each of these steps helps your practice website to improve its user experience, rank well, and be found.
Increasingly Vital Trending Technologies
Perhaps most importantly, prioritize keeping your ear to the ground for trending technologies. For instance, Google’s RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to assess site performance, and this directly contributes to your ranking score. Specifically, RankBrain factors in metrics such as click-through rates and average time spent on page. Google is expected to continue to improve in its ability to gather AI-driven insights into how people retrieve information, so optimizing your SEO for AI is a worthwhile investment.
The importance of aligning your SEO with predictive search and semantically-related keywords is another growing trend. Semantic search technology is the exploration of the meaning behind keywords, how words relate to each other, and clues on how they were entered in search (user intent). So, the SEO goal is to create the most value for your users by determining and addressing their real concerns and the intent behind their search. Using search query mining to gather insights for optimization will serve to tighten up your SEO nuts and bolts to improve your ranking, be seen, and grow. The bottom line: those elements which signal a positive user experience are key to ranking well on Google.
A calculated combination of the above strategies will help make your practice website more visible in Google search. If you’re unsure about your SEO plan or are considering an upgrade, view our SEO plans and let us know how we can help. Our SEO analysts are equipped with the experience and technology to help your practice acquire new patients. Contact one of our PBHS team members today by calling 1-800-840-5383 or learn more about SEO for your dental or medical practice.