Best Dental Website SEO Tips for 2021
93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. How can you take action to ensure your practice website ranks at the top of Search and is seen by your potential patients? Implement the following 10 tips to nail your dental SEO strategy and attract and convert more new patients in 2021.
1. Google’s Page Experience Update
Google will be launching its Page Experience Algorithm Update in May of 2021. This update focuses on the Core Web Vitals of your practice website, such as Interactivity, Visual Stability, and Load Time, which are key user-centric indicators of the page experience. What does this mean for your dental practice website? If Google thinks your website offers a poor user experience from your main navigation to your procedure pages, your rankings and visibility will be negatively impacted. Get out in front of your website ranking by monitoring these experience metrics as they begin to affect your place in Search in the coming year.
2. The Need for Speed
Site speed, the amount of time it takes your website to load and respond, is a deal breaker when it comes to SEO performance, and Google has deemed it a top factor in determining your position in search. Failing to improve site speed can lead to lost traffic and revenue. You’ve got 3 seconds to capture your potential patient’s attention, and the longer your site takes to load, the greater the chance your prospective patient has moved on to your competition. You’ve invested time in crafting convincing calls to action and compelling website content, so don’t lose patients to slow load times.
3. A Quality User Experience on Mobile
How do you create a “thumb-friendly” user experience that places your site in front of more potential patients and captures more leads? Add the following to your SEO strategy to cultivate an effective and streamlined mobile user experience and drive new patient growth:
- Clear and easy-to-use navigation: New and referred patients should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and unambiguously through your navigation menu. Consider using less technical terms to describe your procedural interventions; for example, use Gummy Smile Correct or Gummy Smile Surgery rather than Crown Lengthening. Such changes alone may increase case acceptance for that procedure by 10-20%.
- Useful procedure pages: Make sure your procedural pages are useful, informative, and accurately describe the nuances of your services to your patients.
- Clear and engaging calls-to-action: You CTA buttons should pop and be placed above the fold on mobile, tablets, and desktop platforms. This is especially important for your contact us and new appointment request links.
- Visible registration & office hours: Online registration is essential not only because it increases safety during the Covid-19 pandemic but also because it improves the patient experience and saves you and your patients’ time. Ensure your new patient registration, as well as office hours, driving directions, and insurance pages are easy to find on any mobile device.
4. Quality Content
Consistent, engaging content that informs, educates, and delights your patients and aids their decision-making process may be the most effective SEO strategy on this list. High-quality content creation fuels all other SEO techniques, such as keyword building and backlinks, and acts as a baseline, increasing traffic to your website and growth in your practice. First and foremost, make sure your content is up to date and relevant. SEO is about understanding people’s intentions when they ask a question, and search engines attempt to give the quickest and best answer, so make sure your website provides the richest experience for the user with quality content: providing real answers to real people’s questions.
5. Longtail Keyword Phrases
Longtail words—precise keyword phrases—account for over 70% of online search traffic and are 2.5 times more effective than short keywords at helping to improve your ranking. Longtail keywords are how people actually search the Internet. This is most apparent in more competitive dental markets where search intent is more specific. To be most effective in increasing conversion rates, long-tail keywords need to be used correctly in context within the URL, title tag, and body text.
6. On-Page Optimization
Meta descriptions are like advertisements for your website. Think of them as solid, relevant descriptions of your webpage that entice people to click on your link when they find it in a search engine. Meta descriptions, or HTML tags, appear as the text below the title tag in search results. These snippets should include primary keywords and be as unique and specific as possible. The goal is to get patients to click on your link, and when this occurs, it will improve your click-through-rate and ultimately your ranking algorithm. Pro tip: keep to 155 characters, use active voice, and include a call-to-action.
When it comes to helping Google better understand your site’s images so that you rank higher and increase visibility, we’ve found that using specific file names (carefully chosen keywords), adding alt text that is relevant and unique, and reducing file sizes (<100Kb if possible) are all essential to remaining competitive in the SEO game. In addition to driving more traffic to your website, optimized images improve page speed and the user experience which helps to convert patients once on your site. Searchers can also visit pages directly through images that are optimized correctly, which makes them an important source of traffic and vital to your overall SEO strategy.
Keywords in Headlines
Help search engines understand what your content is about and help time-pressed patients find what they’re looking for by using keywords in your headlines. The goal is to create headlines that match the most common and relevant search queries while grabbing potential patient’s attention and building trust, and we’ve found that keywords are key. Keywords should be at the beginning of your headline and should also be incorporated into the body content. Don’t forget to optimize with title tags (no longer than 60 characters), which are the second most important on-page factor for SEO. The title tag is what people will see when they view search results. Title tags are also important because they show up in the browser tabs.
7. Voice Guided Search
50% of all searches are voice search, so it’s time to adapt your marketing strategies to provide answers to both text-search queries that are short and abbreviated and voice-search queries that are longer and natural. When it comes to voice search, it’s about semantic search, building the context and user intent, and integrating structured data within your website. What’s that mean, practically speaking? Begin with a headline that asks a common question and use conversational long-tail keywords. Immediately below the headline, provide a concise answer to the question, and then use the rest of the page to elaborate.
8. Local SEO Optimization & Google My Business Listings
Getting your practice into the ‘local pack’ (appearing at the top of the search results page) requires you to make local SEO a priority. Our experts at PBHS have found that geo-specific keywords, Google My Business profiles, and accurate dental directory listings are what drive your authority for these rankings, placing you at the top of page 1 and in front of your ideal patients.
Google My Business Listing
If 50% of people schedule an appointment within a day of making a local search, investing in a Google My Business listing is a no brainer. A Google My Business profile that is loaded with relevant information about your practice is the secret to increasing your search visibility, attracting new patients, driving traffic to your website, and growing your practice locally. Make sure to keep your hours up to date, respond to reviews on your GMB profile, and don’t forget to upload photos to Google My Business on a regular basis.
9. Relevant High-Quality Link Building
Both users and search engines use internal links on your website to find relevant content. Internal links, which connect to blog posts, procedure pages, and contact us pages on your site, increase patient engagement and generate higher conversion rates. Use internal links as calls to action, prompting patients to schedule appointments, submit registration documentation and access educational procedural pages. When links are constructed so that your site is easy to navigate, it will index properly and be found quickly by search engines. Contextual links point users to interesting and related content and allow search engines to discover content with the highest value. The more links to a particular page, the more value is attributed to it, increasing its rankings.
External Links/Authority Sites
Linking out to other respected websites regularly, such as news outlets, dental journals, and accredited governing bodies, will help search engines determine the reputability of your page and site. Google considers external links a stable and easy metric to measure popularity and relevancy of your page for search queries. The trick is making sure the linked relevant content comes from an authoritative site. External links or backlinks are measured for volume, quality, and relevancy.
10. Patient Reviews
If 92% of potential patients read online reviews, it’s no wonder they’ve become a ranking factor for search engines. Patient reviews improve your practice website ranking and visibility not only by providing fresh and unique patient-generated content, but also by signaling to search engines that your site is authoritative and trustworthy. Patients will invariably click on the practice with the highest star rating first.
Apply these 10 SEO tips and watch your practice reach new heights in 2021. Looking for more guidance as you enhance your SEO strategy to attract more patients and increase bookings? Get in touch with one of our SEO analysts today.