With increasing competition among dentists, it’s important that you sharpen your marketing skills and enable your practice to win in the clientele race. Incorporating local SEO in your digital marketing mix can help you boost your online presence, bring more traffic to your website, and put you on top in Google rankings.
If think local SEO is unnecessary here are a few eye-opening statistics for you:
- “Growing SEO” had been named by 61% of companies as their biggest priority in 2018.
- 67k searches are performed on Google every second.
- 46% of all Google searches are local.
- Search engines drive 93% of all website traffic.
- In 2018, more than 51% of content consumption was driven by organic search.
This post tells you how to use local SEO to improve your position in Google search results.
#1 Create and Maintain Accurate Local Search Listings
Online directories such as Google, Bing, Yelp, and Citysearch can help you bolster your website’s visibility and rank better in search. Create consistent and accurate local business listings on these directories, and your practice is sure to gain credibility. Maintaining your listings is crucial too.
For your dental practice to be indexed as a local business listing and feature in local search results, you will need to focus on the following areas while optimizing it:
- Your clinic’s business name
- Your local phone number (and alternate numbers)
- Your local address
- Website URL
- Categories and descriptions
- Social profiles
- Payment modes
Local search sites use markup language or schema that signals to search engine crawlers that the particular page is a business. Optimizing your listing can bring you two key benefits:
- Your potential patients are more likely to click for more information about your practice.
- Optimized listings climb Google rankings faster.
Google says around four out of five consumers use search engines to conduct local searches. It, therefore, makes perfect sense to claim your local business listing and attract clients.
#2 Keyword Research Is Critical
You can also use keyword research to open up new doors of opportunity for your dental practice. List some of your services such as teeth cleaning, smile makeover, and orthodontics as your keywords. You can employ the Keyword Planner Tool (on the Google AdWords platform) to identify the keywords your potential clients are using when searching for dental providers and services.
When it comes to choosing keywords for dental practices, you need to focus on ranking for hiring intent keywords. These usually indicate that the searcher is going to take an action. For example, a keyword like ‘root canal dentist’ signals hiring intent. Make sure to optimize your website pages with such transactional keywords.
Research intent keywords such as ‘DIY teeth whitening’ or ‘benefits of electric toothbrush’ signify that the searcher is looking for information, as opposed to hiring a dentist. These keywords can also help your SEO effort as you can turn them into content for your dental blog. Potential patients can get the information they need from you, while you establish your authority in the dental field and gain their trust.
#3 Google My Business Page Optimization
A well-optimized Google My Business (GMB) page can enable your prospects to discover your practice and know more about it. Having an accurate GMB page will also help you enhance your rankings on Google, while featuring in the ‘Map’ on the top of the search results.
You can start off with this by claiming and verifying your page with Google to achieve the “Verified” tag next to your business name. If you find multiple pages for the same location, make sure to merge them so only one clear page is displayed in your name.
Next, verify your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) to see if you have provided valid and local details. This information should be consistent across your GMB page, websites, and other directories as well as social media pages. Failure in doing so will defeat the purpose of your SEO initiatives. Other critical details that need to be mentioned include your practice’s description like services and specialties, days and hours of operation, and copyright-free images of your dental clinic.
You may need to categorize your practice based on what it is, rather than what you do. For example, use categories such as ‘Dentist,’ ‘Orthodontist,’ and ‘Dental Implants’ rather than your services like ‘teeth whitening.’ Pick the categories that are applicable to your practice.
#4 Website Optimization Can Change Fortunes
In order to gain more traffic and climb ranks on Google, you will need to optimize your website pages, particularly your home page, service pages, and blog with the keywords your prospects are using. This means placing hiring intent keywords strategically, yet as naturally as possible.
Consider optimizing your title tag or the page title, which appears on the top of the web browser and in Google search results (in blue) with your primary keyword. Your primary keyword can consist of your practice and your city name so it shows up in local search results. Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find out which keywords are being commonly used by searchers. Keep your title tags between 55 and 65 characters in length,
Additionally, you want to create distinctive meta descriptions for all your web pages to highlight your various services. It is best to have a separate page for each service to offer more information about your services to readers, improve your chances of ranking better, and using keywords optimally.
Meta descriptions will not be displayed on your web page, but will reflect in search results below the page link. These are more detailed than title tags and can be between 100 and 150 characters in length. Make sure to include your practice’s name, city, and contact number along with the services provided in the meta descriptions of each page.
When it comes to the headline (or H1) of the page, make it clearly visible and ensure it includes a relevant keyword. It needs to be to-the-point and meaningful. You can include the type of your practice and city here.
Apart from this, your website copy plays a huge role in boosting your Google rankings. Make sure it is informative, and easy-to-read and understand, without being wordy. You should be able to describe all your services and include your target keyword at least once within the page copy.
Your blog posts should offer unique, helpful and valuable information without seeming promotional of your practice. Even updating and republishing old blog posts with new content and images can increase organic traffic by 111.37%. The content on each page should look natural and compelling enough to incite potential patients to take the desired action, i.e. contact you.
#5 Monitor Your Reviews
The online reviews you garner on platforms such as Google, Yelp and dental review websites can not only help you gain a competitive edge, but also improve your rankings on Google SERPs. It is crucial that you gain positive reviews on your GMB page as your prospects will be exposed to those when they search for you. Positive reviews will translate into more patients and better rankings.
While your exceptional services will inevitably motivate your patients to write positive reviews for your practices, some patients may have to be asked to provide them. In the latter cases, you need to ensure you make the process as easy as possible for them. An effective way to do so is to send them an email requesting their review for your services. The email should include a link to your GMB review page, along with special instructions (if needed).
It is best to send out review request emails to all patients you haven’t reviewed you after using your services. Consider integrating this aspect in your business process to enable a continuous inflow of reviews.
While it is encouraging to receive positive reviews from patients, don’t worry if you also get a few negative ones every now and then. Think of them as lessons for improvisation and respond to all reviews politely. Also, a handful of negative reviews add more authenticity and credibility to your GMB page.
#6 Make Your Website Responsive
According to January, 2018 data on Statista, the global mobile population amounted to 3.7 billion unique users. As per a 2017 study, 75 percent of the population in the United States was actively browsing the internet from their mobile device. These numbers make a compelling case for you to have responsive website for your practice.
A responsive website easily adapts itself to fit various screen sizes for a user-friendly browsing experience. Further, Google ranks such websites more favorably. By not having a mobile-friendly website, you’re bound to hurt your dental website’s ranking.
Mentioned above are some effective ways of improving your dental website’s position in the SERPs. Almost all its elements can be optimized to enable it to rank better. While there are several other steps you can take to augment your ranking, you can start off with these to create a strong online foothold. While it may seem like a lot of effort, it’s going to be worth it because better ranking will mean more patients and a successful practice.