Top 3 SEO strategies to bring your dental practice more patients without advertising
You may be familiar by now that when people search for “dentist in my area” your site could show up at the top of the results – bringing you a lot more visitors, and more patients. However, “dentist in my area” is a highly competitive keyword, and ranking at the top is often easier said than done. In this blog, you will find out how to bypass and go beyond this competition, to a level where your practice can rank first, bringing you the number of patients you need, without spending a dime on advertising.
The Most Rewarding, High ROI Keywords for Dentists to Target
Not all keywords that have lots of monthly searches are actually good for you. Let’s look at a few examples, and understand why less is more when it comes to Google ranking.
Searching on Google for “Dentist in Dundas”, we can see that there are over 402,000 pages relevant to that keyword. Google’s goal is to compare these results, determine which one is the most relevant to me, and show it at the top.
Our goal with SEO, is we’re essentially trying to convince Google that when someone is searching for “Dentist in Dundas” – our dental practice is the most relevant result, and should top all other 402,000.
Now let’s look at another example. Searching for “Invisalign in Dundas”, there are only 124,000 results.
This keyword is niched down to a specific dental service, which makes it easier to rank for because there are significantly fewer pages to compete with. And I’d rather compete with 124,000 pages and try to convince Google our page is the best, than compete with 402,000 other pages.
More importantly, people who search for “Invisalign in Dundas” are much more promising leads, since they already know exactly what they’re looking for.
Let’s look at a third example. When we type in “Invisalign dentist in Dundas” – we get only 51,400 results.
There are much fewer pages to compete with, and I’d argue the patient behind this search is a much more qualified lead, than people who search for “Invisalign in Dundas”, or worse, “dentist in Dundas.”
As you can see, the more specific a keyword is – the fewer pages there are to compete with. In addition, the people searching for specific keywords are more likely to be a high-quality lead, ready to call your practice and set an appointment.
Dentists who are “in-the-know” aim for niche keywords. Because while a generic keyword like “Dentist in Toronto” drives more traffic than a niche keyword – there are a lot more niche keywords to target than there are generic keywords.
It’s also easier and cheaper to rank for them. So, if you rank at the top, for dozens or hundreds of niche keywords – put together you could have more traffic than from one generic keyword.
But the difference is, whether you get less, more or the same traffic – your traffic consists of more promising patients, because they know exactly what they want, and they’re searching for it.
How Do You Actually Rank for Niche Keywords?
To rank for a niche keyword, or a group of keywords – you need a dedicated page for that keyword or service. A high quality, landing page.
If we search for “Invisalign dentist in Dundas”, the first organic result is our website’s Invisalign landing page, not the homepage.
Moreover, because we’ve built a high-quality landing page with great content, not only does it show up at the top of Google, but Google also displays snippets of the content right on the search results page. Questions such as “How are Invisalign trays made?”, “How much do aligners cost?” and more.
So, to rank for niche keywords like “best dentist for crowns in Windsor Ontario” you’re probably going to need a landing page talking about crowns, how your dental practice is located in Windsor, and featuring great information about how you do dental crowns and what goes into that procedure.
Now targeting niche keywords, and creating high-quality landing pages for them are excellent ways to rank higher. But there’s one SEO area you can improve that will have the most impact on your rankings.
Behold, The Almighty Backlink
What are backlinks exactly? These are links from other websites pointing to your website.
For example, directory listings like YellowPages or RateMDs that mention your business and have a link to your website.
It could be an article written about your practice that links to your website.
Or maybe you sponsor a local kids soccer team and again, they link to your website on their sponsors page. Those are all backlinks.
A higher number of backlinks tells Google that your dental practice is more popular than the competition.
For example: If you and I were competitors, and your website had 50 backlinks, while my website only had 10 backlinks – your website would show higher in the rankings.
The more backlinks your website has the more Google trusts it and the more authority it has. This is why it’s a great idea to sign up to many different directories like Bing, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, RateMDs, YellowPages, etc.
But it’s not just a numbers game. Quality matters too. You’ll want your backlinks to come from high-quality authoritative websites. Sometimes 10 backlinks from reputable websites will outrank a website with 50 backlinks coming from car repair blogs, Russian gambling websites or other low-quality, spammy places.
In fact, backlinks from spammy websites can actually lower your rankings.
Here’s an example of negative backlinks: A dental practice called Wise Dental in Maryland has a backlink from a website about buying, selling, and servicing cars.
Now you may ask yourself… why is a dental practice listed on an automobile website?
Well, about five to ten years ago, when Google’s algorithm couldn’t make the difference between a good and a bad backlink – all backlinks were good, including the ones from fraudulent websites. The more the better. So, people jumped on the bandwagon and bought backlinks by the hundreds. These nefarious tactics were considered “SEO shortcuts” or “SEO hacks” and it used to work… but not anymore.
Those $199 a month SEO services? That’s the kind of backlinks those companies create because it’s fast and easy. The expression “you get what you pay for” is very much true in this case.
A bad case of backlinks
A while back, we had just started working with a new client from Ontario, Canada. When we started digging to find out why they aren’t ranking, we found that their practice had backlinks from a dog breeding website in Florida, a mechanic website in New Jersey, and dozens more from Russian gambling websites.
When we asked them about it – they had no idea their marketing company was dragging their practice through all this mud. Ironically – their closest competitor who did not optimize their SEO even the in the slightest – were ranking higher on Google.
It took several months (and thousands of dollars) to manually remove all the spammy links before we could lay the ground for further work.
The moral of the story is… cutting corners when it comes to SEO can backfire. And the hacks that work today can bury your website in the Google Hell tomorrow.
Good SEO takes time, costs more, and brings qualified patients. It’s common sense that you should only practice Good SEO. On the other hand, if you choose the dark side and use SEO hacks – don’t be surprised if in the end it does more harm than good.
TIP: If you’re working with a company that is doing your SEO, make sure they’re not cutting corners on your behalf, because in the end, you’re going to be the one left holding the bag.
To Sum Up…
In order to rank higher on Google, you should target niche keywords, create high-quality landing pages, and start collecting backlinks from reputable websites.
I hope this information will help your practice take its righteous place among the Google rankings. If you want to learn more about SEO and marketing for dentists, check out this blog on how to optimize your Google My Business page for better visibility.