Search engines are the most popular way to research local businesses and book professional services in your area.
The latest data shows that 97% of individuals use search engines to find local businesses and book local services – including dental.
With 46% of all searches now featuring a local intent such as “near me” or *city name*, more users are turning to organic search to find local dentists. For dental clinics, having a strong online presence can be the difference between endless appointments and empty waiting rooms.
This article will look at the role of search engine optimisations in promoting dental clinics, whether your dental clinic should invest in SEO, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions that we receive from dental professionals.
Table of Contents
What is Dental SEO?
Dental SEO or SEO for Dentists refers to the process of improving your dental practice website to appear at the top of the search engine results and secure more online bookings for your clinic. Just like regular SEO, dental SEO optimises the on-site and off-site elements that search engines use to understand site context and authority.
For example, prospective patients in your area may be searching the following queries in Google:
• Dentists near me
• Dental clinic near me
• Dentist + *your location*
• Book dentist appointment
• Local dental clinic
• Affordable dentists
Appearing at the top of search engines for these search terms is a guaranteed way to increase the number of enquiries and bookings that you receive through organic marketing.
Do I need a Dental SEO Specialist?
Specialised dental, ‘dental marketing experts’, or medical SEO companies refer to agencies that have been set up to work specifically with dentists or medical professionals. Working exclusively with companies in this industry does not provide a distinct advantage over a general SEO agency that works with clients across a range of industries.
In general, specialised medical SEO agencies are set up by small (often overseas) marketers looking for an easy way to enter the SEO market by claiming a unique selling proposition over an established and respected search engine optimisation companies.
SEO companies that claim to work solely with medical professionals try to lure unsuspecting medical practices into thinking that they need to work with an agency that works solely in the medical field.
Over the last few years a number of specialist dental (and other medical niche) specialist SEO agencies have cropped up in Australia. From what we have observed, most of these SEO agencies are run by an overseas team the implements low-quality, cookie-cutter SEO tactics that will provide little or no benefit to your dental practice.
How to Optimise for Dental SEO
The same principles that are applied in a regular search engine optimisation campaign can also be applied to a dental search engine optimisation campaign. There is a common misconception in the dental and medical industry that the search principles that are implemented in a dental or medical campaign are unique.
Just like any SEO campaign, a dental organic marketing campaign means understanding user behaviour. Keyword research will reveal exactly how users are searching for the various services offered by a dentist and will inform the SEO strategy that is used to capture this audience.
Eight step process for a dental SEO marketing campaign
1. Website audit – understand current rankings and website health
2. Competitor analysis – identify key competitors in your industry
3. Keyword research – identify keyword opportunities based on user behaviour
4. Fill content gaps – understand the pages that are missing and the content that needs to be created
5. Onsite optimisations – fix any underlying on page issues and optimise for conversion
6. Backlinks building – build links that improve authority and trust
7. Content marketing – ongoing content marketing designed to attract relevant website visitors and answer the most commonly asked questions about dental services.
8. Reporting – understand how your organic traffic is improving with regular, monthly reporting with Google Analytics and Search Console.
The above process can be applied to any local business search engine optimisation campaign type. Understanding how your target market is seeking your services and reverse engineering a strategy to increase visibility in Google is a repeatable strategy that can be tweaked across almost any industry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my Dental Clinic Need SEO?
The short answer is that SEO is an effective way to increase organic visibility and dramatically increase the number of leads that you receive through online search. In 2022, roughly 71% of all clicks in Google go to the top organic listings. If you are a dental practice that wants to increase the number of bookings that you receive and the quantity of dental patients that you treat, then dental search engine optimization is an effective way to achieve this.
What is the Strategy for Dental SEO?
We follow the same SEO principles that guide each campaign that we complete with companies working in the professional services space. Dental marketing addresses the same principles as local organic digital marketing campaigns, including:
1. Fix and monitor technical SEO issues that may impact rankings
2. Create high quality content that reflects the services being offered
3. Build high-quality, relevant backlinks
4. Build trust and authority by providing valuable content
Understanding your local market and identifying the right keywords to target is an integral step to increasing search engine rankings and achieving SEO visibility.
How Long Does Dental Search Engine Optimisation Take?
The time frame to see results can vary from three to six months. Depending on the history of the website, the age of the domain, and previous search engine optimisation work that has been carried out, the timeframe to see results for your dental clinic may be longer or shorter. By assessing your website metrics and current position in the market, an SEO company should be able to provide an accurate assessment on timing.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
The cost of SEO for dentists ranges from $2,500 per month all the way up to $10,000+ per month depending on the location, number of clinics, goals, and current website health. The cost of SEO services will be determined based on the following factors:
1. Location of your clinic – dentists competing in a large metro area such as Sydney will face more competition and require a higher level of SEO results to stand out. Dentists with multiple clinics can expect to pay a higher premium.
2. Services offered – most dentists will offer 5-20 different dental services including general check-ups, crowns, professional teeth whitening, orthodontic etc. Each service will require a separate landing page, separate content, and a unique backlink strategy. Generally speaking, the more services that you want to rank for, the more you can expect to pay.
3. Previous SEO work – your website health and previous SEO work will determine the amount of work required to help you achieve results. A website that is already ranking on page 1 or 2 of Google is much easier to work on than a new website or a website that ranks poorly.
The cost of SEO for dentists should be determined based on an individual quote that considers all of the aforementioned factors. We recommend seeking out an SEO company that considers your unique market position before quoting for work. Customised quoting shows a level of consideration has gone into understanding your business and current position.
Will I Get More Bookings?
Yes. Appearing at the top of the search results for relevant industry dental search terms is a guaranteed way to increase the number of enquiries and bookings that you secure. Like any SEO campaign, the number of bookings that you secure for your dental clinic will ultimately be determined by your unique value proposition (USP), pricing strategy, and business reputation.
For instance, a dental clinic that offers competitive pricing, a broad range of dental services, and has a high number of online reviews (social proof) that positively endorse their services will invariably outperform a business that does not have these links.
The latest click through rates by ranking position is as follows:
• Ranking 1 – 31.73%
• Ranking 2 – 24.71%
• Ranking 3 – 18.66%
• Ranking 4 – 13.60%
• Ranking 5 – 9.51%
• Ranking 6 – 6.23%
• Ranking 7 – 4.15%
• Ranking 8 – 3.12%
• Ranking 9 – 2.97%
• Ranking 10 – 3.09%
• Page 2 Onwards – 0.78% Combined
Is the Dental Industry Competitive?
Yes, dentists were one of the first professional services providers to realise (and harness) the power of search engine optimisation. As a result, the industry is well developed and full of companies that have been investing with a dental SEO company for a number of years.
The location of your clinic will be the biggest determining factor in competition. Clinics competing in large metro areas can expect to face stiff competition for competitive dental search queries.
Off-Site SEO Factors
Backlinks refer links that go from one external website to your dental practice website. As of 2022, backlinks account for 50% of how a website ranks in Google search results. Having high-quality links from sites with trusted reputations back to your own site is essential in building your ranking profile. The more relevant links you have directing traffic to your website, the higher you will rank. However, If the site linking to you is shady, then the benefits of having that link are greatly diminished. Your site needs authoritative backlinks, as they are the most significant off-site ranking factor and should be a high priority in any SEO campaign.
Sometimes referred to as NAP Links (Name, Address, Phone number) or directory links, these links are an important way to build the legitimacy of your site in search results, especially so for more local SEO campaigns. Search Engines rely on local citations to verify the legitimacy and trustworthiness of your website, be warned not every local directory will be beneficial for your website. Dental SEO and other more localised SEO campaigns will benefit the most from local citations. A proper SEO Agency will be selective in choosing only the best, most authoritative directories to display your business to ensure you receive the best value for your citation.
Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business is the single most valuable directory citation your business can receive. GMB is the most checked platform by potential customers for essential information on your business. Information on trading hours, location, reviews are all tied into the GMB platform. GMB allows businesses to interact with prospective directly and show Google your legitimacy. It is a vital avenue of communication that is key to your SEO potential by boosting activity through engagement. GMB is also important in any local SEO campaign as it will show your business in proximity to the searcher when potential customers perform a local search.
Guest blogging can be an incredibly effective strategy in your Dental SEO campaign. You will increase your domain rating by writing effective, longer style copy on other websites that includes relevant follow links back to your own website. It is a comprehensive process that takes a while to develop even just one quality link, but the results are most effective this way. Reaching out to request a guest blog post is not as easy as it once was. Still, with a quality SEO Agency, you can be assured that there will be relevant, valuable content published on an industry-specific site that will improve your website’s rankings.
On-Site SEO Factors
Meta data refers to the various tags and descriptors of your website’s content that the search engine will use to determine your site’s relevancy on the search engine’s results page. Google uses meta data to understand the context of your website and to determine which keywords your website should be appearing for in the search engines. Meta data includes title tags, alt tags, meta descriptions, and a whole host of other elements that communicate relevancy and context to search engines.
User Experience is fundamental as part of an effective SEO Strategy. Even if you have the most well thought out, keyword optimised content; if the experience of using your website is a negative one, customers won’t return. Google uses several metrics to determine the on-page experience of your site; user website dwell time, pages visited, website click-through rate, return organic website traffic, and website bounce rate all contribute to how google perceives the user experience of your site—receiving negative outcomes here? Google will push your site lower down on results pages as a result. Make sure your website is a great one to use.
Technical SEO Factors
Technical SEO refers to improving the technical aspects of a website in order to increase rankings and improve crawlability and indexation in search engines. Technical SEO is, without question, the most complex aspect of SEO and requires a specialist who understands how to improve the various technical aspects of website performance that account for search rankings. Duplicate metadata, XML sitemap accessibility, and HTTPS status are just some of the many complex limitations that may affect your search rankings without you knowing. Technical SEO is not a ‘one and done’ activity; continually streamlining the processes of your site and refining content is something a great SEO agency will continue to do throughout a campaign.
So, we’ve already covered the importance of backlinks, but linking internally between the pages of your website can also affect your SEO performance. Internal links go from one page on your site to another. An effective internal link structure will convey the importance of the pages to the search engine. It will also help search engines establish the connection between the content on your site and, from a user experience level, aid users to navigate through your site. Keeping users engaged with your context by pointing them to various pages on your site is vital in maintaining long term results for website ranking.
Detailed, relevant on-site copy that connects user queries to your site is vital in boosting your traffic from local users interested in Dental services. Just about anyone can generate long-form content, but that doesn’t immediately correlate to ranking higher on search engines. Google nurtures an environment of high-quality results that contribute to a great user experience to remain the top search engine. Your content marketing tactics need to slot into this environment to rank well. It needs to be SEO friendly and meet the users’ search query, plus this content needs to be delivered in a way that is easy to engage with. Backing up your content with exhaustive keyword research puts Safari Digital ahead of other agencies in our ability to deliver optimised on-site content that will meet your users’ expectations.
Information Architecture (IA)
Information architecture or IA centres on understanding what your users are looking for on your site and ensuring they have access to them when and where they need them. Effective IA organises and labels content so that Google bots and users can navigate your website efficiently. Distributing links fairly between pages, improving website crawlability, and increasing traffic to your site are all signals of improved IA on your site. Well-developed SEO is not just about putting keywords on the page or in the metadata. It is a comprehensive strategy to sort and assemble all your site’s content so that users will enjoy the experience, and search engines will rank this accordingly.
Grow with SEO for Dentists
Looking to invest in SEO for your dental clinic and not sure where to start? Safari Digital is an experienced SEO specialist Agency that provides SEO services across a broad range of industries – including dentists and medical services.
Set up an initial meeting with an SEO consultant at Safari Digital to find out how search engine optimisation can open new doors for your dental practices in 2022. Use the contact form or call us directly on (02) 8006 9002 to book a consultation for your dental website.