Search engine optimization is a constantly changing field. It’s easy to end up taking outdated advice, especially when it comes to local search for dentists.
Understanding Search Engine Optimization
Today, Google is smarter than ever. The search engine has learned a lot over the years about what users are interested in. The first tip for optimizing your website for this stellar search engine is to always remember that Google’s goal is to please the user.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that optimization is just about pleasing Google’s algorithms. A lot of lists for search engine optimization (SEO) will give you technical tips, swearing it will trick the search engine into featuring your dental site at the top of the results. This isn’t what SEO is all about.
Google knows that they need to keep their users happy so that they remain the top search engine of choice. When they make changes to their algorithm–which they do often–they do it based on user behavior.
That means practicing SEO isn’t just about optimizing your website for Google. It’s about taking what they’ve learned about user behavior and using that guide to create a website your visitors will love. A website that will not only bring in search traffic but will get future patients calling your office number to make an appointment.
Search traffic is about bringing in a targeted audience to your website. These are the people who are currently searching for a dentist in your area. Better yet, these are people looking for a dentist in your area that performs some of your procedures.
Let’s look at how we make that happen.
What Your Dentist Site Needs For Modern SEO
Rich and helpful content.
What do users need to know when they come to your website?
Great search engine optimization means meeting the needs of the user when they performed the search. Once they click on a result and come to your page, they’re first going to scan it. If they need the keywords they’re looking for and the information seems relevant, then they’ll make the decision to actually read. If the information proves useful, then they’ll go looking for their next step. Ideally, you want to have a call-to-action at the end of your post. Something like, “Do you need more information on dental implants? Contact our team with your questions today.” There, you can include your contact information so all they need to do is take that next step.
Whether they read any articles on your website or not, you always want them to be able to easily find your contact information. This means it should ideally be easy to spot when users load the main page, above the top fold. It’s common to put your phone number or a contact link in the upper right corner. Users will typically look there first.
You can also add contact information in the footer of your website. Ideally, this should be something a user can find on every page of your website.
Then, you want a website rich with content that answers their questions.
Today, users are searching more specifically than they used to. Google has updated its algorithm to be smarter to match users’ needs, and a lot of users know this. If you just search “Dentist”, you’re going to see dentists that are near you.
You’ll also see different results if you’re on your phone or your desktop computer.
Google has gotten smart and they know what people are looking for.
Because users trust Google to know and understand more specific searches, users are often searching specifically for their needs. For example, they may perform searches specific to their problems. They want “dentist near me TMJ”, or “dentist inflamed gums” or “dental implants near me”.
If you perform these procedures, you would do well to have content that’s optimized for search engines and going to meet the needs of those searches. This means an easy-to-read, well-formatted, and useful article that gives information on what a dentist can do for TMJ, what your symptoms might be, how to schedule an appointment at your office, and more. This is content that’s going to tell them everything they need to know. By meeting their needs when they perform this search, you are proving to the visitor that your dentist’s office is helpful when they need it most. That builds trust. And that is a powerful thing when it comes to having a dentist website that actually brings in new patients.
Why Google My Business Matters For Dentists
Today, there are a lot of zero-click searches performed on Google. Zero-click searches are the times when a user performs a search and learns the information they need directly on the search result page. This may happen from the meta description, but more likely, it’s happening because of Google’s new “Rich Results” features. It’s likely these will grow in the coming years. You’ll notice sometimes when you search for information that might show up in a “Frequently Asked Questions” page, or a list, or if you search for a recipe, that Google now shows an excerpt at the top of the search results. This may bring users to your website to learn more. Often, they learn everything they know in this excerpt. While that’s not ideally what you want, it’s still more exposure.
Similarly, Google users will now often rely on Google My Business (GMB). These panels come up in the search results. They contain information like your location, business hours, reviews, and procedures you perform. There is also room for updates via blog posts, so you have a lot of room there to add more keywords into your GMB content.
While this means that many users may not visit your website, as long as you keep your profile updated, it still means a lot of users are finding you through local search.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that GMB means you don’t have to work on your website, though. More than half of users will trust a dentist’s website for the most accurate information over GMB. This means that if they go to your website and find it outdated or can’t find proper contact information, they will lose trust in your business and move on to the next site to come up in the search results.
Use Google My Business well. Keep it updated and fill out as much information as you can. At the same time, keep your website in excellent shape. You need both of these parts for excellent local search results on Google today.