When people search for a product on their mobile phones, 18% of those searches result in a sale somewhere on that very day. Fifty percent of people who use their smartphones for a local search will visit a store that day. The same is true of 34% of users who search locally on their tablets or computers. So if it weren’t already obvious, it should be clear that search engine optimization (SEO) matters if you want to succeed in business. Yet many entrepreneurs do not realize the importance of SEO or are not maximizing their use of it. This is especially true of those in a line of business that might surprise you—the dental industry. Here is what dental marketers need to know about using SEO to its fullest potential.
Why Is SEO for the Dental Industry Tough?Dental SEO expert Justin Morgan explains that there are several reasons why it’s hard for dentists in particular to be found online. First, dentists tend not to be savvy about how they go about SEO. They don’t invest in the process or go to a dental marketing expert and learn the ins and outs of how it works. Morgan says that, instead, dentists “typically use the ‘pay and pray’ model of SEO, which involves choosing the company that looks most legit for the lowest price possible.” The reality is that it’s highly beneficial for companies to outsource their SEO needs and find a reputable company to help them. Dentists who become proficient in understanding how SEO can benefit their practices see a dramatic rise in their success compared to dentists who take a more apathetic attitude. Those who stand out online have determined to find and pay for the best SEO service available and so have a higher commitment to helping their patients.
Search Engines Love Strong ContentBut one of the most important reasons why SEO can be so difficult for dentists is that “dentists’ websites rarely have useful, engaging content that supports what bloggers, journalists and editors are conveying.” Visual content, and video in particular, is the type of content that research shows users enjoy the most. Google and other search engines will like you using video because it demonstrates you are offering information that is compelling and relevant. Further complicating the SEO woes of dentists is the fact that they are not likely to have relationships with online publishers. Not only do dentists typically not have linkable posts but they also don’t know anyone who would link to them if they did. However, as your dental practice routinely puts out content that is pertinent and useful, your site will become a trusted source of information. So an obvious strategy is for you to include a blog on your website that has helpful content for site visitors. Make sure you design your blog in a way that interests the people who visit your website. Write about topics that will remain relevant over time, write catchy titles and, of course, include visuals. Here is an example of practical, evergreen content that a dentist could include on his or her blog.
Getting StartedDepending on your budget, you might decide to tackle SEO yourself instead of hiring an outside agency. But even if you do decide to hire a dental SEO expert, you should still educate yourself on what SEO requires. One reason why self-education is so important is that you want to make sure the SEO company you hire has ethical link building tactics. To someone ignorant about the nature of SEO, the way a company goes about getting links might seem beneficial. But if Google has a problem with that company’s strategies, it could penalize your content, devastating your business. For those just getting started in SEO, digital strategist Marcus Miller has compiled a thorough list of basics starting steps, some of which we’ll outline here. Begin by reading Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Other additional, useful resources are Moz Beginners Guide to SEO, The Art of SEO, and Eric Ward’s Ultimate Guide to Link Building. Next you should register with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. Both will help you to improve your website in the long run.
Google My Business and Other DirectoriesIt is crucial that you list your company on Google My Business. Doing so is free, and the site has a domain authority of 100, which is extremely high. You want to have a credible online presence? Here is a prime opportunity to boost your likelihood of getting found, and it doesn’t cost you a thing. Keep in mind as well that if you don’t claim your business on this platform, you’re leaving an opportunity wide open for someone else to do so. If another person claims your business instead of you, at best that means users will find someone else’s information when they search your company. At worst, it means that this person could destroy your reputation. Be thorough, polished, and accurate when you fill in your information on Google My Business. In addition to claiming your spot on Google My Business, you should research local directories. Do what you can to get your site listed on them. Online databases fuel mobile search. If you are listed in databases and directories, when people search for you on their smartphones, they will be more likely to find you. Being listed in such directories means claiming your spot on major search engines, social media sites, yellow pages sites, business directories, and any community relevant to your industry.
Keyword ResearchA major aspect of SEO is keyword research. To do your own keyword research, put yourself in the position of your customers. If you needed to find a dentist in your area and were going to Google to search for one, what terms would you enter? What about if you had a specific problem? What phrases would you search in that case? Start by simply searching these keywords in Google, paying attention to the search suggestions Google offers as you do so. Don’t forget to brainstorm long-tail keywords, which can be highly valuable even though people search for them less often. Use these useful resources to find keyword phrases relevant to your business:
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ubersuggest Keyword Tool