If you have an existing website that is not showing up on the first page of a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search, you will want to review this quick search engine optimization (SEO) guide to why people aren’t finding your dental website online.
Search engines crawl thousands (millions) of websites to find and rank them based on a number of factors.
If you haven’t reviewed your keywords, your metadata, the actual content on your web pages, and high-quality backlinks that point to your website to get you ranked with search engines recently, now is the time.
But there is even more to it. Below are a few factors that affect search engine rankings:
- what visitors do when they find your website
- design of your website
- domain age
- geographic location
- target market
- people linking to your site
- number of times your business information is listed online, and where it is listed
- how well the search engines understand what your site is about, where you do it, and who your customers are
It’s a complicated and technical task to optimize a website to gain the first few positions on search engines, especially in competitive markets.
In this post, I’ll give you tips on how to adjust your website for better search results. However, be aware that these changes will not advance your ranking overnight.
It can take months for you to see your website move up in ranking on search engines, so if you have a more aggressive online marketing plan for your dental practice, consider implementing a professionally-managed SEO strategy.
1. Understand SEO Keywords
The first reason why your website may not be showing up on the first page in search engine results is because it has not been set up properly to be found and indexed by search engines.
Be sure you have included applicable keywords such as:
- dentist (+ your location)
- dental care (+ your location)
- dentists (+ your location)
- family dentist (+ your location)
- pediatric dentist (+ your location)
- cosmetic dentist (+ your location)
- dental crowns (+ your location)
- dental implants (+ your location)
- dental veneers (+ your location)
- preventative dentistry (+ your location)
- restorative dentistry (+ your location)
- cosmetic dentistry (+ your location)
The keywords that are most applicable to your practice, as well as your location, should be sprinkled throughout your web content, and used in the page titles and meta tags for each page of your website.
However, you will want to use keywords for each page that correlate to the content of the page.
You'll want to make sure that you have a individual service page for each one of the services that you would like to show up for.
2. Check and Update Your Meta Tags
The next step in ensuring your website is optimized for search engines is to check the meta tags for each page.
Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page's content. They don't appear on the page itself, rather in the page’s HTML code.
Have you set up your meta page titles and meta page descriptions using the top searched keywords that are most applicable to your dental practice?
Meta titles, descriptions, and keywords are crucial to your search engine results, so be sure that the back end of your website, which is what search engines crawl and see, are set up properly.
The front of the website is what internet users see:
The backend of the website is what search engines see:
The page title in this example is “Best Cosmetic Dentist in Houston Dr. Guy Lewis.” Note he uses the keywords ‘best cosmetic dentist’ and his location in the page title.
The meta page description is “Widely recognized as a Best Cosmetic Dentist in Houston, Dr. Guy Lewis and his team are known for providing high-quality…”
Again, he uses the keywords ‘best cosmetic dentist in Houston.’ This helps search engines give more weight to these keywords because it is in both the page title and the page description.
Those same keywords also need to appear in the page text for search engines to give the website more credibility and a better rank.
To follow SEO marketing practices for dentists, be sure to include your targeted keywords in:
- page titles
- page URLs
- page text
- image alt text (the image file name)
- anchor text (hyperlinks to other credible dental website resources such as the ADA)
3. Register or Resubmit Your Website with the Major Search Engines
Once your website is optimized using keywords and meta tags, you should submit it to the major search engines even if you have submitted it in the past.
This lets the search engines know about updates to your site and allows them to crawl and rank it again.
To do this on Google, sign into your Google account or go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url
Since 2010, Yahoo search has been powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine. When you submit your website to Bing, you wi
ll also show up in Yahoo's search results.
Bing allows you to submit your URL, just like Google, but it’s a little more complicated. You will first need to have a Bing login, then go to Bing's Webmaster Tools page.
Once logged in, simply type in the URL of your homepage and press "submit." You will also want to have the URL for the .xml version
of your sitemap readily available, as it will ask for this in the first step of submitting your domain.
After submitting, you will have to verify ownership of the domain. This can be a little tricky if you are not savvy with HTML, as you will need to add a small snippet of code to the header of your site to pass this verification process.
Once this is verified, you have successfully submitted your website to Bing.
4. Set up a Google My Business Profile for Local Searches
Without a Google My Business profile, your dental practice won’t appear in Google’s local search results that appear above the organic listings.
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to set up your free business listing on Google My Business to start building visibility in Google Maps and Google Search in your local community.
Include this information for your practice:
- Office hours
- Address and phone number
- Photos of your dental practice (outside and inside)
- Photos of yourself, other dentists, and staff
- Description of your practice and specialties
Google uses this information to return results for location-based services. If someone searches for “dentists near me” or “dentist in ______ (your city)” and your profile doesn’t include an address, it won’t appear in the local results.
You should also check how your name, address, and phone number (NAP) appears across the web. Is it consistent on Yelp!, local yellow page directories, and other places?
Be sure to keep your business listings consistent because Google uses this information to determine the legitimacy of your business. If your business appears as “Dr. Lewis DDS” one place and “Texas Center for Cosmetic Dentistry” in another, Google will give your business less authority and reduce its rank in the search results.
And that brings us to the next topic in my quick guide for SEO…
5. Build Authority for Your Website
Another way to increase your ranking in the search engines is get links to your website. This is called link building.
This could include websites that have information about dental hygiene and dental procedures that your practice performs, such as placing implants, crowns, and bridges.
Authoritative sites that you could link to for more information about dental topics are:
- American Dental Association
- Oral B
- Your Dentistry Guide
When it comes to a link building strategy, building offline relationships plays an important part.
For example, if you are a specialist and have patient referrals from other local dentists, ask them if they can add a link from their website to yours.
Be sure to nurture those relationships that help your practice gain new patients, and offer a link to their site for routine dental check-ups.
Join your local chamber of commerce and ask if they can link to your website. This helps show search engines that your website is relevant in your geographic area.
Find other local businesses in your city that could link to your site. This is very helpful for SEO since dental marketing is hyper-local.
6. Consistently Add Content to Your Website or Blog
If your website is set up using targeted keywords for your dental practice and your metadata is optimized, another way to boost your search engine rankings is by adding more content.
Content is king when it comes to search results, and search engines reward businesses that publish quality, consistent content.
This can be done by beefing up the content to your existing web pages, by adding more pages to your website, or by creating new content consistently such as a weekly or bi-weekly blog post.
By publishing content on a consistent basis, you have the opportunity to use your targeted keywords more frequently, and this adds relevancy and authority to your website to improve your search engine results.
Maintaining a blog and consistently publishing content is also part of a content marketing strategy.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
“…a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
The key points are that the content is relevant and valuable to your audience. That means you give your patients and potential patients information about dental care or dental hygiene for their benefit.
That does not mean you go on and on about the latest technology that your dental practice has or how great your team is. Remember, the focus of your content needs to be about serving and educating your patients and potential patients.
7. Share Your Blog Content to Your Social Media Accounts
I’ve covered how content marketing helps improve your search engine results, but to take that one step further, be sure to share all of your blog posts to your s??????ocial m??????edia accounts.
Not only does this help enhance your SEO rankings, but it also increases your social presence and the pool potential of patients.
To provide useful and shareable content, consider offering FAQS and how-to’s that deliver valuable information to your patients.
To help you get started, here are a few ideas for blog posts:
- 3 Quick Tips for Improving Your Dental Routine
- 5 Signs That Mean You Need to See Your Dentist
- 10 Ways to Improve Your Smile
- A Quick Guide to Teeth Whitening
- What’s the Difference Between Bonding and Veneers?
- Why You Should See Your Dentist Twice a Year
- How Smoking Affects Your Smile
If you have yet to start a blog, or haven’t been posting regularly or consistently, be sure to add this activity to your dental marketing strategy and see what results it brings.
8. Use Data From Pay Per Click Advertising
Sometimes it’s not enough to tweak and optimize your website and make it to the top of the Google search because competition for the same keywords can be fierce.
Implementing p??a??y-per-click campaigns on Google is a way to get top search engine results fast.
Plus, you can use the PPC data that you obtain, including the keywords that are converting, and implement that within your SEO campaign?.
However, you will need to monitor your campaign targets and ROI very closely and regularly to ensure you are reaching the right audience and getting a reasonable cost per new patient rate.
You may find this is a good way to cover yourself until your organic SEO results improve through the other techniques of blogging, social sharing, and link-building.
It's often thought that SEO is best to focus on or perhaps PPC is best to focus on. You'll want to check out this article about how to get the most out of your PPC efforts.
SEO plays a vital part as to why people aren’t finding your dental website in search engine results.
If you’re focusing on a small group of generic keywords that every other dentist in your area is using, you’re probably not being found by many people who are searching.
Consistency is important when it comes to SEO. Develop a content marketing plan around your targeted keywords and build your social profiles to improve your SEO. Then stick with it.
With consistency and commitment, you can get the search engine results you want.
If you have further questions on SEO, take our free SEO audit. This audit helps you understand where you can improve SEO for your dental business.