Buying groceries, dating, researching anything and everything—there’s probably almost nothing you do that doesn’t involve the internet in some way. And that includes finding a healthcare provider. Just over 75% of the population goes to the internet for help finding a medical professional, and that includes searching for the right dentist.1 When patients in your target audience look for a dentist, are they finding you?
The chances of your office being one of the “chosen dental practices” at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) might feel like luck of the draw. It’s not. Search engine optimization (SEO) decides what and who gets seen first when a user conducts an internet search. SEO applies to every industry, product, and business, and SEO for dentists is just as important as for every other healthcare field.
What is SEO for Dentists?
The algorithm that governs what displays first on the SERP is quite complicated and must be approached purposefully. When a user starts a new search—and there are 3.8 million searches per minute2 on Google—the algorithm analyzes more than 200 metrics3 to determine which link will get the coveted top spot.
Competing in an increasingly difficult market requires identifying, designing, and following through on a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Still not convinced? Let’s look at the four most obvious reasons you should invest in dental SEO.
1. Increase Your Local Web Traffic
Almost every internet user begins their online experience with a search engine.4 Most prospective patients start looking for a dentist. Unfortunately, they start, not by going directly to your website as you’d hope, but by typing something like “good dentists near me” into Google. About 90% of people say they use search engines to find local businesses.5
Forty-six percent of Google searches have local intent.6 So when those potential patients start their hunt, a robust dental SEO strategy means your website is among the first to appear on the SERP. And that’s precisely what you want. Because three out of four users click on one of the top three search results!7
2: Attract New Patients
A sound SEO strategy increases your clicks and page visits. But what about conversion? SEO conversion rates far exceed their counterparts in traditional marketing. Leads generated by SEO tactics close 14.6% of the time.8 In contrast, outbound leads, like events or direct mail, only close 1.7% of the time.
The right SEO strategy means high-quality, user-friendly websites with excellent performance power. But solid SEO has one other side-effect: an increase in your website speed.
A website’s speed is a known ranking factor.9 Sounds fancy, but all this means is that speed is a metric Google analyzes when determining a site’s placement on the SERP. There are consumer-based benefits to high-speed websites as well. Studies show that when your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 40% of users click away without viewing your site.10
Setting up your SEO properly ensures your website is fast and reliable, so when people click through, they actually stay a while, eventually becoming patients.
3: Manage Your Reputation
In this age of online reviews, managing your reputation has never been more important. There are numerous forums, websites, and search engines where patients can post their opinions of your practice without consequence. Monitoring and managing these reviews is a vital element of a successful dental SEO strategy.
Around 72% of patients say they read online reviews as the first step to finding a new doctor, including a dentist.11 When they’re browsing online and trying to decide which dentist to use, 43% said they choose the one with the best reviews.12 Obviously, online reviews are hugely important in a patient’s decision-making process. But they’re just as important when considering SEO.
Online reviews are a known Google ranking factor. Factors like review quantity, quality, diversity, and more comprise 15% of Google’s ranking factors on local map results.13
Moderating your reviews has always been the cornerstone of managing your reputation effectively. But when you know the impact of your reviews on page rank, this factor becomes a total game-changer. Your online reputation improves your reputation and boosts your page rank on future searches.
4: Measure SEO Results
There’s no shortage of marketing tools available to promote your practice. Choosing the one best suited for your dental office should be a careful decision. Focus primarily on measuring the benefit: is the initial investment cost worth the new patients you get in return?
You’ll need data and experience, so calculating ROI may not be accurate immediately. And many marketing techniques are simply impossible to measure. But that’s not the case with SEO strategies.
Using a free tool like Google Analytics on your website will tell you exactly how many people visit your site per day, who they are, how they got there, how much time they spent on the site, if they clicked on anything, and if they left without converting. Google Analytics is a great tool to measure your SEO and other digital marketing efforts with a degree of confidence. With this information, you can deduce what pieces of your strategy are really worth the investment and what needs to be re-evaluated.
Best of all, Google Analytics is free. Just have your webmaster add a little bit of code to your existing website, and you’ll have more user data than you’ll know what to do with!
Think you’re ready to amp up your SEO game? Dreamscape Marketing can help. Call us today at 888.307.7304 to talk about how we can incorporate dental SEO into your marketing strategy.