Expert Dental SEO
The internet is essentially millions of web pages connected by links. A website can be compared to a house with each room being like a web page, connected by doors, hallways and stairs. Just as a home is part of a community, your dental website isdental seo marketing part of a community of local dental websites.
Links are like roads, connecting all web sites. A website that has better "location, road access, signage and street lights" will get more traffic.
The purpose of SEO is increase your website's visibility by making your website easier to find for anyone looking for your services.
Technical or "under the hood" SEO optimizes a website (paves the roads) so search engines, such as Google, can find your site easier.
Technical SEO includes improving page speed, fixing broken links, ensuring proper meta data, keyword research (different than you might think) and many other easy, but tedious tasks.
Non technical SEO includes inbound link building, social media profiles and relevant content. A blog is an essential component for a dental web site so that you can routinely add new location specific content. Location specfic content is key for a local business web site.
Traditional SEO vs. Local SEO
Local SEO is for local businesses such as dental practices. It is vital to understand Google's algorithms for traditional SEO are quite different than their algorithms for Local SEO.
In the early days of Google if you were looking for a dentist in Tampa, FL you would need to do a search for "Tampa Dentist". Not anymore. Now Google understands your search intent. All you do now is search "dentist" and you get local results including maps, etc.
Do a a search for pizza from work and then again from home. The results will be different. Google assumes your intent is to order a pizza close to where you are. Ditto when a potential new patient is searching for a dentist.
There are specific Local SEO guidelines for the type of content, meta data and inbound linkks you need for a local business such as a dental practice. The type of content, meta data and inbound linkks you need are different than for traditional SEO.
Key Take Away
SEO for a local business is not the same as traditional SEO. The type of content, page names and even inbound links you need are very different than for tractional SEO.
Title Tags, Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
Optimizing Title Tags, Page Titles and Meta Descriptions can give your site a nice boost in rankings and traffic. It's easy, but tedious and time consuming. Your webmaster or developer should be able to provide you with a user friendly portal to do edits. Consider assigning this task to a trusted employee or a sharp high school or college student.
Title tags let Google know what a web site page is about. For a local business Google also wants to know where you are located. Title tags are displayed in searches and at the top of your browser window. Here's Cambridge Dental Consultants title tag both in search results and the browser window:
a. Rotate the following five keywords in all Title Tags:
Dentist Near Me
If there's another broad keyword you want to use, go for it.
b. Include your location and what the specific page is about. Examples:
Dentist | Services | Largo FL
Dentist Near Me | Reviews | Largo FL
Best Dentist | Meet Our Staff | Largo FL
Family Dentist | Dental Implants | Largo FL
Family Dentistry | Contact Us | Largo FL
c. The title tag for the Home Page can be even simpler such as:
Dentist | Largo FL
Dentist Near Me | Largo FL
Best Dentist | Largo FL
Family Dentist| Largo FL
Family Dentistry | Largo FL
The Page Title is the "headline" for a page on your site. Title Pages are a key ranking signal. Keep them simple and make sure the Title Page is the only item on the page formatted or tagged as "H1" which tells Google that's the page's "headline". Your portal will have an easy way to format your Title Page as "H1". It's no harder than changing the size of a font. You can see how easy it is to format the title as "H1" from this screen shot of my editing an article on my website. As mentioned, most sites have a similar, user friendly portal to perform these edits.
Here's what it looks like "live":
The Title Page can be basically the same as the Title Tag except use a different keyword. Example:
Dentist | Contact Us | Largo FL
Family Dentistry | Contact Us | Largo FL
For your Home Page Title I like:
"Family Dentist" as it covers two keywords: "Dentist" and "Family Dentist".
"Family Dentist Near Me" gives you three keywords for your Home Page Title but, is a bit long when you add location:
"Family Dentist Near Me | Largo, FL
The problem with a long Page Title is on mobile it can get chopped off. No harm in trying, but check your site on mobile to ensure the Title fits on a mobile screen. If it's too long, it's easy to shorten.
Meta Descriptions do not directly effect search engine ranking however a well written Meta Description can increase Click Through Rate (CTR) as Meta descriptions show with the search result. CTR does effect SEO so indirectly Meta Descriptions effect SEO.
Meta Descriptions should be 50–160 characters long. The Meta Description tag serves the function of advertising copy. It draws readers to a website and thus is a very visible and important part of search marketing. Crafting a readable, compelling description using important keywords can improve the click-through rate for a given webpage.
To maximize click-through rates on search engine result pages, it's important to note that Google and other search engines bold keywords in the description when they match search queries. This bold text can draw the eyes of searchers, so you should match your descriptions to search terms as closely as possible.
Always include your location.
Meta Descriptions should be written by someone with some marketing chops. Ideally the Meta Description reads like a well written Google Ad Word. More from Google here: Write successful text ads
From Moz.com: "A backlink is a link created when one website links to another. Backlinks are also called "inbound links" or "incoming links." Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a "vote of confidence" from one site to another."
Are all backlinks created equal?
Local SEO experts weight in:
What is the biggest problem or misconception about the value of links to local SEO?
"That we still talk about "links" at all. Local businesses should be much more concerned with building quality relationships and mentions of their brand as opposed to links themselves. Google has gotten incredibly good at identifying semantic relationships between entities. IMO they no longer need the "a href" to make that logical connection." - David Mihm, ThriveHive
"Links don't appear to impact the map pack results nearly as much as they impact organic rankings."
- Joy Hawkins, Sterling Sky
What are the most valuable link sources for boosting search rankings for local businesses?
"High domain authority (DA) sites are also less important compared to last year. While many local business clients may be impressed with a backlink on a high DA site, ultimately, it’s better to focus on the local or industry-specific sites that potential customers use. Instead of thinking, "We need links" think about how to build a better local brand. Have you identified who your target customers are and what their interests are? There's a myriad of ways to get involved with the local community that align with the interests of your potential customers. Build a better, local brand." - Blake Denman RicketyRoo
"A business should be genuinely concerned about and involved in their local community. Beyond a typical sponsorship, a business may be able to utilize its skill set and resources to help local non-profits with specific needs they have. It should also be a priority for the business to be a true expert in their industry. Their website can help convey this by providing quality answers to questions potential customers are out there searching for. - Tom Waddington Wachae
"The mindset to have when doing local link building is the "get by giving away" approach where there's never any clues or hints about your hidden agenda. Give to the community and neighboring businesses with authenticity and you almost never need to even ask for the link." Steve Wiideman, Wiideman Consulting Group
If a local business asked you how many links they should aim to get each month, what would you say?
"Firstly, it's not about volume, it's about quality, particularly for local businesses. Secondly, it completely varies by category. In a non-competitive space like a long-tail machine parts manufacturer, a couple of quality links a year could make a meaningful difference to their business. In a hyper-competitive space like personal injury law, those firms should probably be aiming for a half-dozen to a dozen high-quality links per month." - David Mihm, ThriveHive
"It varies greatly based on the industry. We have some clients that only really get a handful of [good] links a year and do really well with that. Others are stacked up against competitors that have hundreds of linking domains." - Joy Hawkins, Sterling Sky
"Don't get too caught up in numbers. 50 directory links might not be as powerful as one sponsorship link. It's really about quality over quantity with link building. Aim for links that your competitors will have a hard time getting on highly authoritative pages." - Casey Meraz, JurisDigital
"Focus on the question, "Will getting more links build the quality traffic to my site?" - Ben Fisher, Steady Demand
How valuable are the following strategies when building new backlinks to local business sites?
Building relationships with local businesses and influencers (#4 last year)
Creating research-based content (#5)
Sponsoring local charities and organizations (#1)
Creating resources with a local focus (#3)
Hosting community events (#6)
Where do I get local backlinks?
1. Sponsorship of local community events
2. Sponsorship of local local teams
3. Local bloggers who you can contribute content to or who may want to write about you.
4. Local clubs or organizations you and your employees belong to i.e. church groups, exercise classes, car clubs. If you or one of your staff are in a leadership position all the netter. Find out if you can contribute content or if they have a business listing page.
5. Neighborhood watch sites sometimes have a website or blog. Find out if you can contribute content or get listed in some manner.
6. Local vendors.
Websites usually a contact person or webmaster listed. Unless you are sponsoring an event, reach out to the contract person to see if you can contribute content or they may simply have a section where you can list your business information.
Should I get backlinks from national or non local directories?
Yes as long as the backlinks are in directories Google would expect you to be listed in such as for the ADA, AGD, state and local dental associations, etc.
What is the bottom line on backlinks for a local business?
The bottom line is only obtain backlinks from sites where visitors to that site are potential patients.
Name, Address and Phone (NAP)
NAP should be be on every page of your website and marked-up with a code called "schema". Schema mark-ups improve the way Google and other search engines read and represent your page in search results. .There are specific types of schema markups for local businesses. You can find more information at schema.org/LocalBusiness or ask your webmaster or website developer.
Content needs to be localized. This does not mean simply adding your location name into your content every few sentences. Add in mentions of local landmarks or local events or local groups in a natural and conversational way. Ditto for keywords such as “dentist”, “family dentist”, “family dentistry”, “best dentist” and specific keywords such as “implant” if the page is specifically on implants however do not “keyword stuff”. Mentioning your town in a natural, conversational way is what you want to strive for as Google can tell if your content is canned or not.
Pro Tip: Read out loud each page of your web site and edit until it sounds natural and conversational. Doing this will uncover awkward, unnatural phrasing.
What makes your practice stand out? Why your patients never consider going to another dentist?
Communicate that in your content!
As you update your pages, always think about what makes your practice stand out as many people will compare different dentists that come up on a search. Whatever you don’t write corny fluffy content like, “We treat patients like family* or “We have the best customer service”.