These days, reaching potential patients isn't as easy as listing with the Yellow Pages and creating print, radio, and TV ads. You really have to be online. But thanks to internet and mobile communications, dentists that want to bring in new clientele have additional opportunities to reach prospective patients via dental websites, online marketing for dentists, and dental SEO.
Unfortunately, there is something of a learning curve associated with these expanded forms of communication, and if you use them incorrectly (or not at all), your competitors are sure to outstrip you in short order. Although you can, of course, hire professionals to do the job for you, it's important to have at least a modicum of understanding so that you can choose the right people and make sure your efforts have an impact.
Here are some of the common issues you might face when it comes to SEO for dentists, and how you can solve them in order to make the most of your efforts.
Low quality content
Like most people, you probably don't have a good understanding of the algorithms Google and other search engines use to decide which websites get top placement (or page rank) for specific searches. Don't feel bad - Google takes great pains to hide their trade secrets.
What is widely known is that the latest iteration of their algorithm (Google Penguin) targets sites for quality of content. Those with high quality and appropriate SEO (keywords, tags, titles, links, etc.) are promoted while those practicing shady optimization strategies (black hat, gray hat, and so on) are demoted or outright delisted.
So make sure that your dental website, blog, and social media profiles are in tune with Google's insistence on quality content and you'll have a much better chance for success when it comes to your SEO efforts.
Paying attention to trending keywords is an essential part of any ongoing dental SEO strategy. Maintaining and improving your domain authority depends on it. But you also need to use keywords appropriately so as not to raise the ire of search engines.
Suppose Justin Bieber is trending. You can probably find ways to use his name in concert with your content, perhaps penning a blog about celebrity dental care. What you don't want to do is use his name twenty times in content that's not at all related, just so you can get the impact of the keyword. This will get you into trouble with both search engines and the people who mistakenly find you while looking for something unrelated.
Lack of relevant keywords
Just as bad as keyword stuffing is failing to use adequate, timely, and appropriate keywords. Not all trending keywords are going to relate to your content. Butyou need to find ways to use at least some so that you can gain the benefits of association.
Whatever people happen to be looking for, you need to try to find ways to fit it into your content if you want to take advantage of current trends. There is a science to being found amidst the cacophony of dentist websites that are vying for consumer attention. And using keywords properly is an essential part of any dental SEO strategy.
Even two or three years ago you could have gotten away with linking schemes, but these days you must take pains to avoid the appearance of buying links. This isn't to say that you should avoid link-building. In fact, it is still one of the best ways to ensure that the average dentist website is made more visible.
What you don't want to do is cultivate inbound links from sites that have a low domain authority or that are shady in some way. You need to work on creating an ever-growing catalog of links that come from quality websites and blogs that are related to your industry in one way or another. And if you pay for links, try to make it look like you didn't.
Believe it or not, the navigation, sitemap, and URLs you utilize in your dental website design are not only intended to help the people who visit your online portal. You also need to think about how they're going to be viewed by web crawlers.
Getting found and indexed by bots is a multi-faceted undertaking, and it starts with making sure that your website provides access to appropriate information. If you don't have the right navigation and other code in place, web crawlers could end up crawling right past you without gathering the necessary data to ensure you get the recognition required for indexing.
Lack of cross-promotion
When it comes to dental SEO, and SEO for Doctors in all specialties, it's almost impossible to succeed without proper cross-promotion between platforms. And we're not talking about striking up deals for ad campaigns with affiliated businesses.
You practically can't get by without having some social media influence. At the very least, it's a good way to reach a new and growing audience. But you also need to get on board with social media outlets if you want to promote your website and blog to the best of your ability. It will increase your outreach and your opportunities for SEO.
No on-site blog
It's hard to believe that there are still business owners that fail to see the benefits inherent to an on-site blog. And yet, there are tons of websites for dentists that lack this key component. From a customer relations standpoint, a blog provides the opportunity to connect with patients on a personal level and engage their interest in your practice. And it definitely adds value for current clientele.
But it also significantly increases your ability to practice ongoing SEO thanks to the constant introduction of new content. If you're puzzling over how to more adeptly incorporate trending keywords and increase traffic and inbound links, an on-site blog is almost assuredly the best option.
Lack of organic growth
SEO and online marketing for healthcare professionals is a complex process of trial and error. And while you have many avenues of aid (SEO professionals, online tutorials, analytics software, etc.), the constant advances in SEO practices can make it difficult for the average dentist to keep up with what's current.
Lately, the name of the game in SEO is organic growth, or at least the appearance of it. If you want the best shot of getting found, recognized, and promoted by search engines, building a network of links that seem to spring up organically is one of the best strategies. And with forethought, perseverance, and proper SEO techniques, you can grow such a virtual garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Which of these strategies are you using to grow your practice?