SEO For Dentists and Orthodontists
What is SEO For Dentists and Orthodontists?
Even the best website, with the best, most functional design is useless if no one can find it through search engines like Google. In the early days of the internet, the only way to access a website was to know the exact address. Now, search engines have made it possible to quickly and easily find a whole list of relevant websites—which means fewer and fewer people use the phonebook when it comes to looking for a dentist in their area.
Instead of flipping through an alphabetical list, they use a computer and a search engine to look for dentists in the area. The rank of each page in the search results is greatly affected by the page’s content and keyword usage. Ensuring that your page has the best content, with the most relevant keywords, is called search engine optimization, or SEO.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a process by which your website is groomed and prepared to achieve a higher rank in search results. Because Google is the most popular search engine, many people focus on Google as the crawler to optimize for. Luckily, the tactics that make a webpage more visible on Google also work to make it more visible on other search engines, like Yahoo! and Bing.
SEO has a number of factors, but the most basic way of boosting search ratings is through valuable, keyword-rich content. Not only should every page on your website have some sort of content, it should be extremely valuable to the readers, meaning that it offers relevant information that visitors would actually want to read and expect to read on a dentist’s website. In the past, it was possible to stuff webpages with high-ranking irrelevant keywords in order to draw traffic to a site, but Google’s new algorithm parses all of the language of the website, to ensure that it is actually related to the website’s main purpose.
Organically rising through the ranks of the search results takes some time. Even if the website is already established, brand new SEO content has to be parsed and indexed by Google before it can begin to take hold. Once it does, however, it is much more effective than any quick-fix or black hat technique. In this day and age of extremely complex search algorithms, it is important to ensure that all content and keywords are properly used, as any improper usage can actually cause Google to lower your website’s ranking, instead of boosting it.
Some keywords are easy to find, and can even be pulled directly from Google’s “suggested search” drop-down menu. As you type a search phrase into Google, it suggests relevant searches based on what you have already typed. These are commonly used search phrases, and may be a good source of finding dentist-related searches that can be used as keywords. The best way to find relevant keywords, however, is to work with an SEO firm, who has software and experience in keyword research and can help you find the best keywords that will bring the most relevant traffic to your page. Because most dentist offices are small, local businesses, regionally-specific keywords will be especially important.
How Does SEO Differ from Online Marketing?
While both are important and are related, SEO is not necessarily a kind of online marketing. Like marketing, it strives to increase your page’s visibility, but unlike marketing, it works directly with search engines, instead of reaching out to specific customers. Both SEO and online marketing are important investments for a dentist office, though some firms may only specialize in one or the other.
Importance of Search Engine Optimization for Dentists
Why bother trying to climb the rankings of the search results? Because more and more people turn to search engines when looking for local businesses. This is especially true of dentist offices. Instead of looking in the local phonebook or asking their friends and neighbors, most people will get online and run a search for dentists’ offices in their area. If your office is not on that list, you will begin to see a serious lack of new patients.
If you are at the top, or near the top, of that list, all those people in your area can find your office, whereas otherwise, they would not have been able to. It is a well-known fact that consumers rarely stray onto the second page of search results, so it is vitally important that you appear on the first page.
Importance of SEO for Orthodontists
Though many of an orthodontist’s new patients may come from dentist referrals, many will still search for orthodontists in the area online. Even if a patient is given a referral from their dentist, they may prefer to do their own research. This means that it is just as important for an orthodontist to appear in the search results as it is for a dentist to appear, especially because many people are now seeking out orthodontic treatment without consulting a dentist beforehand. SEO for orthodontists can help potential patients find your website, through content that explains your treatments and encourages these people to contact your office. Finding the right keywords and creating content are two jobs that an SEO firm can help you with, in order to ensure that the best keywords are being used in the most optimal arrangements.
How to Implement SEO for a Dentist or Orthodontist Office Website
While SEO can be undertaken alone, with the creation of relevant content, with plenty of keywords, it will be much more effective, much more quickly, if it is undertaken by a professional, who knows how to find the right keywords and research and write content that visitors will both want to read and will find valuable. While the company that builds and hosts your website may offer basic SEO services, there are many firms that offer SEO specifically for dentistry websites, who know how to find and direct regional traffic to your website, and how to create content that will convert site visitors into new patients.