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Name a doctor who went to dental school and opened a practice because they wanted to become a salesman or SEO expert.
Drawing a blank?
Dentists don’t go to dental school to learn how to sell. They don’t go to dental school to learn how to optimize websites. Dentists learn how to take care of teeth, and then they graduate, finding themselves in the business world competing with other dentists where they have to market and sell their services in order to acquire new patients.
What happens next? An untrained professional might storm the streets with flyers, posters, billboards, and other broad, expensive methods of traditional marketing. These methods can be successful and generate a lot of business when handled by a qualified pro, but in the hands of an inexperienced layperson, they’re nothing more than quick and easy ways to throw money out the window.
Instead, the savvy dentist in 2023 employs internet marketing tactics like SEO to build their practice. Just like traditional methods, some online marketing (Pay per Click, display advertising, etc.) can cost tons of money while producing meager results.
However, there’s a great equalizer on the internet. It’s called the search engine– Google, Bing, Yahoo, you name it. When someone needs help, they run to their favorite search engine to look for a product or service that solves their problem.
It doesn’t cost them anything to search, and it doesn’t cost you anything to add your website to the pool of results they might see. Utilizing search engines like Google is a cost-free way to put your business in front of hundreds (or possibly even thousands) of potential new patients you never even knew were out there.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It means exactly what it sounds like– optimizing your site for a search engine! But how does that work? What do you do to “optimize” your dental clinic for a search engine?
Simply put, you want your website to be the best version of itself it can be. If you run a dental practice, then your website isn’t just a poster for your business. It’s a resource that helps new patients find high-quality care and get the dental services they desperately need. Or, at least, that’s the ideal experience, right? In a nutshell, SEO gets results for your dental firm by leveraging topical authority strategies to address common questions related to keywords and topics relevant to dentistry, which helps Google see you as a trusted expert in your niche.
A search engine is a business just like any other. Any good business exists to offer its customers the best service they possibly can (and make money, of course). A search engine is in the business of connecting customers with their desired information, whether that’s simply an informative article or direct communication with someone who offers a product or service.
There are tons of topics that your potential customers might be searching for, but for a dentist, SEO is about finding the topics searched by people most likely to call or walk into their office. To do this successfully, you have to identify your “buyer keywords.” In other words, you need to identify the exact search terms a highly-qualified potential customer might type into a search engine when they’re most likely to pay you for your dental services.
These are the search terms prospective patients are using to try to find help. They’re begging to give a business their money, and SEO puts your business right in front of these potential customers. Why shouldn’t they give it to you?
SEO is about positioning your website in front of the most relevant and purchase-ready customers. But all the search optimization power on the planet won’t make you money if you don’t convert that search traffic into paying clients. You might attract leads to your interesting blog post, but if you aren’t implementing clear and effective SEO practices in order to capture their email address or phone number, you might as well stay home and not bother practicing dentistry.
Dental clinics might be small local businesses, but that doesn’t mean that they have to exist in a small local bubble. Just like a great doctor or lawyer, a great dentist has patients who come to visit no matter how far away they live. It might seem obvious that you need to use Local SEO to market your practice around your community, but don’t be fooled into thinking that a broader marketing strategy can’t work for you.
If your business appears in local search results, there’s no reason it can’t appear nationally as well. Digital marketing strategies can grow your business in for audiences that you might not otherwise expect to capture. After all, you’re a doctor. Just because someone doesn’t live near your office doesn’t mean that you aren’t the best person to help them heal. SEO provides the potential to drive more people to your dental clinic.
How Does SEO Help Dentists?
SEO services are helpful for each and every business on your block. For dentists and other medical professionals, though, a strong dental marketing strategy can be the difference between a casual practice that runs three days a week and a bolstering one that can’t schedule new patients sooner than next month.
A thoughtful and well-managed dental SEO campaign builds your business in powerful ways. Even the visitors who don’t turn into clients are helping, as every little bit of traffic to your site helps to build your credibility and relevancy for search engines. But the visitors who do turn into new patients are the ones you want to find. Let’s talk about who those customers are and what they’re looking for.
When someone’s out there seeking help with dental pain, they’re not interested in doing research. People don’t want to compare and contrast dentists. They want a dental expert who can make the pain stop, and they want it now.
You might operate a robust, high-tech, 21st-century dental firm, but if your website doesn’t follow SEO best practices and offer a fast and simple user experience to new patients, then your fancy practice won’t help as many people as it can, and you won’t earn as much money as other dentists who outrank you.
To attract as many new patients as possible, strong dental SEO efforts are about positioning your brand at the very top of the search results. Appearing first means getting clicked first, and your customers are clicking on the first thing they see. Your patients want help, and they want it fast. Being the first dentist they find is a surefire way to bring more of them in the door.
It’s true that a great dental clinic has patients from all over. Many dentists have clients who travel long distances just to see them for their expert care. But an effective dental marketing plan that utilizes SEO should be focused in and around your local community.
Every patient is valuable, and every patient needs quality dental care. That’s why every community needs a reliable dentist. In order to reach your neighbors, target your dental marketing right at them! SEO for dentists isn’t just about finding new patients in need, it’s also about finding people who live in your area who don’t have to go far to hand you their money.
Make sure your dental website appeals to all kinds of visitors, but make sure that it caters to your local community first. It should be easy for any organic traffic to learn exactly where your business is located. If it is, it means that your website is SEO optimized, and search engines can also see where you live and work. That is how they decide that your clinic is the right one to show new customers.
If your mind is racing with ideas for keywords, blog posts, and interesting attention-grabbers, you probably can’t wait to put the pedal to the metal and start implementing basic SEO techniques.
The problem is, SEO involves a lot more than just adding cool content to your site.
Think about the time that you spend on the internet yourself. Aren’t you online right now as you read these very words? Most likely, you’re not reading these words because you wanted to read classic literature by the fireside. You’re reading them because you want to learn about dental SEO.
You can be sure that your patients aren’t online searching for the latest industry gossip about dentin. If they’re coming across your business at all, it’s because they want to find a dentist, they want to find one now, and they want to find one near their home who they can trust. It’s important that you have an informative and relevant blog on your site, but its purpose is to convert organic traffic into paying customers. This is the power that SEO can provide.
SEO is a key component of any effective marketing strategy. A good SEO campaign (even without the help of an SEO company) makes an enormous difference in the size and earning potential of your dental business.
More than anything else, SEO is an attractive way to enhance your marketing because it is so inexpensive. Think about what SEO really is. SEO simply means making your website the most relevant version of itself that it can be. You don’t need a $10,000/month webmaster or a marketing guru with 30 years in the biz to add some words to your website, add a map with directions to your dental office, or add a contact form for new leads to send you a message.
When done right, a dental marketing and SEO campaign feels like making something out of nothing. You can spend very little (nothing at all, if you’re smart!) and create surprising new revenue by drawing in those potential clients who are already out there looking for your help.
Remember what we asked a little while ago? You couldn’t name a single dentist who went to dental school to become a salesperson or SEO expert. And it’s a good bet that the same dentist is just as turned off by the idea of spending his workday being a marketer.
SEO is an ongoing (practically everlasting) way of creating organic traffic to your website from Google, and thus, sending paying customers to your business. SEO for dentists means spending less time worrying about building your business and more time being a top-notch dentist who has more patients than he even has time to treat. The right SEO strategy gives you the freedom to focus on the dental work you want to do rather than focusing on finding work to do in the first place.
We can toss around numbers all day, but if you’re running a practice of your own, then you know the value of new patients walking in the door. With SEO, dental offices can see growth so fast it can be hard to keep up with.
SEO isn’t an overnight game-changer, however. Be cautious of SEO services who promise instant results, immediate rankings, and “the top spot on Google, guaranteed!” SEO is what we call “the long game.” It takes weeks, and eventually months, of diligent effort, meticulous testing, and careful execution to plot a truly successful SEO strategy.
Just because SEO is a longer and slower road to success doesn’t mean it can’t show powerful results in a short time. There are things you can do to bolster your SEO efforts to help your business today. As you’ll read below, some of these tricks are so easy you can even pull them off yourself without having to pay someone “more qualified” to do it for you.
SEO is a combination effort that involves all different manners of reaching your potential new patients. After all, the act of optimizing websites means making it the best it can be. Sometimes, the best thing for a new customer is an informative blog. Other times, it’s a clear and easy way to find your phone number. And other times, still, it’s a simple reminder in their email that they haven’t seen the dentist in a while.
Your SEO strategy will involve different methods of marketing at different levels. There’s no escaping it; you will simply have to learn a little bit about topics like lead generation, direct marketing, and even digital advertising. Don’t worry, that last one is for later. For now, focus on learning the principles of a strong dental marketing campaign, and build an SEO and social media presence that follow those principles.
You can achieve quick success in SEO, but that quickness is relative. Dental SEO takes time and effort to get right.
The right SEO campaign is built for long-term projections. If you’re looking for quicker results, there are definitely strategies you can employ to boost your business today. Let’s talk about some of those components and how you can improve your practice starting right now.
Google is looking to match your new patients with the most relevant dentist for their search. But how can you give Google what they’re looking for? How does Google know that you are the dentist that people in your community need?
As you’ve learned by now, your business’s local presence online is one of the most important parts of a strong dental marketing and SEO strategy. SEO is deeper than just results, content and websites; great local SEO involves building your presence on other platforms like social media, directories, and other services. Search engines aren’t the only name in the game. Google might make the rules, but they aren’t the only kid on the playground.
New patients are out there looking for dentists on Yelp, Angie’s List, and even the Yellow Pages. Remember those? Even the best SEO company in the world can’t build your business if you don’t maintain a current profile across each and every platform to help your prospective clients find you right in their own locale.
Most of your competitors – especially the local ones – aren’t properly SEO optimizing and maintaining their websites. They might be pumping money into expensive ad campaigns and throwing every resource at winning the market, but it’s common to see even the most sophisticated marketers neglecting simple things like maintenance and functionality.
There are more components to an effective SEO campaign than we can possibly name in a single day, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t quick and easy fixes you can apply right now to improve your SEO process. Even without the help of an educated webmaster, you should be able to learn and implement basic elements to improve your website. After all, if you passed dental school, you’re surely smart enough to learn your way around a computer and a WordPress website.
OK, so we did say earlier that SEO helps you free up your time from marketing. SEO is supposed to make your life easier and let you be a dentist. Let Google send you new customers while you fix teeth, right?
All of that’s true. But here’s another truth you might not want to hear: running a dental practice means running a business. If you’re a dentist, and you run your own practice, you’re a business owner and part of your job is building your business, finding new customers, and increasing your revenue. SEO makes this a lot easier, and a strong dental marketing campaign can’t exist without a thoughtful SEO strategy.
Take a little bit of time every day to keep up with your SEO efforts. Yes, a properly-tuned website that employs the right SEO strategies will generate new clients passively, and you won’t have to toy with it very much. But that’s only after it’s properly tuned. Getting there is the hard part.
Your daily efforts might not be any more than reading industry news or SEO forums. All it takes is five to ten minutes of your day to stay educated and aware of what’s hot (and what’s not) in SEO. The more you learn, you’ll quickly find out that Google and other search engines like to change the rules all the time. If you think you can pick up a book and read everything there is to know about SEO… well, think again. It’ll be a different business in a mere 18 months, and you’ll be right back where you started wondering why your dental SEO strategy is faltering.