Search Engine Optimization (SEO) serves to improve the visibility of one’s website in certain search queries. Targeted website improvement can help patients find your website more easily. But how does it work? Google uses over 200 factors to rank websites. In this article, we will show you what is important and which factors are decisive for you.
Why is SEO important for dentists?
SEO encompasses all measures that serve to improve a website’s ranking in the organic search results of search engines such as Google. But why is your website’s ranking important? The higher your website ranks, the more clicks and attention it generates. About a third of searchers click on the first organic search result. Only 2.5% of searchers click on the 10th website (source: www.sistrix.de).
So, if you want to receive more attention online and thereby attract more potential patients, a high ranking is a must. In addition to organic search results, there are also paid ads. In Search Engine Advertising (SEA), higher rankings in the search results are bought via a bidding process (see article “Visibility on the Internet”). Even though you get faster results compared to SEO, it is less sustainable and can be more expensive depending on your goals. You should strive to get your website ranked as high as possible in the search results when potential patients search for keywords such as “dentist nearby” or “dentist Berlin”.
The most important ranking factors for Google
SEO for dentists applies to all search engines. However, as Google is by far the largest and most used search engine, it will be this article’s focus. There is no official statement on the factors Google uses to rank its search results. The number of these factors is certain, though: there are more than 200 of them, some more and some less important. Field reports from recent years show which factors are among the most relevant and what to look for in SEO for dentists. Bear in mind that Google is constantly improving its algorithm. These 200 factors are therefore continuously changing in their nature and weighting. Google always aims to list the most relevant search results first. With ever-changing user expectations, Google has to react accordingly and adjust the algorithm.
For years, high-quality content has been an undisputed must in order to achieve a good ranking in organic search results. But what exactly is good content? With regards to your practice’s website, good content means that there is an added value for site visitors. Texts, images, and videos should be unique and grammatically correct. Google does not like duplicate content that is simply copied from other websites and rates it accordingly. You should rather show pictures and videos of your practice and tell potential patients about yourself and your professional skills. Posting pictures of your team is another great idea to personalize your website.
The concept of high-quality content also includes optimizing your website for mobile devices. This means that your website’s layout should also be adapted to the formatting of smartphones, tablets, etc. Otherwise, the layout will be simply too large for smaller displays. Last but not least, good page load times are another important SEO criterion. Your site should be technically up to date and load as fast as possible. This makes it more attractive for visitors and will have a positive impact on your search ranking by Google.
When dealing with the topic of SEO for dentists, you will quickly come across keywords – the search terms typed in by users on Google. They can be a single word, but also several words. “Dentist” is just as much a keyword as the phrase “which dentist is near me”. Keywords must be included on your website if you want Google to consider it relevant for the user’s query:
- in texts
- in the various titles and subtitles of the texts
- in the URL
- in the images as so-called “alt attributes”
- in the metadata (title & description of the website that appear in Google search results)
However, keep in mind that good readability should be prioritized over the use of keywords. A text that is easy to read will most likely rank higher than a text that has more keywords but is difficult to read.
Logical and appealing structure
The buzzword here is “user experience”. Upon arriving on your site, users should find it easy to navigate between relevant subpages. Think about where patients can find your contact details, where online appointments can be booked, what content you want to display on your homepage, and how you want to present your services. For more tips, read our article on how to win new patients.
Internal and external links are relevant for Google’s ranking of search results. Internal links are those that link the subpages on your website. By creating internal links, on the one hand, Google understands how the subpages relate to each other. On the other hand, they are useful for visitors, as relevant further information can be found with just one click.
External links are those that link to other websites. They are mainly used to confirm statements on your website (e.g., the latest dental findings from studies) by linking to the source. Google thus recognizes the relevance and accuracy of your statements.
Aside from the links that you can include yourself, there are backlinks leading from external sites to your website. Google counts these as a recommendation of other sites for your website. The higher the quality of the site that links to yours, the more weight this link will have. However, building such a network requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. Use your contacts and ask them if they can link to your website with a recommendation. However, keep in mind the factor of quality content when building backlinks. By offering high-quality information, it is only a matter of time before other sites start to link to your website.
Stay up to date
It is not enough to create the perfect content if you do not plan on updating it from time to time. SEO for dentists means constantly revising and improving existing content. Google also gives you credit for that. As explained above, Google is constantly trying to optimize its search results and therefore constantly changes the factors influencing its ranking. That is why it is important to stay up to date and keep an eye on your competitors. Are there new ways to visualize content? What content is still relevant? Is there any new information you can add to your website – ranging from new equipment to new treatments or recently acquired qualifications?
Conclusion: this is what matters
SEO for dentists is not something you just do on the side. On the contrary, SEO work is never complete. However, laying a good foundation is already worth a lot and can result in a good ranking. Staying up to date will become a necessary routine task. In summary, these are some of the factors that matter:
- quality content
- meaningful keywords
- a logical and intuitive structure of the website (menu navigation)
- healthy link structure (internal links, external links, backlinks)
- regular updates
- varied content (outline, texts, headlines, images, videos)
- optimization for mobile devices