SEO can be very complicated, but there are quick wins you can take advantage of to gain higher visibility in Google organic search without a huge investment. Here are seven ways your dental practice website can make rapid improvements.
1. Get a mobile-friendly website
Google has fallen in love with mobile-friendly websites. Mobile-friendly sites not only rank better, they convert better — this is crucial for dental practices, because a growing number of people are using mobile phones to schedule appointments and otherwise communicate with healthcare providers.
For dental practice websites, going mobile-friendly is simply a matter of changing templates and can be done in a matter of days … and at little cost. If you are in this situation, make the change right away.
2. Optimize meta titles
Meta titles are “behind the scenes” content that enables Google’s crawlers to determine what website content is all about. Title tags are the single most important on-site ranking factor, and should be optimized with unique, important, relevant keywords. Many dental websites are poorly executed in terms of title tags.
3. Create and optimize a Google Plus page
A Google Plus Business Page is great for local SEO, free, and, perhaps most important, underutilized by dental practices. By encouraging patient reviews and adding content to your page weekly, your website is more likely to appear in Google’s prominent “Local Pack” listings at the top of your search results.
4. Display NAP information to your website properly
NAP (name, address and phone number) information must be properly displayed on a website for local optimization. At minimum, NAP for every physical office location should appear as text, either on every page of the dental practice website or on separate pages dedicated to each location. Even better is to use “Schema” (structured data) to create NAP content. Because the data is structured with underlying code, Google and other search engines can understand it and display it more prominently in search results.
5. Optimize URLs
Website URLs with strings of meaningless letters, numerals and symbols confuse Google — and human visitors. For some reason, dental practice websites often have weaknesses in this area. By optimizing URLs with strategic keywords and user-friendly text, Google can better understand what the page is all about, and therefore rank it more often and more visibly.
6. Improve meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are little snippets of text that appear under the link of a Web page in a search. By writing unique and effective Meta descriptions for each website page, or at least important ones, you can persuade search engine users to click on your link.
7. Get local citations
Local SEO is all about getting mentioned. Google figures your dental practice is reputable and worth showing its users if people are talking about it. In addition to obtaining reviews on Google Plus, Yelp and other websites, mentions of your practice in local business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, local online media, and local blogs send powerful, positive ranking signals to Google. In addition, these citations often have high-quality links to your website — another extremely important ranking factor. Many citations are there for the taking. All you have to do is ask.
Why do any of this?
Because SEO is so complicated, it’s easy to forget why it is worth doing in the first place. The advantages of greater organic search visibility include increased credibility, more inquiries, more new patients, more appointments scheduled, and greater ability to attract interest in important or new services. Even though social media seems to be getting all the attention, we shouldn’t forget Google is handling over one trillion searches a year — far too big a pool of opportunity to ignore.