Why Dental Clinics Need to Invest in SEO
As someone who works in the world of dental software, I regularly talk to dentists about the importance of having a robust web presence and using the best web-based tools to help bring in patients and build patient loyalty. One term that frequently comes up in these conversations is SEO or Search Engine Optimization – specifically, what it is and whether dental clinics need to worry about it.
In recent years SEO has become one of the most important tools for helping businesses of any kind stand out from the crowd online. That’s why in this article, I’m going to explain how SEO works and how it can help your dental clinic generate awareness, secure more patients and retain the patients you already have.
SEO In A Nutshell
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic (site visits resulting from people who find you via search engines rather than through paid ads) search engine results.
How SEO Works
Most already know that when a person types a word/phrase into Google (or another search engine) its algorithms help that person find the content they are seeking by ranking each “match” based on its relevance to the search word/phrase typed.
The other side of this coin is that if you want your dental practice’s website to show up on the first search engine results page (SERP), you will need to convince Google and other search engines that your website contains content that matches the searcher’s needs.
To understand this better, let’s say someone types the words “Toronto dental clinic” into Google and then sees hundreds of potential matches. Google or the search engine they used has already decided which matches are the most reliable based on several factors:
Domain Authority – Having lots of relevant and engaging content on your website will make you appear more authoritative to Google and increase the chances that people who are looking for your product or service will find you instead of your competition.
Stand out from the crowd! Feature content on your website like dental health articles, patient testimonials and interviews with your staff to generate a sense of expertise and great customer service.
Backlink Quantity and Quality – A backlink is any link on another website that points to your website. Backlinks drive organic traffic to you, helping more people find your practice. Backlinks also “tell” search engines that others vouch for the information contained on your site – this makes them very valuable for SEO.
So encourage backlinks! The more expert content you feature, the more likely others will link to you as an authority.
Organic Traffic – It’s important to track how much organic traffic you’re getting month by month so that you can learn which of your SEO tactics are working best. For example, if you feature a guest blog post and you see your metrics surge, consider repeating the tactic.
Guest blog posts and engaging videos are two great ways to boost your organic traffic. To keep track of everything, use everyone’s favourite online tool – Google Analytics.
SEO In More Depth
This video from GoDaddy explains how SEO works and how a good SEO strategy can help you improve your web presence, which in turn helps improve your Google rankings.
A good SEO strategy often requires that you improve other aspects of your web presence as well. Examples of this are your use of social media, your number of reviews and your mentions on other web pages. Many dental clinics hire an SEO professional to help them develop an SEO strategy.
How SEO Helps You Get New Patients
A by-product of a well-thought-out SEO strategy is that it makes your overall web presence more robust and impressive. Remember, patients are far more likely to visit a clinic if it has an extensive online presence that can help them learn about it before they book an appointment.
In addition to boosting your SEO, regular social media/blog posts and having lots of well-curated online reviews helps show potential patients that your clinic provides top quality service.
Note: Google algorithms are constantly being updated to make them more effective so it is important to be aware of emerging trends so you can maintain a strong SEO strategy.
How SEO Helps with Patient Retention
Patient retention is a major concern across the healthcare industry – doctors, dentists, and rehab practitioners all need to ensure that they take steps to keep the patients they already have.
Investing in good SEO will help build confidence in your current patients by demonstrating the ways that you are staying competitive with other clinics in your area. Coupled with cutting edge patient communication software that helps make appointment booking and patient information exchange more convenient, a good SEO strategy helps keep your patients engaged with your clinic online and more likely to return for their next appointment.
This is especially important if you operate in an area with plenty of other clinics around. Remember, patients can easily be convinced to move to a rival clinic if they feel it is making a better pitch or seems more responsive to their needs.
We live in a digital age and just about every dentist I talk to understands that having a robust web presence is essential to maintaining and expanding his or her patient base. To succeed against your competition, develop a good website and follow an SEO strategy that helps people find your site first when they’re looking for care.