Top SEO basics for your dental website
Top SEO basics for your dental website
As one of the leading traffic sources for dental practice websites, organic search is a force to be reckoned with – making understanding it more important than ever.
May 30, 2024

Most of us know that organic search matters, but if you find it hard to get to grips with, don’t worry – although some SEO can be more technical, there’s a huge amount that can be easily handled with a little time and consideration. Here, I’ll work through the SEO essentials, from user experience to link building.

What is SEO?

But first, the basics – what is SEO? Search engine optimisation is how you improve the performance, experience and authority of your dental website so that it ranks higher in search engine results.

This means that if someone searches, using a term related to a treatment or service you offer – dental implants, for instance – your website appears within the first page of results. This brings traffic to the site organically, as opposed to arrivals through pay-per-click or advertising.

Why does SEO matter?

A large proportion of potential patients use search engines to find out more about treatments and plan where they might have them. And unlike ads, which can be limited by budget, SEO continues to pay off for longer. This makes learning the fundamentals (or engaging an agency to help) a worthwhile investment for the future.

But because of its value, SEO is a highly competitive field. To win over those users, you need to make sure that your website is better optimised than others in your sphere. This is why understanding even the basics of SEO is important – this way, you can boost how visible your website is to those searching online.

Organic SEO is influenced by many different factors, from your content and website structure to how many backlinks you have. Working on each will improve your overall optimisation and direct more visitors to your website.

Here’s an overview of ten main factors, and how to harness them.

1. Your domain name

This is a critical element of SEO success. Choosing something straightforward that is related to your business (preferably with the word ‘dental’ included) helps both Google and the user understand what you offer, and results in more traffic.

2. Your hosting platform

Make sure you choose a platform that offers fast page loading and tight security. Better loading speeds help with your search rank and support a better user experience. In contrast, a slow-to-load website is likely to frustrate users to the point that they simply give up and go elsewhere.

3. A logical site structure

Well-organised pages are easier for search engines to find and index. Having a good site structure also means that visitors can quickly find the content they are searching for. This allows you to tick the boxes for both search engines and users, which is a fundamental balancing act to master in any dental SEO strategy.

4. Well-researched keywords

Take time to identify the specific words and phrases people are using when they’re looking for information. This helps you understand what potential patients are searching for online, improves your visibility, and uncovers new ranking opportunities. For instance:

  • How many people are searching for a specific keyword or phrase.
  • How relevant a keyword or phrase is for your content and your target audience.
  • How difficult it will be to rank highly for specific keywords, based on the level of competition with other websites.
  • Whether there are long-tail keywords that can provide insights into your audience’s pain points, which you can also use to inform topics for content.

The easiest method is using a website analytics tool to review which keywords have led users to visit your pages. You could also study the keywords your competitors have chosen, to gain an insight into their strategy and identify any helpful gaps or opportunities. Then, identify other terms and phrases that are closely related to your primary keywords.

5. High-quality content

When considering SEO, website content is often overlooked – but it should be high up on the list of essentials. Creating regular, optimised content is one of the best ways to get organic traffic to your website (and keep it there). Why?

  • Good content engages your visitors, in turn signalling to search engines that your site offers relevant and useful information.
  • By strategically incorporating keywords into your content, you can align it with what users are searching for, which helps drive organic traffic.
  • Using researched keywords to develop topics enhances the relevance of your content.

Well-structured content with headings, bullet points, and clear formatting makes information easy to consume and avoids unnecessary “fluff”. Be sure to provide easy ways for your audience to respond (calls to action), such as links for consultations or appointments. And lastly, varying the types of content, such as blog posts and case studies, helps to inform and engage your audience more effectively.

6. Meta descriptions and title tags

Often, basic elements of SEO can become lost in the focus on other areas, but they still hold great value. When well written, title tags and meta descriptions can improve your search ranking, drive more traffic, and help achieve your marketing goals.

Your meta description and title tag tell search engines and their users what your website is about. Optimising them can prompt higher numbers of clicks through (particularly in the case of enticing meta descriptions) and a reduction in your bounce rates. To get the best out of them, I’d recommend trying different keywords and sentence structures to gauge which are most effective.

7. The user experience

We know that however good a website looks, it’s how it performs that consumers really care about. A positive user experience keeps visitors on your site for longer, reducing bounce rates and encouraging them to explore multiple pages.

As I’ve already mentioned, page speed is a critical ranking factor; you can improve it by deleting unnecessary plugins, compressing images, and minimising third-party popups and widgets. Ensure your website’s main menu is simple, logical, and easy to navigate. And provide clear calls to action to make it easy for visitors to schedule appointments or view patient testimonial videos.

8. A mobile-first approach

With 60% of searches now coming from a mobile, catering to users on smaller screens is now more important than ever. Google has adopted a mobile-first approach to indexing, meaning its results favour websites that offer a stellar smartphone experience.

If you’re not sure how your website stacks up, you can request a digital audit to identify areas for improvement. To correct any errors, it’s likely you’ll need to move to a responsive, mobile-first website. This means that your website is designed and coded to automatically adjust its layout, content, and functionality to suit the device it’s being viewed on.

If you’re making changes for mobile, it’s worth considering that larger buttons and clickable elements make it easier to navigate your site on a small screen. It also pays to keep content concise and scannable (remember, it’ll appear denser on a mobile), and to reduce and simplify any form fields to make them easy to fill out.

To optimise for local SEO, which is particularly relevant to users ‘on the go’, use local keywords and phrases so that your practice shows up in local search results. Mobile-specific services – such as click-to-call – can also prompt users to act.

9. Link building

Personal recommendations are just as effective in the search realm as they are in real life. Links from good-authority sources to your website (known as backlinks) signal to Google that it can be trusted. It’s useful to spend time building this network, because the more people that “vouch” for you in this way, the more trustworthy you’re considered.

Activities that will help you do this include:

  • Creating valuable, high-quality content, such as interesting blog articles, that sites want to link to.
  • Contributing guest posts or articles, in return for a link to your site.
  • Linking to relevant content to encourage others to reciprocate.
  • Asking for links with an outreach programme.
  • Collaborating with other businesses, to promote each other.
  • Submitting your website to industry and professional associations with online directories and listings.

10. Measuring your results

As with any marketing activity, monitoring performance over time is key. By doing so, you can make data-backed decisions that will improve your strategy and boost your dental website’s search rankings.

Take advantage of tools like Google Analytics to track your website traffic, user behaviour, and conversions. It’s also helpful to introduce KPIs (key performance indicators), and to compare different variations of your content, website structure and keywords to test which performs best.

Analysing the results of your SEO activities can also help with identifying opportunities for better optimisation, adjusting to ensure you’re targeting the right audience, choosing the most effective keywords, and providing relevant content. Ultimately, this all adds up to higher organic traffic and better business outcomes.

From simple steps to SEO success

SEO is often seen as a dark art, but I hope the key takeaway from this article is that there are proactive methods you can use to improve your SEO, even if you have limited-to-no skills. If you’d like our help resolving issues you’ve found, are interested in learning more, or would like us to carry out a free digital audit as the next step, get in touch.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Marketing Director
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