For many years now people have been going online and browsing the net to locate a dentist close to their home. And if you’re like most other individuals, you may not go further than the first SERP (search engine results page). So, it follows that dentists (and there are thousands of them) whose sites do not figure on the opening results page are overlooked. To put things in perspective a dentist whose website is not effectively optimized for ranking on Google or Yahoo’s first page will lose out. In this guide, you will learn implement seo for dentists to grow your dental practice.
Even in this digital era, countless dentists are completely in the dark about dental marketing. More often than not, dentist marketing entails the different services you provide, how you advertise your practice, and so on. On the other hand, it has to do with your reception’s layout, your practice’s tagline, and how your emblem looks on the website.
Also, most dentists believe that SEO means targeting keywords like “dentists”, “dental treatments”, or similar highly competitive keywords. But it is difficult to rank for those terms and even ranking on them might not give you more clients. Local SEO is something that you need to work for. For example, if you are operating in Tampa Bay, FL, you should consider optimizing your website for keywords like “dentists in Tampa Bay.”
Both tech-savvy and technologically ignorant dentists are gradually realizing the significance of promoting their practice across the online realm. How you design and formulate your dentist marketing and dental SEO strategy will hugely influence your site’s ranking on popular search engines.
Dentist Industry Statistics
In the past five years starting from 2015-2020, the global dental industry has been able to capitalize from a streamlined increase in the number of people having access to public and private dental care. As per ADA’s (American Dental Association) reports, the cumulative costs of dental treatment and care have come down considerably for individuals aged 50-64 years.
Consequently, people bracketed under the above age range have been making more trips to dentists’ chambers and clinics for treatment and preventive care. By taking into account the above trends, it can be safely estimated that the US dental industry’s revenues will burgeon to $128.0 billion which grew at an annual rate of 0.2% from 2015-2020.
Industry Statistics for Dentists Based in the US:
- Total number of businesses: 1,82,418
- Size of market: $128billion
- Total employment: 955,496
Fascinating facts about dentistry:
- As of 2020, there were 179,830 dentists in the US
- In 2018, a dentist in the US earned approximately $175,840 annually on average
- Dental/oral diseases and infections affect about 3.5 billion people globally
- Europe ranks as the largest amongst all dental implant markets on a worldwide basis
Why SEO for Dentists matter?
As a dentist, you’d surely want to have a flourishing practice attracting as many patients as possible every other day. At the same time, you’d want your site to rank on the search engine’s first results page. But have you chalked out a target-oriented marketing strategy to realize what you desire? Amazingly enough, a significant proportion of dentists and dentistry professionals do not consider dental SEO and dentist marketing a priority for promoting their practice.
Several studies and surveys have indicated that the first five URLs on the first SERP of Google or Yahoo attract nearly 68% of all clicks. So, if your site appears on the first page of search results, you have a good chance of drawing greater online traffic, more potential leads, and finally greater number of patients.
Irrespective of whether you’ve recently started practicing or have a flourishing practice, you’ll need a minimum of 20 new customers (patients) every month to stay in business. The above information has been provided by Aldrich Advisors who prepared a report after conducting a survey on dentists in the US.
The following are some facts and figures about dental SEO and dentist marketing that dentists should keep in mind:
- If your site does not rank on the 1st page of Google’s organic results, your chances of attracting 95% of your potential traffic are practically nil
- In 2018, Google accounted for nearly 90% of net browsing implying that you’re practically invisible online if you don’t rank on Google’s first SERP
- Searching using a relevant keyword leads to an organic click of the first page of search results 71% of the time
- 78% of prospective customers decide to visit a dentist located close to their homes after conducting a local SEO search on their smartphone
- Individuals who locate you (or rather your practice) through organic search have a better likelihood of becoming your patients compared to those who track you using other marketing modes
- If your website loads quickly on smartphones (i.e. your site is mobile-friendly) you have a 61% better chance of being contacted compared to outdated dental sites
- The topmost marketing priority of 61% of businesses is bolstering their online presence by boosting SEO
- Nearly 88% of your existing and prospective customers are more likely to rely on online reviews and feedbacks rather than heed a relative’s or friend’s suggestion
Web-based or online dentist marketing is essential nowadays if you wish to make and/or keep your practice profitable. The overheads associated with your practice including but not limited to staff salaries, equipment cost, and office rental have gradually increased over the years. Given the steep cost of maintaining your practice, making a profit regularly is a tall order.
KPIs for Dental Marketing
You’ll have to periodically review your marketing strategy and analyze your performance as a dentist to stay competitive. Evaluating your dental practice from time to time also enables you to know how you are performing vis-à-vis your competitors. On the other hand, taking stock of your situation and making an overall appraisal gives you a fair idea of the steps you can take to improve your practice.
You can take advantage of KPIs or key performance indicators to carry out a thorough SWOT analysis to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your practice. At the same time, you can exploit KPIs for identifying the threats and opportunities in your practice for sustaining your business. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, just focusing on furnishing quality healthcare may not suffice in this digital age.
You’ll also need to have a good idea of how you can make your practice lucrative and keep it updated. You bet you’ll be able to make the most of the opportunities for progress and take practical data-based decisions by assessing specific KPIs.
Collating and Evaluating the Information Should Be Your First Priority
At the very outset, you’ll have to pool and collate data to realize how you’re faring as a dentist. Chances are that you’re already gathering vital information concerning your practice through your dental practice management software. DPMS (dental practice management software) modules by and large feature built-in standardized reports that enable you to appraise your performance.
You’ll need to spend a substantial amount on business management software designed exclusively for dentist marketing to make optimal use of KPIs. Most DPMS come in handy for producing detailed reports as well as enable you to determine specific metrics appropriate for your practice. A good number of dentists just amass data but do not interpret the information rendering the entire exercise futile.
Some Crucial KPIs that Dental Practices Should Track
Just as you employ an assortment of processes, technologies, and methods for evaluating your patients’ wellbeing there are particular parameters, tools, and principles for analyzing your dental practice’s health. These yardsticks or metrics known as KPIs enable you to identify the drawbacks and lacunas in your practice and also help take measures for improving your business’s health. In the following paragraphs, we will walk you through some of the vital KPIs that dentists can use for performance evaluation. Additionally, we’ll also make you aware of the robust range of such metrics which are standard for profitable dental practices.
The acceptance rate of Treatment Plans/Production Per Appointment or Visit
PPV or PPA (production per visit/production per appointment) is a very crucial metric that dentists can apply for establishing the type and extent of treatment they’re offering. This metric lets you evaluate whether you’re witnessing a decline or an uptick in production. At the same time, you can find out whether this diminishing or enhancement is cyclical or irregular.
The idea behind quantifying or appraising PPA is to find out whether the footfall (of patients) has surged or decreased over a certain period. Patients’ footfall could increase or fall depending upon the quality of treatment you offer. The metric aids you in pinpointing your treatment’s acceptance rate as well as helps you in verifying your performance on the whole concerning your patients.
Periodontal Treatment Rate
Periodontics, the dentistry segment dealing with the structures surrounding and supporting the teeth involves preventative care. As a KPI the periodontal treatment rate assists you in understanding and confirming your overall performance from the perspective of preventative care. You should take note that your performance taken as a whole will have a huge influence on production per visit.
The metric of periodontal treatment rate helps you to find out the answers to several aspects concerning your dentist’s marketing plan and SEO. Are you taking advantage of the opportunities you’re getting for curative treatment or care? Are you coming across enough opportunities for periodontal treatment?
Hygiene Pre-Appointment Percentage
Of all the different KPIs for dentist marketing or dental practice that you must keep track of, hygiene pre-appointment rate is one. Visits related to hygienic care are crucial for two good reasons; such visits offer you a good chance of diagnosing dental problems and also keep you updated on patients’ health. Secondly and more importantly hygienic visits contribute towards generating nearly 27%-30% of your practice’s production in general.
Almost all successful dental practices share a remarkably high hygiene pre-appointment percentage. The majority of practice management specialists and consultants think that dentists should aim for an 85%-90% hygiene pre-appointment rate.
Hygiene Reappointment Rate
Making the most of hygiene reappointment rate goes a long way in enabling you to focus on how to boost your annual value. Are you faring well enough in securing reappointments from patients who schedule a hygiene consultation?
Annual Value Per Patient
Are you receiving more value from all your patients? The metric of ‘annual value per patient’ lets you verify the annual earnings from every patient. You can determine the APV by computing revenues or collections you’ve received from all your active patients. You can safely conclude that you’ve been successful in boosting up patients’ value if you observe that APV has gone up.
On the other hand, enhanced APV also implies that your patients are consistently opting for the treatment you offer as it is working for them. APV can prove to be an excellent metric for tracking your dental practice’s health provided you use the tool effectively.
New Patients Every Month
Every month you’ll need a consistent stream of new patients scheduling treatment for sustaining practice. Like all other dentists, it may not be possible for you to hold on to every patient; there’ll always be some patients who might leave you for some other dentist. Attrition-the gradual but premeditated diminution of customers or employees-is common to all businesses.
Doing your utmost to gain new patients on a steady basis will enable you to offset the loss of existing patients. You should take stock of your prevailing dentist marketing policy if you want to boost the growth and retention rates of new patients. If you see that you’re getting the bulk of new patients via referrals from your existing patients, then you should try to magnify your online presence.
Increasing your visibility across the web will go a long way in connecting to a broader segment of prospective patients. Redesigning your site to make it more visually appealing as well as uploading original and quality content regularly are two proven ways of boosting online visibility.
Appointment Cancellation Rate
You can never tell whether a patient will inevitably turn up after making an appointment for a consultation and/or treatment. A patient can cancel his or her appointment at the last minute for several reasons. Though there’s hardly anything you can do to prevent such cancellations arising out of unavoidable circumstances, you can always take some steps for mitigating no-shows.
One good way of minimizing incidences of canceled appointments is sending reminders and cues, and requesting patients to confirm their engagement.
Treatment Plans Acceptance Rate
Getting acknowledgment from your patients that they consent to the treatment procedures you’re providing is very crucial. Making sure that you are offering the best possible treatment and care to patients not only gives you peace of mind but also makes your practice’s balance sheet look healthier.
Important SEO Factors for Dentist Marketing
Online dentist marketing popularly known as dental SEO plays a crucial role in helping potential patients to find local dentists. To be specific if you have a very well-planned dental SEO strategy, your prospective patients will locate you easily using any search engine. Dental SEO not only aids in boosting several aspects and facets of your marketing plan but also bolsters your visibility across search engines.
A meticulously designed SEO approach when working in tandem with a robust social media structure and an advanced portal can help develop your practice and improve your bottom line. Your tactic like any other business promotion approach should be designed in such a way that it enables you to connect with your niche audience. By ministering to your patients’ needs you receive their undivided attention which in turn helps you to go further up in Google’s or Yahoo’s SERPs.
Ultimately the attention you get from your patients becomes cyclical and self-perpetuating. The following are some of the most vital aspects of dentist marketing and dental SEO that you should keep in mind:
On-page SEO for Dentists
Do you know that your existing or potential patients do not view your site in the same way Google does? Given that search engines and your patients go through your website, you’ve to keep both in good humor. On-page SEO is a vital cog of your organic SEO method (the other elements being off-page SEO, voice-search SEO, and technical SEO) that can help in boosting your Google ranking.
To buttress on-page dental SEO dynamics do the following:
Your site’s title tag defines and elucidates your dental site’s character-what the portal is about. It is your site’s title commonly known as URL that appears on SERPs of Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Ensure that the total number of characters in your dental site’s title or name does not exceed 50 characters.
In case the title tag contains more than 50 characters, you and your patients will only see an abridged form of the same. Here’s an instance of a standard title tag: “Dental Specialists – Book An Appointment Now.”
Meta description offers a description of your site and captures the portal’s essence in a nutshell. Your dental website’s meta- description appears as an extract or a citation in search engines’ SERPs. Ensure that your site’s meta-description does not contain more than 160 characters.
Example: Jack Dental specializes in family and cosmetic dentistry. Dr. Jack has been treating patients across age groups in the Tampa Bay area for more than a decade.
Inserting internal links
Internal links are URLs listed in a webpage or blog that enable you to land on related sites. Inserting internal links can help improve your site’s visibility as well as bolster your dental SEO.
Example: For key technical terms like “Implants”, “Root Canal”, “benefits to replacing missing teeth with dental implants” or other similar terms on different pages link to dedicated pages for such terms. These pages need to elaborate further about those key phrases and ensure a patient is aware of what they mean or stand for. Additionally, ensure you are interlinking relevant pages to improve the accessibility of your website.
Alt text for illustrations and images
The bot crawlers of search engines perceive the images, illustrations, and representations across the internet as space. Therefore, captioning the different images and pictures in your site with alt-text or alternative text augments online visibility as well as makes your site more user-friendly for visually challenged individuals.
Example: When using an image for Root Canal, you should ensure you are using related keywords both as the image title and alt text. For this case, you can use the image title as “Root Canal” while the alt text could be “Root Canal Treatment.”
Off-page SEO for Dentists
Off-page has to do with how your dentist marketing site interacts and networks with competitor sites (and all other sites). The tools and techniques of off-page SEO can also go a long way in directing a greater flow of traffic towards your site.
Citation implies online indexing of information concerning your dental practice. Ensuring NAP (name, address, and phone number of your practice) consistency across all local listings in SEO helps reinforce your SEO ranking. In case you’ve recently changed your contact number or relocated make sure you update these changes on all local listings.
Inconsistency in NAP citations will hurt your site’s ranking across search engines.
Example: List your business on different online directories such as Google MyPlaces, Bing Places, Yelp, etc. However, when listing on such a website, make sure that you are consistent with the information you provide. The name, address, contact numbers, and other important information should be the same on all such portals.
Look for reputed dental sites that invite guest posts. You’ll have a good chance of reaching out to a greater number of potential patients via your guest posts on popular blogs.
Example: Post informative articles related to your services on websites offering information for dental services and treatments. Getting featured on popular websites such as https://www.aaid.com/, https://www.dentistfriend.com/, etc. with a backlink to your website can boost your credibility as well as rankings.
Sites that help connect back to your website are known as backlinks. You should aim for having as many backlinks as possible that’ll enable you to improve your site’s standing. Make the most of backlink auditing tools such as SEMRush and SpyGlass for obtaining the maximum number of backlinks.
Example: You may scan your competitors using such tools and note down portals where they are getting backlinks from. You may then make a complete list of potential websites where you can feature content related to your industry and get backlinks for.
Implement Local SEO for Dentists
Optimizing your dental practice website for local SEO helps your website to invariably show up on the first SERPs of different search engines. Most informational and promotional blogs, portals, and websites featuring on Google or Yahoo are meant for global or national netizens. However, websites dedicated to the treatment, medication, and healthcare are designed and developed basically to optimize for local SEO searches.
Your dental SEO strategy should focus on particular territories and regions so that your prospects can track you easily and quickly. Just add the name of your city or town and also the names of towns and cities in your vicinity. At the same time, ensure that you have added the locations to your URLs and page titles.
For example, if you are providing dental treatments in New York, You should optimize for keywords like “Dental Implants in New York”, “Dental Treatments in New York”, “Dentists in New York”, “New York City Dentists”, etc.
Additionally, make sure you’ve signed up with Google My Business and Google Maps, and other local SEO providers to shore up your web presence.
Google Maps Optimization
Once you’re done planning and implementing your SEO strategy, working towards achieving a better ranking in Google Maps might seem superfluous. However, ignoring the significance of Google Maps rankings could prove disastrous. Are you aware that prospective clients can contact a dental practice directly after clicking on the Maps results via Google snack pack without logging in at the website?
So, if you’re not listed on Google Maps you’ll miss out a big portion of patients looking for dental services. To get better results from local seo for dentists start with Google Maps optmization and then enhance your authority on Maps pay heed to the following simple steps:
- List NAP Citations (Name, Address, and Phone Number)
- Register your practice with Google My Business
- Get as many quality backlinks as possible
- Incorporate location details and local SEO keywords in your website
- Request your patients to submit positive reviews and feedbacks about your practice (Reviews on Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, etc.)
Example: The above example displays the details of Google My Places for British Implant and Oral Surgery in New York. They are dentists in New York and you will be able to see how well their website is optimized for results and reviews featured on Google. It provides details about their clinic and other essential information at a single place. If you are able to get reviews from your clients published on Google and you provide consistent NAM on different directories on the internet, you can achieve the same for your website.
Paid Advertisement for Dentists
Google Ads or Google AdWords come to your aid if your portal has been relegated to the 2nd or 3rd page of search engine results. You’ll see Google Ads emblazoned on the blank panel right above the organic SERPs. You have full leeway in selecting the ad specifics as well as in setting your budget.
Example: Use the Keyword Planner tool on Adwords to look for keywords related to your services. Your focus should be to shortlist keywords for Local SEO to improve the prospect of conversion. Your target area should be restricted to your service coverage area. Examples include, “Dentists in New York”, “Dental Implants in Tampa Bay”, “Affordable Dental Implants”, etc.
The display, retargeting, and remarketing ads of Google serve to ring a bell to your patients about your dental practice. Google retargeting ads usually target potential patients who’re acquainted with your practice but somehow did not take the bait. You can add more teeth to your remarketing ads by:
- Limiting the frequency of your display ad
- Deciding on the duration your target audience will be able to view the ad
- Tempering your retargeting ads with pictures and illustrations
- Focusing your dental marketing/retargeting efforts on a specific demographic (such as a particular age- or ethnic group)