SEO: The Must-Knows for Dentists

Let’s look at this like a primer on SEO, and we’ll start at the top.

  1. What is SEO?

Search engine optimization means using certain words on your website that your prospects are searching for, or links that direct to your website from other websites, so that your name appears higher on the results page from search engines.

  1. How do search engines know what is on your page?

Now we’re getting into some heavy-duty computer science. But to put it most simply, search engines have programs, we’ll call them spiders, that scan every site on the Internet. This is called crawling. They pull information off the site to be indexed in the search engine. But they don’t pull all the information, only what their programming tells them is important.

  1. How does this affect my ranking on search engine results?

Google uses a complicated formula (which it doesn’t share) to calculate where you rank on a search page. But part of that formula is an algorithm based on certain keywords or keyword strings on your site. For instance, if your website uses the term “Indianapolis pain-free dentist” a lot, then there is a higher likelihood that your site will come up higher in the results when someone searches “Indianapolis pain-free dentist.”

  1. Why don’t I just list all my keywords 1,000 times on one of my web pages?

People used to do that! But Google got wise to that keyword stuffing and now its algorithm looks for that. So the best thing you can do is write quality content that includes the words and phrases your patients look for most often.

  1. Besides my website, how can I use SEO?

Besides crawling your website looking for keywords, Google spiders also are indexing other sites that mention you or have a hyperlink back to your site. This also increases your ranking in search results. Being mentioned on some sites get you better results than others. That is why we encourage our clients to get news coverage when they can (media sites have high SEO value). We also encourage our clients to cross-promote on other sites whenever possible.

How to Win Big at SEO

Research shows us that SEO leads have about a 15% close rate, while outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising) have a close rate closer to 2 percent. If you want to find out how to maximize your SEO efforts, keep reading.

For those who have been involved in SEO a while, you might remember that meta descriptions were very important once upon a time. Meta descriptions used to set for each web page what search engine spiders would index on the page.

That is not the case anymore, as search engines spiders crawl the whole page now. But meta descriptions are still important, as that is the information that shows up as a summary on a search engine results page.

You may also want to know when will you start seeing results. Unfortunately, SEO marketing doesn’t happen overnight. That is why we offer SEO along with other types of marketing.

It also depends on how often people are visiting your site, how long they stay, how often they click links from other sites to your site, how often they mention you on social media, and on and on and on.

It can take a few months for Google’s spiders to index your site and all the mentions about you across the Internet.

It is so complicated that there are companies that focus exclusively on SEO marketing. SEO marketing is a long-term investment to get to the top of the search results page and a lot of nurturing to keep it there.

You do not have to write code to do SEO, but there are some higher-level SEO things that require coding. There are ways to see which pages search engines have indexed and ways to give search engines information about the pages you want indexed and crawled.

If that has your head spinning, don’t worry. Here is what you really want to know:

Yes, you need someone to help you with your SEO.

As a dentist, your time is not best spent managing your SEO.

Just as you wouldn’t answer your own phones or handle your own billing, you should stick to what you do best and leave complicated aspects of marketing like SEO to people who specialize in it.




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About the author
Colin Receveur is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and dental web marketing expert who has pioneered the way dentists market themselves online for the past decade. Since incorporating in 2001, Colin has established a rock solid track record with his dentist clients and turned SmartBox into a stalwart of proven results for hundreds of dental practices.