If you want to beat your competition, you’ve got to rank at the top of the Google search result page. Period.
Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned dentist, SEO for dentists is vital for the growth of your dental business and acquiring new patients. Many dentists have recognized the necessity of dental search engine optimization and are actively investing in it.
However, there is still a general lack of awareness about many things in search engine optimization, such as when should you expect to see an improvement in your rankings? What are the most important ranking factors? Should you worry if your rankings drop?
In this post, you will get answers to all these questions and many more.
Getting and keeping your website at the top of SERPs requires comprehensive SEO strategies that cater to various ranking factors prioritized by Google. Google algorithms update continually, which means you always need to be on your toes to update your SEO strategy. However, some of the main ranking factors that can bump up your rankings haven’t changed for a long time. Here we will take a look at a few of these factors:
To rank high on search result pages, you first need to ensure that Google can access and crawl your website; otherwise, it can not index your pages and evaluate the pages’ content’s value and relevance to the search queries.
In other words, you need to have the right type of URL that can be easily found and accessed by Google’s bots. To ensure this happens, you must have a secure domain (SSL certified), use the right website building tools, and have a sitemap that lists all your website pages.
More than half of the web browsing today happens on the mobile and not on the desktop. And by that, Google algorithms rank mobile-friendly sites higher than sites that are not configured for mobile browsing, because if more users are searching from mobile, they would prefer seeing a mobile-friendly site, right?
Domain age is a critical factor as it takes a couple of years for Google algorithms to bump up your dental website to the top of its search results. According to an ahrefs study, only 22% of websites on the first page of Google have a domain age of less than a year.
Content is king, not just for the audience but also for Google! Google ranks websites based on the quality of the content presented in them. Correct Keyword-enriched, informative content always wins over poorly structured content. If your content adds value to the reader, Google will reward you with improved rankings.
However, make sure that you don’t go overboard with keyword stuffing to invoke a Google penalty and result in low rankings.
Backlinks act like upvotes or an endorsement for your website content. Having many backlinks from high authority websites to your website is a great way to tell Google that your website is trustworthy, essential, and has relevant content for the user’s query.
Ensure that the backlinks you receive are from trustworthy, high authority sites linked to the dental and oral health industry, not from spammy websites. Spammy links will do more harm than good to your rankings. Learn more about internal and external backlinks with us.
User metrics like Click-through rates, dwell time, and bounce-rate play a vital role in your dental website’s ranking. The more people click on your website and the more time users spend there, the higher your website ranks.
Dental practices are mostly local businesses, so you would also need to focus on where you rank on local search because local patients look for dentists or dental services, specifically in their geographical location or area. For local SEO, you need to have a Google My Business page and other local listings to ensure that patients can easily find you online.
Here is a list of factors that influence your dental local SEO rankings.
These are keywords in the metadata and website copy used by search engines to determine if a user is searching for services in his geographical location. You should include a list of your services, city, and business name in your title tags.
These are the backlinks from other websites that connect to your website. Search engines scrutinize backlinks as a potential reference to your website. It would be best to have quality backlinks from relevant websites in your local community and dental industry.
These are the directories like, Yelp, Manta, Yellow pages, and CitySearch, which a search engine looks at to ensure your NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency. Check how local SEO helps in increasing patient appointments for a clinic.
Dentists can use dental PPC or pay per click to attract potential patients and secure their first page rankings.
This refers to the number of visitors who click on your website link when a list of organic search results comes up. It depends on your Meta descriptions and title tags and is responsible for driving traffic to a dental website.
Active information about your brand on social media and your profiles sends out strong social signals, positively impacting your local SEO rankings.
Patient reviews can be critical in determining your practices’ reliability. Positive patient reviews can help you scale up the rankings ladder as Google has stated that online reviews are among the top 10 local ranking factors for its algorithm.
As stated earlier, one of the critical criteria used for ranking search results is domain age. Your dental website needs to accumulate enough hours on the internet before it becomes relevant for the search engine ranking as per these criteria. Moreover, many other ranking factors used by search engine algorithms like traffic, dwell time, click-through-rates, etc., need to be built up and accumulated over a reasonable time.
Dental SEO is a dynamic activity and may require a few iterations to get it right. The pace of rankings improvement depends on multiple factors. Moving up the rankings is easy at the beginning of the SEO process, but as your SEO position improves, it becomes increasingly difficult to climb higher. Depending on which rung of the SEO ladder your website is currently at, it could take anywhere between 4 months to 1 year to see tangible improvements in rankings.
Now, many businesses think that a drop in rankings is a big reason to worry. We understand why they would fear a ranking drop, but we’d advise you not to worry about it if it’s only a singular event. Rankings tend to fluctuate a lot, and you can very well have your website rank a few rungs higher or lower every week. That is entirely normal, and it shouldn’t send any alarm bells ringing.
The fear will be justified if it’s a steady and continuous drop in rankings because that would suggest that there is something fundamentally wrong with your SEO strategy.
If that’s the case, the first step is to analyze the cause of the ranking drop and its impact on revenue. If your rankings and revenue both decrease, ask your dental marketing company for the reason, and they should be able to provide a rational answer for it.
They should also tell you the corrective steps they are taking to get the dental SEO ranking back up to where it was. If they cannot provide any clear answers, you need to investigate further as they might be adopting questionable SEO tactics (black hat SEO) and penalized by Google algorithms.
However, if the ranking drops but revenue increases, this would suggest that your conversion rate has improved. You are getting more targeted traffic instead of general traffic, and your dental SEO company is doing a good job.
A drop in local SEO ranking should prompt questions.
Ranking for wrong keywords could be disastrous for your SEO. When you choose the wrong keywords and start ranking for them, there is a high probability that the traffic coming to your website is not from the relevant industry. This implies that most people visiting your website are not potential customers and don’t contribute to your dental practice.
You may track your Keywords and their traffic sources on Google Analytics. Also, paying attention to the following factors can show you whether you’re ranking for the wrong keywords:
Google ranking penalties are ranking punishments given to your website if it violates Google’s marketing policies. Google penalties throw your website off the top ranks even if it meets other criteria and flags it as inappropriate content. This is achieved by Google’s search algorithm or through a manual process. You can find out whether your website has been penalized by looking up Google Search Console.
In case you have received one, expect your rankings to drop and traffic to slow down. This could be harmful to your dental practice. The first step you should take in such situations is to question your dental SEO company regarding the Google penalty and find out more about it. In case they don’t have any clear answers, it could be a warning sign that you have employed an incompetent dental SEO company for this project.
Ranking on the Google search result page is a complex process involving many factors to consider, such as targeting the right audience, keywords and strategically design optimized content. Planning your website content and structure could go a long way in improving the search engine ranking.
Once you have implemented the right SEO strategy, Google will see your content’s relevance with time as user metrics, traffic, and content that develop over time. Within a span of a few months, you should see your dental website rankings improve. Dental SEO management is a long iterative process, and you must engage a professional SEO company with relevant credentials and experience in executing similar projects successfully.
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