SEO for dentists and dental surgeons has never been more important. For many skilled dentists, getting new patients can seriously feel like pulling teeth! You’d love to sit back, relax, and wait for online leads to come to YOU. But instead, your employees spend their days dealing with no-shows from those untargeted Facebook Ads you bought. Or tirelessly calling to follow up with patients long overdue for their cleaning. While much of this is a fact of life when it comes to running a dental practice, you can definitely avoid some of this drudgery (or at least make it more worthwhile) by embracing search engine optimization.

Learn more about how your dental practice can take charge of your online marketing presence! Here are some of our top tactics to master basic SEO for dentists and dental surgeons.

Embrace Google Maps and Local Search

If your dental practice doesn’t have a local business listing with Google and other search engines, get to it! This is one of the simplest, fastest, yet most powerful ways you can boost your SEO. By creating and maintaining accurate information for your local listing, you’re empowering customers to find your services organically near them. In the dental industry, half the battle is getting new patients in the door and the other half is keeping existing patients coming back. Make sure that your Google Maps address, phone number, and business hours are accurate. This allows customers to efficiently plan their visit and make appointments. It also makes your dental practice more likely to be top-of-mind to those who are researching dentists in your area.

You can update your basic business listing for free through Google, Yahoo, and other popular search engines. You could also invest in Yahoo’s Small Business Listings Directory, which gives you access to 60+ directories.

Don’t Skimp on Social

Your social profiles are often one of the first results patients will see when searching for your dental business. Not only is social an amazing place to show personality and day-to-day fun at your dental practice, but it’s also yet another free business listing that you can take advantage of to increase your exposure.

Some patients will even search for a dentist or dental surgeon directly on Facebook or Instagram, so it’s important to have an updated About section and a link to your website included on your profile. We encourage dentists to use their Instagram profile as a platform to display before and after photos, positive reviews of their work, and other affirmations that will encourage patients to trust you with their pearly whites. If you’re serious about SEO for dentists and dental surgeons, you’ll want to invest in an awesome social presence.

Pay Attention to Online Reviews

Google Review

Did you know that 68 percent of consumers will form an opinion about your local dental practice after reading just 1-6 online reviews? Reviews can have a HUGE impact on your online reputation, and directly affect the number of patients strolling through your door from an online search. It’s important to pay attention to the online reviews you’re earning on Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Always respond to negative reviews, and do your absolute best to make things right with unhappy customers. It’s always easier to give a refund or offer a free service than to repair your online reputation from unaddressed negative reviews.

If you’d like to bolster your positive reviews, you can do this through strategic email marketing campaigns, social contests and giveaways, and even through in-office encouragement. Great reviews can do wonders for local search, so if you’ve not done much to get those positive reviews, start thinking about it now.

Make Sure Your Web Copy and Blogs are SEO-Optimized

Another simple thing you can do to boost on-site SEO is to optimize your website copy and blogs. Your web copy may sound persuasive and get your message across. But if it doesn’t incorporate keywords for the dental industry, then it isn’t working as hard for you as it should. You can still sound friendly and persuasive while incorporating keywords intelligently into your copy.

The goal should be to engage your audience first, but also make sure that Google and other search engines can crawl your content easily for SEO rankings. For each webpage or blog post you create, have a focus keyword in mind that you want to rank for. Then, pepper that keyword or keyword phrase throughout your content in a natural way that doesn’t scream “I am keyword stuffing”. Here’s our How to Write SEO-friendly, Engaging Content guide, in case you have questions!

By incorporating keywords into your on-site copy and blogs, you’re sending a signal to Google that your website is a reputable source for information on those topics. Google and other search engines will then be more likely to send traffic your way. It may seem like SEO magic when you see the results! But it’s really just a predictable, genuine way to improve SEO for dentists and dental surgeons like you.

Check Mobile-friendliness and Site Load Speed

Google PageSpeed Insights

If your website template design is not mobile-friendly or if your site load speed is too slow, your search engine rankings will suffer. Dentists and dental surgeons frequently come to us with out-dated websites that aren’t responsive on mobile. Their sites often load super slowly, due to lack of routine updates or a poor template choice. If Google sees that your site is hard to use on mobile or that it takes a long time for patients to find the info they are looking for because of poor site speed, you can kiss high rankings goodbye.

You can check site speed through Google PageSpeed Insights. Test your mobile performance via Google’s Mobile-friendly Test. If you find that you have issues, you can tackle the problems head-on with some back-end cleanup and updates, or through a thoughtful new template or website redesign. Witty Kitty offers web design and development for dentists and dental surgeons (surprise, surprise!), so reach out if you need a website a revamp.

Get an SEO Audit

Does this seem a little overwhelming? To make things easier, you should be conducting a thorough SEO audit of your website at least once per year. An audit outlines how your site is performing, and what you can do to make sure your search engine ranking is always improving. We offer SEO audits here at Witty Kitty, and ours also include technical implementation, so you’ll know that updating your title tags, refreshing your meta descriptions, and other technical SEO tasks are accomplished for the year.

You’ll also receive an in-depth list of keywords to use in blog posts and web copy, as well as a report that outlines any issues with site speed, mobile performance, and the other key SEO factors we have mentioned above. Get in touch if you need an audit! We are always here to help, and we specialize in SEO for dentists and dental surgeons. Need a website design refresh to attract new patients or email marketing to remind existing patients they’re due for a cleaning? We do that, too, and we are always happy to answer any questions you might have about your digital marketing.

Editor’s Note: This post was previously published in 2019 and has recently been revamped by our team to offer the latest and greatest images, stats, and educational info. Enjoy!