To say that there is stiff competition among dental practices these days would be an understatement.
Take a look around, and you’ll probably see a dental practice every block or so, especially if you live in a major city. More dental practices mean more dentists vying for the attention of patients.
By all indications, the competition among dental practices isn’t just stiff. It’s actually becoming more intense, and nowhere is that intensity more apparent than in the way they market their business.
While many dentists still use traditional means of marketing their business, more and more dentists are turning to digital marketing to let the world know that their dental practice exists. Search online for that dental practice across the street, and chances are, it’s running a website as part of its dental marketing efforts. Do more searches for dental practices online, and the results will easily make you think that every single dental practice in the world has a website!
Still, the mere existence of a dental website is not enough to get patients to come through their doors. The site itself needs to be seen by as many people as possible, and that’s where dental SEO comes in.
If you’re a dental professional and you have a website for your practice, optimizing your dental website is your best bet to boost its chances of being found online through organic search results.
Many people think that dental SEO marketing is about increasing a website’s rankings for particular keywords and getting backlinks, and they would be right. Dental SEO does involve researching for and adding relevant keywords as well as earning links from authority sites, among other things.
What people tend to forget, however, is the role content marketing plays not only in dental SEO but in all of SEO as well.
Content Marketing As Part of Dental SEO Strategy
The phrase “content is king” is probably the most worn-out phrase in the world of SEO, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Considering how Google made adjustments to its algorithms over the last few years to reward websites carrying quality content with higher rankings, it really is safe to say that content is indeed king.
Much of the attention given to content nowadays stems from the fact that audiences have become so much smarter and much more discerning.
In the past, people may have been more responsive to the sales-y tone and content that commercials, print ads, and other forms of traditional marketing bring. Audiences these days, in contrast, are more media-savvy than ever. Grabbing their attention to sell them, in your case, dental services and products, is going to be tough if all you have to offer is a commercial with pretty visuals, a catchy jingle, and a clever tagline. What people are looking for now is valuable, relevant, and consistent content that will answer their questions and serve a particular need.
A potential patient, for example, is afraid of getting a root canal and would want to know if it really hurts like people say. In all likelihood, that person will use a search engine to get answers. As long as your dental website has content that talks about root canals in detail, it stands a good chance of showing up on that person’s search results and being the one to answer his or her question.
Content marketing is all about producing and delivering the information that people need, and it should be an integral part of any dental SEO strategy for the following reasons:
It helps you reach the right people —TV commercials, radio, and print ads are addressed to no one in particular. As long as you pay the (often considerable) fees involved, your ads get broadcast or published for the benefit of everyone, even those who aren’t looking for dental services.
Content marketing, on the other hand, allows you to produce and deliver content that specifically targets people who are specifically searching for dentistry-related information.
It helps build authority — When your dental website provides useful and relevant content that demonstrates your expertise in the field of dentistry, you are putting yourself in a position where Google and other search engines will see you as an authority in your niche. They will then promptly reward you with higher rankings in search results to make your website more visible to users, which will attract more traffic, and ultimately, more patients.
It helps you earn your audience’s trust — With good content marketing, you get to provide relevant and valuable information to your audience. Publishing content that tackles proper oral care, as well as detailed explanations of the dental procedures your practice offers, will give people the impression that you actually care about them, and that will earn you their trust over time.
You can engage with your audience — A blog within your dental practice website provides the perfect opportunity to engage online with those who visit your office regularly as well as with potential patients. A blog post about what to expect during wisdom tooth extraction, for example, will surely elicit questions from your audience. You can correct myths about wisdom teeth, or allay their fears about the procedure.
Engaging your customers and providing answers to their questions on a regular basis will also help you build a relationship with them, which is always good for any business.
It improves your dental SEO — Keyword research is an integral part of any dental SEO strategy, as it allows you to find out the exact keywords and phrases that potential patients are looking for online. Once the research is done and you already have your target keywords and phrases, you should then create content focused around them. So when people type in the said keywords, your dental website’s chances of ranking high in search results for them are better.
It helps you stand out — As a dental practice, it’s highly likely that you are providing the same services and products that the dental practice a few blocks from yours is offering. However, publishing quality content on your dental practice website consistently can help you get a leg up on your competition. After all, the people who find the information you provide online and benefit from it will always remember which dental practice gave all that knowledge to them for free. When the time comes for them to visit a dentist for whatever reason, your dental practice will likely be at the top of their list.
Type of Content To Boost Dental SEO
As mentioned above, Google’s algorithm changes over the years have solidified quality content’s hold on the throne, but it wasn’t always that way. In the early days of SEO, Google, the world’s biggest search engine, gave prime ranking in search results to websites that had little to nothing in the way of quality content. Many sites provided quality content then, but they all took a backseat to the ones that were stuffed with keywords but didn’t provide useful, relevant, and valuable content.
We’re all fortunate that Panda, Penguin, and all the other major updates Google did to its algorithms have changed the face of SEO. Today, we all have the chance to rank better in the search engine results pages or SERPs as long as we provide the information that our target audience needs.
So what types of content should dental practice websites publish to improve their chances of ranking higher in the SERPs?
1. How-to articles
Everyone faces dental issues every single day. Some are concerned they’re doing their flossing all wrong. Some are worried about their breath. Then there are those who are bothered by the idea of cavities.
You can help them by publishing articles that will teach them how to deal with their particular dental issues. An article like “How to Floss Properly” would be great. The same goes for “How to Keep Your Breath Fresh.” When your how-to articles are helping solve users’ problems, Google will likely take notice and reward you with a higher ranking for specific keywords and phrases.
2. Engaging blog posts
If your dental practice website has a blog (and it should have a blog), then use it to post about any subject related to the industry. You can post facts about specific dental procedures, dispel dental myths, or simply share news and opinion pieces related to dentistry.
By doing some dental blogging, you don’t just get to position yourself as an expert in the field. You also get the chance to engage your audience in the comments.
Your dental practice blog is also an excellent place to publish list posts like “10 Natural Ways To Keep Your Smile White” or “5 Foods That Cause Bad Breath.” Write these list posts in an entertaining way, and its chances of getting shared (and maybe going viral) will be so much better.
Considering how the attention spans of people these days seem to be getting shorter, an infographic could be a good alternative to an article of a few thousand words that discusses the same topic. It’s easier to digest, more engaging visually, stands a better chance of getting shared.
If content is king, then video is shaping up to be the king of content. Experts say that by 2022, videos will account for 82% of all web traffic. Original videos that explain some of your procedures or introduce your dental practice staff would be great.
If you can create content by yourself, then that would be awesome. However, you can always opt to get professional help in the creation of quality content. There are countless dental marketing outfits out there that can conceive and implement a content marketing strategy that will help your website get higher rankings, more traffic, and hopefully, more patients dropping by your dental practice.
Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of SEOPhoenix.net. Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers and networks, then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.