Today we’ll be talking about how to get SEO working for you with the new 2022 SEO formula for dental and orthodontic practices.
The 2022 SEO Formula For Dental Practices
Today, I’ll be sharing information that has the potential to radically impact your practice and increase new patients. So if you need anything, just pop it into the chat. I’ll try to keep aware of that throughout the presentation, but let me jump into what we’re going to cover today.
- What Is SEO & What Happens When You Search?
- Why You Shouldn’t Ignore SEO In 2022
- SEO Myths & 7 SEO Facts To Embrace
- The Onsite SEO Superpowers
- The Offsite SEO Superpowers
- Free Offer!
Now, before we start digging deeper into SEO, some of you may not be clear on what SEO is. I’m sure you’ve all heard about it, but let’s talk a little bit about what it is.
What Is SEO & What Happens When You Search?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In layman’s terms, it’s the strategies, tactics, and tasks that must be employed in order to create the onsite and offsite signals to help search engines like Google see your content as the most relevant option to present for searches related to your practice. Really, it’s all about getting in front of the people who are searching for you and doing the right things at the right time in the right way to make that happen.
So let’s now take a look at what actually happens when you do a search online. You may be aware of this or you may not, but let’s use the example of someone searching for a ‘dentist near me’. This is a very common search. Whenever we type in a search request, it goes to the Google servers. And I’m using Google as the main name for search engines because it owns over 90% of all searches.
So Google is the big player in the market. So we want to make sure that when we’re optimizing your business, your practice, your website for SEO, we’re doing it with Google in mind. So Google is constantly ranking websites across a myriad of algorithmic decisions, all with the purpose of trying to present the most relevant selection that will make the searcher happy. And that’s super, super important. In the SEO industry, the main gold standard of what we do is all about relevance.
It’s entirely about creating the information that will help you be the most relevant to people searching for your products or services. So one of the criteria that you need to be aware of is the content on your website. You’re probably aware of that if you’re in this webinar. Other things you need to be thinking about: is your website optimized for the keywords that the users are searching for? And that’s where keyword research is really vital in your SEO program and plan. And, is your website optimized for Google Core Web Vitals?
I’ll go into that in a little bit more detail later on. But this is a really important part of the SEO puzzle for local businesses today. Is your Google Business Profile, which was formerly known as Google My Business, optimized and is it relevant? Again, this is a signal that Google is looking for.
Are you local to their search? Google knows most people are looking for dentists / orthodontists / hearing aid dispensers who are close by.
Do you have good reviews? Google reviews, Facebook reviews, Yelp reviews, Rate MD reviews. There are a myriad of review sites out there. Obviously, Google loves Google, so you need to have Google reviews, and a lot of them, in recent months. But Google also pulls in reviews from other review sites.
And this is a really important key aspect of the SEO puzzle. What has happened in the past when users for this search have been sent to your website? Google knows that through Google Analytics – it’s tracking, it’s understanding that behaviour. Did they stay on your website for a long time? Did they look at multiple pages? Did they take a conversion action like making a phone call or a form completion? And this is just a tiny example of what’s going on in the background of the algorithm.
But the end result is that Google then presents you, the user, with three main sets of results called the three-pack.
- Google first shows paid ads at the top of the page. We all see this. It’s got the tiny little ‘Ad’ word beside it.
- Then Google shows map results that are fed from your Google My Business Profile or Google Business Profile. So they just changed the name last month and you’ll notice there are paid ads even at the top of the map results and at the bottom of the page.
- Then Google shows the free organic search results driven by your website relevance and the pages within it. And it’s really important to note that everything in the search results is organic except for the paid ads. So we view the map listings as a form of Google organic results.
And it’s really important to note that not all search results are created equal. You’ll see above that on this page, between paid ads and organic listings, there’s a huge disparity in click-through rates. So the numbers that you see in those arrows are the click-through rates, average click-through rates associated with that ad position, and then the organic position in the green.
So the top ad position gets on average, 2.1% of all clicks on those search results. The second ad gets 1.6%. But what’s really cool now is when you look at the organic results, the first position of organic results gets a whopping 40% of clicks, the second 18.4%, the third 10%, and it continues to drop down. And if, unfortunately, you’re on page two or beyond of the results, you essentially do not exist.
Because click rates are so low, users just don’t go past the first page very often. As you can see, it’s really vital to do what you need to do in order to show up in the top three positions of the organic search results because they’re comprising over 70% of all clicks on search results.
All of that sounds good, but you may be asking, is it really worth the effort? So…
Why Should You Care About SEO In 2022?
Well, just as you saw, the most clicks for searches are SEO-related. And if you do SEO right, you’ll be attracting people actually looking to buy your services. They are searching for it. It’s not a billboard ad that just pops up in front of them. They are actively looking.
If you aren’t showing up at the top of search results, you’re losing some of the best, most qualified leads for new patients. If you’re not there, your competitors will be, and they’ll be getting all of those opportunities. And I have a hunch that you think you’re better than your competition, because that’s what we do. As business owners, we work really hard to create the best business possible to serve our clients and patients, and you believe that you will serve them the best. So you need to be on top of your competition there.
And it’s really important to realize that in today’s marketplace, consumers have most likely made their decision about you before they even call or complete a form. And this happens because of the democratization of information and the fact that everyone can perform their own search online.
I wanted to share a real-world example of an Orthodontic client we’ve served. We were able to increase overall organic traffic to their website by over 340% and they had their best year ever.
And in this real-world example, this dentist had already been investing in SEO, but through our work, we were able to increase their organic traffic by 200% and they had their best year yet as well.
And this particular dentist saw 128 new patients in 2021 from organic results alone, and that resulted in over a million dollars in potential lifetime value for landing those patients. So it should not be ignored. SEO is very powerful.
Now I wanted to cover a few myths to ignore about SEO. There’s lots of misinformation out there, lots of noise.
Common SEO Myths To Ignore
So let’s bust a few SEO myths.
1. If You Build It, They Will Come
The first, and this is very common, is that if you build your website, they will come. It’s simply not true, especially if you haven’t done the keyword research and built it with all of the best SEO practices that we’ll be talking about today. So you can’t believe this myth.
2. All Websites Are Built The Same
Number two myth is that all websites are built the same. This simply isn’t true.
And just because a web designer or an agency says they build their websites with SEO, it doesn’t actually mean it’s true unfortunately, because SEO needs to be baked into the very fabric of your website. If it’s not built right, it can be very costly afterwards.
As an example, we’ve been working with a client whose website was built by someone else over the past two years. We’ve been optimizing it as much as possible, but due to the new Google core web vitals requirements, we have to rebuild their website. It just can’t do what Google wants to see it do. Websites built on some older platforms are at a significant disadvantage than others.
And please ensure you never buy a website on a custom CMS. This is a customized Content Management System that some agencies like to sell because then they own the website and you’re stuck with them, and that is not good for you. As a practice owner, this is the worst decision you could possibly make for your website.
3. You Don’t Have To Work On SEO All The Time
Myth number three, you don’t have to continuously work on SEO. This is also untrue.
Not only do searchers / visitors / patients hunger for fresh, updated content, but the mighty Google is looking for signals that you are constantly staying fresh as well, and that you’re the most timely, relevant search results to send traffic to — and recency and freshness of information is part of that equation. Google sees freshness of content as a very high significant identifier of good companies.
The other side to this is that the algorithms are constantly changing and you have to continually update and optimize your website to keep performing well against your competition.
So those were the myths.
7 SEO Facts Dental Practice Owners Need To Know
Now let’s look at some SEO facts that you need to know as a practice owner.
1. Two Main Audiences
Number one, the most important thing to remember about SEO that you need to understand is that in the SEO world, there are two main audiences. There are the people, the searchers on Google looking for your product or service, and there’s the robots, the algorithms that determine if your website content matches the people’s search criteria.
Just knowing this will go a long way to helping you rank better on search engines and produce content that’s meaningful.
2. Your Website Is Your Online Location
Fact number two, your website is like your online location. It’s been said that if you don’t show up on the first page of Google, then you don’t exist. In fact, I said that earlier, but your website is invisible to those searching for your product or service. If you’re not on page one, if they can’t find you, then they can’t buy from you. They can’t choose you as their provider. So you have to make SEO a priority for your practice. It doesn’t happen by itself. It happens by investment.
3. SEO Starts With Your Website
Number three, SEO starts with your website. It’s got to be set up properly so Google can crawl it and connect it to the keywords prospects are searching for related to your practice and your services.
4. Google My Business / Google Business Profiles
There are hundreds of factors that affect SEO and all play a part in your rankings, although some have a greater impact than others. It all starts with your website, but there are vital offsite elements you must optimize as well in order to see amazing results.
Google My Business, which is now called Google Business Profiles, is vital for ranking on Google for local businesses like your own. Google loves Google. You have to remember that.
So if you haven’t claimed your Google My Business Profile, verified it and optimized it, you won’t rank as high as your competition. Who has done that and is continually investing in Google Business Profiles?
5. SEO Is Your Forever Friend
Tip number five: SEO is your forever friend. It’s a little bit silly to say it that way, but I’m often asked how long SEO efforts need to continue to be effective, and the answer is, until you want to stop ranking on page one of Google (hint: you never want to stop ranking on page one of Google).
SEO isn’t a one-and-done strategy. It’s a state of existing as a local business. Now, if you want to generate business from Google, you have to focus on it today and for as long as your business exists, or until things change in the industry.
6. Hire An Expert
Tip number six: Hire an expert. This sounds very self-serving, but SEO is only getting more and more complicated each year with more factors playing a part. Without an expert guiding your business and making the optimizations required, you will fall behind.
There are things like meta tags, page titles, image alt tags, keyword-aligned content security, site speed, bounce rate, backlinks. It goes on and on and on. And in order to stay up to date in all these areas, it really does pay to hire an expert.
7. Don’t Wait!
Tip number seven: Don’t wait to invest in SEO.
SEO isn’t like a light switch. It takes time to grow, but once you get it going and keep it healthy, it will provide a continuous supply of fruit and leads for your practice.
Now those were the myths and the facts. Let’s start digging into the real details of what we’re talking about today.
And so I’ve broken this down into three areas. We have the SEO High-Level Superpowers, we have the SEO Onsite Superpowers, and we have the SEO Offsite Superpowers. And I’ll walk you through those.
4 SEO High-Level Superpowers
So from a high level, let’s dig into these superpowers to see what you need to do.
1. SEO Goals & Plan
In order to rank well, you have to set SEO goals and you have to plan for how you’re going to implement SEO. There’s a saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
And it’s very true in the SEO world, you do not want to fly by the seat of your pants. In SEO there are a lot of moving parts and you need a plan to ensure that you get it done at the right time, in the right way, with the right things.
2. Benchmark Data
Number two, you need to benchmark your data. What I mean by that is you need to benchmark your organic results today, now, before moving forward with your SEO efforts. This will help ensure that you can see the results of your efforts and understand the return on investment that you’re getting from those efforts. And the only way you can do this is by benchmarking your SEO rankings and organic data now and tracking it moving forward. And Google Analytics is a real key part of that.
But there are other tools that we use as well in order to understand where you’re ranking compared to your competitors and other key factors.
3. SEO Keyword Research
The number three high-level SEO formula element is, you must do keyword research. This is the vital data that will tell you the most important keywords related to your practice and service in your area. Keyword research will provide the direction of how things need to be optimized in order to attract those top-performing searches. Without researching what’s really happening in search engines today and building a prioritized list of keywords, you’re really only guessing. You’re looking around and thinking, what do people ask me today? What are they looking for?
But your guessing can cost you a heavy price because you’re actually building out content, the structure of your website, and various other elements in a way that may not be productive in generating SEO traffic.
4. Themes & Content Plan
And finally, at a high level, number four, themes and a content plan. Google doesn’t just use keywords, they actually use keyword themes, meaning that when somebody’s searching for ‘braces’, they’re also searching for ‘Invisalign’. They’re looking for related searches. And so Google lumps these things together under themes. So you have to think of individual keywords and you also need to think about themes. But where themes can be very powerful is they can help you build out a content plan so that you build out your content properly and have tasks that you’ll complete in a particular time frame on a regular basis.
So those are the high-level SEO superpowers your practice needs.
7 SEO Onsite Superpowers
Now let’s look at the onsite superpowers for SEO, and this is all related to what happens on your actual website.
1. Fix Website Issues
This may seem like a silly one. A lot of people take this for granted, but I have to tell you, almost every single client that we take on, there are problems with their existing website. You need to fix these SEO website issues or technical issues. There might be things like broken links, missing images, missing tags and titles, using too many H1 tags on a page, etc.
There are all sorts of technical things going on with your website. And if they’re broken in any way, because Google is crawling your website, they know this. And when Google sees errors on your website, it sees you as an undependable place to send traffic and that will hurt your rankings.
2. Structure / Navigation / Linking
Number two, the structure, the navigation and the linking on your website. We take this for granted a lot of times when we’re building websites as businesses or on a website, but it really impacts the user and it really impacts Google, who’s ranking your website.
You need to have a website structure with navigation and internal linking that first of all, tells Google the hierarchy of pages and categorizations, and it forms a structure that Google can understand and that people can easily navigate. It can have a profound impact on your rankings. So it’s really important to structure your website in order to get maximum results.
3. Google Core Web Vitals
Now this one is super geeky, but Google has made a big deal of this, so you should make a big deal of it. It’s called Google Core Web Vitals and includes three key performance indicators of website user experience:
- Speed of your website
- How quickly somebody can click on website elements as they’re loading
- Whether elements shift on the screen once they appear again
Again, super geeky and very technical, but it has a big, profound influence on search rankings since Google added it to their algorithm in July 2021, just last year. Here’s another reason why you should work with a good, reliable SEO agency. We were warning clients for almost a full year because Google gave us the heads-up this was coming. They even gave us a tool to scan websites a year in advance that this was going to change and we started improving our clients’ websites during that year.
But there are other businesses who have come to us after that who have their website and it’s not supported in the same way as we support our clients. And so their rankings were significantly impacted when Google put this into place in July 2021. So if your practice has seen a hit around that time as far as rankings, hopefully you’ve been monitoring them. But even if you’ve seen a significant lessening of leads, that could potentially be one of the reasons, as that was a very significant algorithm change.
4. Mobile Optimization & Image Optimization
Mobile optimization is really important today. Over the last few years, Google has moved almost all websites, especially local websites, to a mobile-first algorithm. This means that if your website isn’t optimized to be fast and work amazing on mobile devices, you will already be at a disadvantage to a competitor that has taken these steps.
Image optimization is also really important because many websites have bloated images and unoptimized images. Optimize your images and it will reduce your page load times and you will be rewarded by Google.
5. Target Keywords / Titles / Meta Descriptions / Alt Text
Now — target keywords, titles, meta descriptions, alt text.
Pretty technical stuff, but this is kind of the juice of SEO that you can set up for every single page on your website. Google sees your website as a whole, but it also sees and ranks each and every page. In fact, it’s your pages and your posts that rank for searches, not your website as a whole. So you need to ensure that every page and every post is SEO-optimized with the right target keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, alt text, you name it.
And don’t have competing keywords within your website because this will result in reduced rankings. In essence, you’re competing with yourself. It doesn’t mean you’ll get the number one and two position, it means that you might drop below your competitors. In the SEO industry, we call it keyword cannibalization because you’re competing with yourself, you’re eating your own SEO results.
6. Schema Markup
Schema Markup is a relatively new part of SEO optimization and has become a very valuable piece in the last five years. Schema Markup tells Google important aspects of the information on your page and how it relates to information Google likes to show in what it calls knowledge graphs. These are the standout elements of information that are essentially in organic rank position zero. Let me show you an example.
In this example, someone was asking if Invisalign is as good as braces, you can see the search at the top. I highlighted it, the first thing that appeared below ads. So Google always wants to make their money, so they show the ads first. But the very first thing above all organic results is what we call a knowledge graph. And these are powered by the Schema snippets within your actual website.
And you can see where I’m hovering over, it’s actually telling you that snippets are what is powering this from the website. So Google is giving this webpage special priority because it’s valuable, educational, sought-after information. So Google serves it up before the organic rankings, which are a little more self-serving. So this is very educational. So using featured snippets and Schema will help you get into this coveted position zero.
7. Fresh Content & Blogging
Number seven: Blogging. The last onsite optimization you should do is consistently create fresh content. We talked about that earlier, but blogging is an ideal way of doing this. And we often use blog posts in the industry to rank highly for long-tail search terms, which means the longer phrases people are searching for. So instead of just ‘dentists near me’, they might be looking for ‘can I smoke after a tooth extraction’.
Believe it or not, that’s a popular search phrase. Or ‘is vaping bad for my teeth’ or ‘how old do you have to be to get Invisalign’? All sorts of these long-tail searches that people are searching for. And you wouldn’t normally include these in the structure of your website, your main part of your navigation, because that’s about your services and about your business. But you would put these in blog articles.
Creating fresh content is great for your Google rankings, and it also provides you with the fuel to educate and share valued content with your existing patients through email, on social media, you name it. And of course, your content will be guided by your high-level, keyword-researched content marketing plan that we spoke about previously.
Now we covered the high-level SEO elements, we covered the onsite elements, and that’s the prioritized order you should go through.
Now let’s look at the offsite superpowers. Not a lot of people think about these when they think about SEO, but we’ve covered the big picture.
5 SEO Offsite Superpowers
Now let’s look at these offsite SEO superpowers your practice needs. These are the things that impact your Google rankings off of your website.
1. Google Business Profile Optimization
Number one, this is huge. You have to claim and optimize your Google Business Profile. As we mentioned earlier, formerly known as Google My Business Profiles, this platform is totally free, but it has a huge impact on your rankings and can make or break your local SEO. You must take the time to properly optimize your profile, and you’re never done, it’s a forever friend. Just like SEO, the platform is constantly evolving and Google allows people and the algorithm to update their information.
So you have to be super vigilant as a practice owner and you need to make sure it’s optimized well. In fact, we’ve often seen it with our clients where user-generated content displaces the content from the company, so you have to be very aware and continue to check it. Google will actually tell you if there’s updated information when you go into the backend, your keyword research will again become very helpful in this area as you’ll want to optimize to target these keywords in all of the various areas within Google Business Profiles. And you need to be posting photos, posts, events and offers regularly on the platform to really get the biggest bang for your buck.
2. Google Reviews & Other Reviews
Number two, you’re probably doing this already, but it’s really important. Google reviews are super powerful. Google puts a lot of emphasis in ranking companies with good reviews and lots of reviews and recent reviews because it shows that you’re a good business that serves your customers well and that you keep your promises.
Reviews now impact search rankings like never before and even your map listings, Google sees these as so important that it even pulls reviews in from other websites like Facebook, Yelp and others. So you must have a system for consistently asking patients to review you if you don’t have that, and if you’ve fallen behind your competition as far as the number of reviews, you absolutely need to get that in place.
It’s super important and leveraging that powerful social proof to help them select your practice, the patients looking for you during their buying process, will help you tremendously.
3. Directory Citations
Directory Citations are basically websites that host directories of businesses and point to your website and your contact information. These should be optimized to the max to include your services, your keywords, and you must ensure your NAP data, meaning your name, address and phone number, are identical to what’s on your Google Business Profile. If it’s different, this will throw doubt into the Google algorithm, which you absolutely do not want. Google likes to see consistency across all platforms related to this information.
4. Social Profiles
These are a bit like directories in that they point back to your practice and your website. Again, ensure you maximize all fields and optimize them for keywords, and ensure your name, address and phone number — that all-important NAP data — are identical to Google Business Profiles. The added benefit is that when you optimize these, you will also make your practice more findable on those social media platforms.
5. Backlinks To Your Website
Backlinks are essentially links from other websites that link back to your website. There’s both a science to optimizing backlinks and an art to getting other websites to link back to your site, because not everybody wants to do that. You have to give them a reason for doing that. Because these provide such powerful signals to Google, they should be part of your overall SEO strategy.
The key is finding websites that have a higher authority score than you and getting them to link back to your website to share some of their powerful Google juice with your website.
Now, we’ve covered a lot today. I’m sure your head might be spinning a bit. I’m super passionate about SEO, but not every business owner and practice owner is super passionate about SEO. But you’re here to educate yourself and inform yourself. So let’s summarize.
In order for your dental or orthodontic practice to be at the top of Google organic rankings, to reap the reward of those highly valued clicks, you need to:
- Ignore the SEO myths and embrace the SEO facts.
- Implement the high-level SEO superpowers we covered.
- Implement the 7 onsite SEO superpowers and continuously do that every year, every month
- Implement the offsite SEO superpowers.
If you do this and continue to invest in your strategic SEO efforts consistently, you will experience growth in your organic rankings and the number of organic leads that you as a practice get.
I know it’s a lot to understand, and even more to implement. It takes a lot of training and experience to do it well. And for many dentists and orthodontists, they will never do this themselves or potentially not even have an in-house team to do it. So you need to find an external partner to help you. And that’s where this little plug about Dental Marketing Heroes comes in.
At Dental Marketing Heroes, we’re here to help you. We’ve become well known for our expertise in the SEO world.
- We are a National Excellence award-winning agency
- For the past three years we’ve been named a top SEO agency and a top web design agency
- We are an SEO For Growth Certified Consultant
- We’re a strategy-first Master Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant
- I also, Ian Cantle, co-host a weekly small business podcast called Marketing Guides for Small Businesses, which I invite you to
- I co-authored a local SEO book called Content Marketing For Local Search, How To Create Content That Google Loves And Prospects Devour.
So all that to say, my team and I can help you with your SEO efforts and we’re super passionate about it. We find that when we implement our comprehensive marketing engine into practices, we consistently achieve a greater than five times return on investment for you. And SEO is a key part of that formula to doing that.
So if you’re interested in learning more, please schedule a free marketing consultation with me.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this webinar, I want to provide you with a special offer of some free resources. Here are two free resources that are really helpful for SEO. You can either scan the QR code or the URL is there. I’ll also include these in some follow-up emails.
The first is an SEO playbook that has lots of great tips and information on how to get your SEO efforts going. A lot of the information covered in today’s webinar is in there.
The second is a link to get a free SEO scan of your website and report of your local rankings. Again, this provides a ton of information that will help you know how you’re currently doing from an SEO perspective. And I’ll also follow up with a short call with you to see how things went with that and provide a little bit of guidance. And of course, I want to make myself available to you for a free strategy consultation. Just click on the link in the email that will follow the webinar and book a time together.
And lastly, I’d like to invite you to join us for the next webinar in this series that will cover the important topic of ‘How To Maximize Your Lead Flow With Pay-Per-Click And Google Ads’. This will be on the first Friday in April, which is Friday, April 1 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time. I hope to see you there.
In the meantime, keep calm and market on.
Thanks for joining us today!