How to Leverage Google’s New Semantic Search for Your Dental Practice

use semantic search to improve your dental SEO

Back in 2014, Search Engine Journal published a great article detailing Google’s use of “semantic search” in its new algorithm update release – and the changes described in that article are becoming more important than ever for dentists and other small businesses as we move into 2017 and semantic search becomes more relevant every day.

We’ve got the details you’ll need to use semantic search to your dental practice’s advantage right here, and answers to all of your questions.

What is semantic search, anyway?

Semantic search is comprised of changes to Google’s algorithm that seek to mimic human speech and writing patterns to give search results pages a more human feel. Google first implemented it to help its users find answers to specific questions, but eBay and other online retailers quickly found ways to leverage it as yet another great SEO tool. If local businesses like dental practices are going to compete in 2017, they also need to be aware of semantic search and how to use it.

Google now considers the way users phrase search queries, as opposed to just the terms they use, in choosing what results to show them. The biggest impact of this we’ve seen so far is that Google often directly answers a customer’s question before giving other, more generic search results.

Businesses should keep in mind that Google also considers synonyms for search terms that its users type into its search bar – meaning that when you’re doing SEO keyword research, you should also think of a few synonyms for every important search term you try to use on your site.

Ways to use semantic search to help your dental practice:

  • Use it to supplement your SEO keyword knowledge and optimization.
    • When thinking of search terms potential dental clients in your area might use, also consider questions they might ask (“Where can I get my teeth whitened near me?”) and synonyms for keywords they might use – for example, don’t just use industry terms like “caps” and “veneers,” be aware that everyday Google users (especially those that use voice search) might say something simpler like “where/how can I get a chipped tooth fixed?”
  • Phrase statements on your site like answers to questions.
    • Because Google has a new focus on quickly and simply answering questions for its users, you should use statements and headings on your site that could form answers to potential questions.
      • For example: You can have a chipped tooth repaired at your local dentist.
      • Using these types of phrases in headings is especially useful.
  • Try to use natural-sounding language on your site.
    • The days of keyword-stuffing for success are over. Vary your language naturally and write on your site in the same way that you would speak to a client.
    • Remember to remain professional while trying to sound natural. Google and potential clients alike are still going to judge you on the quality of your site.