Plenty of dentists running their own practices think they don’t need SEO because almost all of their customers are locals, and many have been coming for years. However, SEO is a huge part of local marketing, too, and is useful both for bringing new customers in and for reminding regular clients who and where you are.
However, how do you create SEO for a local business? It’s a little different than doing the same for a large corporation, but many of the basic processes and resources are the same. To start, you’ll need a solid website and a professional, extensive social media presence, and a well-written and frequently updated blog for your site. If you need advice on how to optimize these and other properties for dentistry SEO, check out the rest of our blog.
There are plenty of more advanced tips detailing how to get the most out of local SEO, including some from a recent Forbes article on the subject. This article details some of the basics beyond creating your site, and has some great advice for dentists and other local businesspeople who are just branching out to include SEO in their local marketing plans.
The first piece of great, actionable SEO advice for dentists in the article tells you to either create or claim (if a customer or someone else has already created one) a business listing on all the major search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. This will allow you to show up in their map listings and will let them provide basic information such as your name, address, phone number, and office hours.
Make sure this information is correct and consistent across all accounts – those with the search engines and your own – and then expand further to claim your business on Yelp so that you can share basic information there as well, and respond to reviews if desired. Of course, customers can review you directly on Google and other search engines as well – you’ll have a wide array of reviews across a variety of properties by the time you’re done getting your business set up for SEO.
While posting fake reviews is unethical and against search engine rules (which could get you booted off their page permanently!), there are some ways to encourage customers to give you good reviews. The first is obviously to provide the best dental care and service you can, but here are a few more actionable tips:
- Remind customers to give you a review in person at your practice.
- Have a button linking to a major review property (Google or Yelp) directly on your website.
- Respond to negative reviews directly and publicly – don’t be defensive, but contrite, and most importantly you need to show that you’re fixing the problem.
Last but not least, you need a selection of good, attractive images on your site, because images attract more customers than words. That being said, you don’t want to have too many overly large images on a single page, as this can slow down the loading time of your page – which also impacts your search result ranking.
Like all of SEO, these things are a balancing act. It will take some trial and error or work with a professional SEO marketer for dentists to get everything right, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.