Two Big Reasons External Links Matter to Dental SEO Marketing
External links, as explained in detail at Moz, are one of the single biggest factors determining where your site ranks on a SERP. If you want your dental clinic’s site to be the first thing potential clients see when they use Google or Yahoo to search for dentists in your area, external links are an absolute must.
In case you’re new to SEO, here’s a rundown of what external links are and how they work:
- If another site links to yours, this is considered an external link.
- Google’s (and the other search engines’) algorithms look at the number of external links to your site as votes, equivalent to those other sites vouching for your site.
- If you have a lot of votes – particularly votes from well-known, legitimate, high-traffic sites (because, yes, the search engines do look at the quality of the sites linking to yours!) – you’ll beat more of the competition on the SERPs.
- Also, external links provide you with another opportunity to reach potential clients – by attracting them to click on the links themselves and interact with your dental clinic via your dentistry website.
So there are two big ways external links help you:
- They help you rank higher on SERPs.
- They bring customers to you directly.
But how do you get these external links? In the old, wild-west days of SEO, it was easy (though often unethical): SEO marketers would write simple programs called “bots” that posted spam comments with links to a given site across thousands of blogs and web forums, or unscrupulous site owners would set up dummy sites consisting almost entirely of links to their main site.
However, things have changed now – and while they level the playing field a bit, they also make things harder.
The only links that really count for much nowadays are those from trusted, authoritative sites – and the more popular these sites are, the better. In fact, lots of spammy links from comments on blogs and in forums can actually hurt your site’s standings a great deal, or even get it kicked out of a search engine’s results entirely! That’s why it doesn’t pay to think short-term and carry out this kind of black hat SEO.
So how does a dentist ethically and effectively build a large catalogue of external links? There are a few things you could try:
- Directly contact dental blogs, other dentists, and dental industry groups and ask them for links or to write guest posts for their blogs.
- Write press releases relating to your dental practice and send them to internet news organizations.
- Create an amazing site and hope the links come naturally (though it may take a long, long time).
- Or, you could work with a professional SEO marketer who can carry out the first two tasks for you while brushing up on other important areas of your site’s SEO simultaneously.
The first two options, while effective, are highly work-intensive – and in an area that’s very different from dentistry, and may be distracting from the overall business of running a dental clinic. SEO marketers, however, can often be highly effective at carrying them out.