The days of using a phone book to find an orthodontist are long gone. Today, finding an office near you is as simple as opening a search engine.
However, if you want to ensure that customers find your orthodontic practice online, you'll first have to implement SEO, or search engine optimization.
SEO involves optimizing your website so that it appears highly in search engine results and allows patients to find you. Consumers who search online for businesses typically narrow their choices to the first few listings in search results, and the ranking of those search results depends on your site's SEO.
If you want your practice to gain the most possible visitors online, you’ll need to improve your marketing efforts. And that starts with improving your SEO.
Call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about SEO plans from WebFX, or keep reading to learn more about how you can start using SEO to attract more visitors and patients.
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What is SEO?
Search engine optimization involves improving or optimizing your website for search engines to ensure your site ranks as high as possible. At the most basic level, this involves adding certain words and phrases that people are searching for— called keywords—to your content.
But search engines use much more than just relevant keywords to determine where websites rank for any given search. They also consider factors like how quickly your website loads, whether or not it is mobile-friendly, how long visitors stay on your site, the number of links directed at your pages, and so on. This means that optimizing your site requires much more than putting words on a page.
Additionally, SEO becomes more complex when you consider that all of your competitors are implementing it as well. Every other office in your area is researching keywords, acquiring online publicity, and creating content that’s relevant to prospective patients.
Not to mention, the right keywords depend on the type of user you want to reach. People don’t just search for orthodontists—they search for orthodontists in a particular area or that perform particular services. Your SEO strategy needs to target the individuals looking for these specific criteria, which you can do with long tail keywords, like, "orthodontists in [your city]."
In short, SEO is an ongoing process that has the potential to be complex and time-consuming. However, the results are absolutely worth it, as we’ll explain next.
What are the benefits of SEO for orthodontists?
The biggest benefit from SEO is the ability to rank higher in search engine results pages. The higher you rank, the more clicks you will get from people who are searching for orthodontists online. Because a vast majority of people choose to click on the first few search results, it pays off to occupy the top spots for relevant searches.
Here are just a few reasons why search engine rankings—and, consequently, SEO—should matter to you:
You’ll get more website visitors
90 percent of clicks on the first page of search results are on organic listings, and more than half of those clicks go to the first three results for any given query.
The higher your site’s ranking, the more visitors it will attract. And with more visitors, you’ll get better opportunities to convert the people browsing your website into patients.
SEO costs less than other methods
SEO isn’t free, but it’s significantly less expensive than paid search, display ads, and many other marketing techniques. Given the traffic that comes into high-ranking sites, your practice could generate more leads with a smaller financial investment.
Not to mention that you likely make the money back that you spend on SEO, from the patients you attract.
SEO offers better targeting
Right now, you may be using broad keywords on your website like “orthodontist” or “braces.” By utilizing SEO, you’ll be able to better target the people who are looking for services in your specific area. This may involve updating your keywords to something like “orthodontist in [your city],” or “where to get braces in [your state].”
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What can orthodontists do to boost their website rankings?
Now that you know why SEO for orthodontists is so important, you need to start implementing it. Search engine visibility doesn’t happen overnight, and even after you’ve achieved your goals, you’ll need to keep working to maintain your standing.
Try out some of these helpful tips to get started with SEO on your website:
Use sensible URLs
Search engines don’t know what to do with random strings of numbers and letters. If your URLs (that is, the addresses of your pages) don’t contain the words and phrases you want to rank for, you’re missing out on a great SEO opportunity. Check each URL in your website and make sure they clearly explain what the page includes.
For instance, your “About Us” page should be named something like "about-us.html." But if you write a page about the importance of dental care, it should be something like "why-dental-care-matters.html." Both of these URLs ensure that the user (and search engines) know exactly what they'll find on that specific page.
On the other hand, stuffing your URL with too many keywords can hurt your rankings because it makes your website appear spammy. For example, "why-kids-need-braces.html" is an acceptable URL. But "kids-braces-dallas-austin-texas-dental-care.html" is considered “keyword stuffed,” and may actually hurt your rankings. Not to mention, it doesn't sound like a natural phrase.
Start an optometry blog
Of course, you want people to come to your office to take care of their orthodontic needs. That doesn’t mean you can’t provide some free advice before their first visit.
One way to attract new patients who are searching online and showcase your expertise in your industry, is to create content that educates them.
If you don’t know what to write about, consider answering patients’ questions about dental health and hygiene. You’ll gain the trust of new patients, and the large amount of content on your website will catch the attention of search engines.
Since blog posts typically include a high number of keywords, and you’re likely to write them into your content without even thinking about it, they can offer a huge boost to your SEO.
An added benefit of having a blog on your website is that they are easily shareable on social media. You can simply share the link and your blog can be circulated among your friends, followers, and beyond.
Leverage local SEO
Nobody wants to travel far for orthodontic services, so they’ll narrow their search to local professionals. To be seen by these prospects, make sure your SEO strategy includes local SEO.
Use your town and nearby towns as keywords in your copy, meta descriptions, or even in your domain name and page titles, if it makes sense to do so.
Also, get your site listed in local directories like Google Maps and Yelp. This helps prospective patients find your practice, which will eventually bring them to your website.
Build links to your optometry website
Search engines consider the trustworthiness of a website when ranking it for relevance. That’s why link building is an important part of SEO.
When other people add links to your site, it’s a signal to search engines that you have content worth linking, and that your site is trusted by them. This can help improve your rankings dramatically.
Acquiring links takes time, though. Unless you are actively asking other website owners for links, you’ll need to create compelling content that people naturally want to link. In the meantime, try to add internal links so visitors can quickly travel from one page of your site to another, building up page views and rankings along the way.
Want to speak with an expert? Call us at 888-601-5359
Start your orthodontic SEO strategy today
WebFX understands the competitive nature of your industry, and we have professionals who know how to make you stand out in the crowd.
If you don’t think you’ll have the time to optimize your site for searches, we can help!
Contact us today for a free quote and to learn how we can implement SEO for your orthodontic website!