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SEO Tips for Orthodontists – Oral health, has been reported to have a significant link to your general health and may contribute to cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, endocarditis and pneumonia.
Meanwhile charcoal toothpaste, teeth whitening kits and mail-order braces are all trending right now. However, these products can’t replace the professional care and attention of a dentist or orthodontist. People are looking for real specialist to trust and create a beautiful, healthy smile.
At Blend Local Search Marketing we help you connect with more patients, grow your business and increase your profits. Implement these SEO tips for orthodontists or speak with us today.
If you run an orthodontic office, one of your constant needs is for new patients. As the economy slows, you can’t rely on patient or dentist referrals or compete on price with mail-order braces companies. So how do you find new patients?
- 90% of people are online and use search engines to find local businesses in their area.
- 93% of online experiences start by ‘Googling’.
With that being said, it is also true to say potential patients are using the same methods to find a local orthodontist.
We all use search engines every day, either on desktop or mobile to answer questions, find important information and local experts such as plumbers, pediatric dentists and orthodontists.
The single most important question to ask yourself right now is: Will local searches find your orthodontic practice when they use the keywords for your products and services?
If they don’t, if you are not visible in search engine result pages, you are losing out to your competitors and need to optimize your website and Google My Business listing.
Where and how do you start to SEO your website?
This post ‘Seo Tops for Orthodontists‘ is a great place to start. We will go through the key parts you need to know now to ensure you are not losing any more patients and your website is visible for the targeted keyword terms and phrases on Google.
The Evolution of Search
We will use Google as our primary search engine for reference through-out ‘SEO Tips for Orthodontists‘ as they currently have over 88% market share as opposed to Bing in 2nd place with a paltry 4.81%.
When we started Blend Local Search Marketing back in 2008, search looked very different than it does today.
Back then, a search result page consisted of 10 listings and maybe a couple of ads. Now there is a lot more competition competing for the same keywords and the results pages are a lot more complicated.
In the example below, I used the keyword term ‘Orthodontist Nashville’.
At the top of the page 3 ads are displayed (interesting to note, the first ad has additional links to the practice Contact and Doctors page)
Below the ads is what is known as in the local search marketing world is ‘The Snack Pack’. The snack pack now displays 3 Google My Business (GMB) listings and one ad.
Below the snack pack are 10 organic listings.
And finally, below the organic listings are more ads that demonstrate just how much competition there is out there vying to be seen on page one on Google. With 159 orthodontists in Nashville, they either have to pay to play or have a highly optimized website and GMB listing to claim this valuable real estate. (GMB listings may require payment in the near future). Competition is hot and getting hotter!
Another SEO tip for Orthodontists we recommend is to optimize local listings so you rank high in them, in this example on Yelp!
Choosing the Right Keywords and Phrases
People find web pages either by typing keywords or using voice search.
As an orthodontist, there is no benefit to your business showing up in search results for a ‘chiropractic’.
So what keywords should you rank for? The simple answer is, the keywords your potential patients are using to find an orthodontic office in your area.
- Orthodontist + [Location]
- Braces for kids
- Orthodontist near me
There are many permutations to the five keywords above alone, so start with these and build out writing down each phrase.
Next you need to validate your keyword list using a keyword research tool as some of the terms you have may not be used and have no search volume.
Using a keyword tool such as SEMRush, Ahrefs or Moz will also give you many other ideas to target and additional information such as:
- Search volume
- SEO difficulty
- Paid difficulty
- Click-through rates (CTR)
- Cost per click (CPC)
Back in the ‘old days’ stuffing keywords in your web pages used to get you ranked. Nowadays you’ll attract a Google penalty and possible have your site sandboxed. Google’s machine learning Rankbrain is pretty sophisticated core component of its algorithm and you don’t want to try to gain it. There are no magic bullets when it comes to SEO in 2019 and beyond.
Use your keywords sparingly, don’t write for the search engine, keep it natural and tailored for website visitors.
User Intent for Target Keywords
So by now you should have a keyword list and identified keywords with high volume and low competition. But not all keywords are created equally.
What is user intent?
Why does a user put a particular keyword in a search engine? We group keywords in to 4 groups.
- Navigational Keywords – using specific keywords to go straight to a desired page i.e. An online banking login page or your website homepage.
- Informational Keywords – as the name suggest, these are keyword phrases used when seeking an answer to a question. ‘What is orthodontic SEO’ or ‘How does Invisalign work’ are two such examples.
- Commercial Keywords – these ‘money’ keywords show us the searcher is further down the sales funnel and are nearly ready to part with their cash. They are narrowing down their choices and often look at 3rd party reviews. A term like ‘Best orthodontist in Nashville’ would be considered a commercial keyword.
- Transactional Keywords – The searcher using these keywords demonstrates they are ready to spend and are looking for the best deal. ‘cost of Invisalign’ ‘orthodontist in Nashville’ or ‘orthodontist near me’.
It’s an important SEO tip for orthodontists to understand the four stages of the user intent when targeting keywords to meet these goals.
To gain some insights of what searchers are looking for, put your keywords in to a Google search and see what results come up to gage user intent.
Google rewards quality website with higher rankings. Having high rankings in search engines equates to more site visitors.
An easy metric for Google to measure the relevance and quality of your site is how long people stay on it.
You can ensure your site visitors have a great user experience in a combination of ways. This starts with a good website structure.
Navigation – web pages should be accessible in no more than 3 click for best practice. If pages are buried and users can’t find what they are looking for, you’ll lose them as they bounce of your site to a competitor.
With a better URL structure, interlinking, titles and all round good user experience, visitors will spend longer on your site and go on to convert from visitors to patients. Google will also reward you for it with higher search rankings.
A sales funnel is a marketing concept that maps out the journey a customer goes through to take a desired action, e.g. schedule an appointment. The model uses a funnel or inverted pyramid as an analogy because a large number of potential customers may begin at the top-end of the sales process (awareness stage), but only a fraction of these people actually end up taking ‘Action’ i.e. making a purchase.
As a prospect passes through each stage of the funnel in your website, it signifies a deeper commitment to the end goal. All great business websites use this model to guide their marketing efforts to a satisfactory conclusion and a clear ‘Call to Action‘.
The 4 basic sales funnel stages are:
Site speed for both desktop and mobile devices is another ranking factor specified by Google. In fact, sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load have a high probability of losing visitors before they have even began. No one like a slow site.
To find your site speed, enter your website URL into Pingdom or Google Pagespeed Insights.
These tools will show you your site loading times and further information as to what you can do to improve the speed.
Other ways to improve your website site speed is to strip it of any clutter or unnecessary bells and whistles like:
- Codes, apps and plugins
- Host your site on a fast server with a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Compress all images to reduce the file size
- Host videos on YouTube, not the site.
- Use Googles Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP’s)
From our data, we now see orthodontists websites being viewed on mobile devices from 30% a few years ago to over 70% now. So it is imperative your website is mobile friendly and has prominent buttons to ‘click to call’ to increase conversions.
To check if your website is mobile friendly, google have a page where you can enter your website URL and get a detailed report to help you make it more responsive.
Your website should be built on a responsive mobile-friendly theme and shouldn’t be two different versions of itself for each platform.
Search engine bots crawl your site pages to figure out what it is about and use internal links to navigate and get around easier.
Most external links tend to go to blog pages but you can also link from your blog pages to a relevant service page too. This will help to pass some link-juice from the blog post to the service page and in turn help it to rank.
Internal linking also provides a better user experience for your site visitors.
For example, a site visitor reading about what they can eat while wearing braces can link to another page on a similar topic. This gives them easy access to further information on this topic and keeps them on your website longer.
Your bounce rate decreases and Google determines that your website provides value and consequently ranks it higher.
Optimizing for Local Search
The beauty of running an orthodontic practice is that most patients that visit your office will either live or work in the immediate locality, in short you are a ‘local business’.
Having a local business allows you to claim a number of additional web based properties outside of your website. These include Google My Business, Local Listings and Patient Reviews.
Google My Business
GMB is the single most important web pages besides your website to improve visibility of your business online.
As most people use Google to search for orthodontists in your area, claiming your free Google My Business listing is an indispensable, must-have asset.
When you have a well optimized GMB page, your business will show up on local searches and local maps. Furthermore, searchers can call you directly from the page, get directions to your office, check your opening hours and read patient reviews.
Claiming and optimizing GMB is a start but you also need to claim, clean and optimize other, core and health related business listings and ensure your Name, Address and Phone number (NAP’s) is consistent across the net.
You can check the consistency of your NAP’s across the net here.
Every listing helps to establish your orthodontic practice as a credible local business. It’s important to note that some listings carry more weight than others.
Examples of local listings you should appear in include:
- Bing Places for Business
Searching for an orthodontist online is not unlike booking a hotel online. We all search in Google, check out several websites and view the photos. The deal changer is nearly always 3rd party reviews by real people.
Without good and recent reviews by genuine patients, all your online marketing and SEO efforts can stall. Serious searchers are seeking validation by independent 3rd parties, so gaining new reviews is possibly the single most important aspect of running your business outside of straightening teeth.
Review signals also play a huge part in achieving higher rankings on GMB and local maps.
Create an office culture where all the team is geared up to getting patient reviews. Incentivise your team, and if needs be incentives patients with discounts or other ways to encourage them to leave a review.
Aim to get reviews on GMB, Facebook and Yelp. Also if budgets allow, paid services like Better Business Bureau (BBB) are generally worth the investment to build trust.
Evergreen Content Creation
Content is King! We have seen many changes to the SEO landscape over the last decade but one thing that is a constant is the need to publish expert, authoritative and trustworthy content regularly on your website.
Without useful content on your website, there’s next to no chance of appearing in search result pages.
Useful content can take on many forms including written articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, and slide-shares. A great website will have a mix of all these forms to engage with different kinds of website visitors. Some people love to read while others prefer to watch videos. By catering to all web visitors, you’ll keep them on your site longer.
Before you create content for your website, first choose the topic you are going to write about and the keyword you wish to rank for. Then research and find out what the pages that currently rank for those terms look like.
To rank above these pages you need to create high-quality content that will provide more value than what is currently available in the search results.
A high-quality information page should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. As an orthodontist, your reputation is also at stake. If you publish the wrong information on your website, it could lead to a loss of revenue or even personal harm for the reader. For this reason, Google refers to these pages in its search quality evaluator guidelines as ‘Your Money or Your Life Pages’ (YMYL).
Online medical information pages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition etc are YMYL pages that could possibly impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.
Recently, Google’s E.A.T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) algorithm update was nicknamed the ‘Medic Update’ as it specifically targeted health and medical sites to push for authoritative and accurate content.
To ensure your orthodontic blog complies with the E.A.T algorithm requirements:
- The author should demonstrate a high-level of expertise
- The website and author should have a high level of authoritativeness
- The website and author should have a high level of trustworthiness
From the outset, your web pages should set out to help, inform and be beneficial to users.
Another thing to take into account when creating content for your website or blog is the article length. Long form content that is authoritative and trustworthy always win out against short form, cookie-cutter content that is lacking in any credible resources.
Building Relevant and Trusted External Links
Every external link to your website is a vote of trust. When lots of sites link to yours, Google will notice, see it as a relevant page and rank it higher for the appropriate keywords.
Other people ultimately have the power to give you a backlink but if you are creating awesome content, you’ll get backlinks without asking. These kind of links are called editorial links.
More often than not taking action rather than being passive about getting backlinks will provide more link opportunities. We have to engage in activities that will attract more backlinks to your website. Here are some more SEO tips for orthodontists…
Link building if first and foremost the single most important activity ‘off-page’ for an SEO company.
Some of the activities we can engage in to build more tier 1 and 2 backlinks to your website include:
- Guest Blogging
- Answering questions in forums
- Participating in Local Events
- Getting published in Industry and Peer to Peer papers online
Guest blogging is a very effective strategy for building credible links back to your website.
As an orthodontist, reach out to a fellow orthodontist in a study group for example and write a blog post to their website and include a link in the copy back to your blog.
When you do this multiple times you’ll notice you start to reach a new and wider audience. You will increase your authority as an orthodontic expert and gain valuable backlinks.
If you love to write and want to get more patients online, then you will need to expand outside of your professional circle and write for other blogs as a guest blogger.
To find orthodontic related blogs to pitch your posts, simple Google one of the following terms:
Alternatively, reach out to local mom’s sites, schools,Patch and online community magazines and offer to write a post for them. This will also have the added benefit of building a ‘local link’.
Ideally, you should create the content yourself but if you need help writing hire a health writer. Always check and tweak their work before publishing to ensure all the detail are correct.
Answering Questions in Forums
Many people are online seeking out answers to their questions. Join forums on Linkedin, Quora and Reddit and search for orthodontic threads and questions.
As orthodontics is a specialist subject, by answering people questions and adding a link back to a relevant page or post on your website, you will soon increase your expert status and authority in the field.
Participating in Local Events
Community and local event are a great way to raise awareness of your orthodontic office and enhance your expert status.
Oftentimes, when you participate in a local event, a fun run, pool party or festival, the organisers will mention you in their local website while also providing a link back to your site.
This is another way of building strong local links so the community can get in touch with you.
Another great way to build local backlinks to your website is to sponsor local events. You’ll be boosting your community status and helping people out in many other ways.
Getting Published in Industry and Peer to Peer Papers Online
Having an article published in online industry magazines or in peer-to-peer papers is another way to build your authority and trustworthiness. The backlink from an industry or associate website will also carry a lot of weight which Google will like.
Measuring the Success of SEO on your Orthodontic Website
If you have taken up the advice and implemented the strategies we laid out in this post, your next step will be to measure the increase in site traffic and your visibility in search engine results pages.
Results from orthodontic SEO do not happen over night, but with consistent effort you will see positive results.
For a brand new site this can be 6 months at the very minimum to 24 months to see real beneficial and meaningful results. For a seasoned site, a lot less but your location and competition will also play a huge factor into your results and the time line.
The best way to evaluate your ROI is to track the number of keywords your website is ranking for and how many people contact you (conversions) from you website Appointment/Contact forms, calls or GMB.
Recommended tools to track your keyword rankings and to set up sales funnels is Google Analytics (free) or SEMRush (paid).
Organic Traffic Volume
Another way to track the progress of your SEO is also in Google Analytics. In Google Analytics you can check the number of organic site visitors from the search engines.
You’ll also have data on the number of visitors, returning visitors and the number of pages they have viewed and a whole lot more data to crunch and act on.
Most Valuable Pages
Another good metric to look at in Google Analytics is your most visited pages. Study these pages and work out why people are finding them or not finding them, whatever the case may be. Ask yourself if you can improve the pages further, implement the changes which could be adding more content, a video or graphics and then monitor further to see if these updates bring in even more page views.
SEO Tips for Orthodontists : Conclusion
Having an authoritative, trusted orthodontic website that shows up for all your important keywords and brings in new patients to your practise takes time and consistent effort… but it’s worth it!
You can follow these strategies we’ve outlined in this post to achieve your goals and achieve high search engine rankings and new patients walking in to your office.
If you don’t have the time, the patience or the tools to get the online results that will revolutionize your business and generate organic leads 24/7, then reach out to us today. This is what we do, we do it well and we can do it for you! Schedule a call with us today.
Indispensable SEO Tips for Orthodontists