SEO for Dentists Ain’t Rocket Surgery

Eight Secrets to SEO Success

Many techies take great pride in making people feel stupid. Well, I’ve never enjoyed feeling like an idiot, and I suspect that my current and future client dentists feel the same. I did not start my career as a technological guru; I am not a self-proclaimed Internet maven. I’m a copywriter. My kind has been around for centuries.

However, copywriters no longer use scrolls and inkwells. As a dental marketing copywriter, I rarely use print at all. Today’s media is online. My feather pen is a keyboard; my paper is a screen. It takes training, skill, and experience to be a good dentist, and the same is true of copywriters. So you and I are similar in a few ways, it seems. We don’t like to feel like idiots, and we both have respected skill sets.

Now let’s look at techies. Most are self-taught, which is commendable – IF their knowledge is based on facts and IF they update their expertise as often as Google makes algorithm changes. That said, a techie is not smarter or better than you or me. They just have different knowledge. In some cases, they leverage that knowledge in a way that makes them look smart – and smart assed, as well.

I’ve worked with these little Napoleons for some time, and I’m here to tell you, Mr. Dentist, they are certainly no smarter than we. In fact, I know their secrets, and it ain’t rocket surgery.

1) A website should have good metadata.
To find out what your meta keywords, description, and title tags are, go to your browser and find the source code. In Firefox, choose the upper left box on the screen – it’s orange and says “Firefox.” From the dropdown menu, select “Web Developer” then “View Page Source.” A page of code will open in a new window. Near the top of the code, you should see these terms, followed by text: Title, Description, Keywords. While some techies will say that you don’t need keywords, they are wrong. Google, which owns 65% of the search engine market does not read meta keywords; Yahoo and Bing do. Sure, you want to please Google first, but why not rank high on Yahoo and Bing, as well? Make sure that your keywords are separated by commas and spelled correctly. Make sure that your title and description are interesting, keyword rich, and spelled correctly. Techies are not known for their spelling abilities.

2) A website must have original content.
I’ve quoted Google before, but in short, any text on your website that’s also on one or more other sites will bring down the overall value of your website to search engines. All text should be original, accurate, keyword rich, and expert-driven.

3) Website content must be “live,” not embedded in flash or design elements.
If you cannot highlight text on your website, the text is not live. This means search engines view the words as an image file, not as text – so they don’t read the words as content that factors into rankings.

4) Website text should have keywords, headers, and bolded, and italicized text.
Keywords and keyword phrases are terms that your potential patients would type into a search to find a dental office with your services, location, technology, etc. Keywords should be embedded in your original text, and in headers and links. Header tags, in code-speak, are H-tags. Headers can be tagged as 1, most important, then 2,3,4, and so on. Bolding or italicizing important words places more value on them to search engine spiders.

5) A website should have internal, external, and incoming links.
Incoming links are awesome for a website’s search rankings, particularly if they come from high-traffic sites in the same industry. For instance, a link from the ADA website to yours would help your website rank higher. Google would be impressed that a site like ADA would link to yours. In this way, SEO is kind of about who you know. However, your blog and secondary website can include links to pages on your main website – this helps, too. Another opportunity for incoming links is presented when you write blog posts or articles for other websites to use. Oh, and don’t forget to include your website link on everything – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, HealthGrades, Yelp, Yahoo Places, Google Places, and directories. DO NOT BUY LINKS. That covers incoming links. Internal links are links in your website to other pages on the same site. They should be embedded in related text; for instance, “smile makeover” might link to your veneers page. External links are links from your site to other websites – like the American Heart Association or an oral surgeon. While these links are more important to the recipient, they offer a tiny bit of benefit to your website.

6) The more original content a website offers, the greater its value with search engines.

Google is an online encyclopedia of seemingly unlimited information. Your dental practice is valuable to Google only because of the content you add to its library. Good, valuable, original website content is valuable, so your site will gain more respect from search engines and, thus, rank higher. A ton of great content increases your overall value.

7)      XML sitemap: Your site needs a sitemap to help search engine spiders quickly and efficiently crawl your site. In all honesty, this is one thing that may require a techie. You can generate the sitemap from a free generator, but then it has to be added to your root directory. Unless you just want to learn all the gory details, hire someone to do it for you!

8)      Flash banners aren’t good: In the past, banners made with Flash were trendy and cool. They added motion to a website and could look pretty awesome. However, search engines spiders can’t read Flash files. A website that opened with a “splash” page of Flash, but had no original, live text, was doomed because the homepage is the most important page in search. Today, developers know more about how to use Flash strategically. We also have alternatives to Flash, HTML5 and jQuery plugins that can be read by spiders (and seen on iPhones).

If you are a dentist in need of a website, partner with a company that understands Internet marketing for dentists. Call or email Modern Dental Practice Marketing today. Not only do we understand your market, target audience, and industry, we have a track record of success. I’m Jill Duty, COO. My partner, Jill Nastasia, CEO, and I personally accept all incoming calls. We’re happy to answer your questions, go over options, and help you find the right website solution for your practice’s current needs.