Tips For Ranking Your Dental Practice in Australia

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Local SEO Guide for Dentists in Australia:

5 Steps to Rank #1

Competition for gaining a first-page ranking on Google is fierce in Australia. The numbers show that dentists are slowly losing out on their dental practice rankings for key search terms, so how can you set your practice apart from the competition and get more visibility? The answer is to implement a local SEO campaign following our proven step-by-step process: With this type of digital marketing strategy, we’ll integrate various tactics such as writing compelling content across all platforms including social media sites.

Follow the 5 steps we suggest, and your business will gain an edge over your local competitors.

Setting up a Local SEO for dentists’ strategy is critical and the Three Reasons Dentists Should Invest in Local SEO are explained below.

Reason #1. Google has replaced Yellow Pages

More and more patients are using search engines to find local businesses through their mobile phones, and desktop computers. Who has a phonebook in their home or office anymore? Here are the statistics, according to Google:

  • 20% of total search queries are looking for local businesses
  • 40% of mobile searches are looking for local businesses
  • 97% of consumers search for a local business online

Reason #2. Free Traffic (Consistently Every Month)

When you’re ranking at the top results for Google, you get free traffic and more potential free patients. SEO is truly one of the best marketing investments you can make for your dental practice.

Reason #3: Super Fast Results (compared to traditional search strategies)

Most people believe it can take from 6 months up to a year to gain a first-page Google ranking, but in specialized local markets, results typically occur faster. Most dentists aren’t following or implementing SEO best practices. As a result, when you are following the 5 steps we suggest, it’s not uncommon to gain first-page local rankings within a relatively short period of time.

Why You Need Local SEO For Your Australia Dental Practice

Here are our 5 keys to building a local strategic SEO campaign that can increase your exposure on the search engines, attracts new patients, and increase your ROI (return on investment).

Step 1. Keyword Research

Start by listing the services that your practice provides. This list may include fillings, permanent crowns, cleaning, extractions, and orthodontics. Inside the Google Ads platform,  enter each of your services in the Keyword Planner Tool to identify the keywords that people are traditionally using when they search for dental services.

Don’t worry that you will be required to advertise for those keywords… There’s no need to advertise on Google now. We’re only using Google’s free Keyword Tool to best identify the most common keywords for your Local SEO.

Focus on High Intent Keywords, First

There are 2 types of keywords that apply to dental practices:

  1. Phrases with high intent (the user is likely to make a decision soon)
  2. Phrases with research intent (the user is still in the looking phase)

Your primary focus should be on ranking for high-intent keywords because they usually signal that the person searching intends to take action relatively quickly. For example, a keyword like “teeth whitening dentist” indicates a high intent. These types of transactional keywords can be used to organize the homepage and structure your services pages.

Research intent keywords, just as they imply. are usually used only to gather information. For example, a search term like “teeth whitening at home” or “DIY for teeth whitening ” is not looking to hire a dentist. Similarly, a person searching “what is the cost of dental implants” may not be ready to actually visit a dentist yet — likely they are just gathering information.

Research intent keywords can be very useful too. Research intent keywords will play a secondary role in your SEO strategy because they can serve as a great topic for FAQ pages or articles. For example, a research intent keyword like “benefits of electric toothbrushes” or “cost of dental implants” can be turned into a blog article to gather information about your practice and place it in front of potential patients as they’re doing research. Those articles can come up in search thereby connecting patients to your dental website, and using strategic methods you can convert them into patients.

As a rule, you should first focus on optimizing your homepage and services pages for high-intent keywords. Then begin developing informational pages (blog articles, etc) focused around research intent keywords, bringing us to step 2…

Step 2. Keyword Optimization

There are 2 major types of pages you need to optimize. Your Google My Business page will offer the fastest improvement in your ranking. You will also need to optimize the key pages of your website (Services, FAQs, Etc).

Your Google My Business Page

Your Google My Business page is what shows up in the “Map” results for local dentist-related searches. A fully optimized Google My Business page plays a key role in your SEO strategy and delivers a persuasive introduction of your practice to prospective patients. Another benefit of optimizing your Google My Business page is that typically it’s faster and easier to get a Google My Business page ranking in Google versus your entire website. Google shows these map pages at the very top of the search results, usually, the first 3 results are your goal.

Here are some tips to do it right:

Verification

To make any edits to your profile page, you must first claim and verify your business page with Google. You may confirm that your profile has already been verified by logging into your dashboard and finding a checkmark with the word “Verified” next to your business name. If you haven’t verified your business, you’ll see a “Verify Now” prompt on your dashboard to start the process. If you see that you have multiple pages for the same location, you want to merge them so only one is displayed.

Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)

Use only the official name of your practice, and be sure to include your exact address; that’s how Google maps your location. When it comes to the phone number, use your local number (not an 800 number or tracking number) to strengthen your presence as a local business. It’s critical that you use consistent Name, Address, and Phone number  (NAP) information across your Google My Business page, your website, and any other pages or directory listings (including your Facebook page, Yellow Pages online listings, etc).

Categories

As per Google’s guidelines for local pages, each category should describe what your practice is, not what it does. For example, you could add a category that states “orthodontics”, but not “teeth straightening.” You want to include all of the relevant categories for your practice. Examples of available categories for dentists are Dentist, Cosmetic Dentist, Dental Clinic, Dental Implants Periodontist, Emergency Dental Service, Endodontist, and Pediatric Dentist. You want to pick the 3-5 categories that are most relevant to you based on the services you offer.

Description

In this step you will be introducing your business to potential patients, please make sure that your description is well-written and also spell-checked to eliminate any errors. The description of your practice should be written in a light conversational tone, and incorporate all of your keywords for your dental services and specialties.

An example format for a Google My Business description would be: {Name of Practice} offers quality {list dental services} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about the history of your practice, or why patients should choose you.} Call {Phone Number} today to schedule your appointment! Aim for about 100-200 words in length (standard).

Hours

Make sure the hours of operation posted on your local page (and your website) are always accurate. This is especially important if you have seasonal hours or are experimenting with being open earlier in the morning, late on a certain night, or on weekends.

Images

Google allows exterior and interior pictures, as well as your logo for your practice. Images increase engagement, they can also help patients find your location and help tell the story of your business (making a connection to compel patients to choose you). Make sure your images are clear and crisp, are sized between 10KB and 2MB, have a minimum resolution of 720px x 720px, and are well-lit. We also recommend replacing the generic Google My Business background image with a branded image for your practice.

Optimizing Your Website

On your website, the initial focus will be to optimize your “core pages” (homepage and service pages) to make them match up with the keywords that prospective patients are searching for. In particular, you’ll want to focus first on high intent keywords. Consistency across the web will ensure that your business looks professional and is compelling to prospective patients.

Homepage

The most important part to optimize on your homepage is your title tag (also called the page title). The title tag isn’t visible on the page, but it’s what appears at the top of the web browser (and it’s also the text in the blue underlined link in Google’s search results).

You can think of title tags of web pages as like the chapter titles in a book. The title tag of your homepage is the most important. You want to optimize it for your primary keyword.

What’s your primary keyword? Think about the most obvious keyword people would use for search when looking for a dentist in your area. An example of the primary keyword would be “Dentist in {Your City}”. You should brainstorm a list of keywords and then double-check them using Google’s Keyword Planner, making sure you are choosing keywords that prospective patients actually search for.

How do you write a title tag? An example title tag format is Dentist in {Your City} | {Name of Your Practice}. So, for example, if you’re a dentist in LA and your practice is Los Angeles Dental Group, your title tag might be Odin Dentist Office in Perth | Odin House Dental Surgery. You want to aim for 50-65 characters in length.

You also should draft a unique meta description for your homepage that highlights your multiple services. The meta description isn’t visible on the page, but it’s the text that Google shows below the blue underlined link in the search results. An example format for the meta description would be: {Name of Practice} offers quality {list dental services} in {Your City}. Call {Phone Number} today to schedule your appointment! So, for example, Odin Dental Clinic offers quality general and cosmetic dentistry in Perth. Call 213-XXX-XXXX to schedule your appointment! The meta description should be 100-150 characters in length.

You’ll also want to make sure that the visible headline of the page (known as the H1) includes a relevant keyword. Your headline should be descriptive but also concise and readable. For example, {Type of Dentistry} in {City, State}. For example Cosmetic Dentistry in Perth

In addition, you want to make sure that you have enough content on your homepage. You want a minimum of 400 words of copy and more closely 600-1100 words. The content on your homepage should provide background information about your entire practice, and describe your multiple services in a compelling and inviting way. Include your target keyword at least once in your body copy, and most importantly, make sure that your content reads naturally, is enticing, and encourages your prospective patients to contact you.

While there are some more adjustments that you can make to website content for our SEO purposes, these are the most important first steps.

Service Pages

A common mistake is to have a single “Services” page that just lists all of your services/specialties with a brief description for each one. We see this all the time. Instead, have separate pages for each of your dental services, whether it’s 5 or 25. By creating a separate, detailed page for each service, you have a better chance of showing Google that you are a resource in your industry.

For example, if you provide cosmetic dentistry and restorative dental procedures, then you need to have a separate page for each of those. You should also have secondary pages for the specific types of cosmetic dentistry that you offer (for example, teeth whitening, dental implants, etc). That way, you have specific, targeted pages for each of your individual services.

You need to optimize each of those pages as well for relevant keywords, following the same steps that we discussed on your homepage.

  • Title Tag
  • Meta Description
  • Header (H1)
  • Content

Important: each page of your website should have a unique title tag and meta description and unique content. If your pages have duplicate titles or meta descriptions or duplicate content, that can prevent your website from ranking higher in Google, as well as potentially cause a penalty.

Content Pages

After you’ve optimized all of your “core pages” (homepage and service pages), then it’s time to move on to creating additional content pages (which we refer to as “content assets.”) Those are supporting content pieces, such as videos, blogs, podcasts that are used to support your marketing goals and strategies.

The first step is to conduct keyword research (using Google’s Keyword Planner Tool) to identify relevant topics people are searching for. For example, if you provide dental implants, then you might find that people are searching “what is the cost of dental implants.” So you could then create a page/blog on your website explaining the cost of dental implants.

Where should you integrate these pages on your website?

One of the best ways to get started with content pages is to use a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on your website. Brainstorm all the questions you hear from prospective and current dental patients, as your staff what they are frequently asked as well. Chances are if patients are asking these questions, they research these in Google also. You can go as far as to create a page for each question-and-answer, linked from your main FAQ page. As a rule, each question-and-answer can be between 400 words to 1000 words (as much content as needed to answer the question).

Another good way to add content to your website is with a blog section. For blog posts, we recommend going more in-depth on the subject, with a word count anywhere from 600 words to several thousand words per post (for very detailed articles, just like the one you’re reading!)

For content pages, take the same optimization steps and follow the same guidelines as you did to optimize the homepage and the service pages, the structure is the same. Create a unique title tag and meta description (based on keywords) and make sure that the body content is well-written while integrating relevant keywords.

Step 3. Citations and Links

Optimizing your website and Google My Business page are the first steps you should take to increase your ranking on Google. In order to compete in an already competitive arena, you need to do more. Building citations and links are the next major step to separating yourself from your competition in your area.

Citations

Citations are other mentions of your practice elsewhere on the internet of your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP). You first want to include a citation for your practice on your own website, on your contact page, and additionally in the footer of your website.

Then, you want to build citations across the internet by getting them listed in other relevant directories. The most important directory listing first is your Google My Business page (Yay, we already did this one!), but there are literally hundreds of other business directories that you can get listed in, which will build more citations — and help your business rank higher in Google.

There are 3 main categories of directories that you want to list:

1. General, National Business Directories

A good start is to get listed in a major national business directory. For example, in the US, some of the top directories include Yelp.com, yellowpages.com, and citysearch.com. We also recommend setting up a Facebook page for your practice.

2. Industry-Specific Directories

You want to submit to dental and medical-specific directories, such as everydentist.com and implantdirectory.com. Some industry-specific directories may be free while others require payment. We recommend focusing on free directories initially. If you opt to get listed in paid directories, you should make sure that you are generating some website referral traffic from those directories (which you can track using Google Analytics).

3. Local Directories

Finally, you’ll also want to search for local business directories in your area. An example of a local directory would be your local Chamber of Commerce website.

Important: you’ll need to ensure that your business Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) information remains 100% consistent across all directories.

Back Links

By “links,” we mean hyperlinks pointing from another website to your website. These are also known as “inbound links.” Google places significant emphasis on what types of websites are linking to you. Links act as a recommendation of your website’s authority and relevance. As a rule, the more links that you have, the greater your website’s authority in Google and the higher your website can rank for competitive terms.

So, how can you build links to your website?

Directories

As mentioned above, we recommend submitting to general, dental, and local directories. Directories are helpful especially for Local SEO because they are a source for getting citations as well as links. Most directory listings will provide you with a link to your website, as well as a mention of your practice’s Name, Address, and Phone number. Do you see how important it is to be consistent since this information is being represented all across the internet?

Offline Relationships

Evaluate the offline relationships you’ve built, to see if you can gain links from those relationships. For example, perhaps you already have a referral relationship with other medical professionals, and you could link to each other’s website as a recommended resource on your respective website. If you’re a member of an association and you’re able to gain a link in that directory listing, or you’ve sponsored a local event or team and you’re able to gain a link as part of your sponsorship.

Competitor Research

Another step is to see which websites are linking to your competitor’s websites and see if you can get similar links as well. You can research what websites are linking to your competitors by looking up your competitors in a tool like Moz Open Site Explorer. This way, you may find additional directory opportunities or come across other ideas for how you can attract links to your website. Seeing what your competition is doing and copying their strategies is very common and helps to give a level playing field.

There are several other strategies for gaining links, but these tips give you a great start.

Step 4. Reviews

Reviews are another factor that can give you an edge over local competitors and potentially give you higher rankings on Google’s SERPs.

Focus on Google My Business Reviews

There are many places you can get reviews, including on Yelp.com and on medical sites like HealthGrades.com. We recommend focusing your attention on gaining positive reviews on your Google My Business page. Reach out to current and past patients asking for a positive review, and responding to their review will help

Getting reviews on your Google My Business page will help your Google My Business page rank higher, so you get more exposure to prospective patients. Plus, when prospective patients see all of your positive reviews, they’ll be more likely to contact you.

How to Get Reviews

What’s the secret to getting reviews from your patients? Well, first and foremost, you need to provide excellent services. That’s a given, then you need to ask patients to review you, and you need to make it easy for them.

One of the best ways to ask, and make it easy, is to send a “review request” via email or text, with a link to leave you a review on your Google My Business page.

How do you find your Google My Business page? Search in Google for your practice name and location, and your Google My Business preview will typically appear in the Google search results. (For example, you can find our Google My Business profile in Google by searching our company name and location: Odin House Dental in Perth ). Then click “Write a Review” to pull up the 5-star prompt, and copy down that link, and include it in the example email template below.

And then send an email like this: “If you have a moment, I’d love to get your feedback on our services. As you may know, many of our patients find us via Google. Would you please take a minute to post a review on Google? {Link to Google My Business profile} to help other patients like you find the right Dentist. Thank You!”

We recommend sending out review emails to all patients who haven’t already left you a review previously. Make this part of your ongoing business process, so you receive a steady stream of reviews on a regular basis.

Step 5. Tracking

Tracking is absolutely critical to the success of your SEO strategy To quote business genius Peter Drucker, “What’s measured, improves.”

Here are the 3 core metrics you want to track, and how you should track them.

A) Rankings

The first metric you’ll want to track is your keyword rankings. Generally, rankings are a metric you’ll want to check only once or twice per month.

One way to check is to use Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools). Your webmaster can install this for you, and then you’ll be able to see which keywords you’re ranking for in Google, as well as how many impressions and clicks each keyword is providing. (This is the tool we use when tracking rankings for our clients).

Or, you can use a paid tool like Rank Ranger. This tool will automatically update ranking reports for you across multiple keywords. The advantage of RankRanger is that it can also track your Google My Business rankings as well as your website rankings.

B) Traffic

Rankings aren’t everything. You’ll also want to track how much “traffic” you’re getting. By traffic, we mean website visitors.

The best way to track traffic is with Google Analytics. You’ll first need to install Google Analytics on every page of your website. Then, when you log into Google Analytics, you can see how much overall traffic you’re getting, how much traffic you’re receiving from Google, and which pages are receiving the most traffic, and how long they stay on page.

We recommend reviewing traffic stats on a monthly basis, and reviewing long-term trends, so you can see how your SEO traffic is growing over time.

C) Conversions

In addition to rankings and traffic, you’ll also want to track how many “conversions” you’re receiving from your SEO efforts. A “conversion” is a specific action you want your website visitor to take. For example, you may have a form on your website for patients to “Schedule An Appointment” or “Contact Us”. Conversion tracking is critical for determining how many new patients you receive from your marketing efforts.

With Google Analytics, you can set up Goal Tracking for that form, so you can track how many people are taking action. You then want to track how many conversions you’re receiving per month, and how many are coming from your SEO efforts.

Conclusion

When managed properly, a local SEO campaign can be one of the best marketing investments you can make for your dental practice. For best results, you need to approach SEO in a step-by-step fashion.

To recap, here are the 5 key steps you must take:
1. Keyword Research
2. Keyword Optimization
3. Citations and Links
4. Reviews
5. Tracking

Follow these steps to rank higher, generate more traffic, and attract more patients!

About Salterra Digital Services

Salterra was started in 2011 by Terry and Elisabeth Samuels; nothing fancy and nothing pretentious. Quality work at a fair price. Starting with a web design focus, they both quickly learned that while having an amazing website to highlight your business is a great start, marketing is intrinsically foundational for our clients. When several clients were not seeing results through the search efforts of other companies, Terry took it to the next level. While digging into SEO and marketing, he found something he was very passionate about. His inner geek pushed him to focus solely on the data and analytics side of the business while Elisabeth built on her creative and visual strength and expanded the design side. In the industry, it is not always common to have both designers and digital marketing so closely connected, but to them, it made perfect sense. Salterra’s World Headquarters is in Tempe Arizona

Terry and Elisabeth are the Hosts of Roundtable SEO Mastermind Series and SEO Spring Training Conference.

September 17, 2022|SEO|
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