One of the biggest challenges you face in growing your dental practice is consistent new patient growth each month. This is important because the average annual value of a new patient is approximately $1,000 and the lifetime value can be $10,000 – $20,000.
Deciding which tactics to implement to reach your new patient goals is overwhelming – but it does not have to be.Even though there are many marketing options to choose from, one marketing tactic stands out from the rest that will consistently drive the highest volume of new patients at the lowest cost per lead ongoing and work for you 24/7 365 days a year.
Dental SEO Marketing
When your site ranks well organically in Google for hundreds of terms, you have the ability to drive new patients consistently month after month at a very low cost. And, organic search is always on 24 hours per day seven days per week 365 days per year – when pages on your site rank well people will find them day or night.
- Google is one of the first places new patients go to find dental services. With the penetration of smartphones, your new patients have access to information whenever they need it, searching from wherever they are.
- Consumer behavior has changed drastically in the last few years which affects how you do your dental marketing. Some studies assert that consumers check their phones 150 times per day, spend 3 hours or more on their phones, and almost 90% of consumers have their phones with them day or night. With that kind of access, you have to be where your new patients are – online and searching for information on mobile and desktop.
If you don’t appear well in Google’s organic search (well-meaning on the first page and above the fold), you are missing out on one of the best opportunities to grow your new patient leads. Google is the dominant search engine by a large margin on both desktop and mobile devices. (related post here about whether or not SEO is worth the effort).
The SEO Solution
To be successful at driving new patient leads month-after-month, a holistic SEO strategy implemented over the long-term and that leverages several tactics is required.
Content is critical to the success of a dental SEO marketing campaign and one of the first steps. When we talk about content, we are primarily referring to textual content (i.e. as new web pages), images or infographics, or video content.
Lots of quality content provides the opportunity for your dental website to show for hundreds of highly relevant queries in Google. Your target audience is searching for answers to their questions. If you don’t have content that answers those questions you have little hope of ever capturing that traffic organically – Google has no reason to show your website.
What this means is that an effective dental SEO strategy requires a website with rich content about all your practice areas and content that covers the most common questions new patients have.
As an example, if you provide dental implants as a service, having only one page with generic content that talks about this service are not going to have your site ranking well anytime soon.
However, instead if you produce several pages of content around the different types of dental implants, the implant process, implant costs, options, etc., now you are becoming more of an authority in Google’s eyes. Now you have the opportunity to capture organic searchers seeking information on all those topical areas.
Producing video content is very effective not only for SEO but overall dental marketing. Site visitors have different preferences for the type of content they want to see. Some people prefer to read or scan text; some prefer images and other video.
Video is also an engagement factor for SEO which can affect SEO rankings as well. In other words, Google knows if website visitors are interacting with the video on the page.
However, video is also good for branding, and for creating a more personal feel. Video customer testimonials of satisfied dental clients can be very powerful for converting more website visitors.
Overall, there’s more to marketing and ranking a page well for all the different dental phrases people search for, but content is the beginning of that process.
Real-World Dental SEO Example
We have a dental client that ranks very well for dental implants in Google in a large metro area. In a 28-day period, his practiced saw the following impressions and clicks for dental implant related queries:
- 456 clicks to his website
- 286 different types of dental implant queries that his dental website showed for in Google
Those are excellent numbers coming from Google organic. He did not pay directly for that traffic – that is SEO traffic from a long-term ongoing dental SEO campaign.
It is not hard to see the value here – at a minimum, a single implant lead is worth $1,500, and a larger implant case could go as high as $20,000 or more. This traffic is happening on his dental website month after month.
Also, consider how many different queries his site is ranking for – 256 different keyword phrases! Alternatively, if you had only one page with limited content talking about dental implants, how many dental implant related phrases will appear on your page? Not many.
However, just writing about your dental practice areas is not enough. Now think about all the questions your dental patients have and produce textual or video content around this.
Local SEO For Dentists
While content is key to getting your site ranking for dozens, if not hundreds of terms, having your dental website show in Google’s Local Pack requires a different marketing approach.
Google is showing the top 3 local results – we refer to this as a local pack. Local packs show three sites with their review rating, address, phone number, hours, and links to each website, and driving directions link.
Appearing here has to do more with geo signals, citations, your proximity to the center of the particular city, and your website’s domain authority, among other variables.
Citations are other websites that list your dental practice with the same NAP (name, address, and phone). For example, Yelp, Superpages, Yellowpages, your Facebook page are all citation sources for your dental office.
Google uses the consistency of NAP across dozens of websites as a trust signal that you are who you say you are. Google needs to have confidence in the websites they show in local packs and 3rd party citation sources are one of the most important.
If you have purchased an existing dental practice and any part of the NAP has changed (name, address, or phone), much work has to be done to update the dozens of citation sources throughout the web that has the old NAP information. (related posts here on local search for dentists, What Is Local SEO, and Local Search Engine Optimization Tips).
There are many technical aspects of a website that are also important. On-page markup, schema markup on particular pieces of information, server performance and site speed, sitemaps, creating content silos through internal link building, and more. For a deeper dive, read our post about How To Get Your Website On Google’s First Page.
Rounding It All Up
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, a holistic dental SEO strategy is the best approach to perform well. That does not mean that you cannot implement parts of this strategy and still have success because you can.
If you have a dental practice and need better dental website marketing and SEO – we can help. Call us or submit a form on our site for a free consultation or more information.