Why SEO is Important to Your Dental Practice
80% of websites are found through search engines.
After a hand injury ended Dr. Hirschinger's dental career, he started DDS.com to help dentists grow their practices through their website, because he loves dentistry and technology. Your website is as essential to your presence in the world of cyberspace as your office is in the physical world. Just as your office must employ up-to-date technology to provide the latest treatment options, so must your website utilize up-to-date technology to serve the information needs of existing patients, and bring in new patients. Both the online and physical realms are important elements of the modern dental practice. SEO helps bridge the gap between the two worlds by helping bring new dental patients into your practice.
The old saying in real estate of "location, location, location" is true in cyberspace as well as in the physical space. The goal of optimizing a website is to have one of your web pages appear on the first page of the search results when a user does a search for your services. The first search engine results page is important because over 90% of the traffic from search engines comes from the first page. Just as a dental office located on a busy street corner benefits from the street traffic, so does a page from your dental website benefit from the "click" traffic from search engines.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
is the practice of improving the functionality and effectiveness of a system or design, given a set of constraints. Search engine optimization,
is the process of building or changing your dental website so that your website will be found on the search results page when someone performs a search for a keyword or keyword phrase found on your website. The largest search engines are Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Bing, who comprise over 95% of all online searches, and whose formulas, or algorithms, for ranking a page on the search results are closely guarded trade secrets. While individual pages are optimized for search engines, website architecture and navigation are also important, and one cannot overlook the importance of aesthetics for the benefit of users as well. Effective dental website SEO requires an understanding of both the technical and the aesthetic aspects of website development and design.
How SEO Works
The SEO Process
The general process of optimizing a dental website comprises both on-site
factors. The first and most important on-site factor is relevant page content. The search engines desire that their website users find the most relevant search results possible. This means they reward the web pages with the most relevant content higher in the search results, given they are able to first find and identify such content.
The major off-site factor for the SEO of dental websites is hyperlinks. Websites are written in a language that is invisible on the actual web page, called HyperText Markup Language, or HTML. This language allows text or an image to "link" to another page anywhere on the Internet. With all else being equal, gathering links to a page on your dental website from other relevant websites will generally help your ability to rank higher in the search results. However, not all links are good. Sometimes your site can be punished for linking to what the search engines determine as bad websites, which can hurt your website's rankings.
The best links are "earned," rather than bought. A link from a quality website is best gained by websites that believe your practice website provides content that is valuable to them. Links from directory sites or purchased links are easily obtained, and therefore are valued less by the search engines. Gaining links from trusted websites is an important factor in elevating a dental website's rankings in the search results.
SEO for a dental website is not as mentally challenging as practicing dentistry, but it is a time consuming process, because, as mentioned above, SEO is an ongoing process, rather than a one-time event. Proper SEO is similar to tuning an engine, changing the tires, and modifying body panels on a racecar while the car is in motion on the track. The reason is that the search engines are constantly modifying their ranking algorithms, and your competitors are also optimizing their sites. So SEO requires constant attention and vigilance, and is usually performed by an experienced search engine optimizer.
Learn more about DDS.com Dental SEO Services
for information about DDS.com Dental SEO Services