Type your practice’s name into Google’s search bar — does it ever pop to the top? It’s frustrating for every small business owner, when you’re not in the top slot, as that’s the one to get the most traffic, which research shows is about 92% of clicks.
Even the practice in second or third place will get a modicum of traffic, although not as much as the top one.
What’s driving this phenomenon?
“Search engine ranking,” as it’s known in web development, is the heart of this problem. Let’s look at each factor involved in this ranking process. You’ll have a better idea where the problems are with your site, so your team can make the appropriate adjustments.
The “Crawl” Factor
Search engines like Google will crawl and index web pages to create the search results.
Yours won’t pop to the top if the search engine doesn’t “understand” the content. If there’s a problem in how the website is not configured, or a broken link that disrupts this crawl, the search engine will have trouble.
By submitting a sitemap to Google, you can easily ensure the search engine can access and index your website. Also, making sure your website has solid, helpful content will help Google recognize the context, which enables rich snippets in search results.
The search engine — Google — seeks to answer a user’s search query, the question typed in the search bar. When you provide good, solid content on your web pages, you help to satisfy the search engine. For dentists, this involves explaining your procedures with multiple paragraphs of content that is understandable, factual, helpful, and engaging.
As a dentist, you are an expert in your field, a reputable source to answer patient search queries. As greater numbers of people begin relying on your content, Google will see that your content is useful — and that will improve your ranking.
When you create solid content, you must include relevant keywords — the words users type into the search bar. These keywords send signals to the search engines, so the keywords must appear in prominent places such as headlines, subheaders, title tags, meta descriptions, and alt tags — and throughout the copy. As a dentist, you will want separate pages for each procedure you offer.
Your website must load quickly, to satisfy today’s impatient web users. If it loads too slowly, you risk losing a new patient — and ranking lower in search results. You can check your page speed by using PageSpeed Insights, a tool that provides a score for both the desktop and mobile page speeds on your website.
Smartphone-friendly Web Design
Research shows, over 94 percent of all smartphone searches occur on Google. Google recognizes how important it is that users searching on their mobile phones have a web experience that was designed to look good on their devices. These mobile-friendly websites will rank higher in search results on mobile phones, and may also rank higher on desktop searches.
Mobile-friendly designs are critical to local searches for local businesses, like a dentist’s practice. These searches typically include the words “near me,” which indicates a potential sale of services — scheduling a dental appointment. Many people use their mobile phones to make these appointments.
Backlinks Build Your Authority
When another website adds a link to your dental practice website, it’s called a backlink. Backlinks help your practice stand out among your competitors — because it builds your authority in Google’s view. Of course, the backlink must come from a reputable site, to ensure your credibility as a trusted source.
Google My Business Profile
You can expand your web presence by creating a Google My Business profile. This profile will appear in the Google Knowledge Panel, on the right side of the screen in search results, also the Google Local Pack or Google Local Finder. This can greatly increase your ranking, as it gives Google confidence of your credibility.
It’s also critical to regularly update or add pages to your website, to keep the content relevant over time. Blogging consistently is a perfect SEO tactic for dentists that allows you to offer useful, factual information related to services your dental practice offers.
Climbing to the top of search results takes time. Google ranking factors have evolved over time to better serve their users. Also, a new website can take about six months to achieve good results.
Overwhelmed? Let us handle the details
Somnowell Marketing has a team in place to develop a website that will attract and convert prospective patients. Our professional web developers have worked with dental practices like yours that need a “refresh” and reinvention of their websites. If it’s been a few years since you last fine-tuned your site, you’re overdue for a refresh.
We can figure out how to best enhance your SEO keywords, your Google ranking, your site navigation, and your content. Your practice deserves a site that truly reflects the outstanding patient care you provide.