As the eating and cooking habits of humans have been changing over centuries, our jaws have also been reducing in size, and now they aren’t big enough to accommodate all the teeth that we used to need to chew large pieces of raw meat and uncooked plants. Researchers at Harvard University in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology believe the smaller jaw size is because humans started “processing” food before eating it. For millions of Americans, modern human jaw size has caused numerous issues such as misaligned teeth and jaw that may interfere with their daily activities like eating or speaking. Now people need orthodontic treatment more than ever, but having a dental clinic doesn’t guarantee success or a large number of patients. At least 10,658 orthodontists offer the same services as you do, and for growing your business, you need to beat the competition and get more patients to your dental office.
According to data in 2020, 288.1 million people in the United States use the internet; that means 87.7% of the population is available online. Can you guess which website is the most popular in 2020? Google – the biggest search engine in the world. Your potential patients are searching for everything from coronavirus symptoms to the average price for braces. Back in the day, people used to make calls for recommendations on businesses, clinics, or orthodontists to visit, but now they open Google and search for information online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) will help your web pages appear in more search queries related to your practice, so you can have more website visitors who may use your services.
Online Visibility Starts with Your Website
Your site is where your prospects should land after searching on Google, so without any doubt, your orthodontic practice needs a professional website that will attract more patients. Without a website, you’ll lose the opportunity to beat your competitors online and get patients to your clinic. Without patients, there is no revenue, and businesses without revenue cannot exist. So if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to launch your orthodontic website.
1. Determine Which Keywords Your Prospects Are Using to Find You
Building a website and hoping to get more visitors, without learning how people search online, is like having a table of content in your book without numbering pages. You cannot hope that people will stumble upon the page they need, and similarly, you cannot leave it to luck for internet users to find you. To make the keyword research simple, you should think not only about what people need but why they need what they need. Most of the time, users don’t even know what they need, so their journey of finding you starts with searching for symptoms and issues they have regarding their teeth. Why does someone need an orthodontist?
The word “braces” is like the tip of the iceberg, and below it are “misaligned teeth” “crooked teeth,” “misaligned bite,” etc.
- To target searchers who are at the very beginning of discovering about the services you provide, you should choose keywords such as “how to treat misaligned bite” or “are crooked teeth bad for your health.”
- To target searchers who already know about the magic power of braces, you can include keywords such as “do braces affect jawline,” “do braces reduce symptoms of TMJ,” on your site.
- Finally, to target patients who have already decided to get braces and are looking for an orthodontist online, you will need to include local keywords on your site and appear in local queries similar to “orthodontist near me” – but we”ll explore local SEO later in this article.
You may ask, which prospects should you concentrate on bringing to your site? The answer is all of them, as there is no such thing as less or more important prospects, and bringing them to your site should be your priority. A successful SEO strategy aims to improve your website rankings in all relevant search queries, and targeting keywords that bring traffic will increase the number of your website visitors.
2. Google for Keyword Ideas
To get more keyword ideas related to your orthodontic practices, you can use Google search. The section “people also ask” can be a great keyword idea generator.
For even more ideas, scroll down to ‘searches related to.”
Although Google can provide you with some wonderful keyword ideas, the list is limited, and you don’t know how many users may come to your site using these keywords.
For more keyword ideas, you can visit Google Trends and type in the main keyword you wish to target, such as “braces.” The related queries section on the bottom right side will show you what users searching for “braces” are also searching for on Google.
And finally, check which keywords are the best to target according to the volume and keyword difficulty. A great tool to use is SEMrush, where you can see the average searches per month for each keyword. “How much does it cost to get braces” may bring 1900 users to a site per month, while “How much does it cost to get braces for kids” has 2900 monthly searches. Additionally, the competition to rank for “How much does it cost to get braces” is slightly higher, so you may expect more traffic from “How much does it cost to get braces for kids.” Selecting keywords to target depends on your target audience, goals, competitors, and SEO strategy.
After choosing the keywords, you need to include them in page titles, meta descriptions, subheadings, content, image titles, URLs, and links, so Google understands the context of your pages.
3. Create Content with Desired Keywords in It
Content that helps your prospects can do wonders for your online rankings. The more you write, the more queries you can target, which means you will increase the number of users coming to your site. Website visitors who find your content helpful may decide to stay and interact with the site, or even give you a call and schedule a consultation.
High-quality content showcases your knowledge in orthodontics and establishes you as an authoritative medical figure. Other websites may want to link to yours because of the helpful information. Backlinks make you a trustworthy website in Google’s eyes, and you’ll improve your positions in search queries. There is no reason for not benefiting from high-quality, relevant content, and writing more blog posts will allow you to include desired keywords on your pages and help your SEO.
4. Regularly Update Your Pages
The biggest search engine in the world wants to deliver the most relevant pages to users. Relevance is among the primary ranking factors for Google, and there are numerous ways to determine if a page is relevant to users’ needs or not. Sometimes a page has top positions in queries for years, but suddenly the ranking drops. The reason for losing a spot can be an algorithm update, but sometimes your site drops in ranking because Google doesn’t see it as fresh content. Something relevant in 2016 may not be relevant in 2020, especially in orthodontics, as the techniques continually advance. Changes in orthodontics shouldn’t mean getting rid of old blog posts, but updating them. Updating old content signals Google that your site is fresh and relevant. To keep the top positions on Google, you should optimize your old posts and update the outdated information, statistics, visuals, and call-to-action. It’s crucial to update the date of the post once you finish adding/removing sections in your content, or indicate that it has been updated.
“If you update a page significantly, also update the visible date (and time, if you display that). If desired, you can show two dates: when a page was originally published and when it was updated.” – Google
5. Local SEO for Getting More Patients
Some of your prospects type “how much do braces cost” in a search engine, while others, ready to walk into your office, type “orthodontist +location indicator” in a search engine. Location indicators can be “near me/nearby/around me/in + the name of the city” or any other location-related word. Local SEO may appear to be a little bit more complicated, as now Google needs to understand not only the relevance of your business to a searcher, but also the proximity. Luckily, Google is quite smart when it comes to selecting relevant businesses in the query, and to perform well in location-related searches, you need to invest in local SEO.
Add/Claim Your Business on Google My Business
To get started, add or claim your business on Google My Business.
- Type in the name of your clinic
- Choose “orthodontist” in category
- Add the location – the country, city, street address, postal code
- Add contact details such as your number and the website address
- Click Finish
To submit the verification business, you will need to claim the business and wait until the procedure is complete to see “verified” next to your listing. After Google verifies your business, add a description to your listing with the name of the city.
Your operation hours should be accurate to avoid patients coming to a closed office, which may cause negative reviews.
Add images to your listing, so it shows what your business looks like, and prospects know what to expect.
Include Local Keywords on Your Website
To optimize your site for location-related queries, include the name of the city in your title tag. Your meta description should briefly describe your primary services and include the name of the city. Additionally, create local content related to local medical events, local news, or answers to location-related questions. For instance, what’s the best running trails near Charleston, SC? – running helps reduce anxiety; managing anxiety helps reduce TMJ symptoms, so why don’t you recommend the best place to relieve stress to your audience?
Another step to improve your business’s online visibility is by listing your business in online directories – the technique is called citation-building and is useful for improving your local rankings. Some places to list your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP) are Facebook, Yelp, Healthgrades, Yellow Pages, and Yahoo Local.
Finally, ask your patients to review you online. Google uses review signals to rank businesses in local queries. Additionally, feedback shows others your business is credible, and they can trust your orthodontic services.
We hope with these tips, you can achieve top positions in relevant search queries, increase the traffic to your site, and get more patients for your orthodontic services.