Yes. You can 100% do you own SEO. Whether you are a dentist, a physician, attorney, or other service professional it can be done. It's simply a matter of taking the time to learn the concepts, the tools and how to interpret the data. The bigger question for you to answer is whether or not your time is better spent building your practice and performing profitable procedures, vs. running your own SEO campaign.
For example, we offer SEO campaigns starting at $6,000 per year, and our clients' return on their investment in production almost always outweighs the cost of hiring us to provide the service. That being said, if you are a do-it-yourself type or you're just curious how we run an SEO campaign, please read on!
In this post we're going to talk about Traditional SEO for Dentists and other professional service providers, as Local SEO is a different beast. Recall that "Local Search" or "Local SEO" is aimed at optimizing and building content around your Google My Business listing, whereas "Traditional" SEO is about getting your web pages ranked in Google's organic search listings.
As with any SEO campaign, whether you are doing yourself or we are doing dental SEO for you, you can break down the process into a number of steps.
Before you do anything you need to make sure that you have Google Analytics 4 installed on your website and configured. (If you'd like to learn more about Google Analytics 4 and get CE credit, you can see Dr. Wank's GA4 CE course on Dentaltown.com). Once you have Google Analytics 4 installed, make sure you setup conversion tracking including form completions and ideally phone calls. Due to the nature of dental/medical practices and HIPAA, you should have HIPAA-compliant call tracking (if you choose to do call tracking). Dr. Wank's other company, PPCDentist, offers HIPAA-compliant call tracking under the CallOwl.io brand, starting at only $99/mo. CallOwl is company-agnostic so even if you have an existing marketing company, you can use the service to truly evaluate the ROI of your marketing camapaigns.
Note: do NOT skip this GA4 and conversion tracking step. The only way for you to determine if your marketing efforts (SEO, PPC, direct mail, etc.) is by having the proper tracking in place. We are available If you need a service to help you setup and configure GA4 for your practice.
You must have a website that's structured properly and built to Google standards in order to do well with an SEO Campaign. Of course if you are the only one trying to rank as a dentist within a thousand-mile radius then it doesn't matter what your website looks like or is built like since you're the only game in town. But for everyone else, it makes sense to do a technical audit to make sure that you are getting most of the structural things correct on your website. One of the first things we do when we take on a new SEO client is a structural audit, as we don't want to produce great content that doesn't rank because the site is missing an SSL certificate or too slow vs. the competitors to rank.
This technical audit should include an off-site evaluation as well as an on-site evaluation of your website.
Keyword research for professional service websites can be broken down into keyword research for existing pages, and keyword research for potential new pages.
For existing pages you want to determine what if any of your existing pages rank well for a particular (relevant) keyword. And if they do rank well (e.g. position 15 or better), then it makes sense to spend some time to try to boost that page's ranking before starting to add new content. Remember, it's easier to improve with a page that Google already knows about vs. a brand-new page.
For new pages or new keywords, you want to run what's called a keyword gap analysis. The idea is that you take a list of your competitors and compare the keywords that your competitors' websites rank for vs. they keywords that your website doesn't rank for (hence the gap). In this manner you can start to see what keywords you are missing out on, and get an idea of potential keywords to use for building out your content.
Remember, the best keywords are the ones that have the highest volume and the lowest competition. Of course these types of keywords can be difficult to find, but they are out there.
Once you know what keywords you want to target, your next step is to build out content. If, for example, you have a "dental implants" page that ranks 9th, you want to look at the pages that rank ahead of you and see what they have that you don't have. Is it the number of words? It is video? Images? With this information you can start to adjust your page in a way that mirrors what the pages that ahead of you are doing (and successfully ranking).
For the new keywords, you want to start writing content around the topic. Remember, "dental implants" and "dental implant" are the same keyword as far as Google is concerned, but a more important issue is to look at search intent. Before you start writing your new content, do a Google search for the keyword and see what type of page is ranking as that's the type of page you want to rwite (Is it a service page? Is it a "top 10 list" page?). If the top pages that rank for "dental implants" in your area are all top ten list types of articles, then that's what you need to do as well in order to compete.
You also want to learn how to write SEO-ready content. The greatest content in the world can fall flat on its face if it's not structured in a way that's friendly to your visitors -- and to Google. Learn why you need to have proper heading tags and how to properly place them in your content.
Just because you think you know what people are searching for, you shouldn't spend time and effort building around these keyword/s unless you know there's actual search volume.
Here's the fun part. The most important KPIs (key performance indicators) you need to track in order to evaluate the success of your SEO campaign are the a) number of new patients you are getting, and the b) production you generate from these patients.
It doesn't matter how many pageviews your website receives or how many keywords you rank for; what matters is how much production did you bring in from your marketing efforts, and are your marketing efforts bringing in money, or costing you money?
If you'd like to learn more about our SEO services you can send us a contact request.