SEO for Dentists and Physicians: The SEO Steps Explained

Published:  November 14, 2019
SEO for Dentists and Physicians: The SEO Steps Explained

SEO is crucial for the visibility of your website, but can often be confusing to navigate. In this video from Dr. Wank’s recent “SEO Q&A Office Hours” webinar, he goes over how the SEO process works, and the most important parts you need to know.

YouTube video


For quick reading, check out the transcript below.

So we're going to go now to question three. A very brief public service announcement, please make sure you own your Google Analytics account. Again, if you're a Short Hills client, you do. We have a client today who was working with another company and then was working with another company, which is fine. I think one of the things that makes us great at Short Hills is that you can work with whoever you want and if you use us for your website and you use, Tiffany at Empower Practice Consulting for your social media, we're happy to work with anyone and everyone to get you to succeed. I'm not going to tell you you have to work with only me and my team for everything you need. So I certainly do not want to take out wisdom teeth and I will certainly send you to the surgeons who do that every day who are much better at that than I am.

But for this client, all we wanted to do is look at the analytics data and just see what's going on because we were going to do a traffic versus messaging study because before we wanted to spend money on SEO, I wanted to see does he have a messaging problem or does he have a traffic problem? This company really gave us lip about giving them read-only access. Finally we got them to give read-only access to the owner, but they're not giving the owner dentist actually ownership of the account and that's frustrating for me because it is his website. It's his data. So please make sure your web company, if it's not us, please make sure that you actually do have ownership of that. Your company might flip out. It's kind of like when we ask for... Such and such is on the phone as and there's a request for records. But really it's just, you can say, "I was at a CE." Well sorry, you're not getting CE tonight everyone.

I was in a webinar and this guy who allegedly knows what he's talking about said that I need to have ownership. That's the story. So question three. What is the SEO process? There is so much mystery and questions about the SEO process all over Facebook, all over Dentaltown. Let's just go over this real quickly so we understand the process. Process one is a baseline audit. That is, I want to make sure that your website is up to speed and where it needs to be. Google has said, "Hey listen, here's a list of 200 factors that you need to perform in a certain way and you've got to be up to speed with those." So that's what you need as a foundation.

Think of your office. Doesn't matter if you're dentist, a physician, chiropractor, whatever you are. In order for your practice to be able to work with patients, you've got to have plumbing and electricity and your computer is up. I am not going to schedule appointments if you don't have electricity and your computer's up and running and all that good stuff. It doesn't make sense. So for me or anyone to implement an SEO campaign for you without making sure your website is structurally where it needs to be, that's, I don't want to call it SEO malpractice, but you want to make sure you have done everything you can to meet these ranking factors. Because if you don't have electricity, you're going to have a very hard time. You can certainly bring patients, you're just going to have a hard time with it.

So that's why an audit is important. Note that you can get a lot of free audits. will give you a free audit and some marketing people will send you audits and say, "Hello, Short Hills design. We see that you are not ranking for your top keywords. Please email us now. This is critical." I always want to write back, "Really? What are my top keywords? If you've done the keyword research for me, which takes a long time, which is why we charge what we charge, please do tell me what my keywords are." The answer, of course, is, "Well. I don't know." Or they'll send you an audit and say, "Look, your audit score is 62% and you're terrible."

The truth is, Google, and I posted about this on Dentaltown... Google Analytics will make Google's page speed throw an error. So there you go. Take that with a grain of salt. If you get one of those, ask me, ask someone you trust, post it anywhere. But don't take that as, oh my gosh, my existing web person, no matter who it is, is doing a terrible job. Because look, certainly, you ever put a crown in with a metal collar? I have. If someone looked at it and said, "Oh my God, your dentist did a terrible job." No, I didn't. I did a metal collar because it's number two and they don't run a toothbrush. We do a baseline audit to make sure that our effort is worth it.

Then we do keyword research and selection. This is the most critical part. Keyword research is, we say to you, the client, "Client, what are you trying to do?" I'm not going to walk up to you and say, "Hey, you're an endodontist, which means you must be doing apicos." Some endodontists don't do surgery or I might say that you only do retreats or whatever it is. I can't make that judgment. Only you can know what you do for your office. We give our clients a worksheet. It originally came from the Web Design Workbook for Dentists, still use the same one and it says, tell me about the services you do. Tell me about any well-known products that you use like your brand, like Invisalign or Cerec or things like that that people might know about and also what are your locations? Where do you want to optimize for? Because that's a totally separate issue for another day about, well, if I live in, let's say Short Hills, New Jersey, I could throw a baseball to Millburn, New Jersey.

It's hard to rank in both if my physical office is in Short Hills, Google doesn't really understand that I do get patients in Millburn even though it's a separate zip code. That research is key. We involve you, the client. If someone's doing SEO for you, you have to say to them, "Great, when you going to ask me what I do?" These reports, well look at your keywords. Who cares? Because again, if your keywords are not keywords that are relevant and if your keywords have low search volume, who cares. If I rank first for dentists who used to live near a Benihana because he thinks Benihana is delicious, I lived near the Benihana but it wasn't because it was delicious. I just happened to live there. That's great. And I'll rank first for that for the rest of my life. But no one's going to search for that.

So keyword research and selection. We do the research, we brainstorm ideas from what you've given us, and then we go to you and say, "Hey, listen, here are 50 candidate keywords that we have." In the case of the client where I only had 12 or 13 that I showed you, that's all that was there with volume. We looked at tons of combinations, cosmetic dentists in that area and dentures, everything. And it just, it wasn't there, there wasn't search volume, which sometimes is what it is. We do the research and then we say with you, "Okay, here are the keywords." For us, we range between 15 and 25 keywords. That's how we generally price at our SEO. But I want to say to you, "Hey, here's 15 keywords. These all apply?" Well, no, we don't do this. Yes, we don't do that. That's actually the name of a competing practice. Let's not do that.

We look at that and we pick the keywords again that have really the highest search volume because like we saw before, I'd rather rank, like we ranked with that client, I'd rather rank you in the top three for the three keywords that have the highest volume, then rank you first for the bottom 10. Along those lines, now let's say that we have... Let's actually go back for one second. Let's go back to this diagram, this chart, and if you see here, let's say we couldn't rank for these. We had a very hard time ranking for these because they're so competitive.

What I would do, and this would be in the initial SEO process, is I would probably go to this first to work hard here, but then I would put a second level effort into these. If I could rank first, I could still get then 10, 20, 30, 40, 50. So I might not be able to rank for these top three, but I can certainly at least try and rank well for these five here. Those are the long tails so that would at least get me something. In this case, we don't have to, but that's certainly something you might have to do if you're in a very competitive area.

So keyword implementation, I'll leave that for my video at implementation. But basically if we're going to optimize for cosmetic dentist, Short Hills, New Jersey, we're probably going to go to your cosmetic dentistry page and optimize that page for cosmetic dentist, Short Hills, New Jersey. Just because you think that, Oh, Invisalign Millburn is a great keyword, it might be, it might not be. Just because you might do a search for yourself, oh I searched for root canals Tribeca, New York and I didn't come up. Call the SEO fire department. I don't know. Don't because we might not be searching for that.

If people are searching for that and you don't rank, then you call the SEO fire department. Just because you think a keyword might work... I mean we had a client, there was a cosmetic dentist, that town. I would have bet you lots of money that that would've ranked. There was no search volume for that. It was cosmetic dentistry or something that ranked but not cosmetic dentist, which I was surprised.

So once the keywords are implemented, we go into reporting, which I'll talk about next. And then we go into conversion rate optimization. What conversion rate optimization is is great. So now we've got a hundred people a month coming to your website and everyone that goes to the home page, let's say we get a hundred people and 99 of them leave before going to anything else. So that means we're getting traffic, but whatever messaging you have on your website isn't working.

So at that point, that's when we say, hey, you know what? Let's take a look at messaging. Let's see what we can do. Let's let's do a heat map to see where people are clicking. Let's look at the data to see data evidence based marketing. Let's look at the data to see what are people doing on my website and how do I test to see, we can do split tests, to see what we can do better towards our goal. In this case, the goal would be, if that bounce rate is 99%, how can we get people to stay on that homepage more? That would be step number one.


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