The most important part of any strong search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is to have relevant keywords (those terms your patients are searching for on Google) placed throughout your website’s content. But while this will certainly help search engines index and rank your site, improving its visibility in organic search results, there are other strategies to help improve SEO, optimize the return on investment (ROI) of your SEO campaign, and increase website traffic.
Building backlinks is one such strategy. Backlinking not only leads to more potential patients to your site; it also helps major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing rank your site higher. Those search engines will then place it among other sites with more importance and relevance.
What Are Backlinks and How Do They Work?
Backlinks are essentially links to your site from another location on the Internet, other than search engine results. For example, a blog post may mention your dental practice or blog and provide a link back to your website home page. A news article, press release or social media post may do the same.
The more backlinks that are created and found on reputable sources such as popular blogs, news and media sites and other well-ranked websites, the higher a search engine will rank your site. Strong backlinks can be a major factor to improve SEO—moving your site to the top of a search results page and helping it be found first before potential patients click on the website links of your competitors.
Using SEO with Backlinks
When another company, writer or article mentions your dental practice and links back to your site, there is little you can do to control what wording they use in the link. But your marketing team can certainly submit guest blog posts or social media updates across various platforms, with links back to your site that utilize particular SEO keywords.
For example, let’s say that you specialize in sedation dentistry. Your website content should undoubtedly have the key phrase “sedation dentistry” placed throughout. Your guest posts and other outside sources should do the same, as should the backlinks to your site. Keywords and key phrases in the actual link hold more ranking weight than just your dental practice’s name. Using your practice name as the link, or anything else not relevant to your major keywords, is doing your SEO campaign a disservice.
To improve the effectiveness of your backlinks, try to post them on sites related to your industry or the products and services you are providing. Just be wary of trying to spam other sites with links back to your own. It is always wise to ask permission before posting on another site. Press releases, message boards and microsites that you’ve created are also great sources for adding backlinks.