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.
How is your dental practice’s digital strategy working out? Are you paying a premium each month for SEO? It’s no surprise that time and hard work are required to reach the number one spot in search rankings, but you can boost your practice’s search presence right now! Here’s what you need to do:
Sign Up for Google My Business
Google My Business is Google’s free online directory. To see how it helps, do a Google search for dentist.
At the top of the page, you should see a few paid ads; below will be a map showing the dentists near you.
Google My Business is how Google receives updated information about the businesses on the map, including their website and phone number.
Get on Social Media
A social media presence boosts your search rankings. This increase comes from links you put on social media and from when your followers start sharing your links.
You only need a few minutes to set up a Twitter account and Facebook page, and you don’t need to invest much time maintaining them. Just make at least one post each day giving a piece of advice, announcing your new blog post or linking to a relevant news article.
Connect to Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is a free online application that tells you what to do next to boost your search rankings. When you sign up and submit your website, you will receive details about anything that prevents search engines from reading it and how to fix the issue.
Over time, Google Webmaster Tools will tell you which keywords searchers are using to find your website. If the application discovers a keyword that’s missing or not doing well, it will suggest that you focus your SEO efforts on that keyword.
Reaching near the top of search rankings is easy, but taking over the number one spot, or even being at the top of page, is highly competitive. Many businesses know that searchers are almost 10 times more likely to click the number one result than the results on the bottom half of the page.