4 tips to improve your practice's SEO

2019 07 17 21 38 5149 Kalantari Mikaeya 400thumb

If you would have asked me about search engine optimization (SEO) on graduation from dental school, I probably would have given you a wide-eyed look and laughed. Whether out of nervousness or an attempt at deflection, laughter is my answer to any question that I can't answer. And I certainly could not have had a discussion about SEO nine years ago.

In fact, it wasn't until I began blogging for a hobby three years ago that I truly began understanding SEO and how important it was for practices. After realizing that every topic and question under the sun was covered and answered by the all-knowing Google, I realized that I needed to get to know this King of the Web a little better.

So what is this SEO that I keep referencing? It makes all the difference between you being seen online or being buried in the search results. Making it to the top of a search results page, especially without having to pay money for it, can truly take your dental practice to the next level.

4 tips

Mikaeya Kalantari, DDS.Mikaeya Kalantari, DDS.

So, how can you optimize your website and online content? To put it simply, it's all about keyword usage and content. Now, let's break it down a bit more, detailing four actionable steps that you can take to boost your own website's search engine rankings.

1. Use the right keywords

When writing about a certain topic on your website -- whether it be the services offered, financial information, or blog posts -- you need to pick a few keywords that you want to try and rank for in the search engines. Great keyword choices are specific yet return fewer results from Google.

For example, if you wanted to write content about teeth whitening on your website, "teeth whitening options at the dentist" is much more specific and gives you a higher chance of ranking, than just "teeth whitening." In this example, your keywords would be "teeth whitening," "options," and "dentist " in addition to the full, long-tail keyword phrase of "teeth whitening options at the dentist."

2. Disperse those keywords strategically

For best optimization, you will want to use your targeted keywords both within the title or page heading itself and also within the first few sentences of your content. In addition, you will want to use those keywords a few more times throughout your body of content. As a word of caution, there is such a thing as "keyword stuffing," and you should avoid overuse of your keywords to the point that your content does not flow well or make sense.

3. Be the resource

“Great keyword choices are specific yet return fewer results from Google.”

Search engines reward your site for being the answer to someone's question or curiosity. Therefore, not only must people click onto your site, but they also should be able to find the information they are looking for in regard to the keywords they typed in.

Search engines can tell if you are a good resource by both the quality of content on your page and the time spent on that page. If readers leave your page 10 seconds after landing there, Google knows they are likely not finding the answer they are looking for.

4. Know your competition

There is something to be said about knowing the competition that exists for your targeted keywords. You want to have website pages and blog content featuring keywords with lower competition. Assessing the competition comes from taking into account the number of search results for a particular keyword in combination with the quality of the websites at the top of the rankings.

In regard to the number of search results, anything under 1,000,000 is good but the lower the better. When you are evaluating the quality of the top-ranking websites, you want to ask yourself if you can realistically compete. For example, if Amazon or the American Dental Association appear at the top of the search for a particular set of keywords, it may not be realistic to expect that your website can compete.

To me, SEO is like putting together a very rewarding jigsaw puzzle. Sure there are lots of pieces, it can take a whole lot of time, and it can certainly get a little complicated, but the end result is so worth it. And with each new puzzle you complete, you get speedier and learn new tips and tricks. And as with most things in life, the only way to get started is to pick up the first piece.

Mikaeya Kalantari, DDS, is a pediatric dentist at Sunshine Smiles of Orange County and the author of the Color Your Health blog.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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