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Search Engine Optimization For Dentists:
Dos and Don’ts

Taylor Reaume

Taylor Reaume
Founder of Search Engine Pros

From: Taylor Reaume, “The Life-Like Web Guy”

Every dental practice needs a professional website to advertise their services, but how do you make sure your potential customers find you online? That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. Get this right and your website will feature highly on search engine results pages, allowing new and existing patients to easily find your business online. With that in mind, here are the vital dos and don’ts of SEO.

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Search Engine Optimization Dos

To maximize your website’s success, follow these top SEO tips:

  • Do your keyword research. Use a tool like the Google Keyword Planner to find out what words and phrases your target customers are using in search engines. Select words that are relevant to your business yet have low competition from other sites.
  • Geo-localize. Select some keywords that are region-specific to your practice, that way you will reach customers in your local area. Ever since the Pigeon Update, Google rewards sites for having geographical relevance.
  • Use your keywords. Implement your keywords throughout your site, including in blog posts, navigation menus and landing pages. Make sure you do this naturally though, as overloading text with too much keyword stuffing will get you penalized by search engines.
  • Optimize your tags. Your focus keyword for each page should be used in the title tag and meta description, as well as sporadically throughout the text and ideally in at least one sub-heading.
  • Make your website scannable. Internet users have short attention spans, so make sure that your site is quick, clear and easy to use. This means making all your pages scannable. Paragraphs should be around 100 words long and divided into logical subsections. You can also break up text by using pictures, graphics and pull-quotes.
  • Optimize your images. Invest in high-quality images for your site with professional photography, infographics and charts. Optimize every image by adding alt tags that accurately describe the picture and include a relevant keyword. Always accredit images if you’re renting them, for example under a Creative Commons Licence from Flickr.
  • Create inspiring content. Fill your website with unique, entertaining and informative content that will rank in search engine results and keep patients coming back to your site for more.
  • Make it shareable. Make it easy for people to share your content by adding sharing icons to every page and post. There are plenty of plug-ins that will do this for you, such as Shareaholic.
  • Include links. Your content should include internal links to other relevant pages on your site, as this helps search engines to index your site and is useful for readers. To give your content authority, you should also link to high-quality external sites, but make sure the links are natural and relevant.
  • Be mobile-friendly. These days it’s essential that your site is mobile responsive and easy for customers to use on any device.
  • Focus on site navigation. Make it easy for your customers to find what they need on your site. This means having clear drop-down menus, a search box and basic breadcrumbs such as ‘previous’ and ‘next’ buttons. You should always have a prominent link back to your homepage.
  • Get social. Set up social media channels for your business and use them to distribute content, information and discounts to customers. Search engines reward companies that have a good social media presence by boosting their content on search engine results pages.
  • Analyze your website. Use Google Analytics to continually measure your site performance and find out how you can improve. Look at where your traffic is coming from and which keywords, pages and posts are pulling in customers.
  • Check your inbound links. Similarly, monitor your inbound links and disavow any that are from poor quality sites which may harm your search engine rankings.

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Search Engine Optimization Don’ts

If you want your website to have good SEO, follow these tips:

  • Don’t be misleading. Don’t be tempted to use article titles, keywords or tags that aren’t relevant to your content. Search engines are sophisticated enough to spot this tactic and will punish you for it.
  • Never cheat. Recreating, duplicating or plagiarizing content is not only ethically wrong, it also puts you at risk of being penalized by search engines and sued by other companies.
  • Don’t link to irrelevant sites. Linking to irrelevant sites will confuse search engines and make it hard for them to understand what your business is. It goes without saying you should avoid linking to gambling or adult content sites at all costs, as this can get your site blacklisted.
  • Don’t pay for backlinks. While it’s important to get backlinks from quality sites, don’t resort to paying for them. Instead, try to build a relationship with high-authority sites in your niche and gain backlinks by becoming a guest blogger, for example.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing. Using keywords is essential, but don’t overdo it as this can look spammy and harm your content rankings. Instead, try replacing some keywords with synonyms.
  • Don’t overload. Keep your site simple and easy to use, so avoid overloading pages with too much information and busy imagery.
  • Don’t make it difficult for mobile users. Make sure you don’t incorporate software that isn’t mobile friendly, such as Flash Animation.
  • Avoid bad tactics. Never resort to using link farms or forbidden tactics like hidden links, invisible text or doorway pages, this will negatively affect your page rankings.
  • Don’t produce poor content. The Google Panda update penalized sites with poor quality content, so make sure you put time, money and effort into creating great content. You should particularly avoid article spinning tools which simply reorder existing content.
  • Avoid clutter. Don’t clutter your website with too many images, large blocks of text, ads and links. Keep the design clean and simple with plenty of white space.
  • Avoid low-quality backlinks. Don’t rely on link directories or spam comment sections and forums for backlinks. Ever since the Google Penguin update, these links aren’t worth much and can make your business look spammy.

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Taylor Reaume

Taylor Reaume

“The Life-Like Web Guy”

Taylor Reaume is the Life-Like Webmaster and founder of Search Engine Pros, a multi-touch online marketing agency offering full service web strategy, including search engine optimization, pay per click and social media consulting.

Taylor started designing websites in 1998, and has built over 600 sites, and published 30,000+ pages of content on the web. As his web business grew, he started to offer SEO services, and became a local authority on SEO because word got around that one of the sites was getting over 200,000 unique visitors per month… which led to the sale of the site for six figures in 2007.

He resides in sunny Santa Barbara, CA and spends most of his days solving the world’s web related problems, dancing salsa and whitening his teeth.