Establishing a website for your dental practice is a great way to reach out to existing patients with contact information, hours of operation, and other details, but a website’s real value lies in its ability to attract new customers. Still, a website with no visitors is like a tree falling in an empty forest: if no one is there to notice it, it may as well not exist. Whether you’re building a website yourself or you’re hiring an agency to create the site, you’ll want to make sure that your site is designed with search engine optimization in mind from the beginning.
Optimizing your website is a matter of ensuring that effective keywords appear in all the right places. Once you’ve performed keyword research and identified both primary keywords (high traffic) and secondary keywords (lower traffic, usually long-tail) that you’d like to rank for, you can start including them in the following areas of your website:
Page Title Tags
-The <title> tag of each page is an essential part of search optimization. The text inside your Title tag should begin with the primary keyword(s) you’re targeting for that page and should also include your location – for example: “Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry Houston, TX”. You can include more than one keyword, but keep it under 70 characters, as search engines such as Google won’t display any more than that.
-The body copy—the primary written content—of a page should also include keywords. Since you have much more room for content in the body copy, you should also include some secondary keywords in addition to your primary keywords. Don’t let your keywords get in the way of good content: while you may be trying to impress the search engines by including keywords, remember that humans are ultimately the ones who pick up the phone to schedule an appointment. Your content should always flow naturally without sounding “spammy” due to excessive keyword use.
-Each page should include an <h1> tag, containing the primary keyword you’re targeting for that page. These are called header tags and they’re used to create semantic structure for the page; <h1> is the primary headline of the page, <h2> is a subheading, <h3> is a sub-subheading, and so on, down to the <h6> tag. You may also derive some value from including keywords in <h2> and <h3> tags, but be sure that your structure makes sense to human viewers.
Internal Linking Structure
-Ensure that your pages are linked to each other by using a strong linking structure. None of your primary services pages on your website should be more than one click away from your homepage. Anchor text—the clickable text, usually underlined, that signifies a link—should be optimized for specific keywords. For instance, if you want a specific page to rank for a certain long-tail keyword, try linking to that page from other pages on your site using the keyword as the link’s anchor text.
Optimizing your website for search engine visibility is easiest when you include findability as part of your design strategy from the beginning. A well-optimized site will allow you to hit the ground running with your web presence and begin attracting new patients.