If you run an orthodontist office, SEO can help you to solve one of your biggest challenges: keeping new patients coming through the door.
Whether your practice uses paid advertising, sponsors local events, or relies on word of mouth, you should not overlook a solid search engine optimization strategy. With a well-executed SEO strategy for your orthodontic practice, you should see increased traffic to your website and, ultimately, more patient consultations.
Working with local healthcare providers, including dentists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists throughout the country, has helped us to learn a thing or two about what works when executing SEO for orthodontists—and what doesn’t work.
In this article, we’ll go over the three pillars of SEO that you can use to improve your organic search rankings and traffic. This article will cover how to ensure your local presence is top-notch, technical optimizations we commonly see, and defining the most important keywords for your practice
If you would like to discuss SEO for your orthodontist office with me or someone else from our team, click here.
What is SEO for Orthodontists?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website and its content so that it helps drive more qualified leads to your website by meeting your potential patients when they are searching for an orthodontist. If you can optimize your orthodontics website for organic search, you will be able to continue growing your practice.
How To Optimize Search Visibility For Your Orthodontic Practice Website
Orthodontic SEO involves much more than placing a few keywords that you would like to rank for on the pages of your website.
There are three pillars to SEO, whether for an orthodontist’s website or any other type of business:
- Ensuring Google can optimally crawl, understand, and index your website while making it as easily navigable for visitors as possible.
- Maximizing the relevance of the individual pages of your website to the searches patients are performing.
- Maximizing the trustworthiness and authoritativeness of your website through content that demonstrates your expertise and by acquiring links from other websites, which serve as a “vote of confidence” in your website.
We’ve found that the majority of the SEO work needed for an orthodontist falls into the latter two categories, though fast, easy wins can often be accomplished through the first.
The rest of this article will go into further details about how we accomplish improving the overall SEO health of your practice’s website.
Local SEO: Reach Potential Customers Near Your Business
Almost all of your patients will live in your direct geographic area, which means that having an optimized local SEO presence is crucial to the success of your orthodontic practice and booking new patients. When prospective patients search for a local healthcare provider, they will most likely use a geo-modifier such as “Orthodontist Cherry Hill”.
Google Business Profile: Key SERP Real Estate
Your Google Business Profile will most likely be the first touchpoint a potential patient will encounter about your orthodontic practice, making an optimized presence crucial to stand out against competitors. The local map pack appears above the search engine results for location-based services.
For example, The local map pack results for the search ‘Orthodontist Cherry Hill’
So ensure that you have filled out each available category such as Hours, Address, Phone Number, Website, Links to Social Profiles, and photos + videos.
Maintain Consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
Google takes consistency seriously when it comes to the way that your office is listed across different properties. Even small changes, like abbreviations instead of spelling out when referring to your address, will result in falling afoul of NAP consistency.
You will need to use the same name, address, and phone number across:
- Your Website
- Google Business Profile
- Social Media Profiles
- Directory Citations
- Schema Markup
Consistently Ask For Reviews & Respond to Them
Your SEO strategy doesn’t stop with making optimizations to your website- your whole practice can help your organic rankings. Patient reviews are the main way to increase your local map pack ranking.
Implementing a strategy to ask for reviews from patients can look like receptionists reminding patients when they are booking a follow-up appointment and following up with a customized email a few days later with a direct link to where they can leave a review.
If your practice can garner patient reviews, you are not only helping your Google Business Profile rankings; you are increasing the likelihood that a patient who sees your profile will be more inclined to trust you and your practice.
Another important aspect of your local search presence can be online directories. These directories are an additional place where your practice is listed, which not only gets you a backlink but also allows potential patients to find you.
For example, The American Association of Orthodontists has a locator tool. Your state may also have an association that you can list your practice with.
Ensure A Good User Experience with Sound Technical SEO
The technical health of your website will ultimately determine if it can rank competitively in the search results or not. Without a solid technical foundation, Google cannot crawl your website, distribute equity to your most important pages, or index it at all.
The good news is that orthodontic practice websites do not include hundreds of products or have thousands of pages like some eCommerce sites, which can allow technical health to quickly get out of hand.
Make Sure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
A majority of web searches are conducted on mobile devices, which means that your potential patients are using their phones to understand your practice and decide whether or not to schedule an appointment.
Mobile optimization issues for your website can range from buttons that are too close together, which makes it difficult to interact with the site, to properly sized images and containers that adjust to mobile screens.
You can check your website with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Your website’s speed is a key factor in keeping users engaged. It is also used as a tie-breaker for search rankings. This means that if two sites are quite similar, the one that provides a faster loading time will be placed higher in search results.
Page speed is reflected in Google’s Core Web Vitals mostly as First Input Delay (FID) and Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
You can test these elements of your website with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. Pages across your website with different layouts and content will load differently. Test multiple pages like the Homepage, Treatment page, and blog to get a holistic picture of your website’s experience and areas to improve upon.
The way that the pages on your website are laid out is referred to as site architecture. This has a great impact on the way that not only patients navigate your site but how search engine crawlers understand your website as well. A good site architecture will create logical relationships between pages without making users feel lost.
Breadcrumbs are one of the ways that you can begin to establish a strong relationship between relevant pages. They also provide the search engine and users an additional way outside of your navigation to move throughout the site.
Breadcrumbs for an orthodontic practice could look like “Home > Orthodontic Treatments > Invisalign®”
It’s important to keep in mind the journey that a user will go through when visiting your website. This can help inform your site architecture strategy. You would ideally lay out the architecture when building your website, but sometimes that is not always possible. Changing your website’s architecture is an advanced SEO skill that experts should advise to minimize potential traffic fluctuations.
Check Your On-Page Optimization
SEO for orthodontists involves content creation more than most other strategies. Without targeted content for the correct search intent, you’ll be competing for the wrong search results, which means less site traffic and fewer patient registrations.
On-page optimization of your orthodontic practice website will ensure that you create content that will benefit your practice and drive qualified traffic. By following these on-page optimization strategies, you’ll be well on your way to ranking for your practice’s most valuable keywords.
Keyword Research: Meeting Potential Customers Where They’re Searching
To attract prospective patients to your orthodontic practice, you will need to explain your services in the way that people are searching for them. You will need to conduct keyword research to understand where you can find your prospective patients. Keyword research utilizes search data to help you understand how many people could be expected to perform a similar search with that keyword.
Are they searching for “Orthodontist + location”? Or perhaps looking for a specific type of orthodontics like clear braces or metal ones? Keyword research will help you determine this.
Once you have identified how your prospective patients are searching, you’ll want to either create a page dedicated to your target keyword or optimize an existing one to better meet the search intent.
For blog content, this is an opportunity to answer questions your prospective patients may have that prove your expertise and build trust.
Improve Existing Pages With Content Optimization
You likely already have pages dedicated to the services that your orthodontic practice provides. These pages could be ranking for some of your target keywords, but it is also possible that they are not targeting keywords as effectively as you think.
Each service page should entice users to choose your practice over a competitor. The information included on these pages should be an overview or description of the service, why your practice is qualified to provide this service, answer any questions prospective patients may have, and provide a way to contact you.
One way that we recommend you review current pages on your site is by using the Google Cloud Natural Language Processing tool. This allows you to test how Google understands the current content on your pages.
You can discern where changes in your content should be made through the salience of main terms and the category that the NLP tool returns. From the example above (A section from our SEO Services for Orthodontists page) Google understands that we are discussing “SEO” and speaking to “Orthodontics Practices”.
However, you can also see that “surprise” is deemed the most salient entity even though it appears just once in the text. From this example, we would look to rework the wording so that “SEO” and “Orthodontics Practices” are the most salient entities by testing sentence structure and copy variations.
One of the most important ways to improve equity flow to pages throughout your website is to improve internal linking. Prospective patients will use internal links to move throughout your website between related services and pages.
From related services/ treatments that your orthodontics practice offers to all of the different areas that you serve, internal linking with anchor text to these different pages not only helps users understand where they will end up but provides the search engine with additional information as well, and improves the flow of equity throughout your site to the most important pages.
Title Tag & Meta Description
Organic search results are now providing much more than just ten results that are relevant to your query. Still, title tags and meta descriptions are the most visible element of SEO to your prospective patients and are your chance to entice a user to click through to your website.
Including keywords in your title tag is a ranking factor and can influence your website’s search rankings. By providing a descriptive, accurate title tag, you increase the likelihood of ranking for searches relevant to your page.
(Example of a desktop organic search result with Title tag & meta description)
The meta description is not a direct ranking factor, but it can still influence your website’s click-through rate. Exact match and related terms are sometimes bolded by Google, which helps your result stand out amongst competitors.
However, it is important to note that Google is now frequently rewriting meta descriptions based on the content of your page. What you originally wrote may be replaced based on what the Google algorithm believes may increase your click-through rate.
Structured data is one of the ways that you can help the search engine better understand the content on your webpage and classify your content. Although crawlers have gotten better at understanding your website, structured data still provides benefits like making your page eligible for rich results (additional SERP elements beyond just a title tag and meta description).
These rich results can help your website stand apart from the competition. Elements of rich results can include review & star ratings, additional sitelinks to related pages, and FAQ’s being displayed directly with your result.
You can find out more about which types of structured data that your website qualifies for and that are accepted by Google.
Analytics: Making Decisions Based On Data
Traffic and ranking keywords should be at the core of your orthodontic practice SEO strategy. Without knowing which pages are bringing in the majority of your traffic or which pages are ranking for your target keywords, you will not be able to develop an effective strategy.
Google Search Console and Google Analytics are crucial parts of measuring the success of your website. If these were not set up properly when your website was built, you will want to correct this immediately so that you can begin gathering data and comparing results month over month and year over year.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) allows you to monitor your website’s overall health and performance. It allows you to view metrics about your traffic, user experience, technical health, and security issues. You can also use GSC to monitor Page Experience and Core Web Vitals.
The main metrics that Search Console provides are Impressions, Clicks, CTR, and Average Position. Impressions and Clicks are closely related and can be used to measure the relative success of a page. Likewise, CTR and Average Position can be used to gauge the effectiveness of a certain page.
Google Analytics (GA) provides data and information on how users interact with your website. GA allows you to look at this data in several different ways like Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, and Conversion.
Each report type provides unique insight into how users interact with your website, allowing you to make decisions on ways to improve it. The audience report details who is landing on your website. The acquisition report tells you how people are getting to your website. The behavior report provides metrics on how users interact with your website. The conversion report shows when and if users are converting or completing your specified goals.
If UTM tracking is implemented, you will also be able to view the traffic that comes from your Google Business Profile.
An Orthodontics Website Must Build Authority & Trust
As an orthodontics practice, you must build authority by establishing trust with your users.
Websites in the medical space fall under strict guidelines from Google as the search engine looks to provide the best results for users. Understanding the concept of Your Money, Your Life and Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust will give you a starting point for defining your orthodontic SEO strategy.
Your Money, Your Life (YMYL)
Pages or websites that are deemed to have the ability to impact “future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users” are categorized as Your Money, Your Life by Google. Orthodontic practices fall into this category because they pertain to health.
Websites in the YMYL category are expected to uphold high-quality standards and present factually correct information backed by science. If a page does not provide information up to these standards, it will be difficult for it to rank highly in search results, and could also affect your website’s overall rankings.
To ensure that content on your website is up to Your Money, Your Life standards, you should understand Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust signals.
Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust (E-E-A-T)
Google’s quality rater guidelines define E-E-A-T as the overall view the search engine has of your entity and presence on the web. While there is no direct score associated with a website’s E-E-A-T, Google will have an overall impression of your site based on these factors.
Orthodontic practices fall into the YMYL category, so the content quality greatly influences how Google views your website. Any medically pertinent information on your website should be reviewed by an expert who is well-versed in the subject.
Your website’s reputation can be influenced by those who have created the content on your website, mentions or reviews from prominent websites, structured data, and knowledge panels.
Sagapixel Offers Comprehensive Digital Marketing Services for Orthodontists
Many parts compromise an effective SEO strategy for orthodontic practices. In-house employees can perform several of these. However, with the ongoing management of your SEO strategy and more complex SEO strategies, you may require outside assistance and expertise.
Sagapixel is a full-service SEO agency that can handle all aspects of an SEO strategy for your orthodontic practice. From local search optimization to content strategy, we can help you improve search results and gain visibility with prospective patients.
Schedule a call with our SEO team to get started with SEO for your orthodontic practice.