Why do you want a website for your dental office? The most likely answer is, “to get more new patients.” If that’s your goal, then you must prioritize search engine optimization (SEO).

A website that ranks on page one of local Google results for certain services and symptoms will result in greater traffic (and new patient numbers) than one that ranks on page on page 2 or 3.

How does a website reach page one of Google?

Many factors contribute to a dental website’s position in search results, but increasingly, informative and original copy (text) is the greatest factor. The higher the quality and quantity of text, the higher a site will rank, in most cases.

Copywriting, then, is the single most important factor to a site ranking high, organically. (Organic refers to a website’s natural ranking, rather than placement by a pay-per-click or PPC advertisement. A site’s organic rank is based on the quality of the website, according to Google’s indexing algorithm.)

When purchasing a website, you’ll have to make some decisions. This article will help you make wise decisions, if your goal is to rank high in search results and, as a result, get more new patients.

Important Decisions in Website Design and Function

When you invest in a dental practice website, you’ll have to choose:

  • A template site with stock content (not beneficial for SEO)
  • A custom design with stock content (not beneficial for SEO)
  • A template site with custom content (can be great for SEO)
  • A custom design with custom content (can be great for SEO)
  • A design only – and you provide the content (good for SEO)

As you can see, for high search rankings, the design of a site is not as important as the text.

That’s not to say that website design isn’t important. A site should be designed for best display on mobile and desktop devices. This type of design is called responsive. Websites must also be created for maximum conversion – meaning that visitors convert to new patients. To this end, a website needs strategically planned calls to action and intuitive navigation. Visitors should feel a natural flow toward finding answers to their questions. How to contact the office by phone or email should be extremely simple and obvious, as well.

To review, a website design should be:

  • Responsive
  • Intuitive for the user
  • Leading (toward call/book appointment)

Whether a site is created from a template or has a completely custom design is of no consequence in SEO ranking.

However, original photos or illustrations with appropriate descriptions and alt-tags will help with SEO.

Content is King – It’s True for SEO

As Google regularly alters its algorithm, the value of various SEO contributors change. For instance, at one time, backlinks were extremely important. Now, not so much. That could change in the future.

There was a time with having keywords in a URL (domain name) helped with SEO rank. This was called exact match domain name. Today, it doesn’t matter what domain a site is on, as far as search results are concerned. Name your site whatever you like.

Here’s another example. Even though Google has always valued original, informative text, years ago a site could rank high even if it had stock library articles and no blog. This has changed, as well.

Now, to compete with top-ranked sites, a dentist’s website must have:

  • Only original text (no duplicate content)
  • Links (following certain rules) to appropriate on-site pages embedded on keywords
  • Limited but adequate keyword usage per page
  • At least 550 words of text per page
  • A unique and strategic meta description and title for each page
  • Properly formatted headings with limited but adequate keyword inclusion
  • Images with unique alt-tags and descriptions
  • Long-tail keywords integrated into content

Also helpful for best ranking, keyword research using Google Adwords Tool should be conducted prior to composing a website’s text.

Writing, Editing, & Design

Before you choose a website company, ask questions about the content marketing plan that will help drive your website to the top of Google results. Some companies have no content marketing plan. You should find out:

  • Will the company provide original text, well edited and optimized for search? (Should answer “yes.”)
  • How many pages will your site have? How many words on the services pages? (20 pages of 550 words each is good.)
  • Will images be included on every page, for visual interest, and will those images have unique titles and alt-tags? (Looking for an affirmative answer.)
  • Will a blog be included? Who will write posts, and how often? (You want a blog on your site, and posts should be made weekly, with original content for best results.)

At Identiwrite Creative, our team includes designers, developers, copywriters, and editors. As owner of the company, I have over 15 years of experience with online marketing and copywriting – specifically for dental practices. To learn more about how Identiwrite Creative can help your existing site rank higher in search, or to discuss building your new dental practice website, call me at 940-395-5115, or email shauna@identiwrite.com.

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