The Essential SEO Dictionary for Dentists
Like all niche fields of expertise, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has its own vocabulary – which makes it impossible for the uninitiated to effectively navigate SEO. It’s especially difficult in the SEO because everything gets minimized into acronyms. So it’s doubly confusing.
If you don’t understand basic SEO acronyms and the underlying terms, you’ll never understand how to improve your ranking.
Before I reveal and define the most commonly used terms in SEO, you should know why optimizing your website for search engines is essential to your practice in the first place.
Why SEO Matters
While SEO has changed quite a bit over the past 10 years, one thing has stayed relatively constant and important above all else.
The entire point of SEO is to “optimize” your site to ensure it has the best possible search engine ranking. In the world of search engines, that means one thing: showing up on the first page of results.
Most people never click over to the 2nd, let alone 3rd or 4th pages. Why would they, when Google gives them five to ten compelling options on the first page?
In search, if you’re not on the first page, you might as well not exist.
To be clear, optimizing your practice’s web presence IS THE ONLY WAY to get first-page billing.
And even if you’re not actively seeking new patients, you should care about having a good ranking.
That’s because your practice’s current patients frequently look for your practice with an online search.
You probably know from personal experience that web users search for products, businesses and web pages they’re already familiar with. In many cases, a search engine gives you more specific, useful information than the actual website of the business you’re looking for.
A Google search shows you right there, in the search window, all of the information you need: address, directions, phone number, reviews…
So putting your site on page one should be a priority because it makes it easier for your most important patients to easily find you.
Who knows, maybe if they can’t find your practice, they’ll switch to a dentist who does have first page results?
Before you can do anything to improve your ranking, you have to understand some basic industry terms so you’ll know with certainty what to do.
I’ve compiled nine of the most important terms you need to understand before you can help move your site up in the ranks.
ProSites SEO Dictionary for Dentists
(I’ve put these terms in non-alphabetical linear order so you can understand them without having to skip back and forth.)
Google Algorithm: A very detailed and ever-changing set of rules and tests that search engines use to validate and verify how well optimized a site is for search. Sites with lots of click bait, bad links, duplicate content, irrelevant content or obvious black-hat techniques will not pass the algorithm’s tests. Algorithms really serve as stand-ins for the human user – to try to figure out what users want so the search engine can display the most relevant and authentic search results.
White Hat/Black Hat: Just like in old cowboy movies, white hat SEO techniques are the good, proper SEO techniques that make a site well-suited to users who are likely to search for it. Conversely, black hat uses all kinds of tricks to fool the algorithm into giving a site a better ranking than it should. Google and other search engines are constantly finding ways to punish black hat techniques, so web masters who think they’ve “won” the SEO game with black hat do so at their own risk. Black hat techniques don’t last, and they’re a terrible way to try to build an online reputation for a dental practice.
Organic Listings: Having a site that matches well with search terms isn’t enough: the site also has to “test” well with search engine algorithms, which look at a variety of factors to determine how good a site will be as a legitimate search result. Sites with good organic reach satisfy a variety of “reputation” metrics that algorithms look into, like linking between other reputable sites, social media presence, the overall content of the site, advertising, and original content.
Search Engine Results Page (SERP): What sites show up in a search engine when a user searches for specific terms. Search engines use somewhat complicated methods for displaying the results, but they mainly focus on matching specific search terms with sites that have good organic reach, or good paid reach.
Local Listings (7-Pack): Search engines display between 4-10 local businesses that best fit the search terms. The 7-pack shows the top closest, best ranked businesses that match.
Bounce Rate: The percentage of people who click on your site only to immediately hit the “back” button to return to the search engine. It’s an action that tells the search engine your site was not what they were looking for. If your site has a high bounce-rate, it will hurt its page rank. Part of SEO is figuring out why your page causes bounces, and how to fix it so it doesn’t happen as often.
Keywords: Keywords are the individual words that make up a user’s search query. When the same keywords or keyword phrases are used in the content of your website as the search query, search engine algorithms may potentially rank your site well for the given query.
Crawlers/Robots: Simple programs that surf web pages, make copies and bring them back to search engines to be analyzed and indexed by the algorithms.
Impressions: How many users see a page or ad – not the same as a click. It’s important because it’s the most commonly used technique for measuring and accounting for web advertising.
This list is just a small look into the world of SEO. Click here to download a free dictionary of SEO terms.