Where does your dental practice rank on Google?
Google – it’s a noun and a verb. Want to know who JFK’s Secretary of State was? Google it. (Dean Rusk) Wondering what the highest grossing movie of all time is? Google it. (Avatar) Where does every computer science major want to work? Google. (Good luck) Where did your mother-in-law find those unique animal figurines? Google. (Sorry)
Google is today’s “go-to” tool. There are 2.3 million Google searches done every second of every day, so how do you use the reach of Google and other search engines to your advantage? By employing search engine optimization (SEO).
Simply put, SEO brings visitors to your website by helping your dental practice appear high on the list of results when prospective patients search for a dentist online. Over 85% of searchers do not go past the first page of results, so where you appear is critical. As far as SEO is concerned, if you’re not on the first page, you may as well be on the last.
Just because you have a dental practice, it doesn’t mean your website is ranking on the first page of results for “Dentist in _______.” There are over 140,000 websites launched each day, so search engines developed algorithms to quickly match likely answers with specific search terms. While search engine algorithms are proprietary (think Fort Knox level security) and include a number of factors, keywords are at the core. These are the terms search engines use to find and rank your practice (e.g. family dentist, cosmetic dentistry, etc.). Before you can create a strategy to boost your search engine ranking, it’s important to know where you currently rank for popular search terms.
Determining how you rank is more complicated than simply searching for your practice in Google and seeing where you appear in the results. That’s because there will always be some degree of personalization factored into your search. To deliver the results most relevant to your search query, Google also considers your search history, geographical location and search behavior.
Luckily, there is a way to get impersonal keyword results. While there are a number of tools that can help you do this, the most accessible is Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). Note – prior to use you will need to authorize your website in Search Console. Learn how to add your website to Search Console here.
Once you have added your website to the dashboard, you’ll want to let it run for about four weeks so that it can collect data. Once sufficient data is collected, follow these steps to find out which keywords you rank for, along with other information.
Log-in to Search Console and navigate to your website or “property.”
Then click on Search Traffic to expand, and then Search Analytics to find your keywords (queries).
This report will default to show the number of clicks you received for a list of queries in the last 28 Days.
You can customize the report by selecting the box next to the metrics you want to view, such as:
- Clicks: Number of times someone clicked through to your website after searching with the specified query.
- Impressions: How often your website shows for a specific query for the average position displayed.
- Position: Average ranking position your website shows up for the listed query. Positions 1 – 10 are on the first page, 11 – 20 are on the second page, and so on.
For example, our report shows that we received 420 clicks, out of 996 impressions in the first position of search results for our brand name:
After you’ve selected the information you need, it’s recommended that you export the data to Excel for future reference. Unfortunately, Search Console only lets you see data for 90 days, so keeping a record of where your website is appearing on search engines is important.
Once you know how your website ranks for popular keywords you can develop a strategy to focus on areas of need. Remember, while keywords are central to SEO they’re not the only factor. For more information on creating an SEO strategy for your practice, check out our free online resources.
SEO is an inroad to prospective patients but it does not produce results overnight. To realize results for 2017, it’s important to put an SEO strategy in place now.