A question we are frequently asked is, “How does Google decide how to rank our dental practice?” It’s a great question with a complex answer. While there are hundreds factors that impact ranking, only some of which you have control over, one of the most important is domain authority.
Domain authority is essentially a popularity contest, as it’s an indicator of the quality and trustworthiness of your site. If you’re unfamiliar with the topic, start by throwing in your homepage into this domain authority checker.
Your domain authority is determined, amongst other things, by backlinks, which is any link to your website from another website. After all, if other organizations, businesses, and their websites are recommending you to their visitors, you must be doing something right.
Before you go thinking that you can just have your domain link-spammed to generate a better score, realize that the quality of links matters significantly. Spammy websites that link to you can actually lower your domain authority; in fact, we regularly disavow bad links to our clients’ websites.
You need to aim for links that come from other high-quality, industry or geographically relevant sites.
How to Get Quality Backlinks
A citation is any mention of your practice, including name, address, and phone number (NAP), on a third-party website or directory. These usually include a link to your site as well, but Google and other search engines specifically look for the mention of your practice when determining domain authority on certain sites. Yelp, Google My Business, and HealthGrades all provide structured citations (essentially an online phonebook or business listing). There are dozens of places your dental practice should be listed, but make sure that your NAP are consistent across all your listings.
2. Dental Associations
You’re probably already a member of at least a couple professional organizations, so leverage that membership to get a link to your site! Most associations will allow a member to get a backlink (there may be a fee), and they can provide a valuable boost to your domain authority.
3. Local Businesses
While we’ve emphasized the importance of high-authority sites, Google also values links from local sites. If other businesses in your immediate area are linking to you, you’ll get a boost in local search results (map packs), the most valuable real estate there is for a dentist! To encourage other businesses in the area to link to you, you’ll need to provide helpful content that they want to share with their audience.
You spent all of that time and money going to school, so why not try to grab a link from your alma mater? Links from universities (.edu) can be challenging to get, but they carry a lot of weight in the eyes of Google. The best way to obtain a link from a school is to do something worth talking about and then reach out to the alumni association to tell them about it.
5. Local Events
If you need some ammunition for #4, consider running an event in your community. Good ideas are charity drives, candy buybacks, or educational events. Submit your event to local news organizations, your alumni association, and local event publications. You’ll not only get links this way, but citations and even the occasional free press!
Get More Patients from the Internet with Quality Backlinks
If you want to improve your domain authority, you need to speak Google’s language. One of the most effective ways to show that your dental practice should be recommended to Google users is by having other websites recommend you by linking to your site.
And if you need help with backlinks, or want to know where your practice stands online in regards to SEO, let me know!~Brodie Tyler