A lot has changed in the SEO world in the last nine months; especially for dentists and orthodontists. There have been as many as three major updates that have hit the medical industry very hard. If you survived the March and July 2019 Core Algorithm Updates you may have been hit by the September update. Very few dental or orthodontic websites made it through all three algorithm updates unscathed. This is not because they do not have good SEO or content, the landscape is simply changing.
There was a day in which dental and orthodontic websites could rank at the top of search (and even get answer boxes) for oral health related questions. These times have come and gone. Unless you are a dental practice with dozens of locations and a website with a domain authority of 50+ you can forget about getting high amounts of traffic for dental related questions.
Instead of attempting to get traffic and organic links from long tail question based content, dental offices and orthodontic practices are going to have to try a different strategy in 2020. There are still opportunities to rank for Miami Orthodontist or Pensacola, Florida Orthodontist. That said, do not expect 1500 monthly visitors for “why do my braces cut my gums”.
With each and every algorithm update, it seems to be the case that Google is giving preferential treatment to highly authoritative websites that have content that could be somewhat relevant. Even though the entire article or pdf is not related to braces cutting gums, Google is ranking Colgate, Cleveland Clinic, Invisalign, several .edu websites and other domains on the front page. No matter how strong your orthodontic or dental website is, it is not going to outrank the Mayo Clinic.
Instead of getting frustrated and giving up hope, remember that most of your patients are searching for “[city] dentist”. While this is a much more competitive keyword, it is also important for the bottom line of your business. It may be time to accept that total traffic does not matter with focused traffic being much more important.
This is something to consider when heading into 2020 and looking at your dental or orthodontic SEO budget. If you would like to know more about ranking your dental or orthodontic practice on the front page of Google, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.