Whether you’re in orthodontics or not, this will be a helpful article for you…however, I do most of my software development for independent healthcare businesses and wanted to create this for the majority of my clients that had similar questions.  Orthodontics SEO Strategy is not an easy topic to cover since there is almost too much for one post, but I want you to have a home base for your ongoing research.  There’s a ton of free information available online for you to sort through but I hope to provide answers to some of your biggest questions, then help develop a relationship with each of you so we can build a custom approach together.  Helping your small to mid-sized practice is my passion and if you check out the beginnings to my blog integrateideas.com, it should be obvious that I hope to help all of you with your SEO for free one day…or create the software that helps automate it for you at the very least.

You’re going to notice that I’ve written a basic outline for you to check out below.  I plan on continuing to improve it, so keep your feedback in the comments rather than emailing it to me privately.  Each topic is important when considering what to do with your SEO.  I anticipate this article will create several opportunities for you to learn, research alternatives and ask questions (in the comments section below the article).  Think of me as your outsourced marketing director.

Fantastic SEO Resources

Here’s a quick list of some of the blogs I find helpful.  Throughout the rest of this article, I’ll provide more specific articles from these blogs to help you understand the topic I’m explaining.

  1. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/70897?hl=en
  2. http://www.quicksprout.com/the-beginners-guide-to-online-marketing
  3. http://www.quicksprout.com
  4. http://www.wordstream.com
  5. http://moz.com/blog
  6. http://www.seobook.com/blog

SEO Tools

Some of these tools are really neat.  Utilizing software that other SEO professionals are creating allows me to keep ahead of the game and focused on what I’m interested in developing.  It takes enough of my bandwidth just to focus on mastering what others have already created.  Even if you don’t feel like downloading or using any of it, I don’t mind hopping on a call (with a heads up of course) to share with you how they are used.  Screaming Frog is my favorite!

  1. Google Webmaster Tools (fundamental so Google can find your content)
  2. WordFence Plugin (WP Security)
  3. Screaming Frog SEO Spider (Crawl Websites)
  4. AddThis (social plugin/application)
  5. Sitemaps (fundamental so Google can find your content)
    1. Google XML Sitemaps WordPress Plugin (WP)
    2. WordPress SEO by Yoast (WP)
    3. Online XML Sitemap Generator (http://www.web-site-map.com/)
      1. Download sitemap onto local machine
      2. Use FTP – Make ending .xml for google to recognize
    4. Make sure Google Webmaster Tools recognizes your sitemap properly and there are no issues: Webmaster > Crawl > Sitemaps > Add test sitemap
  6. Use a CDN like MaxCDN (not normally for orthos, too localized to need this)

Insourcing and Delegating

Working with your team allows consultants like me to keep your marketing top notch while delegating certain responsibilities, keeping prices for our services reasonable.  For example, if you wanted to hire me full time I’d have to turn you down.  Although I promise you I’d be a great hire, and your practice would no doubt grow like a weed, you’re better suited with a team that knows your local area and understands your business.  Part of your investment in my time would pay for researching your area and there’s no end to the amount of research it would take to get to know your town as well as your team already does. Investing in my consulting should stay capped at a reasonable number, so hiring me to empower your team is a much more effective use of your capital.  My goal is to provide returns that are linear, making sure you return more than you put in, however, investing in your team is exponential.  There’s no end to the potential as they get to know your current patients and start to further incorporate local-specific ideas on a weekly, maybe daily basis. It’s also better, in my opinion, for you to choose a mom to play a role in every aspect of your marketing and brand.  If you read chapter 1 of Quicksprout’s guide to online marketing, you’ll discover women between the ages of 25-55 are your primary target market.

  1. http://www.polepositionmarketing.com/emp/delegating-your-into/
  2. https://blog.kissmetrics.com/the-neil-patel-method/


There are pieces of the puzzle that are best left to guys/gals like me.  You’d rather have the opportunity to leverage me, my marketing managers and my graphic designers to save on the bigger hires in your office.  We charge a fraction of what a full time hire would cost and if you don’t like what we’re doing you can fire us without the fear of paying unemployment.

Time vs. Money

Everyone wants to make more money for doing less.  At the end of the day, the derivative of a successful practice boils down to two things: time and money.  Think of the two as if they were both sitting on a pendulum.  As you run low on time (hopefully sooner than later), your brand and your money will have to speak on your behalf.  Until then, your time in your local market should be your strongest asset.

What are Keywords?

The definition of a keyword is an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.

HOWEVER, this is actually wrong!  A keyword in today’s dictionary should read that a keyword is an informative word or GROUP OF WORDS used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document, website, or database.

There are two types of keywords for you to remember: Long tail keywords and short tail keywords.

Long tail keywords have more than one word and typically describe something in more detail.  The longer it is, the more specific the answer the searcher is looking for.  This is important to remember since a lot of data scientists in the sales industry have already done the math…long tail keyword searches perform a lot better, target more accurately and carry a higher close rate (if used properly) than short tail keywords.

Example: “Cheap Orthodontics” or “Best Orthodontist in Denver” or “Doctor that specializes in Invisalign”

Short tail keywords have one word and are starting to become less and less common.  Searchers are becoming smarter and more direct in what they are looking for.  The days when someone ranked well for “braces” and saw their name pop up when someone typed in “best braces in town” are coming to an end.  Short tail keywords are extremely competitive, it’s the reason some people unknowingly spend up to $25 for a single click on the keyword “braces” when they could be spending $5 for the keyword “best braces around town.”

Example: “Braces” or “Orthodontist” or “Orthodontics” or “Doctor”

Here are some articles that help explain the difference between short and long tail keywords:

  1. http://www.wordstream.com/long-tail-keywords
  2. https://yoast.com/focus-on-long-tail-keywords/
  3. http://www.quicksprout.com/university/how-to-find-long-tail-keyword-ideas/
  4. http://www.quicksprout.com/2013/08/12/how-to-increase-your-sales-through-long-tail-seo/
  5. http://www.quicksprout.com/2014/03/12/how-to-use-google-suggest-to-grow-your-long-tail-traffic/

Becoming Keyword Relevant

In order to compete for both long tail and short tail searches, you literally need to have the keywords you want people to find you with in the content of your website.  How do you do that you might ask?

Your website is made up lots and lots of data.  Even the designs and illustrations that hold the content of your website are made up of data, or code…however, the data that Google searches is held in a different place.  These days, most websites are built using some type of code framework that calls (not like a telephone), more like directs, to a database.  That database is where all of the searchable content is stored, not “inside” a single file of HTML like it used to be.  This content along with the sitemap is what Google crawls to determine whether or not your site and the pages within your site are relevant when searching for a specific long tail or short tail keyword.


Paid vs. Organic Ranking

First you need to know the difference between an organic ranking and paid advertising.  Both allow you to get to the “top of Google,” however with paid advertising you lose your ranking the second you stop paying to be in that spot.  Also, in paid advertising you can pay less to be the 3rd spot, making your budget last longer but still giving yourself a chance to be seen.  A high organic ranking is something everyone should strive for, however, it is not necessarily better than a paid spot if you’re generating as much money with your paid advertising as you would have to pay in order to improve organically.  It’s a matter of time vs. money and a new patient is a new patient either way.  You might hear someone say, “well the patients that come from paid advertising aren’t as high quality.”  Although I certainly agree with you in contrast to a word-of-mouth referral, differentiating the quality between someone that finds you by researching organic versus paid spots on Google is negligible at best.  The reason being, the more specific you are in your long tail keyword bidding on your advertising dollars, the higher quality the leads are that click through to your landing pages.  Below are some resources to learn more about ranking in regards to paid vs. organic.

  1. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/the-difference-between-organic-and-paid-search-eng.html
  2. http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/news/2200730/organic-vs-paid-search-results-organic-wins-94-of-time#

Think on a Per-Keyword Basis

This is the big honking fact that throws a lot of my clients off…if you rank number #1 for “Orthodontist New York City”, you may not even be on the first page for “Braces New York City”!  I know this is a tough one, so I’m going to give another few examples…  If you have three locations and you’re number 1 in 2 of them, your third location does not get to piggy back the other 2.  They are unique!