How link building can equate to new patients

How can link building grow your practice? Three experts weigh in.

There are several SEO principles you need to grasp in order to attract new patients from Google.

For starters, your Google rankings will increase when you craft a message that answers prospective patient’s (searchers) questions. For instance, Dr. Hansen in Apex, North Carolina created a blog post on the difference between tartar and plaque, because many of his patients asked about this during hygiene appointments.

From there, when other relevant authorities (such as the website you’re reading right now) see validity and meaning in the answers you’ve provided, they can cite you as an educational reference. Often, this citation of you as an educational reference includes linking back to your website. This is similar to a college student citing their sources for any claims made within their essays.

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Google’s algorithm is made up of PhDs, who find value in providing a credible, authoritative message. By linking to educational references, a publisher or online magazine proves that they aren’t simply fabricating what’s being taught. When enough relevant, authoritative websites have cited you as an educational reference, Google takes notice. The PhDs at Google who engineer their algorithms are interested in showing dentists who are cited as thought leaders. This is why when a website links to you, it boosts your rankings. You become the educational reference that Google trusts.

Consider these ideas for link building from three of the most well-known experts on the topic of link building for SEO:

Tim Soulo, founder of link-building software

If I were to do marketing and link building for a dental clinic, I would focus on doing all sorts of good things and letting local publications know about them. For instance, I would offer schools to come and do a free lesson on "how to brush teeth," with small presents to kids, like dental floss or cute toothbrushes. And to get links, I would encourage schools to announce this event on their website.

I could also offer a month of free consultations to elderly or handicapped people, and I would request for support from local news sites to spread the word about it. Or finally, I could announce our support for some cause and state that all money from a certain procedure during this month will go to a specific charity.

In other words, I would figure all sorts of ways to do good things and this would drive a lot of links, exposure and even love for my brand.

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Nathan Gotch, link-building blogger:

If you have been creating content for a while, then there is a good chance that your website is suffering from content bloat. Content ‘bloat’ is when you have content on your site that:
A) doesn’t have any backlinks,
B) doesn’t have any organic search traffic,
C) is low-quality, or
D) is a combination of points A, B and C.

The other big content mistake is when you have multiple pages competing for the same keyword phrases. The nerdy SEO terminology for this event is ‘keyword cannibalization.’

The first way to combat these issues is through a content audit. A content audit will reveal what pages on your site are holding back your SEO performance. Think about this way: Pages that aren’t getting any traffic, backlinks or user engagement are acting like an anchor on your site’s performance. These low-performing pages need to be handled.

There are few ways to handle these pages: Delete, revise,consolidate and 301 redirect.
The process is simple: Identify pages on your site that are competing for the same keywords. Out of these pages, select one that is going to be your “mother” page. Consolidate the content each competing page into the mother page and 301 redirect all competing pages to the mother page. This process can help you build a monster resource practically overnight.

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Justin L. Morgan, SEO expert

The key to gaining new patients from backlink building is to make sure the message on your website is well thought-out and appealing to two groups: your prospective patients, and credible bloggers and journalists.

Earning links from your local news station is a great way to earn credibility with Google and your prospective patients. One such example is Dr. Jenny Gandhi of Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Gandhi was able to create a dental practice that was different from others in her area. From upscale pool tables to modern, white leather seating, Pearl Dentistry Reimagined is immediately different from your typical Charlotte dental practice. As a result of creating an environment (and thus website message) that is different from nearby offices, the media’s gears were greased to promote Dr. Gandhi and the staff.

Another example is Dr. Farr, in Atascadero, California. Dr. Farr was featured in this KBSY article from a promotion of a candy buy-back program. It resulted in him moving up to the first position on Google for “Atascadero dentist.”

The genius of leveraging local media outlets for backlinks is that they have a great deal of geographic relevance in Google’s eyes. Even though links from other dental websites are the most powerful links you can earn, it’s important to be relevant to your geographic location, as well.