How Google’s Update Will Affect Your Dental Practice’s SEO
Oh no… Google has done it again with a colossal update!
And this update is BIG. It’s a complete game-changer for how we search online.
This means your dental practice’s online visibility could be at serious risk.
But here’s the burning question: In this new era of AI-driven search, does traditional SEO still hold its ground?
That’s exactly what I’m diving into today.
I’ll break down:
- What Google has launched
- How it might upend your rankings and website traffic
- 4 crucial tips to ensure your dental practice remains a key player in the search game
Stay tuned – you don’t want to miss this!
My name is Kelsey Halverson. I’m the Chief Strategy Officer here at Roadside Dental Marketing, and not only have I been working in the dental industry with some of the nation’s leading practices, but I’ve also won multiple awards for SEO and for my consulting expertise.
At Roadside Dental Marketing, our mission is to be industry disruptors.
We are heart-centered, meaning that every practice that we work with, from single-location offices to DSO groups, are fueled with a positive and enthusiastic approach.
We are results-driven, which allows us to not only better ourselves every day, but also our clients.
You’ve likely heard of AI. Maybe you’ve even used it without even realizing it.
Google’s upcoming update aims to place AI at the forefront of search, and it will completely change how your patients find you.
The introduction of SGE, a search generative experience…Click to learn more in a new tab…, is an early step in transforming the search experience.
When using SGE, people will notice their search results page with familiar results from the web will be organized in a completely new way.
It will be organized in a way to help them get more from a single search.
With generative AI in search, people could ask new kinds of questions.
They’re able to get the gist of a topic faster, and link to relevant results that they can then explore further.
They’re able to get started on something that they need to do very quickly, maybe, writing drafts or generating imagery from where they’re searching.
They can make progress easily.
They could ask conversational follow-ups, and maybe try the suggested next steps.
To get ahead further, generative AI has potential pros and cons when it comes specifically to dental SEO.
While it could reduce some organic traffic, it could also help generate leads who are more likely to convert.
Let’s explore how generative AI can harm traffic.
If users get most of the information they need from AI powered summaries, it would then prevent them from clicking through to websites, which would include your dental practice.
For example, the search, ‘What are dental implants?’ This could return an SGE response so detailed that users might decide that they don’t need to click on the website.
They don’t need to look at the website that published the information that the output referenced.
Google will cite them as sources, but the value of ranking highly for what is or what are those types of queries are likely to decrease.
Website traffic may also decrease, especially for basic queries.
What’s interesting is people that are really interested will likely do more in-depth research.
And when someone does finally visit your website, they’ll likely be so well informed that they’ll be ready to engage or to convert into a patient.
Google is combining generative content with traditional search results.
They’re not replacing them.
Traditional results will still be available underneath the AI-generated response.
Traditionally SEO has been marketed as keyword-centric, and that unfortunately is still the mindset of many agencies and practice owners.
They’re focused on single-term search words like ‘best dentist.’ We want to be number one for ‘best dentist.’
With SGE and AI, this will become more irrelevant.
The SGE shift will move search towards being more topical authority, long tail search phrases.
For example, ‘best dentist near me for dental implants.’
Google’s SGE marks a significant shift in how users interact with search results, bringing an enhanced user experience, but also more challenges to conventional SEO tech.
Dental offices need to understand their SEO approaches to maintain their visibility in this changing digital environment.
Let’s look at four tips to keep your dental practice competitive.
1. Local SEO is still crucial for dental offices
Maintaining accurate and consistent information such as your name, address, and phone number, across online directories, and refining your Google Business Profile, as well as accumulating positive reviews, remain key factors in drawing local patients.
2. High-quality content
Dental websites should prioritize creating top-tier educational content that tackles frequent dental concerns, treatments, and even giving hygiene advice.
Comprehensive and significant content on your website enhances the likelihood of being recognized as the reference source and producing authoritative content backed by the dentists within your practice will also boost your website’s EEAT, your expertise, authority, and trust score, which is vital for Google rankings, particularly for dental or health-related sites.
Acquiring high-quality backlinks is a cornerstone of dental SEO.
These backlinks serve as a testament to a website’s authority.
And it’s crucial that these links come from sites related to healthcare or dentistry.
You can initiate these by looking at dental specific sites or community-focused platforms.
4. Leverage visual content
With SGE, now integrating images and sometimes even short video clips in summaries, visual content becomes more important.
Searches for specific dental procedures could now just display quick video guides or related images.
And this presents a massive opportunity to use platforms like YouTube for creating videos that are relevant.
To various search terms, aiming to be featured in Google’s AI summaries.
Also, adding or optimizing pertinent images on your own website for targeted keywords is crucial.
Patients can compare, they can contrast, they can look at multiple local dentists at once.
So the more information that’s available in one place, makes online marketing for dentists important when SGE is starting to be rolled out to the public.
Google SGE will allow consumers to get a more specific comparison between businesses.
Even use content from some of your Google reviews to make that comparison.
That also means that reputation management is going to play a larger role in online marketing for dentists.
Tell us what you think about Google’s newest update
Are you ready? Unprepared?
Have questions to help you stay ahead of Google’s SGE?
Let us know in the comments.