No dentist (well, maybe a few) wants to write blog posts. But traditional marketing has transitioned to digital marketing the last 20 years, and blogging has become a significant part of finding new patients through SEO (search engine optimization). Here I share simple steps to write blog posts quickly and painlessly. I’ve included seven customizable blog post templates to help you get started.
Why SEO and blogging are critical to your practice success
If you want to grow, one of the most effective ways to expand your patient database is to make sure patients can find you online. It should be part of your practice’s overall marketing efforts, along with social media, referral programs, email marketing, local advertising, partnership efforts, and any other crazy idea you can think up.
Are you old enough to remember the Yellow Pages, the big yellow book that listed all local companies? Everyone’s business was listed in the Yellow Pages because it was the go-to source for local business information. Today the go-to sources are Google, Yahoo, and Bing, but mostly Google. Dental SEO means being found by potential patients who do not already know who you are. If someone already knows the name of your practice, they’ll easily find your website, so you don’t need to do much SEO. But if they’re searching for a dentist using phrases such as “best dentist near me,” or “dentist open right now,” they won’t find you unless your SEO is up to par with your competitors’.
How blogging helps new patients find you
If your city or town is like most in the country, there is competition for the first page of the search engines. Ninety-two percent of all searchers do not click through to the second page of search results. This means that if you want to be found by new patients, you need to be on the first page of search results. There are primarily two things that Google looks for when it considers search engine rankings—new original content and link authority. Blogging is one of the best ways to create new original content.
How to write an SEO blog post in 15 minutes
Step 1: Add a blog to your website
Yeah, I know. You wouldn’t think that I’d include this as a step, but many dental websites I’ve observed don’t have a blog. If you have a WordPress site, adding a blog is a cinch. If your website is not on WordPress, you should reach out to your website hosting company or the dental marketing company that built your website. You want the blog on your domain rather than on a separate domain. Blogging on a separate domain won’t help as much with SEO. And, if your website company is going to charge you more than one hour of work, consider working with someone else. You shouldn’t be nickel and dimed because adding a blog post only takes a few minutes.
Step 2: Decide what keywords you want ranked
Approximately 80% of the search phrases that patients use to find a dentist are listed in Figure 1. I created this list using a platform called SEMRush. The volume is the total monthly search volume in the US, while difficulty is the measurement of how difficult it is to rank for that keyword.
If you have access to a keyword research tool, you can get a bit more granular and research phrases with geo-locators, such as “dentist in (city) (state)” or “cosmetic dentist in (city) (state).” A good free keyword research tool is ahrefs keyword generator. This does not mean that you should go only after the keywords in this list. You should take into consideration the value of a patient searching for that keyword. For example, a potential patient searching for “teeth whitening near me” would not be as valuable as a potential patient searching “dental implants near me.” A good strategy is to optimize for some of the keywords listed, but also include keywords that are profitable services or specialty services. Generally, the more specific your keyword, the easier it is to optimize.
Step 3: Build an archive of ideas
It’s tough to think of a blog topic, but don’t get stuck on this step. Create a spreadsheet to help you brainstorm. I recommend doing this in a team meeting. Ideas will flow easily when you can bounce them off others. Use the following spreadsheet headers to help you (figure 2).
Step 4: Gather information on the subject
This shouldn’t be very difficult. Use some of these ideas to help.
- Check out who is already ranking. Do a search for the keyword phrase you’re going after and read the top articles. What is already ranking is a good example of what you’ll need to write. Check the text length, number of links, headers, and format. Don’t copy an article because that can actually hurt your rankings, but use it as a template.
- Include the questions and your own answers from the People Also Ask section of search results. The People Also Ask section shows you related questions and phrases that people are searching. This idea works great for local SEO and it’s possible that your post could get picked up as a source (snippet) for that search phrase. Here is the People Also Ask section from a search for “dental implants in SLC Utah” (figure 3).
- Use Answer Socrates to help build out additional questions, titles, headers, and content.
Step 5: Create a catchy title
Since I’m not terribly clever, I like to use a title generator such as SEOPressor. Try to include as much of your keyword in the blog post title as possible. For example, if you’re going after “emergency dentist,” your title could be “Answers to 3 tough emergency dentist questions.”
Step 6: Use a proofreading tool
I recommend using Grammarly. This tool is awesome. Not only does it check your grammar, but it will also rewrite sentences and paragraphs according to style. If I had this tool in English 101, I would have gotten an A-plus.
Step 7: Post, sit back, and relax!
If your website is built on WordPress, you should be able to easily post a blog. If you’re not sure how, go to YouTube and search “how to post a blog on wordpress.” You’ll get about a thousand videos that show you how. If you happen to have a site built on a private website software, then you’ll need to call your web host company and see if you can get some help posting.
Kick off your blog with these seven templates
Once you’ve gone through this process, you’ll find that writing a blog post will become easier and easier. To help you get going, we’ve included 7 customizable blog templates in this download pack.
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