How To Optimize Your Dental Practice for Voice Search

Complete Guide for Dentists to Rank on Voice Search Results (Siri, Google, Alexa, and Cortana)

Since Lucid Crew provides SEO services for dentists, we are asked frequently how “voice search” will affect digital marketing in the future.

Before you had time to blink, people are starting to throw questions at digital assistants instead of looking up manually on search engines. It’s important that your dental practice leverages the new way of searching and tries to optimize itself to come up in the voice search results.

In this guide, we are going to give you all the information you need to rank high in voice searches and get more patients! We will begin by looking at how voice searches work and differ from desktop searches.

The Implications of Voice Search

“Who is the best dentist near me?”

When a person asks this question, Siri or Alexa will quickly tell you the answer in a matter of a few seconds. But do you know how exactly they work?

It’s important to understand the way voice searches work in order to show up in the results. Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana- all of them show the same intent towards local business recommendation searches. The virtual assistants will scan local information and reviews to determine the best answer.

But each of them uses different sources to fetch their information-

  • Google Assistant relies on Google My Business Listings
  • Alexa leverages data from Yelp but doesn’t provide recommendations for professional services like dentists
  • Siri scans through the business listings on Apple Maps and uses information and reviews from Yelp
  • Cortana delivers search results based on Bing business listings and reviews from Yelp

The voice searches also use a number of other parameters to determine the results and it’s not possible to know all of them. Some of the common metrics include local reviews, mention of your website on other sources, number of check-ins and page views, distance from a user, and more.

Also, each of the digital assistants returns different answers when asked the same question. That means all of them don’t use the same algorithm to rank the results. But there is something we do know- all voice searches base their ranking on local business information which means you need to stress on local SEO tactics to gain visibility in the results.

You will need to deal with multiple aspects before you can expect to show up in voice search results. We will walk you through the fundamental steps so that your name can turn up when someone searches for local dentists.

But before that, let’s check out the benefits of optimizing your business for voice search.

The Business Advantages of Visibility in Voice Search

Increase in Website Traffic

Voice search results provide quick answers to questions asked by users. The answers are displayed in answer boxes with the URL of your site. People are likely to click on the link and visit your site for more details, increasing organic traffic.

Build Up Your Brand

It’s not just companies, but dentists also need to develop a brand in this competitive age. The voice searches will read out the name of your clinic or the doctors when providing the answer which improves your brand recognition and lets you get discovered by potential patients.

This will also increase your authority and improve your rankings.

Let Customers Choose You

Voice assistants rely on reviews when they recommend a service or professional. Your on-site reviews will help the patients gauge your trustworthiness and help them select your service.

If you optimize your site for voice searches, the digital assistants are more likely to come up with your name increasing your patient base.

Attract Walk-in Customers

The address of your clinic will feature in the voice search results increasing your local relevance. More people will get to know about your clinic which translates to more people walking in through your doors.

Cut Back Negative Site Signals

Websites suffer from negative site signals such as bounce rates which can hamper your ranking. But if you feature in the voice results and get people to visit your site, some of the negative signals will be reduced pushing you up the ladder of ranking.

Now let’s explore how you can increase ranking in voice search!

How to Show Up in Voice Searches?

Here are a few tips to help you make your dental clinic show right at the top of voice search results.

Create Your Business Listing

Whether it’s Siri or Google Assistant, you cannot get discovered unless you have a local business listing on the popular platforms. Your business listing will be the foundation that provides all the required information to the crawlers during a voice search.

Your business listing also increases your chances of being shown on the map, which means more customers are able to find you. For example, when you search for local dentists with Google Assistant, you get the name of three businesses along with the locations on Google Maps.

Your aim should be to feature in this 3-pack for better chances with voice searches. Of course, it’s not that easy and there are several other tasks to take care of before you can even come in the top 3 results or in the answer of the voice assistants (we will address them in some time).

The first step is to create a business listing in Google My Business, Apple Map, Yelp and Bing. For now, you don’t have to worry about the rest as most of the searches use the four platforms to source their results.

It’s really simple to create a business listing by providing essential information and anything else you deem necessary. Ensure that you categorize properly and give a correct address, contact numbers and hours of operation as search engines look out for such information while ranking the answers.

Try to be specific about the categories you use- for example ‘Orthodontics’ instead of just using ‘dentist.’ You can also customize your page with photos and design themes to make it more appealing.

You should always keep your business page up-to-date with the latest information and share posts and offers to increase engagement- all of which increases your chances of getting featured in voice searches.

Click on the following links to list your business-

Build Up Adequate Citations

Citations mean the mention of your business on other websites with information like name, address and phone number (NAP). The more citations you get, the higher your ranking could be in the search results.

Mention of your business in different directories and websites build up trust and is a key factor that the voice assistants look for. You should look to include your NAP in authoritative websites such as professional directories which will increase your business reputation in the eyes of the search engines. Apart from that, you can also use blogs, websites and even Facebook pages to build your citations.

Building comprehensive citations also increases the chances of showing up on the local maps and diverts additional traffic from the directories. You should ensure that your NAP and other information are consistent across all sources for optimum results. Also, consider including some of the following elements in your citations to make them more effective-

  • Hours of operation
  • Professional categories
  • Driving directions
  • Clinic description
  • Videos and images
  • Reviews
  • Accepted forms of payment
  • Links to social media pages

Citations from one platform can flow to other directories or websites so your information should be accurate. You surely won’t like losing out business if Siri reads out the wrong address of the dental clinic!

Get Reviews from Patients

Your name will never come upon the lips of Siri or Google Assistant if you don’t have enough positive reviews. Google, Bing, and Yelp scan the whole worldwide web to find reviews that help them determine the quality of your service before it can be recommended to the voice assistants.

You should do everything in your power to get as many reviews as possible from your patients. The reviews can be left on your website, social media pages and even on the business listings.

For example, your patients can directly leave reviews on your Google My Business profile where you can even strike up a conversation with them.

How to Get More Reviews

You can always ask your patients to leave a review when they come to your clinic for treatment. Offer them some incentive like a little discount if they type a review right from your clinic- you have to get as many reviews as possible, right!

Whether the reviews will be positive or not depends on your service and is entirely in your hands. What technology can do is to make the review process easier and efficient for the patients.

You can tweak your website to create a review funnel that guides each customer through the review process. Patients who leave a negative review or low ratings can be redirected back to you so that you can solve their issue and earn a positive review.

The emails of your previous customers can also be used to source more reviews. You can use a free email automation software and send auto emails asking for reviews. Even if 10% patients respond from out of 100, you get 10 positive reviews- something that can beat your competitor by far and wide!

Improve Link Authority

Backlinks were the backbone of ranking on search engines at a time. Though the algorithms have changed, backlinking is still a powerful tool to build up the strength of your website.

Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage. You must have seen hyperlinks in articles and blogs pointing to a source and we are talking exactly about such links to your website. Backlinks can increase the chances for better ranking and increase your visibility in maps so that the voice assistants are more likely to pick you up!

You can build up backlinks for free by submitting helpful content to different websites and blogs. The value of your website increases when the backlink is from an authoritative, industry-specific and locally relevant source. So aim for the platforms with some reputation and submit your links with willing parties.

There are also high-authority websites like professional associations and membership directories that need you to pay to put up a backlink. It makes sense to go for them if you have the budget as they can really drive up your rankings by creating authority.

Optimize Your Website

Your website is one of the most crucial factors which decide how you will rank in voice searches. We will discuss some techniques and best practices to help you get discovered and improve your ranking in both voice and organic searches.

Use a Structured Data Markup

Schema markups help search engines identify your content as useful answers. It can increase your visibility in both voice and organic search by enabling crawlers to understand your content.

Voice search results relied on Schema markup 36.4% times compared to 31.3% average pages on the internet. The results show that voice searches use Schema markup a bit often and may have an impact on your visibility.

You also have to consider that the voice searches don’t use Schema 63.6% time. Nonetheless, it will improve your ranking in all forms of search if done the right way!

Use the Schema markup to label all aspects of your website properly. If your post deals with relieving dental pain, mark it under something like ‘remedy’ or ‘treatment. You should also apply the same technique for your services and locations (if you have multiple clinics).

Don’t forget to include microdata and XML sitemaps, along with all applicable attributes.

Develop a Mobile Website

Voice searches are conducted through mobiles, so it’s imperative that you have a mobile website. You should ensure that it’s responsive enough to load across multiple devices and can work across different platforms like Android, iOS and Windows mobile.

Nowadays, it’s not expensive nor is difficult to create a mobile website. Developers can use appropriate programs that can make you a mobile website that works across different platforms.

A mobile website is not just important for voice searches, but also for your organic search through mobiles. In the USA, mobile traffic reached 63% whereas desktop traffic shot down to 37% in 2017. Mobile traffic will keep growing significantly over the next few years and mobile websites will become more popular.

Fast-Loading Websites are Preferred

The loading time of voice search results is much quicker than regular websites.

The Time to First Byte (TTFB) of voice search results is .54 seconds compared to the worldwide average of 2.1 seconds. It also takes only 4.6 seconds to load a voice search result compared to 8.8 seconds taken by other forms of searches.

Google has also stressed the importance of loading speed in their recent update. The company stated that users of Google want to find answers to their questions as fast as possible. They had used page loading speeds for ranking in case of desktop searches, but the same was now also applicable for mobile searches.

Google kind of makes sense with their development- surely you don’t want to wait all day when you ask Alexa to find a dentist near you!

Ensure that your website loads efficiently both on desktops and mobiles. You can cut down the number of videos or images if those are causing the site to load sluggishly. Your website developer will also be able to help you out if you can’t handle the task yourself.

Secure Your Website with HTTPS

Most of the professional and quality websites on the internet use HTTPS to provide a safe experience to the users. The connection is encrypted and prevents the chances of hacking or leak of information.

The voice searches seem to favor websites with HTTPS and show them in the results compared to sites that are not secured. 70.4% of voice search results included websites with HTTPS whereas only 50% of desktop results did the same.

Though we can’t confirm for sure, adopting an HTTPS domain can increase your visibility in the voice search results. The crawlers aim to provide a safe experience to the users and seem to prefer encrypted websites over regular ones.

Even Google confirmed some time back that HTTPS provides a minimal boost to your ranking.

Curate Your Content

The content on your website is another important factor that decides whether Alexa or Cortana takes your name. The general best practices of content management apply for voice searches too, though there are few differences. So let’s see how to get you featured in the voice results!

Create Question Posts

You need to have suitable content on your website to come up with voice searches. Most of the users throw a question at the digital assistants so it’s necessary you know what questions people can ask. You must have seen the small answer boxes in Google search results- you need to determine the questions and build your content around them.

You can also create separate blog posts around the who, what, when, where, and how questions that common voice searches cover. Remember to keep your answers concise and to the point as the average voice search answer consists of 29 words.

Google’s Voice Search rater guidelines also stress the importance of brevity of your answers.

Creating a detailed FAQ page also increases your chances of visibility. You can maintain an informal tone when creating your content. The trick is to find out how people speak and then refine your content according to it.

Also, consider using lists and bulleted points wherever applicable to find yourself in the answer box!

Make Your Content Easy to Read and Understand

Elocution is the key to making your name come up in voice searches. You should use simple language in all content and refrain from using jargon or too many technical or medical terms.

Google’s Voice Search Rater Guidelines confirm that the answer to voice searches should be easy to understand. In fact, the average Google voice search result has a 9th-grade reading level. That means-

  • Your post should include simple words that the digital assistants can pronounce easily
  • The information should be easy to comprehend without any visual reference
  • Maintain a high school reading level

Don’t Worry about Exact Keywords

Only 1.71% of voice search results rely on an exact keyword in the title tag. That means you don’t need to worry about creating a piece of content around each and every keyword.

Voice search results don’t put emphasis on title tags and find the required information from the body of the main text. So instead of creating separate content and optimizing for each keyword, write high-quality content that can answer multiple voice search queries on a single page.

Target Long-Tail Keywords if You Must

Long-tail keywords with four to five words are similar to human speech and likely to rank in voice searches because they are conversational in nature. Try to optimize your content with long-tail keywords and consider the synonyms- some people will say “dentists near me” while others may use “dentists close by.”

Higher Ranking Increases your Voice Search Visibility

This can be a bummer or good news depending on your situation! It seems that the voice search results are sourced from pages that are already ranking high on the search engines.

For example, 74.9% of Google Assistant search results come from a page that ranks in the top 3 for the particular keyword. That means if you have already ranked with a keyword, you have more chances of coming up in voice search results.

So your efforts should focus on both desktop and voice search SEO.

Conclusion

Ranking in voice searches doesn’t involve a single task- you have to cater to multiple aspects including your website, content, reviews, and link authority.

Voice search is still a new ground and hasn’t been monetized yet. That gives you the perfect opportunity to tweak your business and refine it to become a voice search ‘magnet.’ You will need to set aside some time from your profession and follow our guide to gain visibility in the search results.

About Lucid Crew

Affordable web design, social media & content marketing for small businesses. The Internet is the largest marketplace in the world, so it's never been more important for a business to be found online. With Lucid Crew's digital marketing solutions, you will attract and engage prospects, create leads, and drive new web traffic.

 

 

 

 

 

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