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The Importance of Link Building for Dental Websites: Part II

The following is a guest post by Dr. David Wank of Short Hills Design. If you are interested in guest posting for Dental Heroes, please sign up here.

With the background from Part I of this article, in mind, I can now tell you that Link Building is the process by which you try to get other websites to link to your website. And while every link TO your website is a good one, it’s the links from the most relevant and popular websites that work the best. For example, which do you think is a more valuable link to your website – a link from the ADA, or a link from your contractor? Why the ADA of course because the ADA is a very popular website, it’s a about dentistry, and it has tons of website that link to it. Your contractor may be a very nice person, but in terms of the overall importance of your contractor’s website in the greater scheme of things, it cannot compare to the importance and influence of ADA.org. So the take home here is that while every link TO your website is a good one, you should aim to have popular and influential websites with a relevant focus (dentistry) link to your website.

Google Page Rank

Now you might ask, “How can I know what websites Google thinks are popular and influential?” and the answer is the Page Rank. Google has a proprietary algorithm but the gist of it is that Google ranks websites in their order of importance. It’s a logarithmic scale so a PageRank of 2 isn’t double the PageRank of 1, and a dental website should aim for a PageRank of 2-3, or even 4. Remember, PageRank is predominantly a measure of Google’s perception of a websites importance based on the relevance and number of incoming links – so every website – even your dental office’s website – has a Page Rank. And to put the PageRank numbers into perspective, sites such as cnn.com and apple.com have PageRanks in the 7-9 range.

In terms of getting links to your website, you do need to do leg work. But remember, the more relevant, high-page rank websites that link TO you, the greater the chance will be that given a choice between your website and a host of other websites on a search for a particular keyword, the website with the more incoming links will likely be placed more highly in search results.

How to Get Links to Your Website

In order to get links to your website, you simply have to ask. The most important websites to visit are the “big ones” – the ADA and any professional organizations you belong to. On the ADA website (if you are a member) take advantage of the profile you can edit and make sure you link to your website from this profile. Similarly, if you are a specialist and a member of the AAP, AAOMS, etc. if you have a profile option to link TO your website – use it.

Also don’t forget to join the local chamber of commerce and link from their website to yours, and if there is ever an article published about you in the local paper – there’s usually an online copy. Call the paper and have them link from the article to your website. So it’s not just one or two of these links that matter, but the collection of a whole of all of these links that help elevate your PageRank.

Another Link Building Winner: Blogging

Another way to build links is to blog. By blogging you are producing original content that will undoubtedly get you more exposure on search engines (the more content you have for a search engine to see, the high the chance is that you are ranked well for the subject). But in addition to giving the search engines more material, you are giving other websites and people more opportunities to link TO you. Now nobody is going to link to your “Contact Us” page, but if you have a great article about, ”The Benefits of Implant Overdentures vs. Traditional Dentures”, other websites (particularly health websites) may link to your content. So at worst by blogging you are providing valuable information to new and prospective clients, and at best you are improving your rankings for particular keywords and improving your PageRank – a win/win all around.

Final Thoughts

Link building, the process of getting quality, relevant websites to link TO your website, is a critical part of the overall search engine strategy for your dental website. Given the abundance of competition that most dentists will face while trying to rank well on search engines, link building is a strategy that can make the difference between a page one rank and a page three rank on Google.

Your Thoughts

Are you utilizing any of these tactics for acquiring high quality inbound links? Are you utilizing any tactics not listed that are working well for your website? Please share in a comment below.

Reader Comments

  1. Chris June 6th

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    Great mention of the ADA site, they just upgraded the profiles too – all members should login asap and update…org/.edu links carry more weight too.

    Link building is nitty gritty, slow going, but essential – and beneficial. Habitual lather, rinse, repeating DIY steps outlined below will yield improved page rank.


  2. dentalheroes June 15th

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    Great point, Chris. Too often website owners are interested in page 1 rankings for competitive terms overnight. As you pointed out, the process can be painstakingly slow, but necessary for optimal organic rankings.


  3. dentalheroes June 16th

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    James, thanks for your thoughts. You’re correct. Google does love experts. I think it’s important to understand, however, that nobody is automatically considered an expert in Google’s eyes. In this case, because you are a dentist doesn’t automatically give you ranking preference in search engine rankings. Instead, Google bases your authority, or “expert status” on a number of signals or cues (backlink profile, social media engagement, etc.) that they know about you.

    They establish your authority based on a number of criteria like this to enhance their search results. You can imagine if they automatically apply “expert status” to certain groups how poor search result quality would potentially be.


  4. dentalheroes June 16th

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    Thanks for your comment, James.

    You’re absolutely right. Google does love experts. Why? Because experts create great content that people want to read. For that reason, they give experts ranking preference in the search engines – or at least it is one data point that can boost their rankings.

    I would caution, however, that nobody has innate “expert” status in the eyes of Google. Rather, Google bases their “expert” designations for those people who have met a certain threshold based on a number of criteria that only Google is privy too.

    However, it’s largely believed that things like your backlink profile, social media engagement, content distribution, etc. all influence your authority status.

    In other words, expertise in the eyes of Google has to be earned.


  5. jameskayley June 16th

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    Yes, I completely agree. Backlinks, of course, are still the foundation of Google’s algorithm and still the most important signal of authority. Even Einstein would be starting with a blank slate in Google’s eyes, if his blog didn’t have any backlinks!

    What I meant, was that dentists have a real advantage in creating the kind of content that other people naturally link to. That’s powerful, and can actually build your authority in Google’s eyes quicker than people think.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right, social engagement plays into that too – unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as “build it and they will link”!


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