Every business depends on new patients walking through the door and pulling out their wallet when they leave. How will you keep a steady stream of new patients once you’re in control of the dental practice you buy?
Since most people do their research online these days, your website is the front lines in your effort to attract new patients. So having a modern, professional site is a must. But once you have it, how can you be sure people will find it? When someone searches “best pediatric dentist in El Paso” or “Des Moines orthodontist,” how can you be sure your site will be the first one listed on Google?
One way to make your site the one most patients see first online is through backlinks. Backlinks are simply links back to your site from another site. These backlinks act as a signal to a search engine that another site trusts yours enough to link to you, which increases your site’s authority, giving you a higher ranking in search results.
Simple, right? And getting those backlinks is pretty simple, too. But “simple” isn’t the same thing as “easy,” which means that most dentists won’t do it. So if you do, you’ll have an immediate competitive advantage.
So what’s this simple method? Guest posts. Simply put, you write a blog post for another website. A guest post is a win-win for you and the site you’re posting on. Your site gets exposure and authority, while the hosting site gets free content. For my own business I’ve gotten back links from sites like Forbes, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, Dental Economics and others. I can tell you first-hand that they’re a great way to have credibility online.
(Want to get meta? Check it out in the wild. Here’s an old guest post about guest posting. Spot the link back to the author’s site in the bio at the end.)
4 steps to getting a backlink through a guest post
Step 1 – Find the right blog
Go local, go niche. Google search results are heavily based on geography, so while it’s tempting to try for the biggest publication you can (and hey, it never hurts to try!), you’ll likely be more successful and more effective with local blogs.
How do you find good candidates to reach out to? Just search for [your market] + [niche topic] + “blogs.”
Here in Salt Lake City, I might search for “Utah health blogs,” for somewhat broad results, or perhaps “Utah parenting blog” if I want to narrow it even further. Look at the top 5-10 results from each search as your prime candidates.
Step 2 – Reach out
Any reputable site will have a contact page with an email address or contact form. The email you send should focus first on what you can do for them, and then get into what they can do for you toward the end. Here’s a short example:
Hi, my name is Dr. James Smith, a local dentist at City Dental. I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog and would love to contribute some helpful dental-related content. Would you be interested in a guest post? Here are a couple of topics I think would fit well on your site:
- 5 Steps to Better Oral Health for Toddlers
- 7 Ways to Keep Your Dental Costs Down
Please let me know if you think these topics fit your site, and which one you would prefer. I’ll happily guest post on your blog free of charge, I only request a backlink to my own site.
Dr. James Smith, DDS
Don’t expect to get a “yes” from every site you reach out to. Reach out to at least a few dozen blogs and find a few willing to work with you.
Step 3 – Write the post
Once you’ve got the green light, write the post. Just remember as you’re writing that this is not a sales page. The benefit you’re getting comes from the backlink, so don’t use the content of your article to advertise to the reader.
Work in the backlink somewhere in the article. Discuss with the blog administrator whether the link should be in the main text somewhere or perhaps in the bio section at the end.
Step 4 – Follow up
Getting one backlink is good. Getting 10 backlinks is better. Getting dozens or even hundreds is best. Once your guest post is up, follow up with the blog administrator and thank them for the opportunity. Not only is this the kind thing to do, but if you’ve made a good impression, this is also a chance for you to ask about other blogs in their orbit who might be willing to give you a slot for a guest post.
Publishing guest posts is obviously great over the life of your practice, but it’s especially valuable just after you purchase a practice, since it can bring in new people and mitigate attrition during the transition.
This isn’t the end-all-be-all of dental marketing, just one more tool in your kit. You still need a well-kept exterior with good signage, word of mouth, great new-caller best practices, and so on. But in today’s online world, making your website stand above the competition is the best way to ensure the flow of new patients that you need.