Yes, links to your website from other relevant websites are great for search engine optimization. Google plays favorites, and if lots of links point to your website, you’re in the proud crowd for sure. In fact, Google Pagerank is a scoring system in which you earn points (up to 10) for the quality of your backlinks. Google analyzes sites for Pagerank every quarter.
Links from your site to other sites aren’t nearly as appealing. They’re not bad, but what you really want is links pointing to your site.
Reciprocal link exchanges are okay, but not as good as one-way link exchanges. So, if you ask another dentist to link swap with you, the best practice would be to do something like this:
Dental practices attract local, not nationwide traffic, for the most part. Sure, you may have patients who fly in from Canada, England, and Timbuktu because your service is the best on the planet, but most of your patients are probably within 20 miles of your office.
Get local links by requesting an exchange with other local businesses, from doctors and spas to chiropractors and fitness centers. You can even include links to your barber and mechanic, if you want, but the best SEO value will come from linking with businesses who have similar services. (In this case, health, wellness, and beauty services.)
Get dental links by requesting an exchange with doctors, sleep labs, specialists, and dental labs you work with. You can also link with dentists from other geographic locations – i.e., non-competitors.
So how do you “request” a link exchange? If you can’t meet in person, the best method is to pick up the phone and call. Talk to the business owner one-on-one, businessman/woman to businessman/woman. Personal connection is always the best bet.
You can send an email, but it will probably get treated like spam.
The other way to get backlinks is by participating in comments on blogs relevant to your location and/or subject (health, wellness, beauty, dentistry). The links probably won’t get as much credit with Google as they would if they were integrated into text in an article, but that’s okay. Every little bit helps. Of course, to get a link credit, you have to include a link to your site and the comment has to be posted (which may require approval by the blog administrator, which you have nothing to do with).
Another consideration, don’t just throw links into your sidebar under the heading “LINKS.” Create a page for links, and write a paragraph about each business you link to. You can ask the person submitting the link to provide a paragraph about his/her company. Then, you need to do the same. When you sent your link to someone who has agreed to link swap with you, provide a UNIQUE paragraph of introduction for your company, and embed the link to your site in keywords within the body of the text – keywords you want associated with your website.
If you need help writing any part of your website, give me a call at 972-781-8861. I’m Jill Duty, a dental and SEO copywriter with years of experience. Along with my team of copywriters at Modern Dental Practice Marketing, we help dentists, small businesses, and non-profit organizations thrive on the Internet. We’re in the business to make dentists smile!