Websites for multi-practice dental businesses

I have several practices, can I put them all on one website? How will this affect my SEO?

We recently started two projects for dentists who own and operate several practices in different locations. Two of the key considerations for these projects were as follows:

  • how do we create the best foundation for SEO for each of the practices?
  • what is the most cost-effective way to complete the project whilst ensuring that all locations have a worthwhile web presence?

I’ll take these two questions in order.

When considering SEO, can all of the locations be incorporated into one website?

Whilst this is possible, it may not be the best strategy. This is primarily down to how Google has developed local search in the last couple of years and how preference in search results is given to local businesses. The best chance for each business is to have its own domain and website complete with its own Google local business listing, map etc. Where multiple locations are crammed into a single site, Google can easily become confused about addresses, telephone numbers and other elements it uses to locate a business for use in local search results.

You also have to consider the content within the website. Whilst it is possible to have a separate page(s) for each location on a single website, the ability to differentiate the content is quite severely restricted. So, for example, if I want to rank for “dental implants Derby”, “dental implants Nottingham” and similar for Leicester all from one website, then I’m likely going to struggle.

“But”, you might say, “what about the big brands who have a single website and list all of their branches on there? They still manage to appear in local search right?” This is correct, but what you may not realise is that a huge amount of SEO effort is going on behind the scenes to achieve this. Each of the locations will be receiving a lot of effort to ensure that they rank in the local results. This level of effort is typically not achievable by dental practices and hence that type of strategy is not really sustainable. Consequently for smaller organisations, like dentists, the recommended approach is to have one website to represent each location.

There are other considerations too, for example what happens when/if a practice is sold on? A stand-alone dentist’s website has a value and can also be sold-on; however an individual page representing that practice but within a single, master site cannot and similarly will have little value.

So how do you achieve this type of configuration without costs running out of control?

Re-using website assets for more than one practice

Unless you have a specific reason to develop separate brand identities, it is quite possible to use one website template across multiple sites. Where necessary, colour schemes can be modified and logos adapted but in most cases, it’s appropriate to minimise such changes to ensure brand alignment.

Of course it is critical (and logical) to change the content for each practice relative to the services provided and to ensure that Google sees each site as unique – remember that duplicated content, even for internal pages, is a big “no no” and will lead to ranking obscurity for the site which copied the text from elsewhere.

So it is absolutely fine to re-use a website framework in this scenario as long as the content is developed afresh each time. A large proportion of the development cost can be saved by using this technique and it is a tried and proven methodology.

Summary

locate a business on GoogleFor dentists who own more than practice, it is recommended that a website is developed for each location. This provides the best platform for search engine optimisation, particularly local SEO, as opposed to the risks associated with trying to cover multiple locations with one site. Whilst it is possible to cover several locations in one, the ability to differentiate for SEO is quite restricted.

The costs associated with this technique can be minimised by developing a “master” template for all locations and adjusting this appropriately for each roll-out. Of course, unique content will be needed for each of the websites.

If you are interested in developing a highly-functional and cost-effective web presence for your dental business with multiple practices, please call our team on 01332 672548 to discuss.