Local SEO for Dentists: 20 Proven SEO Tips to Grow Your Dental Practice
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Local SEO for Dentists
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Here’s 20 Local SEO Tips to Grow Your Dental Practice
Are you trying to grow your dental practice?
Are your dentists struggling to get found in Google search and Google Maps?
Local SEO for dentists is a process where you optimize the Google My Business listing for dentists, or dental practices, in order to increase the dentists rankings in Google Maps and Google local search results and connect to new patients who are searching for a top rated dentist in their market.
As new challenges for dental practices arise because of the pandemic, you need to plan your steps accordingly and align with the way people conduct things nowadays. And when it comes to online visibility, you need to consider local SEO for dentists.
Data reveals that about 46% of all Google searches involve local information. This means nearly half of patients will go to Google or other search engines to find local businesses.
But what exactly are these local SEO tips that you should start practicing?
If you’re searching for helpful local SEO tips for dentists, continue reading below.
1. Start with Your Keyword Research
The same with other SEO strategies, local SEO for dentists also begins with the keywords. Thus, you need to perform extensive keyword research for dentist local SEO.
Begin by listing the services that your dental practice offers. Write down the basic services that you offer like cleaning and fillings. Do the same thing if you’re offering complex services like dental crowns and orthodontics.
From there, go to the Google Ads platform and enter the services in the Keyword Planner Tool. Here, you will be able to identify the top keywords people use when searching for dental services on Google.
Also, when choosing the right keywords, go for the long-tail ones. These are keywords that are more specific than shorter keywords. Hence, they are less competitive.
For example, instead of settling for the keyword “dentist,” go for a long-tail keyword like “emergency dental services in Chicago.”
2. Work on Your “Google My Business” Page
Another crucial way of beefing up your local SEO is to work on your Google My Business page. This is the page that users see whenever they access the “Map” results in Google.
To maximize your Google My Business page, you need to ensure that the information you put on the page is accurate and updated. One incorrect detail could mean losing a patient to your competitor.
Also, you need to make sure you’re using the most relevant categories. As for your business description, make sure to write it clearly. You also want to incorporate some of your keywords in it.
Additionally, consider adding photos to your Google My Business page. Pictures of your dental clinic will give patients an idea of what to expect. Also, the pictures will add to your credibility.
3. Reviews Count
Another effective factor that can help boost your search rankings is your reviews. Thus, you need to get as many reviews as possible.
To do so, encourage your happy patients to leave a quick online review. Your customer reviews reflect how much people in your community trust you. In turn, it will also help your clinic rank higher on local maps.
Also, provide a unique link for the reviews. This will make it easier for customers to send in their reviews. And if ever you receive negative feedback, address them promptly.
4. Yelp Listings Matter
Apart from Google My Business page, you also need to create a Yelp profile for your dental practice.
Yelp is a popular online directory for local reviews. People visit Yelp to look for various services.
With a Yelp page, patients who search for dental services in your area can find information about you.
Also, they can leave comments and feedback about your services.
Enjoy the best local SEO services that will keep you ahead of the competition.
Previous article version from October 2nd, 2016
Local SEO for Dentists: How This Local Dental Practice Became Featured in Google Maps
What’s the big deal about being a featured dentists in local search?
Every local business wants to be ranked #1 in Google Maps, or letter A in the 3 pack local listings. And rightly so, because the 3 pack is where over 80% of the calls, interactions, and customers are generated.
But I would argue there’s a more prominent place to be ranked in Google Maps, or Google local search results, and that’s in the featured local business section.
It’s one thing to be ranked letter A in Google Maps where you are above all of your competitors.
It’s a completely different thing to be the featured local business for your most profitable, money making keyword phrase.
Letter A rankings in Google Maps puts you at the top amongst your direct competitors.
The featured local listing would immediately put you in a league all by yourself, without any competitors taking attention away from your business.
So is it possible for a local business to earn their way into the featured local listing in Google?
I say yes, it is absolutely possible to earn your way into the featured local business section.
But to do it, your local business listing, or Google My Business (GMB) listing, has to elevate to a point where it is more authoritative than all of your competitors.
And not just a little bit more authoritative. In order to be the featured local business in Google Maps, you have to be so much more authoritative that Google decides it’s not even worth presenting any other business.
That’s a pretty tall order, especially in hyper competitive markets in large metro areas.
To earn this level of authority, there are some key techniques you can focus on. Which is why I’m writing this article.
My goal is to use one of our clients, a dental practice in Athens, Georgia, as a case study to show you exactly how we got this dentist to become the featured local business for his most profitable keyword phrase. And not just the keyword phrase “dentist in
[city name]”. This dental client has so much authority, they are the featured listing for the global keyword “dentist” when searched from the same city they are located in (more on that below).
Learn more about how we can help your business achieve top rankings in Google Maps / Google local search results.
What does it mean to be the featured local business in Google Maps / local listings?
In order to understand this level of authority, let me start by showing you the dentist that’s currently the featured business in Google local search results.
This is also important, because it shows you the relevance of localization. Which means Google uses the location of the person searching – whether on desktop or mobile – to determine the search results you see.
The keyword phrase in this example is the global keyword “dentist”.
And here’s what you get when searching the word “dentist” from my location which is Athens, Georgia.
Featured local listing (desktop) in Google search for global keyword phrase “dentist”
Notice how the keyword phrase I searched is the global word “dentist”. I did not indicate what city I was searching in, nor did I indicate a particular type of dentist.
Next, notice the right hand column that’s featuring McRae Family Dental. This is our dental client located in Athens, Georgia.
Finally, not only is this dental practice the featured local business for the global keyword phrase “dentist”, but notice how they are also the #1 ranked organic search result for this global keyword phrase.
This points back to the growing influence of localization, and how Google uses your location to determine the search results you see.
Another interesting element to this featured listing is the amount of data that Google includes. Here’s a screenshot showing all of the data points displayed in the featured local listing:
full view of featured local listing (right hand side / desktop)
Here’s a list of key data points being included automatically in this featured local listing:
Make an appointment (powered by Healthgrade.com)
Popular times throughout the day, and by day
Reviews from Google (and I’ve seen many others featuring reviews from Facebook)
Website and directions button
Photos… and if the dental practice had a virtual tour, it would include that as well (something we are working on)
If you saw this dentist’s featured local listing on a mobile phone, you would see a call button featured as well, like this:
Mobile version of the featured local listing
What’s are some highlight from being the featured local business in Google Maps / local search results?
Before I get into tips on how your business can reach the featured local listings, let me show you the impact you can experience in your business as a result of reaching the featured local listings in Google Maps.
Here are some highlights from last month’s reporting for our dental client, most of which results from being the featured local business for the global keyword phrase “dentist”:
1) Traffic from Google:
4,443 total searches in Google
5,160 unique visitors to your Google local / Google Maps listing
4,500 total actions taken on your Google local / Google Maps listing
142 visits to your website from your Google Maps listing
124 requests for directions
354 inbound calls into your dental practice
3,880 views on your photos
9,330 pageviews, which is an increase of 66% over the past 30 days
2) Mobile site productivity:
85 inbound calls
25 clicks on map for directions
The impact is substantial, especially considering they are a dentist in a moderately sized metro area (Athens, Georgia).
Local SEO strategy to become the featured dentist in Google Maps
Now let’s get to the good stuff… here are some of the local SEO strategies we use to give this dental client a dominant presence in Google local search results.
First, it’s important to understand these strategies are not a “magic bullet” to becoming the featured business in your market. They are steps in a long term process when executed over time, will continue to build domain and brand authority for your business. And once enough authority is established – i.e. more than all of your competitors – you will then become the featured local business in your market.
1) Synergy with your local business data
You’ve probably read dozens of articles about local SEO that tell you to focus on the citations for your business. A citation is simply the NAP (business name, address, and phone number) for your business location.
But what you may not have read is the importance of synergy between the NAP of your Google My Business (GMP) page, your website, and all other distribution points where your NAP appears.
You see, Google uses citations (your business NAP) to verify the identify of your business according your Google My Business page. Your GMP page is the foundation for all other citations across the web – most importantly, the citation published on your website.
If your business citation on your GMB page reads as follows:
855 Gaines School Road Suite A Athens, Georgia 30605
Then every citation, including your website, should be an exact replica of your GMB citation.
If you have even the slightest variation published somewhere else, for example instead of “Suite A” your say “STE A”, then you have an inconsistency in your citations.
On the other hand, the more consistent (exact replicas) of your GMB citation that are published on your website and across the web, the more authoritative your Google Maps listing will be in the search results.
Google uses your citation portfolio (all citations published across the web) as the database of information about your business. If it’s consistent and accurate, then you’ll earn a substantial amount of authority. If it’s inconsistent and inaccurate, you’ll devalue your overall authority which ultimately hurts your rankings in local search results.
Most importantly, you should use Schema language for your NAP citation that’s published on your website.
So not only should the NAP citation on your website be an exact replica of the NAP used on your GMB, but you can enhance the citation on your website further by wrapping it in Schema language.
My preferred method of implementing Schema language is to use JSON LD markup, which looks like this:
“addressLocality”: “City Name”,
“postalCode”: “Zip Code”,
“streetAddress”: “exact street address”
“description”: “Description of your business”,
“name”: “title of your GMB page”,
“telephone”: “business phone #”
“url”: “city specific landing page URL”
The example above is Schema that would be used for a “Dentist”. But if you were, for example, an attorney you would use “Attorney” in the @type section instead of “Dentist”.
Schema can also be used for many other data points for your local business such as reviews, hours of operation, products, pricing, and more… I shared the link above, but you can read all about Schema, and the many uses of the protocol, here.
My point for this article is to simply state the importance of using Schema on your website to enhance your location data, especially your NAP citation.
3) Citation distribution
Citation distribution refers to the volume and authority of where your business NAP is listed across the web. And when it comes to citation distribution, I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of your local business authority in search can come from 20% of the citation distribution points you achieve for your NAP.
One simple way to maximize the 80/20 rule in citation distribution is to use a service like Moz Local.
With Moz Local, you can get your NAP citations listed in the most authoritative business directories on the web such as InfoGroup, Axiom, Foursquare, and LocalEze.
Getting your NAP citation published in these four directories would give you hundreds, if not thousands of citations across the web because so many other local business directories partner with these four distributors like Yelp, Apple Maps, Yellow Pages, and many others.
So instead of spending hundreds of hours trying to build NAP citations manually, using a service like Moz Local can help you, at least initially, achieve 80% of your authority by distributing exact replicas of your business NAP across the web.
Again, it’s critically important to ensure the NAP you use in Moz Local is an exact replica of your Google My Business (GMB) page. And another great feature of Moz Local is how their system will let you know if there’s inconsistency.
4) Leverage photos and virtual tours in your Google My Business (GMB) listing
A lot of sources, including Google, will tell you to focus on creating an engaging presence on your Google My Business page. And, they say, the more engaging and active your page is, the higher your rankings will be in the search results.
And don’t get me wrong, things like reviews are important for your business because your customers use these to determine if you are a good fit or not for their needs.
But from my experience in working with local businesses literally since the inception of local SEO, nothing generates more activity on your Google My Business page than photos and virtual tours.
Here’s a screenshot of the dental client I’m using as the example of a featured business in this article. And notice the huge disparity in activity on their photo views versus all other sections:
I went ahead and circles the activity on the photos, but I don’t think it was necessary to make my point.
While the visits to website, requests for directions, and calls are great, those numbers are in the hundreds.
The views on photos, on the other hand, are in the thousands. And, I haven’t yet finished the virtual tour for this dental client.
If the activity and interaction on your Google My Business page is directly correlated to your presence in local search results, then “photo views” are, by far, carrying most of the weight in activity.
I believe people simply landing on your Google My Business page on their mobile phones, tap the “photos” section, and just swipe through all of the photos you have listed. It’s literally that easy to generate a high volume of activity on your Google My Business page.
So focus on adding as many new photos as you can over time to your Google My Business. On the admin side of your Google My Business dashboard, Google even helps you organize these photos further by including sections called Identity photos, Interior Photos, Exterior Photos, Photos at work, Team photos, and Additional photos.
Taking this one step further, I recommend you include a virtual tour of your business location which would also be featured on your Google My Business page.
5) Create strong local city pages for your business
Finally, in order to generate enough authority to become the featured local business in Google search, I recommend creating strong city pages for your business and using the URL of these city pages as the landing page in your Google My Business page.
For each Google My Business listing, you have a place where you can define a URL for your website. But if your business has multiple locations, or you have a specific city page for your location, then I recommend using that URL in your Google My Business page – instead of the homepage of your website. But your homepage may be the best choice if you only have one location for your business and the majority of your local information is displayed on the homepage of your website.
Creating an authoritative city page for your local business
When it comes to creating a highly authoritative city page for your business, one that Google sees as highly relevant to your market, there are few things I recommend you include on that page such as:
Google Maps embed of your Google My Business listing
zip codes that are relevant to your target city
mentions of key land marks within your city
reviews from customers within your target city
the city name in your title and throughout the content of your page
By creating a strong city page for your local business, and using the page URL as your website in your Google My Business listing, will help you create a strong association of your local listing with your target city.
And the more relevant your website or city page is for your target market, the more authority you’ll build into your Google My Business page, which translates into higher rankings in Google local search results.
It is definitely possible to build enough authority into your Google My Business page and become the featured local business in your market. We’ve done it for several of our local SEO clients who do business in some of the most highly competitive markets in large metro areas.
The key is to be consistent over a long period of time with these steps. As I mentioned, there is no magic bullet that will give you a featured local business placement overnight. It requires a definitive focus on the process over time.
And even if you don’t reach the featured business level, this process can very quickly drive you into the letter A rankings in Google Maps.
Or if you don’t have the time to put this level of focus on your rankings in Google local search results, you can always hire us to do it for you!