Local SEO for Dentists: How to Rank Higher on Google

Running a dental practice in the digital age necessitates a bit of knowledge on online visibility. Because most consumers now rely on their phones to look up local businesses, it is important that you, a local service provider, also increase visibility in your area. Consider the following Google search statistics:

  • 46% of all inquiries on Google are specifically searching local information
  • 88% of consumers will either call or visit the business within 24 hours after making a local business search on a mobile device, 
  • 92% of searchers select businesses on the first page of local search results

Local search engine optimization (SEO) will help you steer your target customers into the dentist they’re looking for–i.e. you. Whereas traditional SEO involves trying to reach as many parts of the world as you can, local dental seo marketing helps you focus your efforts in attracting patients within the vicinity of your dental clinic.

To do this, your clinic needs to rank higher in local search engine results pages (SERPs). This means you need to be one of—if not the first—things they see when they Google something like “dentist near me.” And, since Google prioritizes rankings in terms of relevance, quality, and usability, you’ll have to build your local SEO campaign with these factors in consideration. 

1. Optimize your content using local dental keywords

When you enter something into the Google search bar, you’ll notice a drop-down list of topics related to what you’ve just typed. Google automatically returns suggestions for related searches, and this is where you can start hunting for dental keywords that are being searched in your locale. 

Your content optimization strategy should involve the following:

  • Keyword Research Avenues
  • Identify keywords you already rank for in search results
  • Take inventory of competitors’ keyword rankings
  • Include keywords target patients use
  • Pick a target and relevant keywords that are most related to your business
  • Think of seasonal trends when researching keywords
  • Utilize free keyword research tools available on the Internet
  • User Intent 

Understanding why a patient searches a particular phrase helps you determine the right keywords to use to lead them to your website. Does the patient have a question about implants, or do they want to see a dentist straight away?

Google already has an intricate system in place to determine search intent, so you need no look further than the content that ranks in searches to know the intent behind a keyword or phrase.

  • Purpose-driven Content

Once you have your keywords, you have to find a way to incorporate them into the content of your website. General or short-tail keywords like “dentist” or “dental office” will definitely put you amongst a mish-mash of search results including definitions, information about the dental profession, or related dental services.

Using long-tail keywords will help you gain ranks into more specific searches, as you can better determine the intent behind the search than more general searches. For example, if you’re writing specifically for the phrase “dental health tips pregnant women,” you can balance the use of related terms like “dental pregnant care” and questions like “can I have dental treatment while pregnant” throughout your content to help it rank for multiple keywords.

For an added local SEO boost, include local keywords with the name of your town and the surrounding areas. You know there’s actually a big difference between searching just “local dentist” and “dental office Ottawa.”

2. Make your website more user-friendly

Photo Credit: Anthony Shkraba | Pexels

User experience (UX) is one of the key defining factors for Google when ranking pages, so you need to include this in your local SEO strategy. Besides this, hiring a web designer in Toronto and optimizing your website to perform better also convinces your potential customers to choose your clinic, since they had a pleasant experience using your website. You can do this by:

  • Create separate service pages for each of your services
  • Including a location page and local content
  • Having a unique URL, title tag, and meta description for each of your pages
  • Making your website mobile-friendly
  • Targeting local keywords
  • Avoiding duplicate content
  • Including engaging images, graphics, and videos on your pages
  • Streamlining your site’s navigation
  • Speeding up your page load time

Patients usually have an arsenal of dental-related questions, so it would also be helpful to create content pages that address these. Providing a FAQs page on your website makes you more helpful and relevant to those who are searching for answers. 

Plus, don’t shy away from making blogs that are jam-packed with useful information about a certain dental topic. Recent algorithm updates now favour sites that have expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, so long-form content is the way to go if you want to rank higher among the rest of your local dental practice peers.

Pair your blogging efforts with social media to make you a more involved presence in your community, further increasing your visibility and credibility. 

3. Secure your Google My Business (GMB) listing

Besides a fast and useful website, you need to have a complete and accurate GMB listing so your potential patients can find you faster. GMB information is what appears in Google searches and maps, and you need to have this to complement your website.

After claiming or creating your listing, it needs to be verified and optimized. Your listing needs to be accurate and complete, so don’t forget to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone (a local number if possible)
  • Business Hours
  • Category (Dentist, plus secondary categories like “Cosmetic Dentist” or “Orthodontist”)
  • Website
  • Description (Your services and what sets you apart from the rest)
  • Payment Options (Cash, debit/credit, bank transfers)

Google reviews about your practice are also a ranking factor for local SEO, so go out of your way to ask your satisfied customers to write reviews. Don’t force them to write a positive review, but choose those who you think were actually happy with your dental services. Make it easier for them by providing a unique link that takes them where they need to write their review. Finally, never write fake reviews and make sure to promptly respond to both positive and negative reviews.

Other people (including your competitors) can suggest edits that can lead to unwanted alterations to your business’s listing. Be sure to log into your GMB dashboard on a regular basis. 

Never Stop Your SEO Efforts

Any SEO technique can take time to show results, so you need to track your progress: rankings, traffic, conversions, etc. See what works, what could be better, and dive deeper into other local SEO strategies such as link building, online directory citations, and off-page optimization. Search engine optimization services abound in your locale, and you can seek the help of experts to up your local SEO game for your dental practice.