Everyone needs a good dentist. Whether we want to or not, having healthy teeth is a must. All the time I see friends and family asking online for recommendations for a good dentist. And there’s always a lot of recommendations.
Most of the time people will just go on their phone and type in ‘dentists near me”. Then they look at reviews and locations for various dentists in their area. Dentistry provides a ton of options for patients to choose from. They want to make sure they make a good choice. But in order to make sure your dental practice even shows up for them to research, you need SEO. Specifically local SEO. Local and traditional SEO have a few key differences that make sure you’re found in your own community, where someone would be looking for a dentist like you.
Here at Boostability, we occasionally write articles about specific demographics where we know SEO can make a significant impact. We’ve done a guide on construction SEO. Today we’ll be focusing on local SEO for dental offices and what key factors your dental practice needs to put in place to be found online.
Focus on Local SEO Over Traditional SEO
So why focus on local SEO versus traditional SEO? Both get you ranking online. Both help customers find your website and potentially come visit you as a new patient. With local SEO services, it helps you stand out against others in your community who might perform the same services. Like dentistry, where you can find several options within a few miles of your location, you want to make sure people find your website and it stands out. The better your local SEO, the more people will find your dental practice.
Local SEO ranking factors differ slightly from traditional SEO ranking factors. Google talks about local SEO factors that prioritize things like relevance, distance, and prominence. The better your local SEO ranking, the more likely people are to find your business in your own community. So focusing on local SEO is more important for a local dentist’s office, even if it has multiple locations, because you get a better return on investment. Local SEO is more intent-driven, and gives you a better allocation of time and resources that ultimately bring your business more local customers.
9 Strategies to Improve Local SEO for Dental Offices
1) Conduct Local Keyword Research
It may be tempting to go after a keyword like ‘dentist office’ because it has 40,500 monthly searches on average. However, it’s a broad term that is really competitive and difficult to rank for. You could just be starting out with your SEO campaign and don’t have a lot of authority for your website just yet. It will be very difficult to rank for this in the near future.
For a better use of your time and resources, focus your keywords on:
- ‘Near me’ searches
- Localized keywords (keyword + [city or state])
“Near me” searches have grown 200% since 2018 and a study conducted by Uberall found that 82% of people use their phones to conduct those ‘near me’ searches. This goes to show how vital such keywords can be for a local business like a dental office and it’s easy to incorporate this into your content to capture a local audience near your clinic or office.
The same applies with localized keywords. Some examples of a localized search someone living in Salt Lake City, Utah would conduct for a dental office would be:
- ‘dentist office salt lake city’
- ‘dental office salt lake city, utah’
- ‘dentist office murray’
- ‘dentist office draper, utah’
Murray and Draper are suburbs within the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area that would still be relevant for a local dentist office to target, so don’t forget about surrounding cities and suburbs as you work to improve the local SEO for your dental office.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to review what your local competitors are ranking for. It’s important to be aware of their keyword strategy and to regularly check their website and content. You may gather ideas of your own, but more importantly, understand where you can enhance your own strategy. Do this by offering more information, answering questions, providing helpful resources, and much more that your competition may not be doing already.
2) Create a Google My Business (GMB)
Creating a Google My Business listing is extremely important for your dental office. A Google My Business listing helps advertise additional information about your office for current or potential customers to discover. Even if you’re brand new to GMB or have been doing it for years, there are a variety of ways in which you can optimize and manage your Google My Business profile on your own. When you decide to optimize, be sure to account for these important factors:
- NAP: having your name, address, and phone number are the three most important pieces of information you need within your GMB listing. This helps keep your information consistent across all listings.
- Information: Along with your NAP, be sure to include other valuable information your clients would be interested in knowing about. Such as hours of operation, amenities/special needs that your business services (wheelchair accessible), or a link to your website for additional information.
- Location: GMB listings can populate under the unders your dental office is located in. You can set a specific location(s) or a set radius on what area you would like to target.
- Services: To help stand out against your competition within your area, adding relevant categories makes your office more marketable. You could also be an orthopedic clinic and customers would be interested in knowing this. Adding this within your business description is a great opportunity to add your selling points and explain who you help. This ultimately helps set your dental clinic apart from others in the area.
- Images: Having images of your office, whether it be the interior or exterior of your dentistry or both, it enhances your user experience. It adds another factor in helping individuals decide and know what to look for if they’re a first-time visitor.
These factors can help further optimize your dental Google My Business listing and help you stand out from the competition.
3) Create Additional Local Listings
Along with having a GMB listing, there are limitless opportunities for your dental office to list information for other potential clients to see. While you want to be listed in multiple directories, it’s important to be listed in the right ones. Research important and trusted local directories and listings for dental offices and see what you need to do to get added to them. Some of these may be paid subscriptions while others may be free options. Finding the best opportunities will help you gain the coverage you’re needing from new and potential clients.
Expanding your reach within industry related directories, such as dental offices, can help in increasing your reach and brand awareness. This allows your information to be seen by more qualified leads that can turn into long-term patients. Along with the same information in your GMB, keeping your NAP consistent within new directories helps keep the value of SEO with your information. Just like we mention in our Search Sessions about Why Local Listings Management Still Matters, listing management is very important to your SEO strategy and business information. Find the right directories and listings that will help increase your dental client base.
4) Generate Reviews from Patients
Reviews are sometimes the first thing people look at when considering your dental office. Especially in comparison to your competitors within the area, having a client’s positive experience at your dental office makes your office valuable and trustworthy. Dental offices can be a scary place for new customers to trust their teeth with possibly harmful and intimidating procedures. When you have positive reviews explaining why consistent customers value your office, it gives new and potential customers a reason to trust your services with comfort and ease.
When it comes to getting and receiving reviews from patients, there’s some things you should focus on. First, you should present the opportunity to each client that’s had a service done to write a review. Reminding them while they’re checking out or with a text reminder can help generate a positive review for your office. Generating authentic and positive Google reviews can result in having 4 or 5 star ratings. These ratings then have a positive direct impact on local map pack rankings. When you’re higher in the map pack rankings, it’s a strong indication of how trustworthy your website and dental clinic is to both search engines and prospective patients.
Sometimes you could find yourself in negative situations with negative reviews. When your dental office receives a bad experience from a service you provided, it’s important to respond as quickly as you can to it. There are a lot of different ways to increase Google reviews, but being quick and responsive helps add value by showing you care about your patients. If you find yourself in a situation where you have fake Google reviews, there is a different way to go about handling them. It’s very important for your dental office to spot and remove fake Google reviews as quickly as possible.
5) Add Local Business Schema Markup
Adding a local business schema markup for your dental office is a very valuable task for your SEO. While Google has stated that schema markup is not a ranking factor for SEO, it is helpful in explaining how search engines should read your website or what its purpose is. Search engines have an easier time understanding that your website is a local office or business when you add in ‘LocalBusiness schema markup. It makes it easier for your dental website to rank for a local dental keyword that you’re targeting.
Your dental office should aim to create JSON-LD schema markup. There are several ways and tools to help generate a LocalBusiness schema for your dental office for free from TechnicalSEO and Microdata Generator. Once your script is generated, use this tool to test the structured data (aka schema markup) for any errors. From there, add it to the header script of your website or work with your web developer if you’re not comfortable doing this on your own. Taking these steps will help your dental office add local business schema markup.
6) Start Building Backlinks
With any industry, your dental clinic’s website should consider and implement building backlinks. Dental offices should reach out to other reputable and trusted local establishments to get featured in articles, resource pages, directories, etc. It opens opportunities for individuals to link back to your website. Even though they may have a lower DA compared to other nationally accredited organizations, trusted local sources are super relevant to other local businesses and tend to be easier to get. Acquiring quality backlinks can be harder than you might think, but can be easier than meets the eye. There are many different ways in which your dental office can acquire backlinks to help become more credible within your industry.
7) Use ‘Near Me’ or Localized Elements in Meta Titles and Descriptions
One of the keys with local SEO is to mention your location as frequently as possible without being accused of “keyword stuffing”. But locations help with “near me searches”. Like when someone types in on their phone “dentists near me”. This is how Google knows to show results in your community.
You can add your location or city in places like your meta title and meta descriptions. Be aware of character length on these items. 60-70 characters for the meta title is good practice, with approximately 150 for the meta description. But don’t stress if you’re a little short or long of these lengths.
Location elements in the meta tags would look something like this:
Example: ‘Pediatric Dental Office Near Me | Alpine Dental’ or ‘Trusted Pediatric Dentists in Salt Lake City, UT | Alpine Dental’
8) Create Local SEO-Friendly Website Pages
There’s several pages on your website where you insert keywords and content that are friendly to your local SEO campaign. These pages that include keywords about your location and community such as city, office location, any nearby landmarks, help Google to understand that you’re a local business trying to rank on a local level. Plus, you need to include content that is easy to read and not overly technical or difficult to understand.
Every dental website looking to rank should include the following pages:
Contact Us page – This is a must for any local business. This is where you put your name, address, phone number. And you can embed the Google and Apple Maps directions on there. It helps people see very quickly how far away they are from your office. Point out local elements that make it easier for people to find your office, like “across the street from Walmart” or “near Jolly’s Donut Shop”. This page is an easy local SEO win.
Individual service pages – This is for the types of services that you offer at your dental clinic. Things like teeth cleaning, fillings, root canals, etc. This should talk about your processes and give a high-level overview of what you do for each of these. These individual service pages can help you capture SEO keywords. It also gives you a chance to mention your location and WHERE you provide these services.
Blog articles or resource pages to address valuable and specific topics – Blogs are a good way to build up E-A-T for SEO and your website. This shows potential customers why you’re the best and why they can count on you for your dental needs. It helps to answer their questions and learn more about your industry. Plus, this is how you build up keywords and authority for your website.
FAQ – If it’s helpful for users to understand some of your services and what sets your business apart. FAQ pages improve the user experience of your website by already anticipating the commonly asked questions and providing the resources they would want.
Other – For compliance purposes there are some other pages you need to consider, as a dental practice, for your website.
- HIPAA Policy Statement
- State Policies (if required)
- Collection of PHI (Protected Health Information)
- Email and HIPAA compliance
9) Avoid Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is the enemy of SEO. Google scans and checks to make sure content is not the same from page to page on your website. Or that it’s too similar to other places on the web. Google also wants to make sure that you have valuable content on your website. Having pages with similar keywords and copy will actually hurt your site because essentially they cannibalize from one another. Neither page can rank well because they’re competing for the same keywords. And in Google’s eyes, content that is too similar makes a site seem untrustworthy. It creates a poor user experience.
Get Professional Help Local SEO Help for your Dental Office
If you’re thinking at this point that it’s a lot of things to do in order to optimize your website just for local searches, you’re not wrong. Free time isn’t something that most small business owners have, especially dentists who see patients all day every day. We also recognize that sometimes hiring a professional can get expensive. But that’s not the case at Boostability. All we do is help small businesses grow online. We’re affordable, accessible, and want to help your dental office grow online.
We have the resources and experienced teams that will prioritize your most immediate needs to use their time and budget in the most responsible and ROI-driven manner for your business. Contact us today to get started or to learn more about our affordable SEO services for small businesses and how we can help your dental office with a local SEO campaign.