Everyone needs a good dentist. Every 6 months rolls around and it’s time to check into the dentist! While having healthy teeth is a must, it can be difficult growing your brand awareness and clientele into a sustainable business. While WOM (word of mouth) is effective, it can only take your business so far.
Most of the time people will just go on their phone and type in ‘dentists near me”, then look at reviews and locations for various dentists in their area. Dentistry provides a variety of options for patients to choose from. And if you want to beat out the competition, it’s essential to provide both an exceptional experience and to show up online when people are searching for a local dentist in their area.
At Manta, we know the importance of people finding your local business information. There are a few key differences between traditional and local search which we’ll explain in this local SEO guide for dentists along with 9 proven strategies you should start implementing to give your business a competitive advantage. Let’s get started!
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9 Strategies to Improve Local SEO for Dental Offices
Focus on Local SEO Over Traditional SEO
Why is it so important to focus on local SEO versus traditional SEO? They both help you start ranking online and help customers find your website. And while there is an overlap between the two, local search strategies place a heavier weight on specific local SEO ranking factors, like Relevance, Prominence, and Distance. Optimizing a website for local search includes ranking for location-based and “near me” terms, aligning website content with the right intent for prospective customers, building citations and listings in local directories to increase brand recognition, and building a strong reputation online to establish E-A-T for Google and users.
The better your local SEO ranking is, the more likely people are to find your business in your own community. It’s low hanging fruit and location-based or “near me” terms tend to capture a more targeted audience, meaning searchers that are more likely to convert. So focusing on local SEO is more important for a local dentist’s office, even if it has multiple locations due to getting a better return on investment.
9 Strategies to Improve Local SEO for Dentists
Local SEO is intent-driven and gives you a better allocation of time and resources that ultimately bring your business more local customers. But you might be asking yourself, where should you start with a local SEO dental marketing campaign if you’re new to this? Here are 9 trusted and proven strategies to help:
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. You may think it encompasses what your customers are searching for with your business, however it’s a broad term that is really competitive and difficult to rank for. If you’re new 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, such as dental offices. It’s easier than you might think to incorporate this into your content! Doing so will help capture local audiences near your clinic or office.
The same applies with localized keywords. Some examples of a localized search for someone living in Atlanta, Georgia searching for a dental office would be:
- ‘dentist office atlanta’
- ‘dentist office atlanta, georgia’
- ‘dentist office marietta’
- ‘dentist office sandy springs, ga’
Marietta and Sandy Springs are suburbs within the Atlanta metropolitan area that would still be relevant for a local dentist office to target. Adding surrounding cities and suburbs is one solution in improving local SEO for your dental office.
Pro Tip: Remember to review what your local competitors are ranking for. Being aware of their keyword strategy and regularly checking their website and content is very important for your dentistry. You may gather ideas of your own, but more importantly, understand where you can enhance your own strategy by offering more information, answering questions, providing helpful resources, and much more that your competition may not be doing already.
2) Create a Google Business Profile
Google recently changed the name of their business listing to Google Business Profile from Google My Business. Aside from the name change, everything is the same.
Creating a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing is extremely important for your dental office. This listing helps advertise additional information about your office for current or potential customers to discover. Sometimes this is the first place new customers will look for business information. There are a variety of ways in which you can optimize your Google Business Profile on your own. With all of the important details included in your GBP profile, be sure to account for these important factors:
- NAP: ‘NAP’ stands for name, address and phone number. These are the three most important pieces of information you will be required to have within your GBP listing. They also help keep your information consistent across all listings.
- Additional Information: Along with your NAP, be sure to include other valuable pieces of 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: GBP listings can populate under where your dental office is located. You can set a specific location(s) or set a radius on what area you would like to target.
- Services: To help stand out against your competitors within your area, adding relevant categories makes your office more marketable. You could also be an orthopedic clinic and customers would love to know about this addition. 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, 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. It also gives new customers a bit of familiarity and trust in your dental clinic.
Understanding and utilizing these factors can help further optimize your dental office listing and help you stand out from the competition.
3) Create Additional Local Listings
Along with having a Google Business Profile listing, there are limitless opportunities for your dental clinic 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. Do your research and find important and trusted local directories and listings for dental offices and see what you need to do to get added to them. Here at Manta, we are America’s small business directory and can help you list your dental office in your local area. Find the best opportunities that 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 GBP, keeping your NAP consistent within new directories helps keep the value of SEO with your information. 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 one of the most important factors that potential customers will look into and consider when choosing your dental office. Especially in comparison to your competitors within the area, having a client’s positive experience at your dental clinic makes your office valuable and trustworthy. Dental offices can often 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 looking into positive and promising reviews from new or existing customers, there are a few things you should focus on. First, you should invite each client that’s had a service done at your dental office to write a review. You could remind them while they’re checking out or send them a text reminder to easily link them to where they can write a positive review for your office. Generating authentic and positive Google reviews can result in having an average of 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.
While your dental office strives for the best in service and reviews, sometimes it’s inevitable to receive bad reviews. When your dental office gets a bad experience from a service you provided, it’s important to respond as quickly as you can. There are a lot of different ways to handle negative 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.
5) Add LocalBusiness Schema Markup
Adding a LocalBusiness 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 its purpose and how search engines should read your website. When search engines have an easier time understanding that your website is a local office or business by adding 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. If some of this is confusing to you, there are additional options to help make it work. You can work with a web developer if you’re not comfortable doing this on your own. Taking these steps will help your dental clinic add local business schema markup.
6) Start Building Backlinks
Within any industry, especially within your dental clinic, websites should consider and implement building backlinks. When your dental office reaches out to other reputable and trusted local establishments to get featured in articles, resource pages, directories, etc., it opens the opportunity 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 over using it. Doing so will help with peoples “near me searches”. When someone types on their phone “dentists near me”, a list of dental offices in your area should appear. This is how Google knows to show results in your community.
Besides your GBP profile, you can add your location or city in places like your meta title and meta descriptions. However, be aware of character length on these items. 60-70 characters for the meta title can be a good starting practice, with approximately 150 for the meta description. But don’t stress if you’re a little short or long of these lengths. As long as the text and content flow well, search engines will understand and make sense of it better.
An example of location elements in the meta description could look something like this:
‘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
With any and all of the different pages on your website, you should be implementing keywords that are friendly to your local SEO campaign. These pages should include keywords about your location and community. Examples of this can be your city, office location, any nearby landmarks. Adding these elements helps Google understand you’re an actual 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.
While it’s important to differentiate your website from your competitors, your dental office should include these pages to help your website rank through SEO:
Contact Us Page
Including a ‘Contact Us’ page is a must for any local business. This is where you put your NAP (name, address, phone number). You can also embed the Google and Apple Maps directions on this page for people to see how far away they are from your office. Point out local elements that make it easier for people to find your office. Such as “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. Having individual pages for each of your services helps talk about your processes and give a high-level overview of what you do for each of these. It also helps improve your SEO rankings by creating separate pages. These individual service pages help capture SEO keywords, while also giving you a chance to mention your location and WHERE you provide these services.
Blog Articles or Resource Pages
Blogs are a good way to build up E-A-T for your website, provide relevant and valuable information to searchers, and to attract more site visitors that can turn into prospective patients. Writing about topics and questions people may have helps show potential patients why you’re the best and why they can count on you for your dental needs. It also helps answer their questions and learn more about your industry. Plus, this is how you build up keywords and authority for your website.
If it’s helpful for users to understand some of your services and what sets your business apart. Adding an FAQ page improves the user experience of your website by already anticipating the commonly asked questions and providing the resources they would want. It gives your dental office more expertise by recognizing and answering questions a patient might be worried about before going into their appointment. Especially during uncertain times, answering questions about protocols and the way you handle your services helps put customers at ease before their appointment.
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 one of the more frequent enemies of SEO. Google scans and checks to make sure content is not identical from page to page on your website, or too similar to other places on the web. While you may be talking about similar topics as your competitors on your website pages, your content should always be original and never identical to other pages or websites. Google checks to see that you have valuable content on your website.
On the other spectrum, you should avoid duplicate and overly similar content within your own website. Having pages with similar keywords and copy will end up hurting your site because they essentially compete against one another for the same keyword (also known as cannibalization). This makes it confusing for search engines to know which page should be ranking, and in turn, can result in neither page ranking. And over time, this can make a site appear to have a poor user experience and be deemed untrustworthy. Be aware of duplicate content on your website as well as compared to other dental office websites.
Get Professional Local SEO Help for your Dental Office
If you’re thinking at this point that there’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 be expensive. However, Manta can help solve that problem!
At Manta, our goal is to help small businesses grow online through affordable and accessible SEO services. With an experienced and dedicated SEO support team, we’re there every step of the way to help your dental clinic improve and grow online. Learn more about our affordable small business SEO services today to see how we can help your dental office’s digital presence today with a local SEO campaign.