What is local SEO for dentists?
If you open Google and search for “dentist” the page will show a mixture of results. You will see articles on dentistry, dental wiki pages, national dental directories such as Yelp and Healthgrades, dental publications and websites. At the top you can see Google ads, and below a Google map with local dental listings.
Why are local SEO listings on the Google map so high on the page? Previously, they were lower than most organic website results. This is because Google and the other search engines know that most people are looking for a local result. Local dental SEO offers a significant advantage to dental offices in search results. Local SEO allows an individual practice to compete in search rankings with large, well-funded online brands, directories, publications, dental software companies, and medical journals.
Why is local SEO important?
It can be alarming to learn that more than half of all searches online are local. Indeed, since 2018, Google reported an increase of up to 900% in local search terms. These terms have seen a sharp increase in words like “open now”, “near me” and “open”. Additionally, searches for local businesses in the Google Maps mobile app are growing 50% faster than general Google searches. Chances are, your potential patients will search Google map directly, which means they won’t even see Google ads (pay per click) or website organic results.
Interesting, but what exactly is local SEO for dentists?
Index: It’s the Google map.
You want to rank well on the Google map because:
- It’s inexpensive compared to other forms of digital marketing.
- This is where potential patients look for a new dentist.
- Searches increase in the Google Maps app faster than traditional Google searches.
- Research studies show that 75% of consumers who search locally get to the business within 24 hours, and 28% of them buy.
- Google Map listings have more consumer confidence because there is more relevant information than website results. For example, the listings include consumer reviews, firm phone number, address, directions, and FAQs.
- Local practices have priority over national and international dental companies and brands. For example, Yelp doesn’t rank on the local Google Map because it doesn’t have a location in your city.
Here are the five easy, non-technical ways to improve your SEO for dentists rankings.
Claim, verify and improve your GMB account
Each company can create a free Google My Business (GMB) account, which lists your firm’s companies in the Google database. If you’re already in business, you’ve probably created one or it was automatically created for you by Google. Claiming seems like the hardest step, so here’s a video showing you how to find your ad and check if it’s claimed. How to claim and verify your GMB account
Discover your ranking in Google Maps
You have to think of ranking in Google Maps differently from other types of marketing. Local SEO rankings change based on the location of the searcher. If someone searches for “dentist near me” on their phone while in front of your office, you are more likely to appear on the Google map than if they were five miles away. .
Before you start optimizing, you need to figure out how you rank in your city and for what keywords. You never know, you might already be ranked high, or not. Watch this video, Local SEO for dentist rankings, this explains how Google Maps rankings work. After watching the video, you’ll probably want to know how to run your own local SEO reports. You can do it here.
Download the Google My Business app and update the information tab
Go to the App Store on your phone and search for “Google My Business”. The icon looks like this.
There are two things I want to highlight when you update the info tab:
Main Category: You can have one main category and several secondary categories. As a rule, no more than three: one primary category and two secondary categories.
Service areas: You can enter up to 20 service areas. Use the 20. Make sure you keep a radius of about three to seven miles around your practice, unless you are in the sticks. In this case, go further.
Here’s a quick video that explains the main category and service areas in more detail. SEO for dentists — choose your main category and areas of service
Update your GMB cover photo
You can take a photo and upload it directly to your GMB account from the My Business app. Make sure you upload a great cover photo, which will show up in Knowledge Graphics search results. Google My Business lets you upload as many photos as you want, and studies have shown rankings improve with more photos. We usually add over 100 photos for customers using our dental referral service. You can add your photos to categories, such as Indoor, Outdoor, Work, Team, and Identity. A great place to start is to use this Free GMB Photo Checklist which shows you what photos to take and where to download them.
Start blogging and blogging on your GMB
I know you don’t want to blog. Who has time, right? But this is vital for local dental SEO rankings.
There are two steps in this task:
- Write a blog and post it on your website. If you don’t have a blog, or aren’t sure how, contact your web hosting company. If you find yourself in a bind, give us a call.
- Write a paragraph on the blog, post it to your GMB account, and link to the full blog post on your website.
You probably didn’t know that you can post to your GMB account. I have circled the messages in the My Social Practice knowledge graph. GMB posts appear in search results and help your GMB account rank higher. Stay consistent with this. Depending on how competitive your area is, you should write one to four blog posts per month.
Hope this information has been helpful. For those dental marketing mavens who want to take it to the next level, check out this two-part article on dentist SEO.