5 proven ways to boost your dental SEO rankings

What is local SEO for dentists? 

If you open Google and search “dentist,” the page will have a mix of results. You’ll see articles about dentistry, dental wiki pages, national dental directories such as Yelp and Healthgrades, dental publications, and websites. At the top you may see Google ads, and below that a Google map with local dental listings. 

Why are local SEO listings in the Google map so high on the page? They used to be below many of the organic website results. It’s because Google and other search engines know that most people are looking for a local result. Local dental SEO provides a significant advantage for dental practices 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 may be alarming to learn that more than half of all online searches are local. As a matter of fact, since 2018, Google has reported an increase of up to 900% in local search-related terms. These terms have seen a big uptick in words like “open now,” “near me,” and “open.” Additionally, searches for local businesses in Google maps mobile app is growing 50% faster than general Google searches. Chances are your potential patients are searching the Google map directly, which means they’re not even seeing the Google ads (pay per click) or the organic website results. 

Interesting, but what exactly is local SEO for dentists?

Hint: It’s the Google map. 

You want to rank high in the Google map because: 

  • It’s inexpensive compared to other forms of digital marketing.
  • It’s where potential patients look for a new dentist.
  • Searches are increasing in the Google maps app faster than regular Google searches.
  • Research studies show that 75% of consumers who search locally end up at the business within 24 hours, and 28% of them purchase.
  • Google map listings have higher consumer trust because there is more relevant information than website results. For example, listings include consumer reviews, practice phone number, address, directions, and FAQs.
  • Local practices have priority over national and international dental companies and brands. For example, Yelp doesn’t rank in the local Google map because it doesn’t have a location in your city.

Here are the five simple, nontechnical ways to improve your SEO for dentists’ rankings. 

Claim, verify and improve your GMB account

Every business can set up a free Google My Business (GMB) account, your practice’s business listing in the Google database. If you’re already in business, you probably created one or it was automatically created for you by Google. Claiming seems to be the most challenging step, so here is a video showing you how to find your listing and check to see if it’s claimed. How to claim and verify your GMB accou

Find out how you rank in Google Maps 

You must think about ranking in Google maps differently than with other types of marketing. Local SEO rankings change according to the location of the person searching. If someone searches “dentist near me” on their phone while they’re standing across the street from your practice, you’ll have a better chance of showing up on the Google map than if they were five miles away. 

Before you begin optimizing, you need to find out how well you rank around your town and for which keywords. You never know—you might already be ranking well, or you might not. Check out this video, Local SEO for dentists’ rankings, that gets down and dirty on 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 that here.

Download the Google My Business app and update the info tab 

Go to the app store on your phone and search “Google My Business.” The icon looks like this.

Once downloaded and logged in, the My Business app allows you to do a lot of optimization, including updating your phone number, website, address, services, primary category, insurance, practice description, upload photos, and more. Make sure that you fill out everything. Let me say that again—fill out everything

There are two things I want to highlight when you update the info tab: 

Primary category: You can have one primary category and multiple secondary categories. A good rule of thumb is no more than three—one primary category and two secondary categories.

Service areas: You can enter up to 20 service areas. Use all 20. Make sure that you stick to about a three- to seven-mile radius around your practice unless you’re in the sticks. In that case, go further out. 

Here’s a quick video that explains the primary category and service areas in more detail. SEO for dentists—choosing your primary category and service areas

Update your GMB cover photo

You can snap a photo and load it directly to your GMB account from the My Business app. Make sure to upload a great cover photo, which shows up in knowledge graph search results. Google My Business allows you to upload as many photos as you want, and studies have shown that rankings will improve with more photos. We typically add more than 100 photos for clients using our dental SEO service. You can add your photos to categories, such as interior, exterior, at work, team, and identity. An excellent place to start is to use this complimentary GMB photo checklist that shows you what photos to take and where to upload them.

Start blogging and posting the blogs on your GMB

I know that you don’t want to blog. Who has the time, right? But this is vital to local dental SEO rankings.  

There are two steps in this task:

  1. Write a blog and post it to your website. If you don’t have a blog or know how to do this, reach out to your website hosting company. If you hit a dead end there, give us a call. 
  2. Write a paragraph about 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’ve circled the posts in the My Social Practice knowledge graph. GMB posts show up in search results, and they help your GMB account rank better. Stay consistent with this. Depending on how competitive your area is, you should write one to four blog posts a month.  

I hope this information has been helpful. For those dental marketing mavens out there who want to take this to the next level, check out this two-part dentist SEO article.


Steve Liem

Learn More →