5 Local SEO Best Practices for Dental Practices

What is SEO? How does it impact your ability to reach patients online? Here are some simple ways to understand/improve your SEO with real-world results.

Dental Intelligence


April 29, 2021

Ranking on the first page of Google search results requires consistent and quality search engine optimization (SEO). 

SEO ranking signals and algorithms change often, so maintaining and improving your ranking will require consistent attention. Keep in mind, it may take a while to achieve your desired results when starting from scratch.

Luckily, as a local practitioner, you can focus your attention on ranking high locally, rather than on high-competition, general searches. Here are five actionable things you can do to make yourself visible in your regional market.

Focus on Your Reputation Online

One of the best ways to build your reach to potential new patients is by becoming a reputable dentist online

A vital part of building your reputation online is gaining positive patient reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp. As people search terms like “best dentists downtown New Orleans,” Google is more likely to rank your website and social pages higher in the results page if you have many quality reviews. 

Furthermore,  if you receive a glowing review you’d like to highlight, consider reaching out to the patient and asking if you can share it on your website and social accounts. Good online review management will require active participation and responses from your practice, but it will pay off in the long run.

Set up and Optimize a Google My Business Page

Perhaps the most important ranking factor for optimized local SEO is a complete  “Google My Business" page. Google My Business allows you to organize and manage your online presence, as well as make yourself more visible to your local audience via Google Maps.

One of the core benefits of utilizing the tool is it’s often easier to optimize and rank your Google My Business page than your website. When someone Googles particular services such as “dentists near me,” the map pages tend to rank at the very top.

Google My Business search results for "dentists near me"

Setting up your Google My Business page is a simple process. First, you’ll need to create and verify your page with Google and enter your relevant information, like name, address, phone number, and working hours. Make sure you register in an appropriate category and add relevant descriptions and images. 

It usually takes a few weeks for profile verification, so make sure to follow their guidelines, and not change any information during the verification process. Once verified, your business information will show on your profile and you can search your business to see how it looks and ranks.  

Also, encourage current patients to review your practice on your google page using their gmail account. As you can see in the screenshot above, the office with 58 five-star reviews lends far more credibility than the office with only two. 

Optimize Your Website for Mobile

In Q1 of 2019, mobile devices accounted for more than 48 percent of global website traffic. As the popularity of mobile browsing grows, so does the need for mobile optimization. Optimizing your website for mobile browsing has a couple of benefits, including better user experience and, of course, better SEO ranking. 

A good user experience can be the difference between gaining or losing a new patient. Consider this statistic: mobile users are five times more likely to stop what they’re doing if the website they’re visiting hasn’t been optimized for mobile viewing. By paying attention to your mobile site as you would your desktop site, you can increase the likelihood of a casual browser becoming a loyal patient. 

In terms of SEO rankings, Google embraces the mobile-first paradigm and ranks websites designed to accommodate mobile users higher. 

You can make your website mobile-friendly by: 

Modento's website displayed on a desktop next to a mobile device to demonstrate responsive design

Note: if you’re curious to see exactly how much mobile traffic your website receives, you can utilize free analytics tools like Google Analytics

Take Advantage of Online Business Directories

In addition to Google My Business and Yelp, you can utilize other sites or directories to list your office and link to your website. This improves your visibility as well as your SEO ranking. How? Put simply, business directories like Facebook, Apple Maps, LinkedIn, Bing, etc., have high domain authority and are seen as trusted sites. By including yourself in these lists, you gain backlinks that help you build your own domain authority and improve your SEO ranking. 

That being said, anyone can register easily, and gain a backlink so Google’s algorithm views them as a smaller ranking signal

While you shouldn’t consider them a be-all and end-all tactic, you should include them in your local SEO strategy. They help you build trust and meet browsers where they already look for information which will translate to increased traffic for your practice.     

Hone in on Local Keywords Relevant to Dentistry

When talking about “keywords,” we mean strategically placing highly searched words and phrases on your website pages and content. For example, if you want to “rank” in Google search for the keyphrase “pediatric dentist office San Diego,” you should be using those keywords directly in website headings, your URL, page titles, and more. 

Relevant keywords are the meat and potatoes of quality SEO. To make a keyword “local,” searchers add a relevant location to a target keyword phrase. 

It’s important to note, there are two main types of keyword phrases to focus on:

  1. Phrases with purchase intent: A keyword phrase that indicates a lead wants to buy a good or service. For example, for the phrase “teeth whitening procedure” a searcher could insert words like getting (or get), book, cheap or affordable to indicate purchase intent. 
  2. Phrases with research intent: A keyword phrase aimed at users conducting research. These search queries will likely include words like tips, how to, practices, hacks (i.e. tips for teeth whitening).

Optimizing your site to answer these queries will help you build trust, rank for such searches, and increase organic traffic.

Low Effort, Big Impact

Improving your SEO may feel like a daunting task, however, there are simple things you can do today to get the ball rolling. Once you’ve tackled the basics, you can focus on improving your website content to answer your prospective patients’ pain points and outrank your local competitors.

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