Did you know 97% of search engine users have used online search to find a local business?
If your dental practice isn’t on the first page of Google, you’re likely losing out on a ton of potential patients.
Now, you might be aware of this issue, but you may have no idea how to create an SEO strategy that’ll help you achieve good rankings.
In this blog post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about local SEO for dentists.
If you implement the tips in this post, you should be able to hit the top of your local search listings.
The Importance of a Complete Local SEO Strategy – Understanding the Entire Process
When it comes to creating a good local search engine optimization strategy, you need to focus on four things:
- Uncovering and then targeting the right keywords
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Creating a GMB profile and collecting reviews
If you don’t consider all these things, you will struggle to achieve decent SEO results, especially if you’re in a highly competitive area.
Thus, for the most part, the rest of this post will focus on how you can tackle each of these tasks the right way.
If you combine the recommendations in each of these sections, you should end up with a solid SEO campaign that will allow you to overtake the competition.
Targeting the Right Keywords
As with any other kind of SEO, success with local dentist SEO often comes down to targeting the right keywords.
If you know how to target the right keywords, you will be able to put your dental practice in front of the right people.
More specifically, you’ll be able to put your practice in front of people that are actively looking to spend money on dental services.
Now, at the most basic level, you’ll want to target a keyword that follows the ‘niche’ + ‘location’ format.
So, if you’re a dentist, and you’re based in Omaha, you’ll probably want to put a lot of effort into ranking for the keyword ‘dentist Omaha.’
Now, this ‘niche + location’ approach works well in most cases. After all, most of the people looking for dental services in Omaha will probably use that keyword format.
However, if you want to capture a really significant portion of your local market, you should also target keywords that are associated with certain services.
For instance, if you offer teeth whitening, you’ll want to target the keyword ‘teeth whitening in Omaha.’
This makes sense when you consider that some people searching for teeth whitening services, will type in something like this, or a generic term like ‘dentist Omaha.’
Thus, if you target both of these keywords, you should be able to reach more people that are interested in this service.
Following this, you need to list out all of the services that your dental practice can provide.
If you need some help here, you might want to consider using a keyword tool such as Ahrefs.
However, if you can’t afford this tool, that’s not a problem, as you can just use the free Google Keyword Tool. This is designed for Google Ads, but it works equally well for organic search purposes.
When using this tool for local SEO keyword research, make sure you select the right location (which in this case is Omaha). If you do this, the data you get from the tool will be more relevant.
Once you’ve selected a suitable location, you then need to provide the tool with a ‘base’ keyword that’s associated with your niche.
The tool will then return some keywords that are related to this base keyword.
For this example, the base keyword is ‘dentist Omaha.’
If you look at the screenshot below, you’ll see some of the results returned by the tool.
When using this tool, you’ll often get hundreds of keyword suggestions, and some of them might not be relevant to you.
This is because your dental practice might not be set up to deal with some of the services associated with these keywords.
For example, your dental practice might not be able to provide emergency or pediatric dental care.
Following this, you’ll have to manually scroll through the results to find the keywords that are relevant, and worth your time.
Note that if you spot a very specific ‘long-tail keyword’ that doesn’t have high search volume, you should still think about targeting it.
That’s because this keyword could still generate high-value customers, and those customers might then go on to provide referrals.
In any case, once you have these keywords, you can then go about creating web pages/blog posts that’ll help you target and rank for these terms (something we’ll focus on in the next section).
On-Page SEO for Local Dentists
There are lots of different things we could talk about when it comes to on-page SEO for dentists.
However, to prevent overwhelm, we’re going to focus on some of the key on-page SEO strategies that will bring results.
Website and URL Structure
If you want to rank for a specific keyword, you should try to create a page that’s dedicated to that keyword, and you should also try to create a URL that closely resembles your target keyword.
To help us illustrate this point, let’s go with the earlier example of a dentist that’s based in Omaha, of whom wants to rank a page that’s associated with teeth whitening.
In this case, it would be a good idea to create a page that’s dedicated to the fact that we offer this service, in this specific region.
Once we’ve created this web page, its URL would then be something like – www.exampleurl.com/teeth-cleaning-Omaha.
Again, if we were trying to rank for the term ’emergency dentist in Omaha,’ we would create a page dedicated to this.
In this case, the URL could be something like – www.exampleurl.com/emergency-dentist-Omaha.
As you can see, this URL targets a specific keyword, and it’s relatively straight to the point. You should try to follow this format when creating URLs for specific pages on your site.
Using Keywords the Right Way
If you’re looking to rank a certain page, for a particular keyword, you need to make sure this page contains the keyword you’re trying to target.
So what does this mean in practice?
Well, to begin with, you need to use your target keyword in the H1 and H2 sections of a web page.
So, let’s take the ‘teeth cleaning Omaha’ keyword from earlier.
On the web page that’s targeting this keyword, we would need to make sure the H1 header contains the keyword ‘teeth whitening in Omaha.’
You should also have several H2 sections that make use of the main keyword at least once, as well as other ‘keyword variations.’
Using keyword variations is important, as this will then help you achieve good rankings for other keywords that are relevant to this specific service.
Using keyword variations will also further signal to Google that your web page is very relevant in regards to a particular search query.
Note that when we talk about using variations of a keyword, we’re often referring to using ‘semantically relevant keywords.’
These keywords might not use the exact same words as your main keyword, but they’re still going to be closely related.
So, in this case, a keyword variation might include something like ‘professional teeth whitening Omaha.’ A semantically relevant variation might be something like ‘teeth bleaching Omaha.’
Ideally, you should also try to add these keywords in the ‘normal’ content sections of the page too.
That said, make sure you add these keywords in a ‘natural’ manner.
If you don’t do this, you will end up in a situation where you’re ‘keyword stuffing.’ Keyword stuffing is a big no-no, and it can get you into massive trouble with Google.
With that all of that being said, how do you find keyword variations?
Well, one approach is to simply review the ‘suggested’ search terms that appear when you type in your main keyword.
For example, here are some of the suggested terms that appear after typing in ‘teeth whitening Omaha’ :
Again, SEO tools such as Ahrefs can help, but you can also just use something like the Google Keyword Tool.
If you look below, you’ll see some of the keywords that appeared with this tool after using ‘teeth whitening’ as the base keyword and Omaha as the location.
If you adopt this approach, you should be able to find lots of good keyword variations that you can use on your web pages.
Make Your Website Pleasant to Use
Finally, you need to make sure your website is pleasant to use. This is because your rankings might suffer if your site provides people with a bad user experience.
Plus, if you don’t provide people with a good user experience you might not be able to convert the visitors that come to your site.
You don’t need to overcomplicate this, as you just need to cover a few basic things.
For one, you need to make sure your website is easy to use. You can figure out if your website is easy to use by simply watching people interact with your site.
You also want to make sure it works on a mobile device. This is critical since 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a business if it has a mobile-friendly site.
You should also ensure it’s easy for potential patients to find the information they’re looking for.
For instance, it shouldn’t be difficult for people to find service/pricing information, as well as your contact details.
Optimizing Your GMB Profile
Even if you’ve never created a GMB profile of your own, there’s a good chance you’ve actually interacted with one such as the profile below:
If you have a GMB profile, Google will take your business more seriously, and this can often result in better rankings.
An optimized GMB profile can also attract a lot of attention in the search listings, thereby helping you draw in prospective patients.
Furthermore, companies with optimized business listings have a greater chance of appearing in the ‘map pack.’ This is the special collection of listings that appear in local searches.
The ‘map pack’ is generally placed above the ‘standard organic listings,’ and thus if you can get your dental practice into this area, you will achieve greater ‘online visibility.’
Additionally, if you have good visibility here, your business might also rank higher when people are searching on Google Maps.
So, at the very minimum, you need to make sure your dental practice has a Google My Business profile.
However, if you want to achieve great results, you need to make sure your profile isn’t missing any information. You also need to verify your profile, and this is usually done via post.
Once you’ve optimized your GMB profile, you then need to get some reviews.
Reviews will show Google that you’re a good, trustworthy business.
Additionally, there’s evidence that having a lot of positive reviews can actually produce better rankings.
In fact, one study found that the local businesses that ranked between 1-3, had an average of 47 reviews. However, the businesses that ranked 7-10 had roughly 38 reviews.
This is a pretty common trend, and you’ll often notice that the top ranking local sites tend to have more reviews.
In some cases, the top ranking sites might not have more reviews in total, but they might have more positive reviews than competitors.
Note that when you ask for reviews, you need to make sure you do so in the right way.
You can’t solicit or incentivize reviews, and for the most part, all you can really do is let people know where they can leave a review.
Google is very, very, strict when it comes to reviews, and so you need to make sure you don’t go against their policies.
If you do, your profile might be blacklisted, and you’ll probably end up losing your search engine rankings. This can happen even if the reviews come from ‘real people.’
For reference, here are some of the things Google prohibits when it comes to reviews:
It’s also worth noting that reviews from ‘third party’ sites can also appear on your profile.
Now let’s take a look at some of the off-page SEO tasks you’ll want to focus on in regards to dental SEO.
When it comes to off-page SEO, what we’re really trying to do here is satisfy the ‘prominence’ factor that Google uses when it’s trying to determine local rankings.
With that said, what actually is prominence, and how do you achieve it?
Prominence essentially relates to how well-known your business is. Google can determines this by looking for website mentions, articles, and links associated with your business.
The website mentions can be on ‘general’ or social media sites. Having a presence on relevant online business directories can also affect your ‘prominence rating.’
Now that you know what prominence is – how do you increase it?
Generating Website Mentions
When it comes to website mentions, you may just want to think about how you can create some engagement on social media.
Guest posting is also a good way to generate some ‘general’ website mentions. This is because you can create a description about your business in your ‘author bio.’
If you want to build links, you’ll find that guest posting can help you once again. That’s because you can often link to your site in the article or the author bio.
If you’re going to do some guest posts, you should try to publish posts on local news/magazine sites.
In doing so, you’ll be able to generate ‘local links,’ and this is incredibly helpful when it comes to local SEO.
That said, if you can’t find any local guest posting opportunities, just consider doing guest posts for publications that are relevant to the dental industry.
Sponsoring events in your local area is another way you can generate local links to your website.
If you can’t find an event to sponsor, consider creating your own events and then try driving some publicity to that event.
The infographic below provides a good explanation on how a local event can lead to links (and local press coverage/mentions).
Building a Directory Presence
Having a big ‘directory’ presence is also a well-known factor when it comes to achieving prominence, and therefore, good local rankings.
The dental industry is huge and so there are lots of dental directories that you can take advantage of.
If you want to find a good list of dental directories, consider Googling something like ‘dental directories SEO.’
Note that when filling out these online directory listings, you should pay attention to ‘NAP consistency.’
This acronym refers to name, address, and phone number, and you will often have to provide these details when creating a directory listing.
You need to make sure these details are consistent across various directory websites. This will then make your business seem more credible in the eyes of Google.
If just one detail is off, it might then raise some red flags with Google, thereby harming your rankings.
Note that, in some cases, you might come across a directory listing that wasn’t created by you. If that happens, you need to verify that the NAP data for this directory listing is accurate.
Throughout this post, we’ve explored what it takes to create a solid local SEO strategy for your dental practice.
If you’re new to SEO, all of this information might be quite overwhelming, and you may feel as though you still have some questions.
If you want to get to the bottom of these issues, you might want to consider booking a strategy session with us.
We have lots of experience when it comes to local SEO. In fact, one of our local SEO clients generated $415,800.00 in leads after implementing our local SEO strategies.
If you’d like to see how we can help your dental practice, you can book a call with us here.