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Local SEO for Dentists: 5 Proven Steps to Rank #1 in Google

local seo for dentists by infodrafts

As a dentist, it’s difficult to get the most visibility for your practice through Google’s rankings. Yet, how can you make sure your practice stands out from the pack? The answer is to find an affordable local search engine optimization (local SEO) consultant to implement a campaign through a proven process outlined below. When you follow the 5 steps, you’ll have a tremendous advantage over your competitors in your region.

3 Reasons Dentists Should Invest in Local Organic Search

Reason #1. Google is the new Yellow Pages

More and more patients are relying on search engines to look for local services on computers and mobile devices. According to Google, these are the stats:

1. 20% of web searches are for local businesses

2. Nearly 40% of mobile searches relate to nearby businesses.

3. 97% of consumers search for businesses in their areas online now.

Reason #2. Free Traffic (Every Month)

SEO is truly one of the best marketing investments you can make for your dental practice. When you are ranking at the top of Google, you get free traffic and free patients.

Reason #3: Fast Results

Most marketers believe it may take 6 months to a year to gain first-page Google rankings, but for local markets, the results are often quicker. SEO best practices are generally not practiced by dentists. And as a result, when you follow the 5 steps in this article, it isn’t unusual to gain first-page local rankings within 30 days.

Here are the 5 keys to building a local SEO campaign that is successful in attracting perfect patients to your practice and contributes greatly to your bottom line.

Step 1. Keyword Research

Start with listing the services you provide to patients. Those services might include fillings, crowns, cleaning teeth, and orthodontics.When you enter each of your services within the Google Ads platform, you can identify the keywords for dental procedures and services people are using by entering them in the Keyword Planner Tool .

However, don’t panic… There’s no need to advertise in Google right now. We are just using Google Adwords’ free Keyword Tool to identify the best keywords for your Local SEO optimization campaign.

Focus on Hiring Intent Keywords, First

There are two main categories of keywords that apply to dental practices:

1) Phrases with hiring intent

2) Phrases with research intent

Ranking for keywords indicating hiring intent is your primary goal because they usually signal the searcher intends to take an action of some kind. For example, a keyword like “teeth whitening dentist” or “animal hospital near me” indicates hiring intent.Terms such as these can then be used to optimize your homepage and services pages.

Research intent keywords, also known as search terms, are designed mainly to gather information for someone or something. For instance, the term “teeth whitening at home” or “teeth whitening diy” is not trying to hire a dentist. Likewise, someone looking up “cost of dental implants” is likely researching the topic instead of preparing to book an appointment.

On the other hand, research intent keywords can be useful as well. Research intent keywords can play a complementary role in your SEO strategies because they can generate great topics for FAQ pages or blog articles. For example, a post title devised to make people want information like “the benefits of electric toothbrushes” or “cost of dental implants” could be turned into an article designed to get your practice’s information in front of them when they’re searching.

We take you through those steps—starting with optimizing your homepage and service pages for “hiring intent” keywords first, and then begin the process of developing informational pages (blogs articles, etc.) about “research intent” content keywords.

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Step 2. Keyword Optimization

There are two types of pages where you can optimize your efforts, both of which will produce the greatest benefits very quickly. But of course, you will also want to optimize the key pages of your website.

Your Google My Business Page

Your Google My Business page is how Google collects information and images that appear in the “Map” results for local dentist-related searches. A fully optimized Google My Business page is a crucial element in your SEO initiatives and gives your practice a great introduction when patients search for you online. Another benefit of optimizing your Google My Business listing is that it usually performs better in searches in Google versus your website. And Google includes these special map pages at the top of the search results.

Here are some tips on how to do it:

Verification

To verify your profile with any edits, you must first claim and verify your page with Google. You can confirm that you have been verified by logging into your account and finding a checkmark next to your business name with the word “Verified” adjacent. If your business has not been verified you will see a “verify now” prompt on your dashboard. If you have multiple pages in the dashboard for the same location, you will want to merge them so only one page is displayed.

Name, Address and Phone Number

Always use your exact address, the official name of your practice, and be sure to include your local phone number in all marketing materials because that’s the way your potential customers will know you’re in the area. If you have a Google My Business page, your website and all online directories where you have claimed your business, you must use the same Name, Address, and Phone number information.

Categories

Your categories should include a description of your practice, not just what you do. So, you could add a category called “orthodontics” without saying “teeth straightening” in parentheses. You just want to make sure you include all of the pertinent ones. For example, categories for dentists on Google include Dentist, Cosmetic Dentist, Dental Clinic, Dental Implants, Periodontist, Emergency Dental Service, Endodontist and Pediatric Dentist. Select three to five categories relevant to you from the aforementioned options.

Description

Make sure to describe your business in a well-written and spell-checked manner for patients when you introduce your company in this stepYou should write the way you speak in your description, and remember to include all of your keywords for your dental services and specialties.

An example format for your Google My Business description would be: {Name of Practice} offers quality {list dental services} in {Your City}. {Provide some information about the history of your practice, or why patients choose you.} Call {Phone Number} today to schedule your appointment!

Aim for about 100-200 words in length.

Hours

Make sure the hours of operation displayed on your local page (and your website) is accurate. Being open earlier in the morning, later at night, or on weekends is serious business, too. If you’re experimenting with any of those, make sure everybody knows about it.

Images

According to Google, both interior and exterior pictures as well as the logo may be added to the Google My Business app. Pictures can increase engagement, help patients to find your location, and help to tell your story. Make sure your photos have a close focus, range between 10KB and 5MB, have a maximum resolution of 720px x 720px, and are well lit. We also suggest using a branded background for Google My Business instead of using the generic Google image.

Optimizing Your Website

On your website, your goal should be to optimize the website to rank for certain key phrases so that when people search for a dentist who does a certain service, you’ll come up. In particular, you’ll want to focus first on targeted keywords that prospective patients search for.

Homepage

Every web page has a title tag , also known as the page title. It’s an important on-page SEO element because it affects many search results factors, including search rankings.

You can think of the title tags of web pages as like the chapter titles in a book. The title of your main webpage (the home page) is the most important one, so you want to optimize it for your primary keyword (the name of your book).

Do you have a primary keyword? Think about why people search for a dentist in your area. An example of the primary keyword would be “{Your City} Dentist”. Under the Shared Content category, you should brainstorm keywords and then double-check them using Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure you are picking the right keywords that drive targeted traffic.

What are your tips for writing your title tags? An example title tag format for dentists is: Dentist in {Your City} | {Name of Your Practice}.To illustrate the point, a title tag for a dentist in New York City whose practice is called “Manhattan Dental Associates” might be: Dentist in NYC | Manhattan Dental Associates

It is important to include a unique meta description on the homepage that highlights your services. The meta description doesn’t appear on the page, but Google shows it in search results when visitors click on it.For example purposes, consider the following format: {Name of Practice} offers top of the line {list dental services} in {Your City}. Give us a call at {Phone Number} today to schedule your appointment! A good example would be: Manhattan Dental Associates offers quality general and cosmetic dentistry in New York City. Call 212-XXX-XXXX to schedule an appointment! The description should be 100-150 characters long.

Make sure the headline (H1 tag) of each page contains a relevant keyword. The headline should be descriptive yet concise and easy to read. Here, {Type of Dentistry} in {City, US}. For example: General & Cosmetic Dentistry in New York, NY

You’ll also want to make sure that your website likely includes enough information on your homepage. You’ll want at least 200 words of copy, and ideally 500 to 1000. The copy on your homepage about your organization should provide details about your practice, and describe your various services. Make sure you include your target keyword at least once in your body copy. And above all, make sure that your copy sounds natural, is compelling, and encourages prospective patients to make an appointment.

While there are some small changes that need to be made to website content for SEO purposes, balancing such key aspects are the main ones.

Service Pages

A common mistake here is to have a single “Services” page that says that “we have extended hours and the latest technology to provide the best service.” Instead, it’s very important that you have separate pages for each of your specific services. By having a separate, detailed page for each of your services, your company will have a better chance of ranking in Google for searches of those services.

For example, if you offer cosmetic and general dentistry services, then you would have separate pages for each. And then you would have a separate page for each specific service (e.g., teeth whitening, dental implants, etc).

And, of course, you will want to optimize each of those pages for relevant keywords, following steps covered earlier for your homepage.

1. Title Tag

2. Meta Description

3. Heading (H1)

4. Body Copy

Important: every page in your website has to have a unique title and meta description and should have unique content. If your pages have identical titles and/or meta descriptions and duplicate body content, that can hold back your site from scoring better on Google.

Content Pages

After optimizing all of your “core pages” (homepage and service pages), create more content pages (which we refer to as “content assets.”)

After you conduct the keyword research, you can identify what types of relevant topics people are interested in researching. For instance, if you provide dental implants, then you might find that people search for “cost of dental implants”. Therefore, you could then create a page on your website informing of the price of dental implants.

Where should these pages be hosted on your website?

The most effective way to get started with content pages is to develop a Frequently Asked Questions section of your website. Brainstorm all of the questions patients ask you as a practicing dentist. So, if patients are asking these questions, they are  probably doing research about these answers on the internet as well. Then make a dedicated page for each of these questions and have them linked from the main FAQ page. As a general principle, each of these questions can have anywhere from 100 words to 1000 words of content (as much as is necessary to answer the question).

One of the better ways to put content on your website is with a blog. Since blog posts are usually longer than social media posts, we would normally recommend a post consisting of 300 words to 2,000 words or more (for the very in-depth posts like the one you’re reading now!).

For content pages, follow the same guidelines and SEO optimization steps that you did for the homepage and service-page keywords. Draft a unique title tag and meta description (based on keywords) and make sure that the body copy is written well while including relevant keywords.

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Step 3. Citations and Links

Building citations and links are the next major steps you’ll need to take after optimizing your website and Google My Business page to rank in Google.

Citations

Citations are mentions of a practice Name, Address and Phone number. A practice should have multiple citations: a NAP for its own website, a citation on its website’s contact page, and ideally an additional citation in the footer of the website.

Here’s where you’ll want to start building citations online: the Google My Business listing, which we already talked about. It’s the most effective listing, but there are tons of others.

There are 3 major categories of directories you want to submit to:

1. General, National Business Directories

Some good starting points include getting in the major national business directories. For example, in the US some of the top directories include Yelp.com, yellowpages.com, and citysearch.com. We also suggest creating a Facebook page for your business.

2. Industry-Specific Directories

In addition to submitting to dental and medical directories like everydentist.com or implantdirectory.com , you’ll also want to submit to some industry-specific directories, some of which charge a fee and some of which are free. Free directories are the first ones to be included. If the aim is to be listed in paid directories, be sure that you’re driving referrals from those directories (which you can track using Google Analytics).

3. Local Directories

For example, you can also look into local business directories in your area to support your background check. An example of a local business directory would be your local Chamber of Commerce website.

When you sign up online, please be sure to make sure that your business Name, Address and Phone number information remains 100% consistent across all directories.

Links

By “links,” we mean links on other sites directing visitors to your site. These are also known as “inbound links.” Google gives a lot of weight to having other sites mention you. A link is a vote of confidence for your website that signals to Google that your site is relevant and authoritative. The greater your number of links, the greater the trust in your website’s authority, and the higher your page ranks for a topic of interest.

There are many ways to build links to your website.

Directories

Our recommendation is to submit to general, dental, and local directories. Directories are extremely helpful for Local SEO because they are a source for getting citations and links. The majority of directory listings will provide you with a link to your website, plus a mention of your business name, address, and phone number.

Offline Relationships

Pay attention to the offline connections you have built and see if you can extend their value digitally. For example, perhaps you have already built a relationship with other medical professionals, and you could link to them from your websites as recommended resources. Also, you might obtain links because you’re a member of an organization and you get a mention in the organization’s listings. Or you’ll be sponsoring an event or a little league team and you’ll get links from them.

Competitor Research

You can research what websites are linking to the sites you are competing against by using a tool like the Moz Open Site Explorer to look up your competitors. Another step is to check which sites are linking to the competitors’ sites so you can get similar links as well. From there, you will be able to see other website directories where you can submit your site or other connections you could gain to your own website.

There are quite a few other strategies for getting links, but those tips will give you a head start.

Step 4. Reviews

Ranking high in Google’s SERPs is another factor that can give you an edge over local competitors.

Focus on Google My Business Reviews

You can get a lot of reviews from various sources, including Yelp.com and medical sites like HealthGrades.com. One source worth focusing on, though, is your Google My Business page.

Reviewing your Google My Business page will help your Google My Business page rank higher, so you get more exposure to prospective patients. More exposure leads to more patients, and prospective patients are more likely to contact you when they see all the positive reviews you’ve received.

How to Get Reviews

What is the secret to getting reviews from your patients? Well, you need to provide excellent services first and foremost. But in addition to that, you need to ask for reviews, and you also need to make it easy to do.

The simplest way to request a review  is by sending an “add review request” via email, with a link to your location  on Google My Business.

You can find your Google My Business page by searching on Google for your name, location, or practice’s specialty, and your Google My Business preview will typically appear in the Google search results. By searching for our company name and location (for example, Main Street ROI NYC), you can find our Google My Business Page. Click “Write a Review” to pull up the 5-star prompt, and then copy down and include this link in the example email template below.

Then send an email like: “If you have a moment, I’d love to get your feedback on our services. Many of our patients find us via Google. {Link to Google My Business profile}. Would you please take time to write a review on it? Thanks in advance!”

We advise sending out review reminder emails to all patients who have yet to leave a review. This should be part of your standard business procedure.

Step 5. Tracking

Tracking is one of the most critical to the success of an SEO. This quote from Peter Drucker says it all, “What’s measured, improves.”

Here are the three core metrics you need to measure, and how you can measure them.

A) Rankings

One of the first metrics you want to track is your keyword ranking. Generally keyword ranking is a metric that is checked on both monthly and quarterly basis.

One way to determine this is Google Search Console, which your webmaster can install for you. Once you have it set up, the information will be displayed in your Google Search Console dashboard, showing you how you are doing for keywords on Google, and how many impressions and clicks you are getting for each one.

Another paid tool you might consider using is Rank Ranger. This is a tool that updates ranking reports for you automatically on multiple keywords. The advantage of using Rank Ranger is that it can automatically track your Google My Business rankings as well as your website rankings.

B) Traffic

Rankings are not everything, so tracking how much traffic you’re getting is also important.

The main source of traffic would be Google Analytics. You must install Google Analytics on every page of your website. Then once you log into Google Analytics, you will be able to see how much overall traffic you are getting, how much traffic you are receiving from Google, and which pages are driving lots of traffic.

We suggest taking a look at your traffic stats on a monthly basis, and reviewing long-term trends, so you can see how your SEO traffic is growing over time.

C) Conversions

You will also want to track how many “conversions” you are getting from your SEO efforts. A “conversion” is a specific action you want your website visitor to take. Conversion tracking is critical for learning how many new patients your marketing is bringing you. For example, you may have a web form on your website to “Schedule An Appointment,”

Setting up Goal Tracking for that form via Google Analytics means you can track the number of people who take that action. Additionally, you will want to track the number of conversions you receive on a monthly basis and how many are from SEO.

Conclusion

A local SEO campaign, when properly managed, can be one of the best investments you can make for your dental practice. For the best results, you need to approach SEO in a step-by-step fashion.

In summary, here are the five key steps you need to take:

1. Keyword research

2. Keyword optimization

3. Citations and Links

4. Reviews

5. Tracking

The following steps will help you rank higher, increase your traffic, and attract more patients!

Want help with SEO?

SEO for local patients is our specialty at Infodrafts Solutions. If you’d like help attracting patients from Google, contact us for a free SEO consultation.