What Is Local SEO Marketing For Dentists?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on helping a dental practice rank higher on search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing and a host of other search engines.
Most importantly a dentist should focus on Google, since it controls around 90% of all search traffic.
Why Dentists Should Focus On Google Maps SEO
We have heard from quite a few dental professionals that they are wary about investing in dentist SEO. The reason is because they’re tried to rank higher with SEO and it worked a little bit but not enough, or they never got the results they wanted because it didn’t work at all.
In quite a few situations dentists stop doing SEO because it’s not providing a dental ROI quick enough.
The reality of SEO is that it’s an ongoing long term digital marketing effort because the search engine algorithms are constantly updating and changing. Dental marketing companies and consultants have to update their strategies to meet the demands of the search engines.
The type of dental SEO that was working five years ago is very different than what is working today, which is why we are introducing Google Maps SEO. Google Maps SEO is a local optimization strategy that includes optimizing a dental practices Google My Business account as well as the dental website.
Why Is Local SEO Marketing So Important Now?
Consumers have shifted their search habits. It’s not all desktop searches anymore. Your patients are now searching much more with these methods:
- Using their mobile phones to search
- Using apps like Google maps to find local companies
- They’re not scrolling down to the organic links
- They’re using snippets in the search engines rather than clicking through to websites
Most importantly to this discussion is the massive shift from using general search to app based search.
You’ve probably do this yourself. Rather than going to Google.com on your phone to find a local business, you open up Google maps. What you may not know is that the optimization process in Google maps isn’t just a backlink strategy, it’s more complex than just regular website optimization, hence local optimization with a Google Maps SEO strategy.
How Is Local SEO Rankings Affected By Your Physical Location?
Where your practice ranks on Google Maps is based on your practice location and where your patients are searching from.
The Google Map ranking algorithm gives different results throughout your city, town and even down to neighborhoods.
For example, someone in your area pulls out their cell phone and searches “Dentists near me”, does your practice show up? What about when someone used Google to look up a term like “teeth whitening” or “root canal”?
Your practice’s position on Google Map listings will become more important as people rely on “near me” searches or use voice search. In fact, 82% of searches now are “near me” searches. If your dental practice shows up first, with awesome reviews, you are sure to bring in new patients.
A Endodontic Local SEO Marketing Example
Start Of SEO Campaign
What you’re looking at here is an Endodontic practice’s ranking for the keyword ‘root canal’.
Each one of the colored dots is a search for ‘root canal’ from that location. It’s as if you got in your car and traveled to all 169 of those dot locations, pulled your phone out and searched ‘root canal’.
Each of the search dots, or what I like to call nodes, is .5 miles from the next making the total report about 3.5 – 4 miles around the practice. The numbers on the dots is where the practice listing is on the Google map. Number 1 would be the top listing, number 2 would be the second listing. You get the idea.
If you see the few red x’s on the map, that means that his listing wasn’t found in the top 20 results. We just stop counting when we get to 20.
It’s interesting to see that the Endodontist is ranking well right around his practice which is located at the center dot, which makes sense because Google is giving the person searching a ‘local result’. You’ll also notice that he gradually loses ranking the further you get away from the practice location.
The up-shot is that you actual physical location has a HUGE impact on how well you rank. And, a a little bit of advice, if you’re not in the top 3 rankings then you’re not getting the new patient phone calls.
End Of SEO Campaign
Now this took a while, almost a year, but it’s pretty obvious what happened. Dr. Hancock is now on the first page of search results all around his area.
One of the big reasons that he was not showing up high in the Google map was because his Google listings primary category was ‘Dental’, and it should have been ‘Endodontist’. We made the primary category change and began to optimize for Endodontic keywords.
Once local SEO optimization takes effect the practice essentially ranks higher in the map at a greater radius.
Imagine if you were a patient looking for a ‘root canals near me’. What now shows up on the search results for this patient is Dr. Hancock’s Google listing, which is actually further away than other Endodontists, shows up for a local search phrase.
The Dr’s listing has essentially been optimized at a higher and wider radius.
This particular Endodontist saw a massive upsurge in new patient phone calls, but even more interesting he started getting referral calls from dentists much further away. What this means is that some dentists are simply going to Google maps and sending their referral patients to doctors at the top of the Google map. Hmmmmmmm!
Guess What? We Can Help With Local Dental SEO
Dental SEO doesn’t have to be confusing. You should see exactly how your dental SEO company is helping your practice and what the game plan is to improve your visibility. Don’t let frustration about your previous local dentist SEO experiences stop you from having your best year yet.
Find out if your practice needs a Google Map SEO boost by requesting an analysis FREE here.
Are you struggling to juggle social media, your website, your SEO, and run an organized practice? You are far from alone.
Dental practices that don’t appear on the top results or don’t have a Google My Business page are missing out big time.
My Social Practice focuses on what is most important to successful dental practices, which is why we created a simple Google Maps SEO service, designed especially for dentists. Use our Google Maps Reporting Tool to find out how well your practice ranks around your area!
About the Author: Adrian Lefler is a dental marketing expert and a key member of the dental social media team at My Social Practice. My Social Practice is located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Adrian is passionate about helping social media dental practices grow. Interested in learning more about the benefits of social media for dentists please schedule a complimentary consultation. And, don’t forget to read our Google My Business reviews.