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Dental Practice Vs. Practitioner Listings: Understanding Google My Business Local SEO

By March 20, 2024March 26th, 2024No Comments

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Google My Business Local SEO For Dentists

When looking for a nearby service, you probably head to Google to search. You’re not alone; most of us are familiar with Google Maps and its usefulness in finding the best local Thai food, for example. Unsurprisingly, prospective patients searching for a new dentist spend a lot of time perusing Google Business Profiles, making them an excellent dental marketing tool. What does this mean for dental practices, especially those with multiple dentists?

Your Google My Business local SEO strategy is a crucial component of a great marketing plan, so let’s take a look at one of the most misunderstood aspects of Google Business Profiles: practice vs. practitioner listings. 


What Is a Google Business Profile?

A Google Business Profile (also known as “Google My Business” or “GBP”) is a tool that allows you to create and manage a listing for your dental practice (or for excellent Thai restaurants.) Google displays profiles in search results and on Google Maps, displaying your business’s critical information like hours of operation, website, phone number, and more.

An SEO-optimized Google Business Profile is crucial if you want new patients to find you. When prospective patients search for a “dentist near me,” they’re likely to consider visiting a practice in one of the top rankings. An updated, optimized profile with plenty of positive reviews will draw in more traffic to your website and your practice. 


Practice vs. Practitioner Listings

A practice listing is a Google Business Profile for your dental office. This will include the name of your practice, information about services offered, and your contact details. A practitioner listing is a separate profile for an individual dentist working in the office. If you have multiple dentists or specialists in one practice, Google allows you to create separate profiles for each practitioner. 

According to Google’s guidelines, a dentist should create a practitioner Google Business Profile if:

  • They operate in a public-facing role. Support staff should not create their own Business Profiles.
  • They can be contacted directly at the verified location during stated hours.

Dental hygienists do not need their own profiles.

Don't Be That Dentist eBook


Should I Make a Practitioner Listing?

If you are the only dentist in your practice, you should only have one Google My Business Profile for the office. We recommend formatting the listing with the practice’s name and then the dentist’s name. For example, if you are Dr. Sarah Smith of Smith Family Dentistry, your Google Business Profile name should look like this:

Smith Family Dentistry: Sarah Smith DDS

This format allows you to be found in search results both by the practice and dentist’s name.

Create multiple profiles if you have several dentists at one location. In this case, the Google My Business Profile should simply list the dentist’s name:

Dr. Sarah Smith DDS

It’s important to avoid creating listings that will compete with each other. If your practice has more than one dental professional with different specialties, create a separate practitioner listing in a unique category. Avoid using the same Google category for the practice and the individual dentists. If your practice has a dentist, an orthodontist, and a pediatric dentist, you can have each practitioner listing use their specialty category:

Google My Business Local SEO

Having a Google Business Profile correctly categorized for each specialist allows your practice to rank in search results for general and specialty keywords. It’s in your practice’s best interests to create SEO-optimized business and practitioner profiles to increase overall visibility and help Google understand which search terms you should rank for.


What If I Already Have a Listing?

Even if you’ve created a Google My Business Profile for your practice, you might have a practitioner listing without knowing! If Google’s algorithm detects evidence of a business, it will auto-generate a profile. This results in unclaimed and unverified listings for dentists, which you’ll want to check before creating new practitioner profiles. Unclaimed profiles can compete with your current practice listing and may not be accurate or helpful for your Google My Business local SEO strategy.

Search for your name on Google to learn if you have any phantom profiles floating around. If you find a Google Business Profile you don’t manage, you can use the “claim this business” link to initiate the verification process. Once you have ownership of the profile, you can merge it with your practice Google Business Profile or optimize and maintain it as a practitioner listing. 


Optimizing for Google My Business Local SEO

To prevent your practice and practitioner listings from competing with each other in search results, each profile should be distinct and reflect individual information. Your practice’s Google Business Profile should direct potential patients to your website, provide an office phone number, and offer details about the overall services.

A practitioner’s Google Business Profile can link to their bio page on your website, list any desk number they may have, and provide information about the specialty services they offer. For example, if an orthodontist works in your practice, their GBP should include a summary of their orthodontic treatments rather than general dentistry services.


Where Do My Google My Business Profiles Rank?

Part of determining whether you should create a new practitioner profile or merge an existing one is to understand how your current Google My Business Profiles rank on Google Maps. A Google Heat Map report can show you how a practice ranks for different keywords.

In the image below, we’ve run a Google Heat Map report for a hypothetical dental practice to see how it ranks for the keyword “Cosmetic dentist near me.” Every colored circle on the map represents a physical location—imagine standing in that location and searching “cosmetic dentist near me” on your phone. The circles represent how this example practice would rank on Google Maps:

Google My Business Local SEO

A green circle means the practice ranks in one of the top spots, offering the best visibility for that keyword. You can run a Google Heat Map report for each Google Business Profile you manage to determine how well they rank compared to each other. Request a complimentary Google Heat Map report to gain valuable insight into your Google My Business local SEO strategy!

Google Maps SEO Ranking Report


Get Help From Google My Business Local SEO Experts

My Social Practice‘s team of experienced SEO strategists can help you get the most benefit from your Google Business Profiles. We offer a dedicated service to keep your listings updated and SEO-optimized with ongoing strategic support. If you’re interested in boosting your Google My Business local SEO results and gaining expert insight into the best strategy for your practice and location, schedule a consultation today.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Google practitioner?

A practitioner is a public-facing professional with a customer or client base, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers, or real estate agents. In terms of dentistry, each dentist can be considered a practitioner and can have an individual Google Business Profile if multiple dentists work in the same location.

What is local SEO for dentists?

Local SEO focuses on dental marketing strategies that help a dental practice rank higher for keywords in their geographic area. Because many potential patients find dentists through their Google Business Profiles on Google Maps, optimizing your profile for locally relevant keywords is crucial to attracting patients from your community.

How do I use Google Maps to grow my dental practice?

Google Maps can be a powerful marketing tool. Keep your Google Business Profile up-to-date, use the “posts” feature to share content regularly, obtain and respond to as many positive reviews as possible, and post photos of your practice. Google My Business local SEO focusing on an optimized profile will help you rank better for high-value keywords in your area.

Does posting on Google My Business help SEO?

Google Business Profiles allow you to respond to reviews, add photos, and create posts to share content or event information. Regularly posting content helps Google My Business local SEO and encourages user engagement, helping to boost your Google Business profile’s visibility and authority.

About the Author: Megan Nielsen is an SEO strategist and the Grand Overlord of copywriting at My Social Practice. My Social Practice is a dental marketing company that offers a full suite of dental marketing services to thousands of dental practices throughout the United States and Canada.

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