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The Ultimate Guide to Local SEO for Dentists in 2023: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: Mar 6

Are you a dentist looking to attract more patients to your practice? If so, you'll want to pay attention to local SEO. If you've read our guide to online marketing for dentistry, dental email marketing, and video marketing for dentists - Local SEO should be your next step!

Now, I know what you're thinking - "local SEO? Sounds like a boring, technical term." But trust me, it's anything but boring. Think of it as a secret weapon that can help your dental practice stand out in a sea of competitors. With over 60% of adults going to the dentist, now is your time to grow your market share.

Why does local SEO matter for dental practices, you ask?

Well, imagine this: You're a patient looking for a dentist in your area. You type in "dentist in Kansas City" on Google, and voila! A list of dentists pops up, with their names, addresses, and phone numbers. But here's the catch - only a handful of dentists make it to the top of that list. If you're not one of them, you're missing out on potential patients. With over 40% of searches including a location local SEO is more important than it has ever been.

So, how do you make it to the top of that list? That's where local SEO comes in. Local SEO is the practice of optimizing your website and online presence to rank higher in local search results. This means making sure your website is visible to people in your area who are searching for dental services.

How can I get to #1 for searches like "dentist near me"?

Let's talk about the key factors for ranking in local search results. There are a few things Google looks at when determining which dental practices to show in local search results, including:

  1. Google My Business (GMB) listing: Your GMB listing is a free tool from Google that lets you manage your online presence across Google, including search and maps. We'll go into more detail about GMB later, but just know that having an accurate and complete GMB listing is crucial for local SEO. Here is Google's guide to adding your business to Google if you haven't already.

  2. Website optimization: Your website should be optimized for local search by including relevant keywords, location information, and contact information.

  3. Reviews: Positive reviews from patients can help boost your local search rankings.

  4. Backlinks: Backlinks, or links from other websites to your website, can also help boost your local search rankings.

Setting Up Your Google My Business Listing

Now, let's dive deeper into Google My Business and its role in local SEO. GMB is a powerful tool for local SEO because it allows you to manage your online presence across Google, including search and maps. Your GMB listing includes important information like your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and even reviews from patients.

But here's the thing - just having a GMB listing isn't enough. You need to make sure it's accurate and complete. This means verifying your listing, making sure your business information is up-to-date and adding routine photos and reviews.

Think of your GMB listing as your online storefront. You want to make it as appealing and informative as possible to potential patients. Plus, the more information you provide on your GMB listing, the more likely Google is to show your practice in local search results.

Keyword Research for Local SEO: Finding the Right Words

So, you've got your Google My Business listing all set up and ready to go. Now what? It's time to do some keyword research.

Keyword research is the process of finding the right keywords to include in your website content and GMB listing to improve your local search rankings. But why is keyword research important for local SEO? Well, think of it this way - if you're not using the right keywords, how will Google know what your dental practice is all about?

So, how do you find the right keywords for your dental practice? Here are some tips:

  1. Think like a patient: What words or phrases would a patient use to search for dental services in your area? Make a list of these keywords and phrases.

  2. Use keyword research tools: There are plenty of tools out there that can help you find the right keywords for your dental practice. Some popular options include Google Keyword Planner, Moz Keyword Explorer, and Ahrefs.

  3. Look at your competitors: Check out the websites and GMB listings of other dental practices in your area. What keywords are they using?

Once you've gathered a list of potential keywords, it's time to prioritize them. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Relevance: Are the keywords relevant to your dental practice? Make sure the keywords you choose accurately reflect the services you offer.

  2. Search volume: How often are people searching for these keywords? You'll want to prioritize keywords with a higher search volume.

  3. Competition: How many other dental practices are using these keywords? You may want to focus on less competitive keywords to improve your chances of ranking higher in local search results. A good rule of thumb for gauging the competitiveness of a keyword is how broad it is. For example

Now, let's talk about some tools for keyword research. Google Keyword Planner is a great place to start. It's a free tool that lets you see how often certain keywords are searched for and how competitive they are. Moz Keyword Explorer and Ahrefs are also popular options, but they do come with a cost.

Once you've gathered all your keyword data, it's time to start using those keywords in your website content and GMB listing. But remember, don't stuff your content with keywords - that can actually hurt your local search rankings. Instead, focus on using keywords naturally and in a way that makes sense for your content.

Optimizing Your Website for Local SEO: Making Your Website Shine

Now that you've done your keyword research, it's time to start optimizing your website for local search. On-page optimization is crucial for improving your local search rankings, so let's dive in.

On-page optimization refers to the changes you make to your website to improve its visibility and relevance to local searchers. Here are some tips for optimizing your website for local SEO:

Include your target keywords in your website content:

Remember those keywords you found during your keyword research? Now it's time to use them in your website content. But don't overdo it - use your keywords naturally and in a way that makes sense for your content.

Optimize your title tags and meta descriptions:

Title tags and meta descriptions are the first things people see in search results, so it's important to make them compelling and informative. Make sure your title tag includes your target keyword and accurately describes your page content. Your meta description should also include your target keyword and give people a reason to click through to your website.

Use header tags:

Header tags (H1, H2, etc.) help search engines understand the structure of your content. Make sure your target keyword appears in your H1 tag, and use H2 and H3 tags to break up your content into sections.

Use schema markup:

Schema markup is a way to provide more detailed information about your dental practice to search engines. This can include your business name, address, phone number, hours of operation, and more. By using schema markup, you'll make it easier for search engines to understand what your dental practice is all about.

Include your NAP information on every page:

NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. Make sure this information is consistent and appears on every page of your website.

Building Citations for Local SEO: The Power of Your Online Listings

Citations are another important factor in local SEO. A citation is simply a mention of your dental practice's name, address, and phone number (NAP) on another website. Citations help search engines understand the credibility and legitimacy of your dental practice, and they also help potential patients find you online. Here's how to build citations for your dental practice:

Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing.

We talked about Google My Business earlier, but it's worth repeating. Your Google My Business listing is one of the most important citations you can have, so make sure you claim and optimize it. Include accurate and up-to-date information about your dental practice, and use high-quality photos to showcase your office and staff.

Build citations on relevant directories.

There are many directories online where you can list your dental practice, such as Yelp, Healthgrades, and Angie's List. Make sure you're listing your practice on directories that are relevant to your location and specialty.

Get listed on local business directories.

In addition to industry-specific directories, there are also many local business directories where you can list your dental practice. These include directories like Chamber of Commerce, Yellow Pages, and

No matter where you build your citations, consistency is key. Make sure your NAP information is consistent across all of your listings, including your website, Google My Business, and other directories. It's also important to monitor your citations regularly to make sure they're accurate and up-to-date. If you move to a new location or change your phone number, make sure you update your citations as soon as possible.

Measuring and Tracking Your Local Dental SEO Success

As the famous saying goes, "What gets measured, gets managed." This applies to your local dental SEO strategy as well. It's crucial to track your progress and measure the success of your efforts so that you can identify what's working and what's not. Here's how you can measure and track your local dental SEO success:

How to use Google Search Console to track local SEO success

Google Search Console is a free tool that helps you monitor and maintain your website's presence in Google search results. It provides valuable insights into how your website is performing in search results, and it can also help you identify and fix any technical issues that may be affecting your SEO. Here's how to use it to track your local dental SEO success:

  1. Set up Google Search Console for your website if you haven't already.

  2. Navigate to the "Performance" report in the left-hand menu.

  3. Filter the report by location to see how your website is performing in local search results.

  4. Analyze the data to see which keywords are driving the most traffic and clicks, and which pages are performing the best.

The Importance of tracking local search rankings

Tracking your local search rankings is essential because it helps you understand where your website ranks in search results for specific keywords and phrases. By tracking your local search rankings, you can identify any trends or changes in your website's performance, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Here are some tools that can help you track your local search rankings:

How to use local search ranking tools

  1. Google My Business Insights: This tool provides insights into how your Google My Business listing is performing, including the number of views, clicks, and actions taken on your listing.

  2. Local SEO Checkup: This tool provides a comprehensive analysis of your website's local SEO performance, including your local search rankings, online reviews, and citation accuracy.

  3. Ahrefs: This is a paid tool that provides detailed information on your website's search rankings, backlinks, and organic search traffic.

Analyzing and interpreting local SEO metrics for a dental practice

It's important to analyze and interpret the local SEO metrics for your dental practice to understand the impact of your efforts. Here are some metrics to pay attention to:

  1. Local search rankings: Keep track of where your website ranks in search results for relevant keywords and phrases.

  2. Website traffic: Monitor the number of visitors to your website, and identify which pages and keywords are driving the most traffic.

  3. Google My Business insights: Keep track of the number of views, clicks, and actions taken on your Google My Business listing.

By tracking these metrics, you can determine the effectiveness of your local dental SEO strategy, and make data-driven decisions to improve your performance.

Wrapping Up Local SEO for Dentists in 2023

Remember, local SEO is not a one-time task, but an ongoing process. It requires constant attention and effort to maintain and improve your rankings in search results. But, don't let that discourage you. With the right strategies and tools, you can achieve great success in local search.

One thing to keep in mind is that while SEO is important, it's just one piece of the puzzle. To truly stand out from your competitors and attract new patients, you need to have a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that encompasses SEO, social media, content marketing, and more.

If all of this seems overwhelming or you simply don't have the time to devote to digital marketing, don't worry. Our team of experts is here to help. We specialize in dental digital marketing and have helped numerous practices improve their online presence and attract new patients.

Now you have a great website and great SEO. To jumpstart your growth consider how Google Ads can help you reach your business goals.

If you're ready to take your dental practice to the next level, don't hesitate to reach out to us. We would love to work with you and help you achieve your goals.

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