Non-existent or second-rate website SEO won’t bring the impactful results of local search engine optimization. A focus on local SEO is what you need for your dental practice website to be found by new patients in your market area.
Local search has been a windfall for many dental practices because physical proximity to the online user is a big ranking factor in what shows up in local search results. The great news is there are things you can do to reach qualified patients at exactly the right time, converting those local searches into new patients for your dental practice.
What is Local SEO?
There is a lot of talk about search engine optimization for dental practices, but a lot of what you may hear is about those businesses that sell products or services online. Local SEO is different than that and is all about optimizing your website so you can rank higher in internet searches made by local users in your area.
Local search optimization will affect rankings in mobile search where people are on the move and looking to make decisions now. It also enhances positioning in searches that use local terms such as:
- dentist near me
- dental implants near me
- dentist in [city name]
- emergency dentist in my area
Specifically, when we talk about local search engine optimization, we mean designating and highlighting your city name, complete address, and key services in the places that search engines and search engine users are looking for them.
When asked, those in the know at Google are quoted as saying, “prominence, relevance, and distance” determine what websites show up in local search results. That is a pretty big oversimplification of what we know is a very complicated ranking system. Here is your big take away: Google will first search their own Google My Business (GMB) accounts to determine prominence, relevance, and distance. That means you should start your local search engine optimization campaign with your own GMB listing.
Why You Should Focus on Local SEO
Local SEO connects your dental practice with real-life patients in your community. Effective local SEO will result in everyone in your geographical area seeing your business on page one of search engine results when they are looking for the kind of dental services you provide.
Let’s look at some local SEO stats and facts that should be important to you:
- 78% of location-based mobile searches result in an offline purchase. (SEO Tribunal)
- 46% of all Google searches are seeking local information. (Go Gulf)
- 4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (Think with Google)
- “Near me” or “close by” type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. (Chat Meter)
- 72% of consumers that did a local search visited a business within five miles (HubSpot Marketing Statistics)
- 97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else (SEO Tribunal)
- 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
- 92% of searchers will pick businesses on the first page of local search results. (SEO Expert)
- By 2021, mobile devices will influence more than $1.4 trillion in local sales. (Forrester)
As Google’s search results ranking methods become more intricate and users continue to expect more individualized results, the importance of local SEO continues to grow.
As a dental practice owner, you need to dominate the local search results to win new patients. You, more than large national businesses, must depend on local SEO to build an attractive online presence and expose your dental practice to more and more potential patients.
What can you do right now to improve your local SEO?
Here is a quick guide to local SEO tips and tactics you could do right now to help the search engines find and rank your dental practice website when patients are looking online:
- Add keywords and geographical (local) identifiers to meta, title, and image tags on your website. This way search engines will know you are a good match for local search queries.
- Structure your webpages and URLs to highlight your location. (ex: greatdentist.com/dental-implants-south-vegas is better than greatdentist.com/home)
- Claim your Google My Business listing and optimize it for location and content. Be sure to consistently update your listing.
- Build and maintain accurate and consistent business listings and citations across the internet.
- Have a plan in place to get more five-star reviews online. Claim and optimize your business account on all major social media networks and review sites.
The time is now to optimize your website for local searches, “near me” queries, and voice-activated searches. Most users now have location or GPS enabled on their mobile devices. Use local SEO to make sure future patients are finding your dental practice at the top of search results.