As a dentist or orthodontist you probably already know the importance of showing up in the search results. But how do you keep up with all the changes and updates the search engines are making? We have compiled a short list of the most important factors when optimizing your website for local search. But first, a quick definition.
What is local SEO?
Just as the search engines are getting smarter in understanding the intent of a user search, they now use a specific algorithms for showing localized search results to their users when relevant. This is the case for dentist and orthodontist related searches. For sure you have seen the map in the search results.
Now, simply by searching “dentist” or “orthodontist” Google is showing searchers the local map with dentists in the area. This map is the heart of where local search optimization takes place. We are going to look at a few of the most important actions you can take to optimize your dental practice’s website for local search.
1. Google Business Profile (or Google My Business Profile)
The Google Business Profile is quite arguably the most important online asset a local business owner has outside of their website. This single profile not only makes it possible to rank in the local map listings, but can also be the main source of information Google will use in adding your business to their knowledge graph. One of the first steps you should take as a conscientious business owner is to make sure you have ownership rights to this profile and that it is displaying the correct Name, Address and Phone Number for you business.
2. SEO On Your Website
Many practitioners, when trying to figure out why their website isn’t ranking well, will overlook their website as the source of their issue. One of the most common problems I find in consulting with new clients is they want to rank for terms that don’t exist (either directly or indirectly) on their website. Remember, the battlefield of SEO is in the words you use. Does your dental website clearly and concisely state what services you provide?
Create content that is structured around terms your future clients will be using to find you. Once you do so, it is time to make sure the technical elements are in place. Title tags, Heading tags and image tags are important factors in local so and should naturally us some location terms throughout the pages. It is also important to check that the Name, Address and Phone Number is correctly showing on the website and matches exactly the information from your Google Business Profile. Any variation in this information can cause issues.
Reviews and testimonials can go along way in helping clients choose you or the competition. Studies on social proof have shown it to be an influential factor in purchasing decisions. By having testimonials readily available on your website you can help increase trust in your company and brand. Also, find a way that works for your practice to solicit positive customer reviews of your business on other review websites like Yelp or on your Google Business Profile.
As more search results for dentists and orthodontists are showing the local map, it is important for your practice to stay ahead of the curve and at the top of the list. While SEO is an on-going process, the few steps mentioned above are great first steps to getting your dental website heading in the right direction.
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