2021 Local SEO Statistics Every Dentist Should Know
Your dental website is your practice’s digital storefront. More than anytime before, it’s so essential for your website to be designed and structured in a way that helps it ranks higher on search engines and attracts searchers or your ideal prospective patients.
Many dentists have realized that their ideal patients are actually in their local community, so they are optimizing their website for Local SEO. Local SEO refers to a website optimization process that targets search engine users in proximity to the business.
For dentists, it involves using on-page and off-page SEO techniques to attract patients in their community. These patients are more likely to book an appointment with dental practices close to them than those farther away. And the onus is on you to get their attention.
Understandably, before investing in Local SEO, you may want to know the numbers behind the fact. So, this article will explore ten key statistics that tell the story and emphasize the importance of Local SEO for dental practices. We’ll provide a brief explanation of each statistic to help you get a sense of what the numbers really mean.
Let’s get started; here are ten Local SEO statistics every dentist should know in 2021
- Google saw 350 times more searches for the keywords “local” and “near me” in 2019 than in 2009. (Google)
Local searches (i.e. search queries with local or geographical references) have been on the rise for a while now. Over a decade, the number of local searches have increased 350 times. More people are looking to buy products from or book appointments with businesses that are right in their neighbourhood. It’s the closest thing to shopping online or virtual appointments.
If our current culture of convenience is an indicator of what’s to come, then you can be sure that local searches are here to stay. Patients want to dentists and dental practitioners who can relate to, personally, and on a geographical level. They want dentists who are easily accessible and just a stone throw a way. You can, and should, leverage Local SEO to position your dental practice to attract such patients.
- About a third of consumers in the United States search for local businesses daily online. (Backlinko)
When it comes the SEO statistics, the United States consumer market is usually the source of most of our data. Over time, patterns and changes in this market has proven to be an indicator of global trends. So, if a third of US consumers are relying on local searches to make their purchasing decisions, you can be sure that consumers, and patients, in Canada and many other countries are doing the same.
- 76% of people who search for a business nearby visit within 24 hours (Backlinko)
It’s one thing to search for businesses, or dental practices, nearby and it’s another thing to actually visit them, or even book an appointment. One takes minimal effort, and the other requires a higher degree of decision-making and commitment. But what we’re seeing is that most people who rely on local searches actually visit a local business within 24 hours.
This is a remarkable statistic because it implies that local searchers, or local patients, are already one-foot in the door when they decide to look up businesses or dental practices online. They are ready to book an appointment with you and all they just need is to find you and be convinced that you’re their best option. It’s your responsibility to improve your dental website’s searchabilty, visibility and credibility. And you can do this by optimizing your website for Local SEO.
- 46% of Google searches are for a local service. (Blu Cactus)
Now you may be thinking, local searches are on the rise but how much of Google searches are actually local searches? Blu Cactus reports that local searches account for almost half of all Google searches. That means for every two patents using search engines at any given time, at least one of them is searching for a local service—which could very well be a dental service. Again, this indicates how common local searches have become and why you should prioritize them in your dental marketing efforts.
- 76% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations (Backlinko)
As you know, dental marketing is more than simply improving your dental website. Yes, your website plays a big role in your marketing campaigns but there are other factors that could impact your online visibility. One of such factors are your dental practice’s online reviews.
Can prospective patients find reviews about your practice online? Are the reviews listed on top dental reviews sites or platforms such Google My Business, Yelp, Zocdoc or HealthGrades? Are most of your reviews positive? Do you respond to your online reviews? Is your dental pracrice listed on the essential dental directories?
If your answer to any of these questions is no, now’s the time to develop or rethink your dental practice’s reputation management strategy. Fortunately, we have an article that goes into nitty gritty of what a good repuation management strategy for dental practices should look like.
More so, you can take advantage of Connect the Doc’s review tool to gather patients’ feedback and reviews right after an appointment and automatically share those reviews on top dental reviews sites to boost your visibility.
- 57% of consumers will only use a business if it has 4+ stars on local reviews. (Bright Local)
The more positive your online reviews are, the better your chances of attracting more patient leads. Admittedly, in reality, you can’t expect to have only positive reviews. There will always be patients who aren’t completely satisfied with your dental services, and so you can expect to find a negative online review of your dental practive every once in a while.
Negative reviews aren’t the end of the world. You need them so your dental practice can look more genuine and realistic than your competition. However, the two important things to note are that your negative online reviews should never outweigh or be more than your positive online reviews. Keep a healthy balance there with positive reviews, preferably accounting for at least 75% of your total reviews.
Secondly, you should respond to your negative reviews. Your response is your opportunity to attempt to resolve an issue publicly or provide better context or perspective to the reviewer’s situation. It’s also your opportunity to admit responsibly when necessary and provide reassurance. Your response can go a long way to convincing prospective patients that you have your patients’ best interests in mind.
For tips on how to respond to your dental practice’s negative online reviews, check out this article.
- 42% of local searchers click on results inside of the Google Maps Pack. (Backlinko)
We mentioned Google My Business briefly earlier and recommended that you get your dental practice listed on that platform to get more reviews. Another advantage of getting a Google My Business profile is the fact that, by doing so, you’ll simultaneously be listing your dental practice on Google Maps.
Google Maps is an excellent tool for searchers, especially local searchers who prioritize location in their purchase (or appointment booking) decision-making process. These searchers want to know precisely where your dental practice is located relative to where they are. So, getting your practice listed on Google Maps makes the process easier for them.
- 61% of mobile searchers are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly site. (Backlinko)
As you optimize your dental website for Local SEO, you should also confirm that it is mobile-friendly. A mobile-friendly dental website is one with design, features, and a structure that is easily accessible on mobile devices.
As more patients use their mobile devices to look up queries on search engines, they’ll be clicking on web pages listed in the search engine results pages (SERPs) to check out and learn more about your dental service. You could be losing out on a handful of patient leads by not having a mobile-friendly website. Our Connect the Doc dental marketing specialists can help you audit your website and make any necessary updates, so it’s accessible and responsive on mobile devices.
- 88% of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours. (Nectafy)
You may be wondering why mobile searches matter?
Well, this statistic should be all the reason you need. As we saw earlier, 76% of patients who conduct local searches will book an appointment or visit your dental practice within 24 hours, but if those patients are searching on their mobile device, you can be sure that the percentage of those who may book an appointment will be much higher at 88%. So, your chances of attracting local patients who use search engines on mobile devices are greater than the alternative.
- 40% of mobile searches have local intent. (Think with Google)
Finally, Google’s marketing and research platform, Think with Google, recently reported that 40% of the keywords used to search queries done on mobile devices have local intent. This means mobile users who look up search queries online are searching for a service, business, or resource relevant to their current location.
This statistic shows why Local SEO, which includes the incorporation of local high-intent keywords, is vital. When optimizing your dental website for Local SEO, you should conduct keyword research to find the ideal search queries local patients use that could lead them to your dental practice.
Numbers Don’t Lie, Take Action
There are several more statistics about Local SEO out there, but these ten numbers should be enough to get you thinking about prioritizing Local SEO in your digital marketing campaigns. If you need any assistance on how you can apply Local SEO techniques to your dental website optimization process or paid ads campaigns, contact a Connect the Doc specialist today to get started.