The Top 9 Local Ranking Factors for Dental SEO in 2020

The year 2020 ushered in an unprecedented wave of changes in how dentists operate their practices and market their services. Dental SEO and its local ranking factors are evolving. This year, local search queries account for more than half of all Google searches—that’s the highest percentage ever. More patients are searching for information about dental practices and dental healthcare services in their local area or community.

Local SEO has never been more important for dental practices and dental marketers. If you want to give your dental practice the best chance of boosting its brand reputation online and attracting new patients, you have to prioritize your local SEO strategy. In its recently released Local SEO industry report, Moz outlines the top 9 local ranking factors that impact SEO in 2020. 

Local ranking factors are elements of your dental practice’s digital marketing strategy that impact how searchers in your local community find and interact with your practice online. In this article, we will discuss each local ranking factor and the corresponding solutions you can integrate into your dental marketing strategy. 

Top 9 Local Ranking Factors for Dental SEO in 2020

  1. Google My Business
  2. Online Reviews
  3. The proximity of searchers/patients to your dental practice
  4. The physical address of your dental practice
  5. Consistency of citations and mentions online
  6. On-page SEO elements
  7. Local listing engagement
  8. Organic User/Patient behaviour
  9. Quality and authority of your dental website’s inbound links
  1. Google My Business

Google My Business (GMB) is a free business profile and listing that allows your current and prospective patients to engage with your dental practice online. It highlights your dental practice’s contact information, online reviews, images, social profiles and updates. More importantly, it makes it easier for searchers and patients to find your practice through Google Search and Maps, gives them more ways to connect with you and provides you with insights on how they interact with your business profile. 

Currently, GMB is the most important local ranking factor for dental SEO. If your dental practice doesn’t have a GMB profile, you run a high risk of not being found online by searchers and patients in your local area. Whether your dental practice has a GMB profile or not, read our recent article on the 20-Point Google My Business Checklist for 2020. In that article, you will learn all you need to know about creating and optimizing a GMB profile for your dental practice. 

  1. Online Reviews 

Your dental practice’s online reviews are an important part of your online reputation management strategy. They give prospective patients, who are considering using your dental healthcare services, more information about you, your practice and the quality of your service. The diversity, velocity, ratings and quantity of your dental practice’s online reviews—as well as the nature of your responses to the reviews—can impact your practice’s web traffic and lead conversion rates. 

90% of the 1453 businesses that participated in Moz’s survey highlighted online reviews as an important ranking factor in their Local SEO strategy. No dental practice can afford to not have a review strategy—not now, not in the future. Now’s the time to leverage the incredible competitive advantage online reviews give your practice and increase your patient acquisition and retention rates.

Connect the Doc’s dental marketing experts can work with you to implement strategies for review acquisition, publication, responses and remediation. Our intelligent review tool helps your dental practice automatically generate authentic reviews, share your reviews on the review websites that matter to your patients, manage your brand reputation and increase your ranking on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). Request a demo and start getting more reviews for your dental practice today. 

  1. The Proximity of Searchers/Patients to your Dental Practice

Patients prioritize their convenience and accessibility when choosing their dentist. The closer your dental practice is to the patient’s home, the more likely they will patronize you. Proximity matters to searchers. This is why “near me” search queries (e.g. “dentists near me”) surged by 139% in 2019 compared to 2018—and is projected to keep rising. 

Since more patients are searching for dentists, dental practices and dental healthcare service providers near their location, your dental website must be optimized for local search. You can do this by including location-relevant keywords in your content strategy, updating your dental website, online directories and social platforms with your correct address and creating content that is relevant to patients in your local community. 

  1. The Physical Address of your Dental Practice

This local ranking factor is similar to the proximity factor. However, to meet the requirements of this factor, you can go a step further by having a structured schema on your website. This allows Google’s search algorithms to accurately crawl, organize and rank your content. More so, when you run paid advertisements, set specific location targets for your PPC ad campaigns. As the campaigns generate web traffic on your website, Google studies the location of your website visitors and uses that information to rank your content and website for specific locations. 

Searchers who are in close physical proximity to your dental practice are more likely to find your practice online and book an appointment with you. At Connect the Doc, we can work with you to ensure your dental website is well optimized for local search. This way, your content will rank higher for location-relevant Google search queries. 

  1. Consistency of Citations and Mentions of your Dental Practice Online

As your dental practice’s online presence continues to grow, you will notice that online directories will start including your practice’s information on their websites. The details on these directories may not always be accurate and as such, they may not match what is on your website. Unfortunately, your dental practice’s digital marketing strategy can suffer from these kinds of inconsistencies. If different web pages have different information about the name of your practice, hours of operations, address, phone number and other essential details, Google might flag your content for these inconsistencies and this can negatively affect your ranking. 

When you work with Connect the Doc, we assign a dedicated website manager to you and your practice. Your Connect the Doc website manager combs through the internet on your behalf and fixes any inconsistencies that exist about your dental practice. This way, your website won’t be flagged and can benefit from a higher Google ranking. 

  1. On-page SEO elements

On-page SEO refers to the optimization of the content and HTML source code of your dental website. The content—texts, images, visuals and design elements—on your website determines the degree of your patients’ engagement with your website and the quality of their user experience when they visit your website. Other on-page SEO elements like title tags, URL structures and alt-text in images are also important contributors to the overall quality of your dental website. 

Google search algorithms access the quality of your dental website and use this information to determine where your website ranks on Google. As a search engine platform, Google’s priority is to provide searchers with lists of results and websites that can offer them the most value based on their search queries. If your dental website isn’t designed in a way that brings your web visitors and patients the most value and positive experience, it may not rank high on Google. 

To improve the quality of your dental website and optimize your webpages for Google’s search engine, contact Connect the Doc to connect with an SEO specialist

  1. Local Listing Engagement

The local listing engagement ranking factor refers to the actions searchers take when they find your dental practice on lists, directories and websites that aren’t yours. When searchers find your dental practice online, they may click the links that take them to your dental website or prompt them to call your practice or schedule an appointment with you. The more this happens, Google search algorithms assume that more searchers and patients are interested in your website. As a result, Google ranks your website higher on its SERPs.

  1. Organic User/Patient Behavior  

This ranking factor speaks to the quality of your patients’ user experience when they visit your dental website. To determine where your website ranks on Google for local searches, Google considers your website’s clickthrough rate (CTR), the time patients spend on your website, the number of links on your website that bounce or are inactive, the pages patients visit on your website and other user behavioural data. These insights allow Google to understand how patients and website visitors interact with your website and ultimately determine the potential value of your website to searchers. 

  1. Quality and Authority of your Dental Website’s Inbound Links

Inbound links are links for other websites to your website. Your website must have inbound links coming from websites that are relevant to dental patients. This means the websites, that include hyperlinked text to your dental website, must be an authority in your niche. Those websites should rank high for dental-related keywords and provide top-notch user experience to their web visitors. 

As Google’s search algorithms scrawl through links on websites and stumble on an inbound link to your dental website, it evaluates the quality and authority of that link. The more quality and authoritative inbound links to your website exist across the internet, the better the chances of your practice ranking high for local searches.

To learn how to get more inbound links for your dental website and find out if you meet the requirements for these local ranking factors for dental SEO, contact a Connect the Doc specialist today. At Connect the Doc, we work with dentists to implement an online review strategy, optimize their website for Local SEO and maximize their dental practice’s online presence.