Local SEO for 2019 (Search Engine Marketing) is the ongoing process of claiming and optimizing your business’ online listings (or directories) with the goal of attracting new local customers. As a business owner, you need to understand know how local SEO works and what your business stands to lose if you do not start claiming and optimizing your dental practice’s online listings. Learn about the variety of strategies we use to help get your site ranked on major search engines like Google, and business directories like Yelp, Superpages, Google My Business and more!
A folder with "Top Secret" written on it referring to the difficulty of learning local SEO
Local SEO doesn’t have to be top secret! All business owners (including dentists) should understand how to optimize for and benefit from local SEO.

Nowadays, it’s not enough to open up a dental practice, slap a nice “We’re Open” sign on the window, and fold your legs waiting for new patients to start strolling in.

You need to leverage the power of Local SEO as a vital key to being found online and attracting new customers to your business.

Jump to these sections:

  1. Definition of local SEO
  2. The 5 factors involved in local SEO
  3. 8 reasons why dentists need local SEO to attract more new patients
  4. How to improve local SEO for dentists

As a dentist or a dental office manager, these internet marketing terms may seem way over your head. Worry no more! I can assure you that local SEO is not TOP SECRET. It CAN be understood and implemented in your practice to improve your online visibility. So let’s answer the following questions: What is local SEO? How does it work? And how should you optimize your local listings?

Definition of local SEO

Local SEO (search engine optimization) is the ongoing process of optimizing your business’ online listings (or directories) with the goal of attracting new customers in various localities. Making your business more relevant to local searches involves ensuring that your business information is accurately and consistently presented by online databases.

Local SEO offers a golden opportunity to market and promote your dental practice online to targeted audiences! It helps businesses raise visibility for their services to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for them. How so?

Local SEO utilizes a variety of strategies to help get your site ranked on major search engines like Google, and business directories like Yelp, Superpages, Foursquare, Google My Business listings, Bing Places for Business pages, and others. It also uses localized content on your website, online reviews, and other strategies to leverage your digital footprint.

Millions of potential customers use local search every day to find the best local businesses in their geographical area. You can boost your chances of getting noticed by these potential customers by working with an experienced local SEO agency.

Local SEO for dental marketing

Local search engine optimization services provide a very targeted online (digital) marketing approach (unlike direct mail or an ad in a local newspaper that may never be viewed by a potential patient who is interested in your services). Local SEO agencies like Roadside Dental Marketing allow you to position your dental practice on search engines and other digital marketing sites so you’re able to be seen by potential customers — on their terms.

Statistic showing that 90 percent of users who will use a search engine to find out about local details of a business
Local SEO enables you to be found by the 90% of users in your area who are searching for the services you offer.

What is involved in local SEO?

  1. Website localization markup
  2. Claiming your Google My Business listing
  3. Citation building
  4. Managing your reviews and ratings
  5. Getting quality backlinks

1. Website localization markup

“Localizing” your website means including your location (city, county, or region name) naturally throughout your site’s content. For dental practices with several locations, this could involve creating separate landing pages for each location and other local content strategies, such as getting involved with community events and/or featuring articles and information about them on your site.

Your website should be the foundation of accurate business data, including, but not limited to:

  • Business name
  • Industry and subcategories
  • Doctors and associates
  • Physical location
  • Phone number and email
  • Services and products
  • Hours of operation
  • Macro and microdata markup
  • And more!

2. Claiming your Google My Business listing

By claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing, you have taken a crucial step toward helping your business display on essential Google-related services, like Local Search, Maps, Knowledge Graph sections, etc. GMB and its Microsoft equal, Bing Places for Business, should always be the first online directories you take ownership of.

3. Citation building

Ensure your site is featured on all relevant citation sites and online business directories, as well as region-specific citation sites. Not only will this assist customers in finding your business, but by featuring your company’s name, address, and phone number on all citation sites accurately, it will help improve your overall search rankings.

4. Managing your reviews and ratings

Genuine, honest reviews from real people in the areas you want to rank in are vital both for not only showcasing the quality of your services but also for sending authority and trust signals to search engines that your site is relevant and useful. The number of reviews you receive, the overall quality of those reviews, and the authority of the review sites themselves are all crucial factors for local search rankings.

5. Getting quality backlinks

Backlinks that are naturally obtained from well-regarded websites help search engines recognize your site as a trusted source of information. Links from educational sites, local newspapers, bloggers, and community business associations, as well as citations, can all help drastically improve your search visibility.

8 reasons why dentists need local SEO to attract more new patients

  1. Your potential customers are using the internet to find local businesses
  2. Mobile search is now outgrowing desktop
  3. Local search marketing is super geo-targeted and timely
  4. Highest conversion levels of all local advertising channels
  5. Great return on investment (ROI)
  6. Claimed listings help outrank your local competition
  7. People tend to trust businesses with healthy reviews more
  8. Protect and control your business data online

As all businesses want to succeed online, dentists too, need to invest in local SEO because it is a part of a holistic online marketing strategy to attract the right patients from the right localities — and at the right time. Let’s look at why these eight points work in business.

1. Your potential customers are using the internet to find local businesses

Billions of local searches are performed each day by millions of users (your potential customers) on desktop AND, more importantly, on mobile.

Yes, some still use printed phone books (I’m not sure why)… but more and more people are turning to the internet to get information about the services and products they need. Where are you showing up in their search results? Here are some local SEO statistics to consider:

  • 900% growth in “near me” searches
  • 46% of all Google searches are local
  • 64% of local searchers use search engines and directories as their primary way to find local business
  • 50% of local mobile searchers look for business information (like a company’s address or phone number)
  • A massive 78% of local mobile searches end in an offline purchase

Sources: Think with Google | Search Engine Land |  Business 2 Community

2. Mobile search is now outgrowing desktop

More and more customers favor using mobile phones (now being called phablets) or tablets to find the best local businesses while they’re on the go. This trend ushered in the keyphrase “Near Me.”

Mobile queries in the U.S. are now higher at 63% in comparison to desktop use at 37%. Local SEO works on optimizing both desktop and mobile internet access indicating you never miss out on a potential customer. (Source)

3. Local search marketing is super geo-targeted and timely

The main reason for a local search is to find a specific local business. The second most common reason is to get information about a product or service. Many local searchers are looking for a particular business’ name, but many times when the searcher begins their search, they don’t have a specific business in mind.

By using SEO-friendly local search tactics, you can better position your practice and advocate what you do or provide to local customers when they’re looking for you. After all, there is no better time to connect with a potential customer than when they need and want you.

4. Highest conversion levels of all local advertising channels

Online directories (like Yelp, Citysearch, Foursquare, etc.) exhibit a business’ NAP (name, address, phone number) and sometimes additional information (like a menu, business description, or list of services). Local directories many times dominate the first page of geo-targeted local search results.

Local directory marketing, which is just one avenue of local SEO, has a higher than normal conversion rate compared to other more traditional advertising options – up to 50% conversion on some directories. What this all means is that by getting your business listed as accurately as possible on as many high-quality online directory sites as you can, you’ll be able to convert one out of every two leads into actual customers.

5. Great return on investment (ROI)

Unlike conventional local advertising (e.g., local newspapers, leaflets, direct mail, etc.), with local SEO there is little wasted exposure. You communicate with potential customers when they need you — not when they don’t, which makes local SEO both practical and very affordable in terms of ROI (return on investment).

6. Claimed listings help outrank your local competition

Want to get ahead of your local competition? Only 44% of businesses have actually claimed their Google My Business listing, so start there.

Google My Business is a FREE listing (citation) that Google makes available for almost any type of business. Getting indexed on Google My Business can help bolster your chances of showing up higher in local search results on Google. (Source)

7. People tend to trust businesses with healthy reviews more

Are you surprised that 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a friend’s referral? You shouldn’t be.

Word-of-mouth is a vital factor in the success of many local businesses. To enhance your company’s online reputation, ask trusted customers to leave reviews about your business online — you could potentially attract hundreds of new patients since reviews from one’s vicinity feature prominently on search results. (Source)

8. Protect and control your business data online

The fact that local customers rely on the internet to obtain information on your business can be a two-edged sword. Claiming and maintaining your local listings gives you a measure of control so that public users may not accidentally “suggest” an incorrect edit to your business’ address, phone number, or practice name.

If you do not control access to many of these public database listings, a disgruntled competitor could potentially change your phone number to theirs, thus stealing your incoming phone calls and business!

A large graph showing potential Local SEO citations and directory listings for businesses
Users will often have their first experience with your brand via a directory before ever visiting your website.

These days, people turn to the internet to obtain information about all types of products and services. If your business is not visible in local search results, you’ll miss out on any new customers. By using a variety of local SEO strategies for your practice it can help you show up on the online map for future patients to see!

So, what does a local SEO strategy for dentists look like?

How to improve local SEO for dentists

These local search trends we just reviewed are healthy now, and they’re only going to get stronger and more significant in the future. Now is the time for you to implement local SEO services and boost your business before your competitors catch on. All local companies, from dentists and orthodontists to specialty practices like pediatric dentists and endodontists, can improve their business and earn more money through local SEO.

Why choose Roadside Dental Marketing’s Local SEO services?

Roadside has been helping local dentists and multi-location practices improve their positions in the local search market since 1996. Many from our team come from the dental industry, so we are best equipped to provide a holistic business strategy for your dental practice that includes:

Roadside’s citation-building services enable you to choose either our entry-level manual citations package or our advanced automated aggregator submissions, which can “push” your data to thousands of online business directories, mobile apps, and mapping services, ensuring NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency and higher visibility in local search.

Since we’ve walked in your shoes (literally!), we know exactly what you need to grow your business! If you have any questions about improving your local online marketing, we’re just a phone call away. Feel free to book a consultation online or give us a call at (360) 283-5001.

 


 

Which local SEO strategies have you implemented so far? We’d love to hear of your success!