(2020) Local SEO for Dentists: The Playbook for #1 Rankings
We have a step-by-step guide showing you how to do just that. We’ll explain how to list your dental practice on Google Maps in your city for the keywords your patients are searching for.
To show you what I’m talking about, let’s take a quick look at the Google Map results for the search, “dentist Seattle”:
See that area highlighted in a green box? That’s a Google Maps search result, and this guide will show you how to rank your practice in these search results, too.
Should you add your dental practice to Google Maps?
Are you a dentist or practice owner trying to attract new patients from a specific geographic area (a city like Seattle, for example)? This step-by-step guide was created with you in mind!
This guide is intended to be a practical how-to guide for dentists, not a textbook on Google Maps. It’s a playbook with steps that you can follow to get your dental office listed and ranked on Google Maps.
The benefits of Google Maps for dentists
Google Maps is great for you, your patients, and Google. Your patients quickly find what they need, your practice is more visible to more patients, and Google’s audience grows as more people discover how easy it is to connect with local dentists.
Let’s take a closer look at how you’ll benefit.
Patients can easily find the information they need
People use Google to find the information they need right now. When your office appears in Google Maps search results, your patients quickly see important details, including driving directions, reviews, hours of operation, and a phone number.
Free advertising for your dental practice
It won’t cost you a penny to have your practice listed on Google Maps. For your money, there’s no better value in online marketing and advertising than Google Maps.
Patients can find you
When your practice shows up on the first page of search results, you’re more likely to receive phone calls or clicks into your website. Getting ranked on Google Maps is a great way to get there.
Ability to make fast & easy updates
When you make a change in your Google My Business account, they’re live and online within minutes. You won’t wait hours for updates to appear.
Your happiest patients become your best advertising
Google Maps listings allow your patients to review your services, which improves your Google Maps ranking, provides you with valuable feedback, and helps bring new patients through the door.
Valuable analytics on patient interactions
You’ll have access to a dashboard where you can see statistics on views, actions on posts, new followers, and more.
How to add your dental practice to Google Maps
Now you know why your practice will benefit from being on Google Maps, but how do you actually do it?
I’ve broken down the process into 6 steps:
- Sign up for Google My Business
- Search for your practice
- Add your practice and add a service area
- Verify your practice
- Complete Your “Google My Business” Profile
- Add photos of your office
Let’s get started.
Step #1 – SIGN UP
You’ll start by signing up for your Google My Business Listing here: https://www.google.com/business/.
Click the ‘Manage Now’ button in the upper-right hand corner to get started.
If you already have a personal Google account, sign in with it. It’ll be connected automatically to your business listing.
If you don’t have a Google account yet, click ‘Create an account’ and follow the instructions to set one up.
Step #2 – SEARCH FOR YOUR PRACTICE
Start searching for your practice name and address to see if you’re already listed in Google Maps.
If you find that your office is already listed in Google Maps, then it’ll appear in a drop-down below the search bar.
Click on it and you’ll be asked to verify that you’re authorized to manage this business and that you agree to Google’s Terms of Service (Skip Step #3 and go straight to Step #4).
If your practice isn’t listed in Google Maps, the top option will prefill with the practice name you’ve entered. Click on that option and then click “Next” to proceed.
Bonus Tip: How can I claim my Google My Business page if it’s already being managed by someone else?
If the owner doesn’t respond to that email within 10 business days you can contact a Google My Business representative and they will unlock the listing allowing you to claim it.
Contact Google customer service here: https://support.google.com/business#topic=4539639
Step #3 – ADD YOUR PRACTICE AND CHOOSE A SERVICE AREA
After you click ‘Create a business with this name’, you’ll be prompted to choose a category. If you don’t see an exact match, just choose the category that fits your practice best.
Next you’ll be prompted to choose whether or not your business is a brick-and-mortar location or service only business.
Businesses that are service-based only and don’t want their business address visible would choose “no” and enter the locations they serve.
However, as a dental practice, you’ll choose ‘Yes,’ since you have a physical location where patients can visit. Next you’ll be asked to fill out your business location information.
Again, just click ‘Next’ when you’re done.
Once you’ve filled out your location information, Google may ask you one more time to verify this is a new business and not one already in their system. Choose ‘none of these’ and continue onto the next step.
Next, you’ll be asked to drag and drop the marker to the exact spot your business is located. Use the zoom feature to get this accurate as possible.
Since you previously chose ‘Yes’ to serving customers at your location, you’ll be asked if you also serve customers outside this location.
Click ‘Yes, I also serve them outside my location’ and you’ll be taken to the location search screen. Select the locations you’re willing to travel to if this applies to your practice, otherwise choose ‘No, I don’t’.
Lastly, you’ll be asked to input your practice phone number and website address.
Step #4 – VERIFY YOUR PRACTICE’S BUSINESS LISTING
Now it’s time to verify your business listing with Google. You’ll be given 3 options to verify your business on Google Maps:
- PIN mailer
Choose the Call or Text option for the quickest verification method. If you decide to verify via PIN mailer, expect it to arrive in about 5 business days. The mailed PIN will include instructions on how to finish the verification process.
Bonus Tip: Your Google My Business listing will stay unverified until you’ve entered the verification code on the postcard you received. This code expires after 30 days.
STEP #5 – COMPLETE YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE’S “GOOGLE MY BUSINESS” PROFILE
It’s very important that you complete your profile all the way to 100%. Click the ‘+’ sign to complete each section:
- Add Hours – Make sure you fill out this section carefully. You don’t want to say you’re open when you’re not – or vice versa!
- Add Description – Enter your business description. Use this area to write about the dental services you offer
- Add Logo – Add your practice logo
Filling out these 3 sections will get your profile to 100%, but there are a lot of other features to take advantage of if they apply to your practice:
- Add special hours
- Appointment/contact links
- Opening Date
- Photos (see next section)
Bonus Tip: Google Maps listings that are 100% complete and that are frequently updated rank better than those that aren’t. Many business owners get partway through the process and then stop. Don’t let this happen to you!
Step #6 – ADD PHOTOS OF YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE
Business photos are very important to Google. The more images you include, the better you look to Google. The better you look to Google, the higher your business profile will appear in search results.
Make sure to add:
- Your business logo
- Cover photo
- Team photos
- Interior office & exterior building photos
Bonus: Always follow best practices
- Do – Enable messaging if you want customers the opportunity to text you from your profile
- Do – Get Local Guides to review your business
- Do – Use your practice name for each location
- Do Not – Append a neighborhood or city to your practice name
- Do Not – List outdated information
- Do Not – Create fake locations
You did it!
If you’ve completed the steps above, your practice will start appearing in Google Maps search results soon. You’ll start to see new leads as a result of your brand new Google Maps listing before you know it.
As a practice owner, I’m sure you know that there’s always more work to be done, and more that you can do to make yourself stand out from your competition. Being on Google Maps is a good first step, but it isn’t enough — you need to take an integrative approach to your online marketing strategy.
Here’s your homework:
- Add one new photo per week to your business page.
- Gather and respond to patient reviews.
- Start sharing blog posts from your website, an interesting link that you found, or something else on your business page using the ‘Posts’ feature.
- Follow other practices and businesses in your area. See what they’re doing and sharing on their Google Business pages and follow their lead!
- Discover niche citation sites will give your practice a Google Maps ranking boost.
Need help adding your dental practice to Google Maps?
Did this guide help you list your dental practice on Google Maps? Do you want to know more about something you read? Have general questions about how to grow your practice through SEO?
Ask away. We’d love to hear from you, answer your questions, and help you succeed. That’s what :Delmain does for dozens of dental practices around the nation every day.