Local SEO for Dentists, 2023 Guide


What is Local SEO for Dentists?

  • Objective: get more patient bookings for your Dental Practice
  • Optimize your website and location listings for a higher rank in Local Search Results
  • Get free traffic for patients searching for "dentist near me", and specific services you offer such as "teeth whitening"
  • Increase Patient Acquisition from Google, Bing, Duck Duck Go etc
  • Optimize for the best traffic- patients actively searching for a Dentist now

Why is Local SEO Important for Dentists?

  • Local SEO optimization is important because Dentists need new patients and many patients turn to Search Engines such as Google in order to find and compare Dentists local to them.
  • Local SEO is a competitive game and everything is relative so it's important to continually optimize and outrank (outdo) the competition. Google and other search engines use algorithms to rank the results shown in searches.
  • The Local SEO strategies detailed here, help you rank your dental practice website above your competitors for local searches such as "dentist near me", "dentist sydney" etc. A higher ranking means your site will be more visible than the competitors showing beneath it and will therefore attract more clicks, calls etc.

New Dental Patient Acquisition

By ranking near the top of the Local Search Results you can drive new dental patient acquisition. You can drive awareness of your brand, website visits, phone calls, form enquiries and live chats & of course, bookings.

By optimizing your Google Business Profile and your website content you can stand out and capture the interest, clicks and bookings of prospects looking for a Dentist online.

Dentist SERP Breakdown

Google Ads

Google Ads appear at the top of the search results. This is a Pay Per Click system. We have a lot of experience running Google Ads for our clients. But the aim of this article is to enable you to gain quality traffic from Google without paying for the ads.

Local Pack aka Google Maps Pack

These are the locally relevant results that we can optimize for via Local SEO tactics explained in this article. Google's algorithm selects the most appropriate business locations to show here. You can influence the algorithm to show your business in the Local Pack by following Local SEO best practices below.


The Organic listings are websites listed below the Google Ads and Local Pack Results sections. Because the Organic results are much lower down the page, they obtain fewer clicks and prospects than the other two higher sections. It's still important to optimize for Organic Search Results but this articles focuses more on the techniques for optimizing the Local Pack Results.

Google Maps

The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) image below shows a regular "Organic" Google SERP for a search term "sydney dentist". If you click on the Maps tab below the search box you will change the results to be displayed on Google Maps. This set of Google Maps results is very similar to the Local Pack or Google Maps Pack Results but definitely different. The algorithm prioritizes businesses slightly differently for Google Maps results than Google Local Pack Results. Generally you can optimize for both sets of results via the techniques in this article.

Digital Marketing for Dentists

Digital Marketing for Dentists is a broad subject and much is outside the scope of this article. However, it's worth mentioning some aspects which impact Local SEO rankings.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As shown in the SERP screenshot above, Organic Search Results appear below the Local Pack and are determend via "traditional" SEO. Most important are optimizing your website content and technical aspects, as well as backlinks, to rank high in the Organic Results section.
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising. As shown in the SERP screenshot above, Google Ads are shown at the top of the SERPs and therefore gain a large proportion of the clicks as they are prominent on the search results. Many Dentists advertise on Google and the Keyword Research section below lists common successful keywords and negative keywords for running Google Ads. Bing Ads is another popular Search Engine for running PPC ads. PPC ads can be very effective at lead generation.
  • Branding. Building your brand and maintaining your brand is very important and broadly falls into the following subtopics. Branding has an impact on all other types of Digital Marketing.
    • Brand Identity
    • Brand Messaging & Consistency
    • Brand Positioning
    • Brand Awareness
    • Brand Loyalty
  • Website Design. Website Design is incredibly important for generating user first impressions of your brand, as well as encouraging prospects to take the action you want them to take on your site. High quality web design will often lead to users easily navigating your website, understanding your positioning and offerings and then getting in touch with you.
    • User Experience
    • Visual Design Aesthetics
    • PageSpeed
    • Navigation
  • Conversion Optimization & Call-to-Action. Conversion Optimization is the practice of driving more site visitors to take the action you want them to take on your site: making a phone call, filling out a form or starting a live chat. The Call-to-Actions on your site are the specific elements used to drive users to take the desired action, for example "Call Now for Teeth Whitening".
  • Landing Pages. Landing Pages are the destination webpages used in digital marketing campaigns. Usually successful PPC ad campaigns will use custom landing pages. We find these work much better at generating leads than the regular, main website for most clients, ie. custom landing pages have a higher conversion rate.
  • Social Media. Social Media sites such as Facebook & Instagram can be very effective marketing channels for businesses, including Dentists. You can build a following with your local prospects and customers, add Posts to Social Media sites and engage with your prospects online. You can also run Pay-Per-Click ads on Meta Ads, ie. Facebook Ads & Instagram Ads.
  • Email Marketing. Email Marketing is the practice of engaging with your prospects and customers via email. It's important to capture and build an email database of prospects and customers so that you can stay in touch with them for free. There are many email marketing automation tools that take much of the work out of creating and sending these emails.
  • SMS Marketing. SMS or text message marketing is much like Email Marketing. But being a slightly different channel, it resonates with a different demographic. Some users are more likely to pay immediate attention to SMS messages, making them very powerful for marketing.

Dentist Keyword Research

Dentist Keywords

Keywords depend on location and services offered:

  • dentist
  • dentist near me
  • emergency dentist
  • pediatric dentist
  • root canal
  • gum disease
  • dentist {suburb/ city}
  • childrens dentist
  • kids dentist
  • family dentist
  • gentle dentist
  • cosmetic dentist
  • teeth cleaning
  • teeth whitening
  • invisalign
  • dentist insurance
  • bupa dentist
  • dentist appointment

Dentist Negative Keywords

Use these negative keywords to cut wasted ad spend on Google Ads.

  • free, cheap, discount
  • job, pay, salary, hourly rate, apprentice
  • course

  • dentist
  • dentist near me
  • emergency dentist
  • pediatric dentist
  • root canal
  • gum disease
  • dentist {suburb/ city}
  • childrens dentist
  • kids dentist
  • family dentist
  • gentle dentist
  • cosmetic dentist
  • teeth cleaning
  • teeth whitening
  • invisalign
  • dentist insurance
  • bupa dentist
  • dentist appointment
  • Google Business Profile

    GBP Profile Completion

    Fully completing your Google Business Profile with accurate, up to date data is critical for successful Local SEO optimization. Google themselves say:

    To maximize how often users find your business in local search results, ensure that your business information in Business Profile is accurate, complete, and engaging.

    Verify GBP Locations

    One of the most important steps for Local SEO is to add & verify or claim your Google Business Profile (GBP) location(s)

    Verify GBP Opening Hours Consistency

    Double-check that your opening hours are accurate in your GBP location profile. We often find that website opening hours are different from the GBP location opening hours. Google dedicates a whole section of their Local SEO page to this topic:

    Update your business hours regularly, including when you open and close, and special hours for holidays and events. Accurate hours info lets shoppers know when you’re available and gives them confidence that your business will be open when they arrive.

    Respond to GBP Reviews

    Google specifically encourages you to reply to Reviews:

    Respond to reviews that users leave about your business.

    GBP Category

    You should set the correct Business Profile Category that's a best fit match for your business. This is essential for Google's understanding of your business niche. See Google's Guidelines for Choosing Categories

    Dentists will generally use one of these Categories:

    • Dentist
    • Dental Clinic

    GBP Additional Categories

    Businesses will often have additional Categories they can add to their Profile. This helps the business get found across the breadth of their service or product offering.

    For example, a Dentist will often use these Additional Categories.
    Using additional categories is a great way to get found for your more specific dental services. Additional Categories are particularly relevant for Dentistry which includes many subdisciplines such as Cosmetic Dentistry.

    • Dental clinic
    • Dental hygienist
    • Dental implants periodontist
    • Dental implants provider
    • Pediatric dentist
    • Cosmetic dentist
    • Dental clinic
    • Dental clinic

    GBP Services

    You should provide a complete list of your dental services, such as:

    • Teeth whitening
    • Teeth cleaning
    • Wisdom Teeth
    • Root Canal
    • Crowns
    • Veneers
    • Periodontics
    • Orthodontics
    • Braces
    • Invisalign
    • Teeth Grinding
    • Dental Implants

    GBP Posts

    Adding GBP Posts is a great method for gaining extra visibility on Google Search and Maps. You can include text, images, videos

    Google says:

    You can connect with existing and potential customers through your Business Profile on Google Search and Maps through posts. You can create and share announcements, offers, new or popular items in stock, or event details directly with your customers.

    GBP Photos

    We highly recommend adding multiple photos to your Google Business Profile. These should be varied and include external and internal photos of your location, your business logo, photos of your team, images of products and services and more. You can upload Photos and use them in GBP Posts. Google provides detailed information on requirements for Photo upload.

    Google My Business

    Google Business Profile was formerly known as "Google My Business".

    Gather client reviews

    Reviews and testimonials and case studies are extremely important for modern businesses. In fact Google specifically mentions their importance for Local SEO:

    High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood that a shopper will visit your location.

    Also, critically:

    More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business' local ranking.

    Conduct Competitive Analysis & Market Research

    As with regular SEO, Local SEO is a competitive game. The Google algorithm ranks the local search results according to various factors. You can gain a competitive advantage by auditing your local search factors against your local competitors.

    Auditing your local competitors can reveal:

    • A list of your local competitors in Google Search and Maps
    • Keywords used by your competitors
    • Content ideas- what webpages and content do your competitors have
    • Backlinks play an important role in Local SEO- often you will find that you can copy some competitor backlinks with ease. You can use a variety of SEO tools to find competitor backlinks.
    • Social Media. Review your competitor Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn pages to find out what kind of following they have, what kind of content they are posting and what Socal Media ads they are running.
    • Google Ads. Take a note of any Google Ads you see your competitors running- you will need to search from the location of your business or use a tool that enables you to do a Google Search at a specific location. This is because the ads are geo-targeted and the Search Engine Results Pages will look different from various locations. If your competitors are advertising against your brand name you should remedy this with Google Ads if they are using your brand name in the ads. Also it might be worth running your own Google Ads if you determine that there is significant competiton locally.
    • Reviews. If your number of Google GBP Reviews or average Rating is below average compared to your competitors, then your visibility in the SERPs will suffer. This can prompt you to implement a Google Reviews policy at your locations to gain more positive reviews.
    • GBP Categories & Additional Categories. It's very common for businesses to discover GBP Additional Categories through auditing their local competitors. You will need to use a tool to discover what categories your competitors are using. This also applies to Services- and you can freely see the list of GBP Services via a Mobile phone and searching for each competitor on Google Maps.
    • PageSpeed Insights. PageSpeed is now a ranking factor for SEO and hence is important for Local SEO. You can use a tool or manually run PageSpeed Insights reports for your site and all your competitors. If your site is below average you should speak with your web developer to improve your performance.
    • Local Directory listings. Your competitors will be on a variety of local directory listings. If you check all their listings you will find opportunities for adding your business to additional directories.
    • Homepage Meta Description & Page Titles. These are absolutely critical for Google to understand the nature of your business and the services it offers. Modifying your Page Title and Meta Description will often impact your local SEO rankings. Auditing these attributes of your competitor websites will give you some great ideas for how you can optimize your own website and gain an advantage over the local competition.
    • Website number of pages and structure. Having a thorough website that is well structured and clearly representing your business and services is critical for SEO. You should have a page per service and a page per location. You can gain ideas from your local competitors by auditing their service pages and navigation menu items. You can identify gaps in your website that need filling with additional pages.

    You can conduct an automated audit via our free Local SEO Audit Tool

    Fix Cheating Competitor Business Names

    Often businesses will "cheat" in Google Local results and Google Maps by modifying their business name to include keywords. For example we found this local business name "X Dental Services, Dentist Near Me, Invisalign, Teeth Whitening, Pediatric Dentist, Emergency Dentist and Dental Implants, Mouth Guards, Dentist Urgent" (we changed the first word to 'X' to maintain privacy). This type of "cheating" enables the business to rank more prominently for all these services they stuffed into their name. This is against the terms of use of Google Maps and a relatively unknown trick is that you can fix this problem yourself. You can search for your competitor businesses on Google Maps and "Suggest an Edit". Then you edit the business name to be the correct real world name of the business. This will prevent the competitor from gaining and unfair advantage over you. We have found this works well to increase your local seo rankings.

    Citations in Online Directories

    Check Your NAP Consistency

    Maintaining a consistent Name, Address, Phone number (NAP) and more location details across the web is very important for Local SEO. This is also a ranking factor in terms of Prominence.

    Social Media


    Like Online Directories, Social Media sites are important ways for Google to gauge the Prominence of your locations. You should cultivate a strong online presence via your Social Media sites and engagement on sites like Facebook. This gives Google signals about your business and it will assist your local rankings.


    Instagram, like Facebook, is a very popular social media site which is well-worth optimizing for a local SEO boost.

    Dentist Directories

    There are many specific directory listing sites, across a huge variety of industry niches. You should ensure your location is added and visible on the top directory listing sites for your industry niche.

    Common directories for Dentists include:

    • healthgrades.com
    • doctor.webmd.com
    • sharecare.com
    • dentalinsider.com


    Local Link Building

    Local link building is the practice of gaining backlinks to your website from businesses with a strong local presence, and of course, local to your business. You can audit your competitor backlinks to find local backlink opportunities quickly. Other common local SEO backlink opportunities include:

    • Local Directory sites such as Yelp
    • Local Business groups or chambers of commerce
    • Local meetup business networking groups
    • Forming a partnership with a local business that provides complementary services to your business' services.

    Web Design

    Local Landing Pages

    If you are a multi-location business, you should use separate location landing pages for each of your physical store locations. Some businesses combine multiple locations on a single page. This doesn't perform as well in Local Search as having a page per Location.

    Keywords in URLs

    It's common to include some of your keywords in your website URLs. This helps convey to Google the meaning of your various pages and how your services and products map to pages. Google will show URL paths that are relevant to users in the SERPs. This will increase Click Through Rate and positively impact your SEO as the users prefer your results which appear more relevant.

    Create compelling content

    The golden rule for SEO is to create compelling content for users. It is said that Google analyzes user experience metrics and ranks sites with better user experiences higher in the search results. The Yandex 2023 Ranking Factors leak, although not Google itself but another search engine, showed priority rank factors for Click Through Rate, Bounce Rate & Time on Site. It is important to create great content for your users and this will be rewarded by Google. You need to review the SERPs for your keywords and ensure that to your best ability your users would consider your page to be one of the best.

    On-Page Optimization

    Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

    Page Titles and Meta Descriptions are two of the most important aspects of pages for search engines. These tell Google what your page is about. It's important to allocate keywords to pages on your site and then use those keywords in the page titles and meta descriptions. Google will use the page titles and meta descriptions in the search results. So it's important to include your keywords such as "teeth whitening" in the URL, Page Title & Meta Description- see screenshot below.

    Service Pages

    Service Pages for each of your main services are essential for SEO. You should create a new page dedicated to each important service, such as Teeth Whitening.

    Our Team Pages

    You should have an "Our Team" or "Our Dentists" page on your site with a brief bio for each Dentist and other team members. You might choose to create a separate page per Dentist with a detailed bio and link to those detail pages from the Team page. This will help you capture searches for specific Dentists by name, and show Google that you have multiple team members with specific skillsets. Ie. you are a multi-Dentist organization: a dental clinic.

    Technical SEO

    Structured Data Schema

    Structured Data is additional data you can optionally add to your website that aids Google understand the meaning of your content. There is specific Structured Data Schema for Local Business that's recommended for helping Google understand all the details of your dental practice business. Google recommends using the most specific subtype possible, in this case: https://schema.org/Dentist. Your web developer should implement the structured data for you or use a plugin for WordPress. The structured data schema will include critical data about your business such as:

    • name
    • address
    • url
    • telephone
    • logo
    • openingHours
    • geo
    • priceRange


    Page load speed is a confirmed ranking factor for SEO and therefore important for SEO, Local SEO and Google Ads. You should test your website using Google PageSpeed Insights and encourage your web developer to attain a high score. You can use our Local SEO Tool to audit your site's PageSpeed vs your nearest competitors.

    Mobile Friendly

    Google now focuses on the mobile version of your website. It's critical that your website works well on mobile and provides a great experience for your users.
    The Google best practice document for Mobile covers topics:

        • Creating a Mobile-friendly site
        • Ensuring Google can access your site
        • Ensuring that your site content is the same on Desktop as Mobile
        • Structured Data
        • Visual Content
        • Videos


    Video SEO is an art unto itself, with Google providing a whole document on Video SEO best practices. YouTube has enormous reach and many people prefer consuming content via video nowadays. There are many possibilites for creating engaging and useful videos for your potential patients and existing customers.

    Tracking Progress & Reporting

    How Do You Know If Your Dental SEO Is Working?

    If you are going to be serious about improving your Local SEO then you need to measure and track your results over time. Although you can do this manually with a spreadsheet, we definitely recommend using rank tracking tools to track your performance.

    Local Rank Tracking

    You can use a Local SEO rank tracking tool to track your Local SEO SERP positions over time. You will need to research your keyword list in advance, as above. You can configure rank tracking tools to track your keyword positions in the SERPs at your local geographic location (because results change depending on the user location).

    Google Analytics

    You should install the free Google Analytics tool on your website so you can measure users and their behaviour on your website over time. You can check that your visitation is increasing over time and that users are taking the desired actions on your site, such as filling out forms, making phone calls and starting live chats.

    Google Tag Manager

    We strongly recommend installing Google Tag Manager on your website. You can then install your marketing tags and pixels via Google Tag Manager without further help from a web developer. We use Google Tag Manager on all client websites.

    Google Search Console

    Google Search Console is essential for SEO. You should verify your domain with Search Console. In Google's words:

    Search Console tools and reports help you measure your site's Search traffic and performance, fix issues, and make your site shine in Google Search results.

    Goals (Leads: Phone, Form, Live Chat)

    It's not enough to simply measure ranks (SERP positions for your keywords) and traffic to your website. You need to measure results that are important to your business: leads. You can track Conversions in Google Analytics, such as Form Submissions, Phone Calls and Live Chats. We recommend using a Call Tracking third-party solution, and we implement CallRail for our clients. This includes tracking the source attribution of every call to your business as well as call recording and transcribing.

    Tracking Pixels for Ads

    If you are running Google Ads, Meta Ads or other digital ads, it's essential to add the tracking pixel or tag for each of those platforms to your website. You can do this via Google Tag Manager.

    Local SEO Audit Benchmark Tool for Dentists

    We have built a Local SEO Audit Tool which you can use to analyze the Local SEO of your Dentist Practice vs your local competitors:
    Local SEO Audit Tool for Dentists

    SEO Tools


    Google Maps vs Google Local & the Map Pack

    Google Ads for Dentists

    We have setup, managed and optimized Google Ads for a wide variety of clients and industries since 2008. Please contact us if you'd like help running Google Ads for your Dental Practice.

    Our Experience

    We have worked on SEO, Local SEO and Google Ads for hundreds of clients since 2008

    More recently we have built the Local SEO Audit Tool that helps small businesses audit and optimize their Local SEO Performance.

    We provide Local SEO Services, Traditional SEO Services and PPC Google Ads Services.

    If you want to feature on the first page of Google, please get in touch with us to to discuss options from Google Ads to Local SEO strategies.