Four steps to local ranking dominance
The number of patients who find dentists via their Google “maps” and local results presence is significant – however this is only true for those practices whose website feature prominently in the local/map results for searches like “dentist near me”, “dentist Trumpton” or simply “dentist” with no location suffix. This goes for all of the various treatment searches too.
So prominence in the local search pack and on Google Maps is incredibly important and success there will lead lots of new patients to your door. In the case of Google Maps, quite literally with directions!
But how do you go about making sure your website features in those precious local results positions on page one of Google searches and in the map results? Unfortunately it’s a lot more than simply claiming your Google “My Business” page but here are 5 steps to guide you on your way.
1. Claim your local business listing and verify it
Many dentist have done this already but stop there. So if you haven’t done this already, claim and verify your profile, then optimise it. Google will help by providing instructions, but if you’re stuck, please call the team here at Dental Media for help.
2. Ensure NAP consistency – Name, Address, Phone Number
Google uses your business name, address and ‘phone number to identify you across the web. So you need to make absolutely sure that these are consistent and match across all of your web properties and any submissions you make to business directories etc – in fact anywhere you publish your business details online. Get this wrong and you can confuse Google and compromise your chances for top local SEO results.
3. Encourage patients reviews!
Even if you’ve only got the slightest interest in SEO and local ranking for your dental business, you’ve likely still heard about the importance of patients reviews. These are placed by (hopefully!) delighted patients on your Google business page and serve a couple of critical purposes. The first is to provide 3rd party validation of the quality of your services for other potential patients who are looking for dental treatments. The second is all about your listing position in local search/map results – reviews are *really* powerful for assisting this and must not be ignored. You must set up and pursue a strategy for acquiring supportive reviews to your Google business page. If you don’t know where to start, please call us.
4. Build links and citations around your website
The clinching factor in gaining prominent positions in the local ranking positions overlaps considerably with other elements of organic SEO. In fact the lines between the two disciplines are becoming increasingly blurred. This relates to building the signals which Google picks up on and interprets outside of what is actually on your website per se. Back-links from other quality websites to your own site can be considered as a “vote of confidence” in Google’s eyes and if you have a goodly number of these, it will certainly help your ranking results – not just in the traditional organic results but increasingly in the local results too. Even if you can’t get a link, mentions of your business on other websites can also be picked up by Google, which will also help. You should also look to publish localised content on your blog and third-party websites if possible.
All of the activities above will help to build your overall web footprint and authority, signalling to Google that you deserve one of those coveted positions in the local/map results.
You can even pay to advertise in the Google local and map results, but more of this in a future blog. (Hint – it’s becoming increasingly important to pay-to-play).
The importance of gaining prominent local listings on Google for any business cannot be under-estimated and must be pursued if you are serious about new patient acquisition from the web. But like any business improvement initiative, it takes time and effort to achieve and then maintain. By following the four steps above you can get under way, but if DIY is not for you, then don’t hesitate to call our search team here at Dental Media to see how we can assist. You can reach us on 01332 672548 and we’ll be pleased to help.Google+