Local SEO: How can Dentists rank higher on Google Maps?

How to rank your dental office higher on Google Maps 

If you still think that Google Maps is only relevant for people who are trying to get directions to your dental office, then this could be an eye-opening article for you. Ranking your dental office on Google Maps is a vital strategy for any local SEO campaign. And local SEO is one of the most powerful marketing tools you want to take advantage of as a dental office. Helping potential customers find you as their local dental office is your dream goal.

So, how do we go about ranking your dental office higher on Google Maps? Well, there are lots of ways of improving your Google Maps ranking, but some of these are actually not safe methods, especially when aimed at trying to achieve results quickly. It’s better to opt for a long-term strategy, just like with all marketing techniques. However, the tips that I provide in this article will help you achieve some results fast! You will be able to drive potential customers to your dental office in Google Maps’ search results very quickly.

How do most patients search for a dentist in local search results

Essentially, there are three ways for customers to find your dental office on Google: via organic search results, paid listing and on Google Maps. I will take a quick look at each in turn to show why they’re all important for your business.

Organic Search Results

When someone types in “dentist in X”, where X is their local city, Google yields multiple search results for the websites that rank most highly for these search terms. Right at the very top of the page, you will see some paid ads, which we will cover shortly. Underneath this, you will see the Google Maps listing, which is the main focus of this article. However, under those will be the organic search results.

We use the term “organic”, meaning these results appear naturally, due to factors that help improve your dental SEO. Generally, people trust these search results the most as they take time to build up and then people consider that the top ones mean the best. So, it’s every dental office’s dream to improve their dental SEO and get to the top of Google for their dental office. 

Google Ads – Paid Listings

As mentioned, the very first results seen are the paid listings from Google Ads. You will notice them at the top of the page, and they have a subtle “Ad” sign next to it. You can list your dental office here via the Google Ads platform and the amount you pay is dependent on how competitive your market is.

Google Ads is a great way to get lots of new visitors to your website quickly, but it is imperative that you hire a dental marketing professional to help you manage your Google Ads campaigns as it is very easy to spend a lot of money and not yield any results!

Google Maps

The Google Maps listing is a relatively new feature on Google’s search results compared to organic and paid ads, but it is by no means inferior. Google Maps is a great way to get your dental office in front of thousands of potential new customers, stand out above your competitors and generate more business for your dental office… all for free!

However, this can only happen if your Google listing is visible; just because you list your dental office on Google does not mean that it will automatically rank it for searches in your area. This is why I have created this article – to help you rank your dental office higher on Google Maps.

Why rank higher on Google Maps?

First of all, Google Maps is by far the most preferred navigation app amongst consumers, taking a whopping 67% of the market. Coming in second is Waze, which is also owned by Google! So, if you can rank your dental office higher on Google Maps, you’re reaching more customers than on any other maps platform.

Customers rarely look for businesses other than in the first few search results, so it’s really crucial that you optimise your listing so that you rank near the top. How many dental offices do you think they will contact before making a decision? Stats also show that most consumers (84%!) actually search for a business via a keyword, rather than a specific business name, which is ideal for attracting new customers who do not already know about your dental office.

But why Google Maps for your dental practice and not other types of search engine results? Because 86% of consumers use Google Maps to search for a business, so why not concentrate on where all the traffic is!

The top three Google Maps results seen after a keyword search is known as the “Local 3-pack” and it’s where you want your dental office to be seen for anyone searching in your area. Being featured in this local 3-pack also has the added benefit of displaying your business in the organic search results below. So, not only does this help your long-term SEO game, but it adds trust to your dental office’s website.

It’s a no-brainer for you to want to rank your dental office on Google Maps as local SEO for dentists is really important. You can improve your dental office’s local SEO by using Google My Business to ensure your business information is correct and up to date.

How to use Google My Business

When you search for a local business, or even a specific company, there’s often a box that pops up on the right-hand side displaying detailed information about the top listing for that search term. This is from Google My Business. Most people assume that this just happens automatically with information populated from Google. It does not. This is information that the business populates from their Google My Business account. You absolutely need to use Google My Business for your dental office.

If you want to improve your local ranking on Google, you need to improve your Google My Business listing.

If you do not already have an account, this is the first step you need to take, and we’ve written a separate article on how to set up Google My Business to help you. (Not sure if you have, but it’s probably a good idea to!) If you’ve already got one, then move onto the next section to learn how to rank your dental office higher on Google Maps.

How to rank higher on Google Maps

The first step to being able to rank your dental office higher on Google Maps is to verify your Google My Business account and claim your business on Google Maps.

Since Google is all about delivering a quality service to their customers, they require all businesses to verify themselves at the address they’ve listed. So, be prepared to receive a postcard from Google at your dental office with a verification code that you will need to input in your GMB account. Once this is done, you can actually action many more things within your account.

You may want to check that your business doesn’t already exist in Google Maps, as someone may have entered in the information. For example, if a customer was searching for your dental office in Google and stumbled across your details, they could have entered it as a listing. If so, you can claim this listing as your own. Feel free to navigate over to Google Maps to check to see if your dental office is on there already. You may see a “claim this listing” under the search results, which will lead you to your GMB to claim.

After you have successfully verified your business and claimed your page, the following tips will help you rank your dental office higher on Google Maps.

Add as much information as you can to your Google Maps listing

To maximise how often your dental office comes up in Google Maps search results, you want to fill in as much information as possible in your Google Maps listing so that you can rank for different information. If you have a local phone number, Google will prefer that rather than a toll-free or a business number.

A good, but simple trick is to always keep your hours updated! Remember, Google loves businesses who are relevant and always current. So, ensuring your opening hours are always up to date is a good way to help you rank on Google Maps. It’s especially handy during the COVID-19 pandemic when people are not sure who’s open and what’s going on! (Remember to update this when it’s all over!)

Your business description should include keywords for your industry – so you should specifically mention “dentist in X” and perhaps list the services that you offer.

Use subcategories

If you want to attract particular services for your dental office, or if you guys specialise in a particular niche, then you want to have this as your subcategory. For patients looking for a dental practice specialising in root canal surgery, for example, this could be a very good way of attracting those patients very quickly.

Use niche citations

First of all, what are citations?! Think of citations for your Google Maps listing as the same as backlinks in your SEO strategy. They are links back to your dental office Google Maps listing from relevant websites and directories. Google uses these as a way of validating your dental office.

It’s a good idea to directories and websites in your local area or within dentistry as that will help build up your local SEO and help you rank higher on Google Maps.

Add photos to GMB

You may notice that Google pulls through automatic photos of your dental office address. However, they may not be the most glamorous! They may have taken a picture of the parking garage or back door! So, it’s advisable to add your own custom photos to your Google listing so that your customers see something a lot more attractive when looking for a local dentist!

Get reviews

What’s more trustworthy than a local dentist with great reviews? It’s advisable to personally reach out to your customers and ask them to review you on Google, as a trusted and valued dental office will rank higher on Google Maps.

I know many people are scared of allowing reviews on Google in case they get a negative one. It inevitably will happen, but just make sure you also reply to them to give your side of the story. It will also show you that you care and value customer service. Google also loves this.

Improve your website’s homepage

One of the sections on your Google Maps listing is a website address. So, Google actually looks at factors on your website to determine how to rank your dental office on Google Maps.

If people visit your website and click off it quickly because they can’t find the relevant information or they do not like the way it looks, Google will see this as a negative. They want to recommend more impressive websites more catered to their customer.

Your website’s homepage acts as a landing page from your Google Maps listing and so it needs to be impressive and give your potential customer all the information they need about why your dental practice is the one for them.

If your current homepage does not do this, then speak to me about how to improve it.

Embed Google Maps on your website

It’s no surprise that Google loves it when you use their stuff! It’s very simple to embed a Google Map onto the contact page of your website and it’s also very useful for when a customer wants to see exactly where your dental office is and how they get there.

Make sure the contact information you have displayed on your website is consistent with the contact information in your Google Maps listing and this will help you rank higher on Google Maps.