Did you know that fewer than 0.78% of all searchers are willing to go to the second page of Google’s search results? The overwhelming majority of people who are looking for a business or answer to their question never navigate beyond the first page — making it absolutely crucial that you understand Google marketing for dentists. With more than 86% of people using local searches to find dentists, orthodontists, or other healthcare professionals, your Google search engine results ranking could result in significant growth for your practice . . . or not.
The way consumers search for products and services has changed dramatically over the past decade. Where top-of-mind name recognition and personal recommendations are still vitally important, understanding SEO (search engine optimization) rules and prepping your website for success may now offer a larger boost to your new patient count. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for dental offices without dedicated marketing or advertising staff to overspend on search advertising without receiving the expected ROI.
Targeted local search advertising and changes to your digital presence — your website, any social media channels and the metadata stored by Google — can all contribute to boosting your practice’s position on the all-important Google search engine results page (SERP). We’re here to help you determine which tactics you can employ to ensure you are making the most of your marketing dollars and bringing in a steady stream of new patients to your practice.
What Are the Tiers of a Google Local Search Results Page?
You may not have noticed, but there are specific tiers of results whenever you search for something on Google. Each of these tiers provides the searcher with valuable information — and gives you multiple opportunities to stand out from your competition! The three main tiers of a Google local search results page are Google Ads, the Local Map Pack and organic search results. Here’s how it works:
A prospective patient needs to find a dentist, but they’re new in town and don’t have any idea where to start. They are likely to perform a Google search with the phrase “dentists near me” included.
Tier 1: Google Ads
The first part of the results page will include several paid advertisements for local dentists. Depending on the size of your local area and the number of dentists, there may or may not be any local advertising that’s being done by competitors. That could make this a prime opportunity to get your dental practice’s name prime visibility for new patients.
Tier 2: Local Map Pack
The next section of the Google search results page will include a grid of local dental practices, with abbreviated hours of operation, phone numbers, website addresses and locations indicated on a map. For searchers that have allowed Google to see their exact location, this handy feature also tells searchers which dental practice is closest to their current location. Your Google My Business listing drives much of this information, including hours of operation and other important details about your dental practice.
Tier 3: Organic Search Results
If the searcher hasn’t found the ideal dentist in the first two sections, they now have the option of scrolling through pages of organic search results. Having an up-to-date website helps ensure that you’re discoverable in organic search, but it still doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be capturing new patients. If your practice is ONLY showing up on page two or even three of the organic search results, chances are good that patients will never even find your business.
Understanding each of these tiers — and what helps your dental practice stand out from the competition — is the basis for proactive Google marketing for dentists.
Building a Digital Footprint for Your Dental Practice
Google’s search algorithms are highly nuanced, but there are several key pillars that determine how your dental practice will be presented on a search engine results page. These pillars of online visibility include:
- Recency: How often has your practice’s information been updated online, and when was the last time you received a review?
- Relevance: Are you helping educate your readers, including similar keywords in your website and published content?
- Distance: Are your social media accounts and local Google My Business listings pointing to the correct physical location for your practice?
- Prominence: Is your business displayed as a trusted brand in the community, with multiple backlinks and positive reviews?
- Availability: Is your contact information up-to-date, with correct hours of operation listed in your Google My Business listing?
The team at Surefire Local has developed an extensive array of tools and information to help ensure that your practice is presented to searchers in a compelling way that will help drive a steady flow of new and returning patients. Distance and availability are crucial, but these mostly consist of ensuring your hours of operation and location are correct. Where you can truly differentiate your practice from the competition are in recency and relevance.
At its most basic, relevance determines how well your practice fits the parameters of what the person is searching for — in this case, a dentist who is trusted, reliable and available. You want to appear as a thought-leader in your field, presenting valuable information to searchers in a way that shows them you care what happens to them and to your community. This sense of proactive communication is what helps Google determine that your links should be favored above that of your competition.
Amplified Google Marketing for Dentists Brings New Patients to Your Practice
Creating a unified presence for your dental practice may seem overwhelming, but there are some simple steps that you can take to help ensure that local searchers are able to find you. This quick roll-up of recommendations for each Google tier will give you a solid starting point for your search optimization efforts.
Tier 1: Create Cost-Effective Google Ads for Your Practice
Understanding Google Ads can take time, which is why many organizations choose to partner with digital agencies to ensure they are making the best use of limited advertising dollars. You’ll increase your exposure at the top of the Google search results page and can often create visibility without a heavy investment. Get the most out of your local ads with these tips:
- Define your target audience by looking at what characteristics, behaviors, and devices your ideal customers have in common.
- Choose a bidding strategy that makes sense given your budget.
- Manage keywords to make your ads a better match to your ideal customers’ search queries.
- Write compelling ad copy to spark interest and make your business stand out from the crowd.
- Optimize your landing pages. Where Google Local Service Ads are a click-to-call type ad, traditional Google Ads send clickers to a landing page to convert through a form, email, or phone call. That makes the content, design, and speed of your landing page is critical in your ability to convert visitors.
- Leverage remarketing ads to stay top of mind as your prospects continue along their search journey and visit other websites.
Tier 2: Stand Out From the Crowd in the Google Map Pack
Creating location-based content is the cornerstone of the Google Map Pack listing. This makes sense when you consider that the most important aspects are the geographic distance from the searcher and your reviews.
- Create quick and informative Google Posts to share new features, updates to your hours of operation and more.
- Define frequently asked questions by using the Q&A section of Google My Business listings.
- Actively request Google Reviews from current patients, ensuring that you give your patients easy access to reviewing your practice.
- Maintain consistency in your digital footprint, with the same information appearing on your Google My Business listing, website and social media accounts.
Tier 3: Optimizing for Organic Search
While organic search results may be “Tier 3” in terms of where the results appear on the page, in no way does that mean that these tips are irrelevant! Many of the same tactics that you used to appear higher in the organic search results will also net you points in other aspects of your digital marketing and advertising.
- Write and share relevant content, such as blogs and website pages that explain specific procedures or answer general dental questions.
- Stay active on social media, keeping the community involved in what’s happening with your practice.
- Boost your organic search results by providing the correct structure for your website with structured data and local schema.
- Ensure there are significant backlinks to your site by claiming your listing on popular business listing sites.
Still not sure you’re fully equipped to optimize your digital presence and outpace the competition in online search results? Let us help!
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo to Enhance Your Digital Presence
The team at Surefire Local has extensive experience in Google marketing for dentists, with a team of professionals on hand to help enhance the visibility of your dental practice. Instead of spending countless hours sifting through information from a variety of sources, you can work directly with our team on our exclusive Surefire Local Marketing Platform to add transparency to your marketing and advertising efforts. We specialize in helping local dental practices find and convert new patients — maintaining full visibility into your marketing efforts. This helps ensure you are able to assign marketing dollars to the area where you will receive the greatest ROI for your efforts. Contact our team today at 703-884-8442 to schedule your complimentary demo or request a demo online anytime!