Fact: “near me” searches have increased more than 30% since 2011 (Google). When people use mobile phones to find service providers, Google automatically assumes they are looking for something near their location and the search results displayed are usually located within a 5-mile radius of the searcher’s current location.
Read also: How does Google search work?
If your dental practice is in that circle, you need to do all you can to be part of those search results, as 50% of all local searches result in a patient visit or appointment being made within the next 24 hours. Although there are many factors that influence your website’s ranking on search engines, here are a few ways you can improve your chances of being displayed:
Optimize your Google My Business listing
When prospective patients search for keywords like “Best dental practice” on Google, the search engine scans through Google My Business listings for dental practices within the vicinity of the searcher. If your dental practice’s listing on Google My Business contains the right keywords related to dental services you offer, your chances of getting listed higher on the search results page increases. You also want to ensure that your practice’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) is correct on. In addition to Google My Business, you should check your practice’s listing on other sites and business directories to make sure that they are no inconsistencies. When your listings differ across sites, Google doesn’t trust your information enough to display it in results. Even multiple phone numbers that are valid but vary from one directory site to another raise a red flag for Google and can lower your search ranking.
Create a mobile-friendly website
If a prospective patient is performing a Google search from a smartphone, Google’s search results are going to almost exclusively show sites that are mobile-friendly. Having a mobile-enabled site also improves the customer experience for people who find you online while using their phones. But not having one means that you are practically invisible to anyone searching for you with their smartphone.
Build a stellar online reputation
Google wants its users to have a rewarding internet search experience and increase the chances that searchers find the best providers of services that they’re looking for. One way they do that is by looking at customer reviews on hundreds of websites where your practice is getting reviewed.
This makes having a great online reputation critical to rank higher in search results. A great way to build this reputation is by consistently getting new reviews from patients and sharing the best ones on your social media pages to reach a wider audience. Learn how BirdEye can help you do this automatically.
Additionally, promptly responding to reviews, both positive and negative, will help you maintain control over your online reputation and understand what you need to improve.
Read also: How to respond to negative reviews
Generate local content for your community
For search engine algorithms, your social presence is an important factor. You can improve it by creating local content, such as location-based blog posts, press releases and articles. Then, go a step further by sharing this content to your social media profiles.
You can also take part in local events and support local causes that will list you on their websites. If the sites and programs mention the name of the community in which you practice, search engines will see this as further proof of your involvement in the local area and this signals them to improve your ranking in local search results.
Having a solid online reputation and optimizing your business listing to cater to local patients can help you rank higher in local search results and get more patients for your dental practice. BirdEye helps dentists with all of these, including checking for discrepancies in online business listings and fixing them, getting more positive reviews and amplifying them across the web, and helping you stand out in local search results. To see for yourself, you can sign up for a free trial and explore all the ways BirdEye can help you get more patients to your dental practice.