The Ultimate Guide To SEO For Dentists

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Table of Contents

As a dental practice owner, you’re acutely aware of the competitive landscape that defines today’s dental industry. Standing out in a crowded digital space is not just about offering top-notch dental services but also about how effectively you market your practice online.

In this essential guide, we delve into the world of search engine optimisation (SEO) specifically tailored for dental practices. We understand the hurdles you face in attracting new patients and the importance of a strong online presence that resonates with your target audience. Let’s explore how you can elevate your practice’s online visibility, attract more patients, and set your dental practice apart online.

Let's Start With Local SEO - Google Maps & Reviews

Numerous factors influence a patient’s decision on how far they are willing to travel for dental services. These factors range from geographical location — whether they reside in urban or rural areas — to the specific type of dental treatment they require, and even considerations like whether the treatment is subsidised.

However, the underlying trend is clear: most patients tend to first look for a dental practice that’s conveniently local. Understanding this preference is key to tailoring your online presence effectively, ensuring your practice is the first choice for potential local patients.

The first step in harnessing the power of the internet to grow your practice is to focus on your Google Business Profile (GBP), a tool that can significantly impact your local SEO and patient engagement.

Why The Google Business Profile Matters

Your GBP serves as your digital storefront on Google Maps and Search, providing potential patients with a snapshot of your practice. This includes essential details like your location, operating hours, contact information, and patient reviews. It’s more than just a listing; it’s the first interaction many patients will have with your practice.

Some tips on claiming and optimising your GBP include:

  1. Claim Your Profile: The first step is to claim your GBP. Search for your practice on Google. If a listing comes up, look for the “Claim This Business” link. Claiming your profile gives you control over the information displayed. If no listing shows, create a new listing.
  2. Update Practice Details: Ensure that your practice’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) are accurate and consistent across the web. This consistency helps Google verify your practice’s legitimacy, improving your search ranking.
  3. Encourage Reviews: Patient reviews are a cornerstone of your GBP. They not only build trust with potential patients but also signal to Google the relevance and quality of your practice. Encourage satisfied patients to leave a review. Remember, each review is an opportunity to showcase your practice’s commitment to patient satisfaction.
  4. Respond to Reviews: Actively respond to both positive and negative reviews. This engagement demonstrates that you value patient feedback and are committed to improving their experience. When negative reviews do occur, people tend to care more about HOW you respond rather than the accusations made.
  5. Add High-Quality Images: Visuals matter. Upload high-quality images of your practice, including the interior, staff, and even before-and-after shots of dental procedures (with patient consent). These images give a face to your practice and make it more inviting.
  6. Update Services and Operating Hours: Regularly update your services and operating hours. This information helps patients know what you offer and when you’re available, reducing confusion and improving the user experience. Don’t forget to include any shutdown periods over Christmas and public holidays.
  7. Add Links to All Your Social Media: Now this is an SEO blog, but social media can act as a portfolio for most dental practices and service-based businesses. Ensure all of your socials are linked for easy access.
  8. Add A Link To Your Booking Tool: Whether you use a third-party platform or have a dedicated page on your website with contact information, link the page for new patients to make an easy booking.


Once your GBP is well-optimised, it may be served both on Google Maps AND Google Search:

gold coast dentist search with maps

Website Functionality and Structure

A well-structured and functional website is crucial for any dental practice looking to thrive in the digital space. The website serves a multifaceted role, acting as a service catalogue, a showcase of the practice, and a primary platform for patient engagement and appointment booking. 

A website’s functionality and structure directly impact user experience and, by extension, patient acquisition and retention. A well-designed website can significantly elevate your practice’s online presence, making it accessible, informative, and engaging. This section covers a range of critical aspects to consider in how your website functions.

1. Technical Issues and Fixes

Ever tried to make a booking or purchase online and got smacked with a 404 page?

No one likes a broken website – it’s frustrating and it makes you think twice about the authenticity of the site. Ensure that your website doesn’t contain any issues. Key areas to focus on:

  • Regular Website Audits: Use free or paid tools like Google Search Console, Screaming Frog, or Ahrefs for periodic checks. These will help you identify issues with site speed, broken links, or crawl errors. Depending on what you’ve built your website with, the content management system (CMS) may offer free or paid add-ons or plugins to perform technical audits.
  • Speed Optimisation: Fast-loading pages are crucial. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can analyse your site’s speed and offer improvement tips.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: Ensure your site works well on smartphones. With many users browsing on mobile devices, a mobile-friendly design is essential. Simply test this on your own phone.
  • Fix Broken Links: Regularly scan for and repair broken links, as they negatively impact user experience and SEO.
  • Secure Browsing: Ensure your SSL certificate remains active and that your website is consistently serving the HTTPS version.

2. Appointment Booking and Call-To-Actions

At the end of the day, improving the number of appointment bookings is the bottom line of your online marketing efforts. Why make it difficult for your patients to book?

Consider the following strategies:

  • Clear Calls-to-Action: Implement distinct and easily visible calls-to-action like “Book an Appointment” or “Contact Us” on your website. Position these CTAs prominently so that they are effortless for patients to find and utilise – BUTTONS are the best way to facilitate this.
  • Simplified Navigation: The pathway to book an appointment should be intuitive and user-friendly. Aim to minimise complex navigation paths and offer straightforward instructions, guiding patients smoothly to the booking interface.
  • Online Booking Integration: Adding an online booking system on your website can significantly improve convenience for your patients. This feature allows them to schedule appointments anytime without the need for phone calls or emails. A simple link to the external platform or even an HTML integration into your booking page would work best.
  • Accessible Contact Details: For those who prefer traditional methods of communication, make sure your contact information, such as phone number and email address, is prominently displayed and easy to find on your website.
  • Keep Forms Simple: When enquiry about a dental procedure comes in, there are a lot of questions you may need to ask to qualify the lead and provide an accurate quote if asked. Don’t make the initial form an obstacle course – save these questions for the follow up.

3. E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, and Experience. It’s a framework used by Google to assess the quality of content on the web, and it’s particularly relevant for healthcare providers like dental practices. By focusing on these elements, you can enhance your website’s appeal to both patients and search engines.

Showcase the professional expertise of your dental team. Include detailed profiles of your dentists and hygienists, highlighting their education, certifications, and areas of specialisation. This information helps establish your team’s qualifications and assures patients of the high level of care they can expect.

Demonstrate your practice’s authority in the dental field. Share any awards, recognitions, or affiliations with prominent dental associations. Authoritativeness also extends to the content you publish. Write authoritative blog posts, create informative videos, and share updates about the latest advancements in dental care.

Build trust by ensuring your website is secure (HTTPS), transparent (clearly stated privacy policies and patient rights), and patient-centric (featuring real patient testimonials and reviews). Trust is also fostered by regularly updating your site with accurate, helpful information and maintaining a professional, error-free website design.

Highlight the positive experiences of your patients. Include patient testimonials, before-and-after photos (with consent), and case studies. These real-life examples provide prospective patients with a sense of the care and results they can expect from your practice.

Key Points to Consider:

  • Display team qualifications and areas of expertise.
  • Highlight awards, recognitions, and professional affiliations.
  • Publish authoritative and informative content (we’re getting to that later).
  • Ensure website security and transparency.
  • Feature real patient testimonials and experiences.

4. Website Structure and Web Design

The structure and design of your dental practice’s website are more than just aesthetic choices; they play a critical role in how patients interact with your site and perceive your practice. A well-designed website should be intuitive, informative, and reflective of the professional quality of your dental services.

A patient-centric website structure is key. This means organising your website in a way that makes it easy for patients to find the information they need. Key elements include a clear homepage, a services section detailing what you offer, an ‘About Us’ page to introduce your team, and a contact page for easy communication. Additionally, integrating a blog or an FAQ section can provide valuable information to patients, answering common questions they might have.

The visual appeal of your website should align with the branding of your dental practice. Use colours, fonts, and imagery that reflect your practice’s ethos and professional standards. High-quality images, especially of your clinic and staff, can help in building a connection with prospective patients. Remember, your website is often the first impression potential patients have of your practice.

Keyword Targets and On-Page SEO

In the world of online dental marketing, keywords and on-page SEO are vital tools for making your website more visible and attractive to potential patients. They are the foundation of how search engines understand and rank your content, and integrate the recommendations made above into the on-page experience for users.

Understanding Keywords

Understanding the right keywords is a cornerstone of effective SEO for your dental practice’s website. Here’s how you can approach this crucial aspect:

  1. Relevance in Keyword Selection: Start by identifying keywords that closely align with the services your practice offers. General terms like “dentist” or “dental clinic” are a good start, but it’s also important to include keywords specific to the services you provide, such as “teeth whitening” or “orthodontics.” These keywords should closely reflect what potential patients might search for when looking for dental services you offer.
  2. Emphasising Local SEO: Most dental patients prefer local options for convenience. Therefore, incorporating location-based keywords into your website’s content is essential. Use phrases such as “dentist in [Your City]” or “dental services in [Your Area].” This local SEO strategy is vital in attracting traffic from potential patients in your geographical area, enhancing your visibility to those most likely to use your services.
  3. Leveraging Long-Tail Keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and often longer phrases. They tend to have less competition in search results and are excellent at drawing in more qualified, targeted traffic. For instance, using specific terms like “pediatric dentist in [Your City]” or “emergency tooth extraction near me” can effectively attract patients who are seeking these particular services.
  4. Utilising Keyword Research Tools: To find the most effective and relevant keywords for your dental practice, it’s advisable to use specialised keyword research tools. Google’s Keyword Planner is a free option that can provide valuable insights into which keywords are most relevant and have the potential to bring the most value to your practice. Tools can help you understand search volumes, competition, and even suggest additional relevant keywords.

Implementing On-Page SEO

Implementing effective on-page SEO is a critical step in enhancing the online visibility of your dental practice. Here’s how you can optimise various elements of your website for better SEO:

  1. Optimising Title Tags and Meta Descriptions: These elements are crucial as they are often the first point of interaction between your website and potential patients in search engine results. Incorporate your primary keywords into the title tags and meta descriptions of each page. This not only helps search engines understand the relevance of your pages but also encourages higher click-through rates by providing clear, keyword-rich descriptions of your content.
  2. Using Headings Effectively: Structure is key in making your content accessible and understandable, both for search engines and users. Use headings (H1 for main titles, followed by H2, H3 for subheadings) to organise your content effectively. Including keywords in these headings helps signal the main topics of your content to search engines, enhancing the SEO value of your pages.
  3. Prioritising Content Quality: The quality of the content on your website is paramount. It should be informative, engaging, and relevant to your audience. While incorporating targeted keywords is important, avoid overstuffing your content with them. The goal is to create content that is valuable to your patients, easy to read, and naturally incorporates your chosen keywords.
  4. Alt Text for Images: Each image on your website should have descriptive alt text. This is not only a best practice for accessibility, aiding visually impaired users, but it also allows search engines to better understand and index the images on your site. Alt text should accurately describe the image content and context, and where appropriate, include relevant keywords.
  5. Effective Internal Linking: Create links within your website that connect to other relevant pages. This internal linking strategy aids in distributing page authority throughout your site, enhancing the SEO strength of individual pages. It also improves user navigation, allowing visitors to easily find related content and services.

Online Business Directory Listings

Leveraging online business directory listings is a crucial strategy for enhancing online visibility and credibility. These listings serve as additional touchpoints for potential patients and can significantly boost your local SEO efforts.

Key platforms include health directories, local business directories, and industry-specific platforms. To identify these, simply search your geographically relevant keywords and scroll through the top pages. Open all websites that are directory listings and not direct competitors, and sign up for any free accounts.

There are numerous benefits for getting listings on these websites such as:

  • A stronger online presence
  • Valuable links to your website
  • Opportunities for more reviews and trust-building
  • Greater reach and engagement
  • Improves localised marketing efforts (even if you aren’t page 1 yet, the directory is)

Content Creation - Text, Images and Video

Creating compelling content in various formats is essential for engaging potential patients and enhancing your dental practice’s online presence. The types of content on a website include text, images and video. Ideally, you should use a combination of text, images, and videos on your website and social media. This caters to different preferences and increases engagement.

Don’t forget to ensure that all content reflects your practice’s branding and professional standards. Consistency in style, tone, and messaging builds brand recognition.

Some ways to create compelling content include:

  • Educational blogs/articles – capture the broader audience and showcase your expertise
  • Patient stories and case studies
  • Testimonials
  • Focusing on one major topic or service per page – ensuring text answers the major questions patients have regarding that service
  • Procedure explanations (video, image and/or text)
  • Clinic and staff photos 
  • Before and after images
  • Virtual clinic tours
  • Promotional videos


Tips for effective content creation:

  • Regular Updates: Keep your website regularly updated with fresh content.
  • Engagement: Encourage user interaction by asking questions or prompting discussions in your content.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Focus on producing high-quality content that provides value, rather than just aiming for quantity.

Track Your Efforts

For your dental practice’s digital marketing strategy, it’s essential not just to implement various tactics but also to track their effectiveness. This allows you to understand what’s working, what isn’t, and how to optimise your efforts for better results. 

Check out our blog on How To Assess My Website’s Presence & Performance on Google to learn about the free tools you need and how they work.

Watch Your Dental Practice Book Out

As we conclude this guide, it’s clear that the right SEO and online marketing strategies can transform the way your dental practice connects with and attracts patients.

Over time, as your SEO and content strategies mature, you’ll likely see an increase in online bookings and inquiries. This is the tangible outcome of your efforts – a thriving, growing dental practice.

At 5 Twelve, we provide quality and results-driven SEO services to our clients. If you’d like to chat with me or my team, please enquire online today.

Picture of Bre Davis
Bre Davis

Co-Founder and Digital Lead at 5 Twelve, Bre has worked with hundreds of Australian businesses to improve their organic online presence. Her years of in-house and agency experience has helped shape her into a specialist in all things SEO.

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