One of the biggest challenges we have in local SEO is trying to make Google understand that your pages are, in fact, local -- but without overdoing it by using the location name in the text too many times.
We've all seen pages where the location name is used a dozen times in only a few paragraphs, and while we get that the business is trying to let us and Google know that they provide local services, it gets annoying to see content that's clearly written for search engines and not for people.
Local SEO is the process by which we use local signals and content to help rank a dental website for location-based searches. And while search queries with the name in it is clearly a local search, local searches are also searches where the users intent is to find a local service. So if someone searches for "emergency toothache" Google is smart enough to know that the user is most likely looking for a dentist in their local area to help get out of pain.
No. The idea that we are adding useful, well-structured content to help make your website more visible to users and to search engines is the same. But the methods by which we implement local SEO and the metrics we use to track it are often very different.
In Local SEO we focus on a number of items that are specific to local practices such as:
Traditional SEO is Different
Contrast this local approach to a company such as Short Hills Design that serves dental practices across the US and Canada. Here at Short Hills Design we do work on our Google Business Profile and our Reviews, but our services aren't limited to our home location in New Jersey.
That is, the fact that we provide marketing services to dentists doesn't change based up the location of the dentist's practice or where the dentist is searching from (as it does with local SEO). They could search from Phoenix or Philadelphia, and have a practice in San Diego or San Antonio, and it doesn't matter as far as the services we offer. In our case, location makes no difference.
Similarly, the device the dentist uses when they are searching for Dental WordPress Websites or Dental SEO also doesn't matter, whereas is in a local search it does. Recall that search results are different if you are searching on your phone or on a desktop - so if you are searching for "toothache" on your mobile device, you'll likely get a lists of dentists based upon your location. But do the same search on your desktop and you might also see results that talk about the science behind toothaches, mixed in with local dentist listings.
There are numerous factors that go in to optimizing a website and Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) for Local SEO. You can watch Dr. Wank's webinar about local ranking factors here.
You can also see what we do monthly for our Local SEO Dental clients, so you can copy our workflow on your own, or consider reaching out to us for assistance.
You've made it this far (or at least skipped down to this point) and here's what you've been waiting for. Go to the contact page on your website and add written directions about how to get to your practice. Even if your practice is easy to get to, add directions anyway. Use local landmarks or locations such as "the x restaurant on main street" or "you'll pass the XYZ store on your right". Or, "if you see the ABC sign, you've passed us and gone too far."
Use these directions as an opportunity to add the names of local streets, locations, buildings, and even municipal offices. "You'll pass the [city] Town Hall on your left.." By doing so you'll be adding these "hyper-local" signals to your website for Google (and for people) in a white-hat manner (i.e. not trying to trick the search engine) that works for everyone.
One more idea...
To take this up a notch you can do a video of you in the office or outside the office talking about how to get there. You can then pull a transcript of the video and use it for your location instructions.
Local SEO is, unfortunately, a race. And while there's no single item that can help you climb ahead of your competitors, every little thing helps. Thus, adding written directions is a cost-effective way to hopefully get a local boost above your competitors.