dental seo made simple: a step-by-step guide



You don’t just want to bring smiles to your patients – you want to bring them to the top of search results. 

As a dental business, the best way to reel in local traffic is through search engine optimization (SEO), likely through the help of a digital marketing agency. Nowadays, every kind of business needs an online presence or they risk getting left behind. 

Dental SEO refers to the strategic use of techniques to improve your practice’s online visibility in search engine result pages (SERPs), such as those of Google, Bing, and Yahoo. When you optimize your dental website content and other assets, you fortify your presence in the eyes of potential customers. 

As a premier dental marketing service provider, we’ve seen time and time again how crucial SEO strategies are for local dentists and their teams. 

In this article, we will discuss what dental SEO is and why it’s a non-negotiable for any modern dental practice. We will also provide a step-by-step guide on optimizing your website for maximum traffic and patient inflow.

step 1: the essentials of dental seo

Let’s be honest – the days of marketing your business solely through word of mouth or local billboards are long gone. People are looking for “nearby dentists” online, and if your dental practice isn’t ranking, you’re missing out on customers.

Dental marketing services employ careful strategies to get your local offerings in front of searchers – and to outrank and outperform your competition. These strategies include things like…

keyword research

First things first: dental SEO tactics rely heavily on learning to add relevant keywords to your webpage and content. Keywords are specific words and phrases used when people search for information and services. 

For example, a dental business likely needs to prioritize the use of keywords such as “professional teeth whitening” or “emergency dentist in [location].” If you’re not using hard-hitting keywords like these, then you’re likely not appearing in the right search results. 

on-page optimization

This refers to the process of optimizing various elements on your dental website’s individual pages to improve search engine rankings. 

For dental businesses, on-page optimization involves…

  • Including relevant long-tail keywords (strategically but organically) 
  • Creating high-quality, informative content
  • Writing careful meta descriptions and meta tags
  • Ensuring the website is mobile-friendly and quick to load 


In short, dental SEO practices involve making changes to your website that ensure it is appealing and crawlable by all of the best search engines. 


Backlinks, or inbound links, are links from other websites to your dental practice’s website. These play a critical role in your search engine optimization strategies because they are markers of credibility and value. 

Think about it this way: would you rather go to a dental practice that’s referenced by other authorities online or one that seems to have no backing from external sources? 

You can draw backlinks from a wide variety of locations, including guest blog destinations, community sites, directories, and more. 

In summary, keywords, on-page optimization, and backlinks are all fundamental aspects of a solid dental SEO strategy. When you learn how to use these methods to your advantage, you can significantly improve your ranking in search engine results. 

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step 2: research and targeting

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the process of selecting keywords during search engine optimization.

Keyword research for dentists involves identifying the most relevant, valuable search phrases that potential dental patients might use when looking for your services. You can start by brainstorming common phrases such as “dental implants” and “teeth cleaning,” but you’ll also need to use tools to expand your list.

Digital research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or Moz’s Keyword Explorer can help you find great keywords. They’ll also tell you about their search volumes and competition levels so you know exactly how crucial they are to your SEO strategy.

Remember: you don’t just want to focus on broad or generic keywords. Every dental SEO campaign should also account for long-tail keywords – more specific phrases that target a more niche search result or audience group.

For instance, don’t just focus on “pediatric dentistry.” Instead, expand to use keywords such as “child-friendly dentist in [place]” or “affordable braces for kids.” This will open up your potential search engine result opportunities.

Once you’ve identified your target keywords, create or optimize the content on your dental website to incorporate these keywords in a way that seems natural to both search engines and human readers.

After, you’ll want to regularly monitor the performance of your chosen keywords using SEO analytics tools. If certain keywords aren’t performing well, you’ll need to adjust your strategy and content to better align with relevant search phrases.

Keyword research is a never ending process for any business. As search trends change and your dental practice’s services evolve, refine your keyword strategy to stay competitive and attract potential patients.

step 3: on-page seo for dental websites

As we mentioned earlier, on-page optimization is crucial for dental website SEO. In this section, we’ll dive a bit deeper into what that entails (and how you can realistically optimize).

For starters, you’ll want to take the keyword research you’ve done and incorporate it into various on-page elements, including your dental site’s…

  • Page title (H1 tag)
  • Headings (H2, H3, etc.)
  • URL structure
  • Alt tags for images
  • Meta titles and descriptions


An SEO-friendly meta description accurately summarizes the content of a page and provides a clear, concise preview to potential website visitors (and search engines). To keep the entire description visible to searchers, keep it between 155 to 160 characters.

Another crucial element of on-page optimization is ensuring your page is…

  • Mobile-friendly 
  • Quick to load 


According to Search Engine Watch, over half (63%) of searchers are now using mobile devices to find local businesses – and that includes dentists. These potential patients expect to find results quickly and easily from any device, and they won’t tolerate a webpage that takes more than a second or two to load.

step 4: building a strong backlink profile

Next on the dental search engine optimization agenda is strategic backlinking. Your dental practice needs to acquire high-quality backlinks from reputable sources.

When it comes to external links, know that quality always matters more than quality. So, where can you turn to create some great backlinks? We recommend starting with…

  • Guest blogging opportunities on other dental or health-related websites
  • Local directories, chambers of commerce, or industry-specific resources
  • Interviews and collaborations with other website owners, bloggers, or influencers


Another important tip is to fix any backlinks that are broken. If you notice another website has linked to your dental practice, but the link no longer works as it should, reach out to the webmaster and ask if they can replace the broken link.

All businesses need to continually monitor their backlink profile to maintain the quality and relevance of their links. This can be challenging to do manually, which is why many successful dentists outsource their monitoring and content development to an experienced dental SEO company.

As you can imagine, producing content is a critical aspect of establishing backlinks. If you want other websites to link to yours, you need to give something great (and valuable) to link to.

contact us to improve your dental website’s ranking

step 5: local seo for dental practices

When optimizing your dental website, you don’t just want to target potential patients you want to target local potential patients, and that means using local dental SEO strategies.

Nowadays, almost no patient will scroll past the first page of Google’s search results to find a dental practice. If your website isn’t front and center in the right SERPs, you’re likely missing out on a significant number of potential patients.

That’s why a worthwhile dental SEO marketing agency will take steps to… 

  • Claim and optimize your dental practice’s Google Business listing
  • Ask for digital reviews from real local customers
  • Respond to feedback from patients (both positive and negative)
  • Monitor your dental practice’s reputation across multiple online platforms
  • Remove inaccurate or inappropriate reviews


These steps will help increase your likelihood of appearing in local search results and attracting valuable customers in your area.

importance of reviews to search engines

Google wants to recommend the best local businesses to its searchers. Therefore, if you want to rank highly in certain search results, you need to ensure you’ve got the feedback and testimonials to back your dental practice up. 

It’s not just about getting reviews for your practice, it’s about actively engaging with customers and managing the reviews. When someone leaves a comment, nasty or positive, you need to respond thoughtfully and publicly. That’s the only way to really solidify your reputation as a prime local candidate for dental search results. 

importance of listing accuracy

In the SEO biz, we often talk about something called “NAP,” referring to the Name, Address, and Phone number of a business. NAP accuracy is critical when it comes to any dental SEO strategy, because if you have incorrect information floating around… that doesn’t look very professional.

Potential patients need to be able to find accurate, up-to-date on their dental practice at the touch of a button. Stay on top of all your online platforms, directories, and listings. If an element of your NAP changes, make the update in these spots right away.

When search engines like Google see uniform NAP data, it strengthens their confidence in the business’s legitimacy and local relevance, which contributes to the likelihood of ranking well in search results. Furthermore, a consistent NAP reinforces a positive online reputation and helps create a seamless user experience.

step 6: content creation and marketing

We simply cannot talk about dental SEO strategy without touching on the essentialness of content marketing. As a dental practice, you need to consistently publish and share content that is relevant, informative, and attractive to your target audience.

This can involve many types of content, including…

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Social media posts
  • Guides
  • Polls or quizzes


Regardless of what type of content you’re creating for your dental website, make it valuable and engaging. This will encourage Google and other search engines to prioritize your website in search results, increasing your exposure to potential patients.

Of course, stellar content doesn’t just improve your rankings in dental SEO results. It can also help you establish authority. After all, potential patients are more likely to trust a dentist with visible, highly shared content than one who seems absent from the local community.

Quality content continues to provide value over time. Although it’s worth touching on trendy topics and sharing quick social media posts, make sure you’re also producing evergreen (timeless) content that can and will attract traffic for years to come.

Examples of evergreen content for a dental practice might include a blog post titled “How to Care for Your Dental Implants” or A Guide to Teeth Whitening.” These kinds of content may take longer to produce upfront, but they’ll continue to build your credibility and pull people in for years at a time.

step 7: measuring and improving seo success

You can’t improve what you can’t measure. That’s why dental marketing SEO strategies should always include using tools and metrics to track your website’s performance.

Once you’ve conducted keyword research, implemented on-page optimization strategies, and created content for your website, you need to evaluate its effectiveness and make necessary adjustments if its performance is subpar.

Most businesses do this by using tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics. These provide invaluable insights into your dental practice’s online presence, providing metrics such as…


To set up these tools, you’ll need to first create accounts with both. A dental marketing agency can help you do this, or you can do so on your own. Then, you’ll need to…

  1. Set up your property and fill out the relevant information
  2. Verify ownership (on Google Search Console)
  3. Access your data


By setting up Google Analytics and Google Search Console for your dental website, you’ll gain strategic insights into your site’s performance, user behavior, and how your business is appearing in search results.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll also discover your SEO weaknesses, which in turn gives you the opportunity to improve and try new methods.

boost your dental practice’s visibility with seo

step 8: troubleshooting common dental seo issues

Dental marketing SEO isn’t always a straightforward path, and even if you’re working with expert dental marketing services, you’ll likely encounter some challenges along the way.

Some of the most common issues encountered by dental practices include…

intense competition

The dental industry is highly competitive, with many practices vying for the same keywords and exact same potential customers. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be the only dental practice in your region or city, you’ll need to account for others battling for the same digital space. 

The easiest way to do this is to focus on long-tail keywords and niche services – preferably those that your competition doesn’t offer or rank highly for. We also recommend creating high-quality, unique content that will push your practice to the top of local search result rankings.

negative reviews

Angry or upset online reviews can do significant damage to your online reputation and rankings. If you’ve encountered a nasty comment or two, the best strategy is to respond professionally and openly address the criticism. 

Search engines and potential customers both loveto see businesses that interact with reviewers and strive to be accountable for their services. So, if your dental practice receives a less-than-kind review, don’t ignore it and meet it head-on with tact and grace. 

content creation

There’s no sugarcoating it: producing high-quality content takes time and money, both of which some dental practices may find hard to scrounge up. 

That’s why many dentists choose to outsource their content generation to skilled writers or a digital marketing agency. This helps them maintain a steady content calendar for a fair price and reap the benefits of engaging blog posts, guides, and other pieces. 

algorithm changes

Unfortunately, search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and that can heavily impact your search engine rankings. You might be on the first page of Google for one month, but the next might bump you down a page or two. 

The solution is to stay updated on industry news and algorithm changes. This will allow you to adapt your dental SEO strategy accordingly and minimize any significant impact on your online visibility. 

patient privacy concerns

Dental practices must adhere to strict patient privacy regulations, which can impact the sharing of patient testimonials and images. Therefore, you may need to be careful about pulling from reviews, as well as stage some of the photos for your website and its content.

What’s the easiest way to tackle all of these problems head-on? Hire a dental marketing agency that knows exactly how to help practices like yours thrive. They’ll provide tailored solutions to help you navigate the competitive online landscape and improve your search engine rankings.

step 9: case studies and success stories

Wondering how much dental SEO services actually help real dentists? Let’s take a look at some case studies and success stories from actual practices.

First, we want to share one of our own. When our dental marketing agency partnered with Sala Family Dentistry, we implemented a range of storytelling and SEO devices to boost their online visibility with potential patients.

Our work contributed to an estimated 1,000% increase in gratitude expressed by patients. The practice also saw a 7x increase in returning patients, likely due to their increased exposure and polished marketing materials.

To reference an external source, Semrush worked with a dental practice called Smileworks Liverpool to build a strong foundation for their SEO efforts and outrank the local competition.

Through keyword research and implementation, among other dental SEO strategies, Smileworks Liverpool saw an organic traffic increase of 300%. The bottom line: Smileworks was able to pull thousands of new potential customers through SEO initiatives.

Search engine optimization isn’t just for big businesses or eCommerce companies. If you run a dental practice, the best way to gain exposure and draw in patients is by boosting your online visibility through SEO.

turn to the best dental marketing company

In summary, implementing an effective SEO strategy is essential for any dental practice that wants more customers and a stronger local reputation.

However, if you’re like most dentists, you likely don’t have the time to lay a solid foundation for your SEO efforts. That’s where a dental marketing agency comes into the picture.

At Wildish Agency, we provide creative digital solutions that matter, and we know exactly what it takes for dental practices to succeed in search results. From branding to SEO strategies and beyond, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today to see how our dental marketing agency can take your dental business to the next level.