SEO for Dentists: Definitive Guide for 2023

If you’re Googling “SEO for dentists,” you already know.

SEO is a fantastic way to get more patients and grow your practice.

But at this point, your head is probably spinning with the countless theories, tactics, and other silliness you’ll find in this industry.

Don’t worry.

This is the last guide you’ll ever need to understand how to do SEO for your dental practice.

Let’s dive right in.

How to Do SEO for Dentists (Like a Pro)

Follow this simple 8-step process, and you’ll outrank all the other dentists paying thousands a month to agencies.

1. Develop Your Keyword Strategy

Keyword research is the foundation of every successful SEO campaign.

Here’s how to do it the right way:

Open up a tool like Semrush and go to the “Keyword Magic Tool”:

Enter your service offer + your target city. For example, “emergency dentist St Louis”:

The goal is to find a keyword with a decent search volume (50 + searches per month for local) and low keyword difficulty (< 50%).

You can use Semrush to build a keyword list by clicking the + button next to the keyword:

Repeat this process for all your service offerings, or go broad like “dentist st louis”:

Look on the left-hand side under “All Keywords”:

You’ll now be able to filter through the keywords based on what’s most relevant to you.

So within a few minutes, I built a keyword list.

Now that you’ve built a keyword list, it’s time to audit your site.

Related: Semrush review – Is it the best SEO tool?

2. Audit Your Website

Go to the “On-Page & Tech SEO” section and click on “Site Audit”:

Click “Add new project”:

Enter your domain and project name:

Semrush will then show you all the technical issues on your site. One that matters a ton is Core Web Vitals because it’s a confirmed ranking factor:

To confirm how well your site is loading, use Google PageSpeed Insights:

Enter your website, and Google will score your speed on both mobile and desktop:

If your score is low, then you need to work to improve it.

Now that you know what technical SEO opportunities exist, it’s time to:

3. Optimize Existing Pages

Before you do anything, remember this one principle:

One page per keyword.

For example, you’d have ONE dedicated page for every keyword phrase like:

  • St Louis Dentist
  • St Louis Emergency Dentist
  • St Louis Cosmetic Dentist
  • St Louis Dental Implants

Notice that these keywords all have different intents. You should NEVER create a separate page for a keyword variation with the same intent.

For example, you shouldn’t create another page for “dentist in St Louis.”

Now let’s say you wanted to optimize for “St Louis Emergency Dentist.”

Related: On-page SEO checklist – follow this 80-point checklist and rank.

Place your primary keyword in the most critical spots

“St Louis Emergency Dentist” (or variations of it) should be in the title tag, meta description, URL, H1 tag, first sentence, first H2 tag, and last sentence.

These are the minimum locations and will put you ahead of 80% of your competition.

But after that, you need to hit the target word count for the page.

Use Surfer

Go to Surfer’s SERP analyzer tool and enter your target keyword:

Open up the report, and you’ll see the average word count for the top 10:

You can also switch this to the top 5 (which I recommend):

Once you know your target word count, you must create the content.

Related: Surfer review – Is it the best on-page SEO tool?

After the content is ready, I recommend running it through the Hemingway editor:

And then through Grammarly to score at least 95:

The final step for optimizing your content is using Surfer more often. Go to the “Content Editor” and enter the target keyword:

Now enter your content into the Content Editor:

All you need to do is follow the recommendations under “Terms” and add the keywords to your page:

Then repeat this process for every keyword you want to rank for:

  • Select keyword
  • Optimize the existing page or create a new page and optimize it (keyword in title, meta description, URL, H1, first sentence, H2, and last sentence)
  • Upgrade the content to make sure it hits the target word count
  • Run the content through Hemingway & Grammarly to improve spelling, grammar, and readability
  • Optimize the content with Surfer

Rinse and repeat!

Once you have all of your foundational SEO-driven pages in place, it’s time to:

4. Create Geo-Targeted Content

So creating content for local SEO is the most misunderstood topic of all. The best type of content to create will be topically and geo-targeted relevant.

So my favorite method is to find ideas on the national level and then use them for inspiration for localized content.

For example, let’s say I was trying to build topical relevance for a St Louis dentist.

So I’d go into Semrush, use the keyword overview tool, and enter a broad topic like “dentist.”

Then go to the Questions section and look for ideas that may have a different answer based on the location.

For example, “how much is teeth whitening.” This keyword is competitive on the national level.

However, I would change it to “how much is teeth whitening in St Louis” and create a data-driven piece of content.

The key to this strategy is to avoid slapping a location on a topic that isn’t variable based on location.

For example, a keyword like “how do you spell dentist” won’t change based on the location.

Therefore, creating a page like “how do you spell dentist in st louis” would be spammy and wouldn’t make sense.

5. Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Creating a Google Business Profile is the first step to ranking in the local pack.

And Google determines rankings in the local pack based on three factors:


Your listing needs to be hyper-relevant to what you offer. So, if you’re a “St Louis Dentist,” you need to optimize your Google Business Profile (and website) accordingly.


Your address needs to be in the core location you’re trying to rank. So if it’s “St Louis,” you must have a St Louis address. The further your address is away from the target location, the worse you’ll perform in the local pack.


The “Prominence” factor is based on third-party signals confirming your service’s quality. The most significant factor for the local pack is reviews. Your goal must match your competitor’s quantity and quality of reviews.

6. Develop a Review-Generation Strategy

Every local business needs a clear review-generation strategy. The first step is to get your shareable link for leaving a Google review.

Log into your Google Business profile:

Search for your business name on Google:

Click on “Customers,” “Reviews,” and “Get more reviews”:

You can then share this link directly with your customers.

7. Optimize Your Business Citations

Your Google Business Profile is the most crucial listing you’ll create online. However, you’ll also need to create listings on other authoritative websites.

And you’ll also need to update any existing listings to ensure the NAP-W (Name, Address, Phone, Website) information is accurate.

The simplest way to tackle this is to use Semrush.

Go to Semrush, click on Local SEO, and go to their listing management tool.

Then enter your company name; Semrush should populate the location and run the scan.

Semrush will then show you your existing listings and other missed opportunities.

Semrush also allows you to clean up your listings, which I recommend taking advantage of because it’s super time-consuming.

And the final piece of this SEO puzzle is:

8. Acquire Backlinks

You use high-quality backlinks from other websites to achieve maximum SEO performance. There are two types of websites you need to get links on:

Geo-Targeted Websites

If you’re a St Louis dentist, you should try to get links on other St Louis websites. The best strategy is to donate to local charities.

Just search “st louis + sponsors” or “st louis + donors” on Google:

Then reach out, donate, and make sure you get a link.

The second type of link should come from niche-relevant websites.

You should get links on “dental” or “health” websites.

The key to successful link building is relevance. So always strive to get the most relevant links you can.

Keep in mind:

You CAN (and should) get links from other authoritative websites, even if they aren’t a 100% relevant match.

For example, getting a link from Huffington Post or Forbes is extremely valuable, even though it’s not 100% relevant.

Now the question is: how do you get niche-relevant links?

The most reliable technique is to create content for other websites (also called guest posting).

Go to Google and search “dentist + write for us”:

Then vet these opportunities using Semrush.

Enter the domain into Semrush and see if the site A) has authority, B) has high-quality backlinks, and C) has organic traffic.

Take a look at this opportunity I found:

They have an Authority Score of 40 and over 7,000 organic search visitors. So this is a terrific link-building opportunity that you should pursue.

SEO for Dentists: What’s Next?

Now it’s time to execute. You can do SEO yourself if you’re dedicated and want to build a team.

However, the downside is that executing an SEO campaign needs focus and constant attention.

If you’d like professionals to handle this work for you, then my team can help.

Go here to book a free SEO diagnosis for your dental practice.

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