seo for dentists

SEO for Dentists:
The Complete Guide

When someone is searching for a new dentist, they are using Google’s first page.

That means if you want new patients discovering your practice, being on the first page matters.

With this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about getting started with dental SEO.

What is Dental SEO and Why is it Important?

Dental SEO or dental search engine optimization is the process of ensuring your website ranks high in search engine results for relevant dental keywords.

This is essential because it can help you become more visible to cosmetic or general dentistry leads who are looking for dental services in or around your dental practice.

Ready to learn more about dental SEO?

Read on to learn from an SEO company that has ranked tons of dental search queries around the world.

SEO for More Dental Patients

SEO, in theory, seems like a simple process – you optimize your websites for the right keywords, you create high-quality content, and you build amazing backlinks and you are done.

If it were only that easy!

SEO is a complex, on-going process that takes time, commitment, and most of all, patience.

So why do people spend so much time trying or learning how to do SEO?

It’s simple, the payoff is immense.

Plus, Google Ad bids keep getting more expensive.

One page on the Internet that ranks well can completely change the optics of your practice because it can help you increase your patient base, which can in turn lead to more business and more revenue.

Why is Dental SEO so Important for Dental Practices?

There are a number of reasons why dental SEO is so important for dental practices.

First, it can help you get more dental patients.

By optimizing your website for relevant keywords, you can make sure that your website appears higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for those relevant dental keywords.

This means that when people search for general or cosmetic dentistry keywords, they are more likely to find your website and contact your practice.

Dental SEO can help you build trust and credibility with potential patients.

It’s no secret that Internet searchers simply don’t go past the first page of search engine results.

Think about it, when is the last time you went to page 2 to find a local business or a particular product?

Simply put, when you appear higher in the search results, it shows that you are a credible authority in your field.

This can help instill trust in potential patients, which can lead to them choosing to book a veneers consultation with you instead of your arch rival around the corner.

Also, dental SEO can help you improve your website’s overall visibility.

Visibility equals success, and when you are more visible you are doing more treatments and hiring more help.

Dental SEO can also help you save money on other marketing channels like Google and Facebook ads.

By optimizing your website for the right keywords, you can get more organic traffic from potential patients who are already interested in dental services.

Pro-tip: try to maintain a diverse marketing strategy, you should have a well-balanced approach to paid and organic search campaigns and a nicely designed website.

How Does Search Engine Indexing and Crawling Work?

Search engines work by crawling the Internet for information, organizing that information, then indexing that information.

In order for your website to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs), it needs to be indexed by search engines.

Indexing is the process of adding your website’s content to the search engine’s database.

Once your website is indexed, the search engine will visit your website and crawl your website’s pages.

The search engine will then use its algorithms to determine where your website should rank in the SERPs for relevant keywords.

The main search engine is still Google, but after Google the next most commonly used search engines internationally are YouTube, Amazon, Facebook, Bing, Baidu, and Yandex – and Tik Tok!

How Do You Get Your Dental Practice to the Top of Search Engines?

The way to accomplish getting on top of search engines requires a series of approaches using the latest dental SEO tactics.

You need to make sure that your website is optimized for the relevant keywords precisely spread out throughout your practice’s website.

This means doing keyword research to find the right keywords to target.

Once you have identified the right keywords, you need to make sure that they are included in your website’s copy, title tags, and H tags.

You will also need a website that uses the clean code, is easy to use, and is easily accessible and crawlable.

Along with relevant keywords, you’ll need to create high-quality content that is relevant to those keywords.

This means writing detailed content on service or product pages, blog posts, articles, and other forms of content that are relevant to the keywords you are targeting.

Backlinks, backlinks, and more backlinks.

Backlinks help improve your website’s authority and credibility that helps search engines determine how trustful your website is.

You do need backlinks from other relevant websites.

But they aren’t easy to get without putting in the work.

If you’re a local business, you can build niche business citations that can help promote your practice locally, keep on reading below to learn more about the best strategy for local SEO.

You can also always buy backlinks but that poses another set of issues because it is against Google’s guidelines.

Unless you are in a competitive market, like a major city, then doing just some of above will improve your dental SEO and increase your brands visibility.

What are the Best SEO Keyword Tools for Dentist SEO?

There are a number of different keyword and SEO data tools that you can use for your dental SEO.

Some of the best include:

Ahrefs (Paid)

Ahrefs is considered by many as the Swiss-army knife of SEO.

It is a paid tool that can do mostly everything needed for SEO – keyword research with search volume, site audits for continued monitor of your site health, backlink and domain batch analysis, and so much more.

They also offer free training that can help you learn about the tool.

SEMrush (Paid)

SEMrush is another paid tool that many SEO’s consider the best all-around tool.

It is a very robust tool, including a SERP tracker, site health checker, backlink checker, and even Google Ad analysis.

You really only need one of the tools above, but if are into data and you have the spare time when not running a busy dental practice, try them both out.

Google Keyword Planner (Free)

This is another product that Google offers at no cost, and it provides a good amount of data on how keywords are grouped together.

I wouldn’t use their monthly search volume metric though, as it has been discussed a number of times on how the volume is not accurate.

Google Search (Free)

The most featured packed SEO tool, what can provide you more data than a simple Google search?

When doing a search, are there multiple ads above organic listings?

If the answer is yes, then there is a good chance you’ve found a relevant keyword that can bring in more patients.

When doing a search, are there major brands or a mix of blog posts articles on the front page?

If the answer is yes, you’ve probably found an informational post and a search query that may bring in a lot of traffic, but not might lead to increased patient inquiries (although we’ve seen them convert new patients).

Here is a quick example:

Search for “veneers”

The results are informational posts, like what are veneers?

Another simplified example:

Search for “veneers Miami”

The results are now commercial, which provide local results for cosmetic dentists who provide veneers.

The above examples are pretty simple, but as you dive into other search queries that might have mixed search intent, study Google’s front page results – they tell you almost everything.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is the purpose behind why someone is searching for a particular keyword or search string query into search engines.

There are four main types of search intent:


This type of search intent is when someone is looking for a specific website.

For example, if someone searches for “Aspen Dental,” they are most likely looking to navigate to an Aspen Dental web property.


This type of search intent is when someone is looking for information on a topic.

For example, if someone searches for “porcelain crowns,” they are likely looking for information on all thing’s porcelain crowns.

Informational posts are great for picking up links and driving significant traffic to your website.


This type of search intent is when someone is looking to make a purchase.

For example, if someone searches for “porcelain veneers cost,” they are likely looking to get a list of results of porcelain veneers pricing.

These results are usually localized.


This type of search intent is when someone is looking to buy a product or service.

For example, if someone searches for “cosmetic dentist near me,” they are likely looking to book an appointment with a local cosmetic dentist.

This is vitally important to understand search intent when you are doing keyword research for your dental SEO.

This is because you need to target keywords that match the type of search intent that your potential patients are using.

For example, if you are a dentist who does dental implants, you would want to target transactional and commercial keywords like “dental implants cost” and “dental implant specialist.”

On the other hand, if you are a dentist who does general dentistry, you would want to target informational keywords like “deep teeth cleaning.”  

SEMRush has written a thorough guide on what search intent is.

What is Keyword Search Volume?

Keyword search volume is the number of times a keyword is searched for in search engines.

This is important to know because it can help you to determine which keywords are worth targeting.

As a quick example, if you are a dentist who does porcelain veneers, you would want to target veneer keywords that have a high search volume.

Search volume is an important metric to follow when doing your keyword research, but it is not the “end all” metric.

With high search volume comes competition, and if you are just getting started, then you are going to want to go after keywords with lower search volume that might be easier to rank for.

Keyword difficulty is a measure that SEO tools use on how hard it is to rank for a keyword.

Although sometimes it is good to know, it should not stop you from going after search terms that are considered difficult, with the right research and strategy you can easily outrank even the biggest sites.

What are ALT and H Tags?

ALT and H tags are code that you can add to your website to help guide search engines on what your content is about.

ALT tags are used for images.

This is important because the search engines can’t read images.

By adding an ALT tag, you can tell the search engines what the image is about. 

The H1 (and the H2, H3, H4, and so on) tags are used for headings.

This is important because it helps the search engines understand the hierarchy of your content.

H1s or <h1></h1> tags promote the most prominent search query or important topic on a given web page.

Both of these tags are important for SEO and you should use them on all of your website’s images and headings.

Best Techniques for On-Page SEO Optimization for Dental Websites

Keywords + Title tags + H tags + ALT tags

For an optimized dental service page, your page should have your chosen keywords in all of the most important elements of the page.

Your primary keyword be in your title tag, your H1, ALT tag (primary image), and even the URL if it makes sense.

Your secondary keywords (your supporting cast of the page) should be in your H2’s, H3’s, and your ALT tags for other images if applicable.

Other on-page SEO techniques should include things that are relevant like before and after results, FAQs, and anything else that will make your page the best it can be online.

Check Hubspot’s on-page SEO guide to increase your knowledge.

Common Technical SEO Problems for Dental Websites (And How to Fix Them)

There are a good amount of technical SEO problems that a dental website can face.

Unblock robots.txt

Once you have a brand new shiny page setup up, don’t forget to unblock it so search engines can crawl it.

Serve only 1 URL

Depending if your domain prefix is www or non www, it is important to remain consistent with serving only 1 URL for your dental website.

Your web developer should understand how to forward all versions of your URL to your main URL of your website, but here’s a handy guide just in case.

Duplicate (cannibalized) content

Duplicate content is when you have the same or very similar content on more than one page of your website.

This can be a problem because the search engines might not know which page to index.

You can fix this problem by setting the rel=”canonical” tag to the page that is most relevant to the topic you are sharing.

Broken links

Broken links are when a link on your website goes to a page that doesn’t exist.

This usually happens when a link does not have the correct URL.

The one issue is you can burn your Google crawl budget, because Google doesn’t have infinite resources to crawl the entire Internet.

You can easily fix this problem by using a 301 redirect.

404 errors

This usually happens when a webpage gets deleted or removed and is no longer available.

Just like broken links, 404 pages can burn Google’s crawl budget.

You can easily fix this problem by using a 301 redirect.

How To Implement Proper Dental Website Architecture

Your website’s architecture is important for SEO.

You should make sure your website is easy to navigate and that search engines can easily crawl it.

More importantly, the actual user of your website should have a great experience when visiting your dental practice website.

Below are some tips for proper dental website architecture.

Use an XML sitemap

A sitemap is a file that lists the most essential website pages that you can add to your website that helps search engines understand your website’s structure.

If you’re on WordPress, Yoast’s free SEO plugin is great for most websites and it includes an automated XML sitemap.

Use breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs simply helps promote a better UX and improve crawlability.

Breadcrumbs are a navigation technique that can help search engines and users understand your website’s structure.

Internal linking

Internal linking are powerful links that go from one page on your website to another page on your website.

This can help the search engines understand your website’s structure and content and it can also help users navigate your website more efficiently.

If you are looking on how to jump start your internal linking process check out this guide.

How To Start a Dental SEO Campaign

When you are ready to start a dental SEO campaign, your initial steps should be to know who your competition is.

There are plenty of SEO companies that can do a competitor analysis for you without having to commit to an ongoing SEO campaign.

By investing in a competitor analysis, you’ll be able to determine what the top dental practices in your area are ranking for and what they are doing to get new patients.

You’ll also have the start to your keyword research, as a competitor analysis will provide the keywords you need to rank for.

The alternative to hiring an outside SEO company is to learn SEO toolsets like Ahrefs or SEMRush, where they can provide the same keyword data on your competition.

Once you have keywords and keyword phrases together you are ready to begin optimizing your individual pages.

How to Optimize Your Dental Website for Local SEO

Local SEO is a type of SEO that is focused on getting your website to rank for local searches.

For example, if someone searches for “dental veneers near me,” you want your website to come up.

There are some things you can do for your practice right away for local SEO.

Make sure you have these profiles setup:

  • Google My Business
  • Bing Places
  • Yelp
  • Trust Pilot
  • Angi
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Next Door

Make sure you fill out your company data completely, and make sure your NAP (name, address, phone) is consistent.

Also, add unique images, videos, and a link to your contact or appointment page.

Next round of profiles are your social profiles:

  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Tik Tok
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram

Next, you can add your own business citations following a guide from Bright Local.

You’ll need your keyword research when doing these because you’ll want to make sure that your site’s on-page SEO matches all the targeted keywords and locations (your city or cities plus surrounding or nearby cities, states, or even countries depending on where and how you operate).

Because search engines use links to your site as a voting system, the more high-quality business citations you build the better chance you have to rank locally.

Here is a bit of a warning, doing your own business citations takes a long time and you might want a professional SEO company or service to help out.

Another method that will help is to add local schema markup.

Local schema markup is code that you can add to your website that helps the search engines understand your location and business information.

This can help your website to show up in the local map pack listings.

If your website is built on WordPress, there are plenty of WordPress SEO plugins that build local schema markup for you.

You can also learn how to add your own local schema by following this “how to” write-up.

Something to know about when you are building content for local SEO – If you are trying to rank your local services pages for an area, it is best to keep these pages optimized for local search while maintaining a blog for more general / informational posts.  

International SEO for Cosmetic Dentists

dentist seo marketing

If you’re a cosmetic dentist who wants to attract patients from other countries, you need to do international SEO.

International SEO is similar to regular SEO, but adds a few layers of work.

International SEO can be much more complicated than national or localized SEO, so we often suggest working with an SEO company that is experienced with either international SEO or if your projects are extensive enough, working with several SEO agencies in the various countries that you are targeting.

Link Building Campaigns for Dental SEO

Link building is an important part of dental SEO.

Link building is the technique of building external links to your website, whether you create these links yourself on review sites, blogs, or social media sites or ask a website owner to link to your site because you have relevant content, you do a guest post, or for another valid reason.

Search engines prioritize sites with lots of incoming links from sites with high domain authority, so the more high-quality backlinks that you have linked to your website, the more likely that Google, Bing, and other search engines will rank your page content higher in search results.

Content Marketing for Dentists

Content marketing is a great way to attract patients to your dental practice.

Content marketing is the process of creating and promoting content that is relevant to your target audience.

When planning a content marketing campaign, think about your marketing funnel distribution:

People looking for more information about veneers

People potentially interested in veneers

People in need of veneers because the removal of braces

People in need of veneers because stains don’t improve with teeth whitening

People who have recently chipped or cracked their teeth

People in the area that need your practice’s services

People who reach out to your dental practice for a veneer quote

People who reach out to you to improve their smile for a cosmetic concern

People who decide to become your next veneer patient [end of funnel]

The marketing funnel is what sorts out how to get new veneer leads and shows the process by which they are led through the customer journey from being a potential prospect to being an actual patient.

Creating Evergreen Content for Dental Websites

Evergreen content is content that is relevant all the time.

This type of content is important for dental websites because it helps you attract patients consistently.

Cornerstone content is the core of your website and should be one of the focuses of your SEO strategy.

Evergreen content examples can include how to properly brush your teeth, the process of getting veneers, or what to do if you chip a tooth.

Video and Image Search Strategies for Dental SEO

Video and image search are becoming are another added benefit to your dental SEO strategy.

The process is the same as other SEO methods, you’ll want to optimize your videos and images for search engines.

If you’re a cosmetic dentist, chances are potential patients are looking at before and after tooth reconstruction images, so you’ll want to make sure your work is tagged correctly.

Video is yet another way you can reach potential patients, and the strategy is the same as other SEO methods – you’ll want to build videos around the pages you are trying to rank for.

By creating videos, you are adding more social proof to your practice, and adding more helpful content online.

One note, don’t forget about adding transcripts to your videos – a lot of users don’t watch videos with their volume.

KPI’s for Dental SEO Campaigns

There are various ways you can measure the success of your dental SEO efforts.

The easiest way you can track progress is to simply sign up for a Google Search Console account as well as a Google Analytics account.

Google search console gives you tons of useful information, more than any other SEO toolset can.

Google Analytics also provides detailed data on how your dental website is being utilized as well as conversion rate.

Another important KPI is your conversions (leads, appointment requests, newsletter signup, or anything else that you consider a win).

How Long Does Dental SEO Take?

Dental SEO can take months to years.

However, it is important to keep in mind that every dental practice is different.

Some practices may see results sooner than others.

The area where your practice also matters, or if you are just starting out or are already established.

An SEO consultant can normally give you expected outcomes based on your goals.

How to Improve Your Dental Website’s Today

Start with the services you want to promote first.

Once you’ve established that, use a free Google search to see what practices come up.

You’ll want to add “service + your city” and study the top 3 spots of an organic search, as well as what practices are in the map pack.

The simplest thing you can do today is to make your existing page’s content better than those top 3.

60 – 70% of the work is simply making your page more useful and resourceful than your competitors.

Everything above shows you what you need to know about dental SEO, but if you want to increase your further content and SEO knowledge check out the posts below.

Increase your knowledge

SEO Techniques: A Simplified SEO Guide

Local SEO: A Simplified (But Complete) Guide

What is Content Marketing? A Content Strategy Guide That Works


  1. Ihor Lavrenenko

    Spot-on insight for leveraging multimedia in dental SEO! Video and image optimization is indeed a powerful avenue to enhance your online visibility and provide potential patients with tangible proof of your expertise. Tagging before-and-after images correctly can significantly influence a potential patient’s decision, especially in cosmetic dentistry. Moreover, integrating videos into your SEO strategy not only adds social proof but also caters to diverse user preferences. Your tip on adding transcripts is golden, ensuring accessibility and catering to those who might browse without sound. This approach not only improves user experience but also enhances your content’s SEO value.

    1. Hi Ihor – I couldn’t agree more with your insights!

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