Is Your Dental Practice’s DNA Aligned with What Google Wants
You need to know if you’re the type of dental practice that Google is going to naturally be more inclined to list in its rankings. What does Google want? Again, this is always changing. For example, were you aware of this little tweak to Google’s recommendations they announced in December 2022?
Since then, Google’s algorithm has changed something like 4,745 times according to Search Engine Land. But what has changed more slowly is how Google thinks about its role in online information retrieval. If we internalize this point of view, we can get a rough idea of what Google is looking for in a dentist.
Check out this video Google posted in June 2016.
They want to help the user in the moment by providing the best results from the most trustworthy people who have the utmost ability to solve their users’ problems. They want the experience on Google to be fast, simple, and indispensable.
Is it any wonder that Google is vetting dentists on Google Ads and that they want dentists featured in Google Local Services Ads, but only after doing background checks and assuring that they are insured against malpractice? Google’s doing everything they can to ensure dental searches yield results that the people at Google might give users personally, only they are letting the bots do the selecting and positioning of the dental offices.
To that end, you need to take a hard look at your office and be sure that your marketing, your practice goals, and truly, even just your motivation for coming to the office every day are all in alignment with what Google thinks of as the definition of the ideal dental office. If those things don’t align, then you need to adjust your plans and expectations or you’ll likely be frustrated.
Google ‘dentist near me’ right now in another tab. Check out the results. Chances are that the offices listed advertise the following:
- Family dentistry
- Insurance and medicaid acceptance, especially in-network coverage
- New patient specials
So, if you’re trying to maximize your organic visibility in the general dentistry space, but you’re a fee-for-service dentist, be prepared for an uphill battle.
For specialists and niche dental practitioners, this is kind of bad news, but there’s good news too: if you paint a clear picture of what you’re known for and don’t muddy the waters trying to be all things to all people, you’ll naturally rank better for those specific services. You may still have some deja vu, seeing some of the same competitors if they are in-network providers and they are advertising something like ‘dental implants’. Those will likely out-rank you if you’re a purely fee-for-service dentist.
This could just be a kind of feedback loop as people call and email at a higher rate on websites that seem like they’ll provide a less “expensive” service.
Google may take note of this increased conversion rate on these dental websites that market low-cost, insurance-driven care and give them a boost. Per details gleaned from various legal testimony records, Google has been incorporating information satisfaction signals as part of their complex algorithms for years.