Search engine optimization is important for all local businesses, but especially dentists. That’s because you’re a service-based business that relies heavily on patients from the local community. People need to find you when they need you, and local SEO can help them achieve that. In a nutshell, SEO is an online marketing strategy that directs organic (unpaid)  traffic to your website through higher rankings on search engine result pages, also known as SERPs. Popular keywords and phrases for your office, determined through research, can be incorporated so the search engines target those areas and display relevant results for your patients.

Your goal is to be recognized by the top search engines, mainly Google, Yahoo! and Bing. Hiring a specialist skilled in local SEO for dentists is your best bet to achieve the results you need. They can come with targeted keywords that pertain to your core audience, with geographical tags that can pinpoint specific locations.

So why is SEO key to the growth of your dental office? Here are a few ways:

Widen your scope: In addition to attracting new patients from within your practice and in the immediate areas, you can widen your reach to capture a bigger audience that may need your services. For instance, this can be helpful if you offer things your competition does not, such as IV sedation for those who are nervous to visit the dentist.

Exposure: SEO can put you in touch with people who need your services right NOW. You want to come up in searches for people who are searching for dental services on their phones or computers. If your name comes up first, they may call you first. SEO can even allow you to recommend your website to those in your core demographic.

Insight: Gain insight into what your audience wants with local SEO. Therefore, you can pinpoint preferences of people in your community so you can better align your offerings to those needs. If you live in a community where children are the focal point, you’ll want to hype your pediatric dental services quite a bit. Not sure? Check out reviews for industry-related products and services so you can get a better idea of what people want.

Spy on the competition: Any good dental marketing plan will involve checking out what’s working — and not working — for the competition. You know the saying: keep your friends close but your enemies closer! If you know what they’re doing, you can have more insight into your own plan. Learn from their mistakes and successes.

The bottom line is SEO for dentist works. In fact, Forbes says that as long as you focus on optimal user experience while performing methodic SEO strategies, you will ensure higher positioning and organic traffic for your site.

As a dentist office, you need to position yourself in the best possible way. SEO for dentist allows you to achieve those goals in a strategic manner.