Dental SEO Mastery: 7 Steps to Ranking High on Google Maps


What are Google Business Profiles?

Each one of your dental practice locations has a Google Business Profile (GBP). It’s the business listing that shows up on the Google map. That’s right, the little red pin on the Google map doesn’t come from your website. Instead, the information comes from your Google business listing. 

Many dental practice owners are not aware that they can improve their Google map rankings by optimizing their listings. Google maps optimization is a fundamental strategy for dental SEO and one of the best ways to increase new patient phone calls. 


Why are Your Practice GBPs Critical to New Patient Flow?

Most dental patients use Google Maps to find local dentists, and the top three Google map listings grab the majority of attention, calls, and clicks. 

However, ranking in the top three listings is just one aspect of the benefits of optimizing your listing. A strong listing with lots of positive Google reviews, updated photos, new posts, targeted locations, and featured services will influence patient decisions. Even if patients learn about your practice from other sources like referrals, Google ads, print mail, billboards, and even Google ads, they’ll likely check out your GBP for further details before contacting and scheduling an appointment. 

Google Business Profiles weigh heavily on dental marketing effectiveness. Improving your listing is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to SEO for dental practices.

The following 7 steps are essential when kicking off a great dental SEO campaign. Once you’ve finished these steps for each of your locations, reach out to our amazing Google maps optimization team. We can offer further guidance and support which will continue to improve your rankings on Google maps. 

7 Dental SEO Steps to Rank #1 on Google Maps

1) Check Your Current Rankings

Your practice Google map rankings are location-based and it’s not so much about where your practice is located as much as where the patient is searching from. The results that patients see are not homogenous or uniform. You may rank on the front page of Google when a patient searches a mile east of your practice, but that doesn’t mean you rank on the front page a mile west. 

It begs the question, 

“Where is my practice being found on the Google map when patients search from different neighborhoods around town?” 

The way to answer this question would be to drive around town doing searches from your phone to see if your practice shows up on the map, but no one is going to do that. Enter Google Heat Mapping!

The accompanying graphic illustrates a dental practice ranking for the search term “dentist near me.” Every colored dot represents a unique search result. It would be as if you were standing at each one of those colored dots, you pull out your phone, and search “dentist near me.” The number within each dot indicates where the practice ranks on the Google map. The lower the number, the better. Positions 1, 2, or 3 are on the front page. 

Each keyword or service will have its own heat map. A practice may rank well for “dentist near me” but not well for “Invisalign near me.” The image below is the same practice as above but for the keyword “dental implants near me.”

It’s imperative that you check how well your practice is ranking for the services that are most valuable by running heat maps. You can run complimentary Google heat maps here

2) Find, Claim, and Verify Your Listing

Go to Google and search for the name of each one of your practice locations. If you are logged into a Google account that is the owner or manager of your GBP, you’ll see editing capabilities in the search results. 

Here is an example. I searched my company name, “My Social Practice,” while logged into a Google account that is a manager on the listing. Notice an editing panel at the top of the search results. 


If you do not see the editing section, you’re not logged into the correct Google account, or your listing has not been claimed. 

To check whether your practice’s listing has been claimed, click the link circled in red. See the image below.



If your listing is claimed, you’ll see a partial email address of the email that is the owner of the listing. If not, you’ll be prompted to claim the listing. 

If you have further problems, please get in touch with our Google Maps optimization team; we’re happy to help. 

3) Verify Your Name, Address, & Phone (NAP)

Now that you have claimed your location’s listing and you’re logged into a Google account that is the owner or manager, you’ll want to ensure that your Name, Address, and Phone (NAP) are correct. Google has some instructions on how to name your listing

Pro Tip: The best way to choose your address format is to use the USPS verification system. Enter your address into the system and the USPS will tell you how to format your address correctly. 

Once you’ve updated your Google listing with the correct address, ensure that your website, dental directories, and social media accounts have the same address format.

If you have incorrect information online, old addresses, or need help updating your NAP, we have a solution to help out

4) Verify Your Primary Category

Each listing must select a primary category. It’s an option at the top of the editing panel when you select Edit Profile. You choose your primary category from Google’s predetermined list of dental categories. Here is a current list of all dental categories you can choose from.

If you’re a general dentist, your primary category should be “Dentist.” A common mistake is to use “Dental clinic.” I strongly recommend against this because hardly any patients search for the keyword “dental clinic.” 

If you’re a specialist, choose your specialty as your primary category. You can also choose additional categories, but I suggest choosing three at the most. 

Pro Tip: A great example of how to do this if the practice location has a general dentist on staff that offers dental implants as well as Orthodontics:

  • Primary category: Dentist
  • Secondary category: Dental implant provider
  • Third category: Orthodontist

5) Update Your Service Areas

You can get to the service areas by clicking on, Edit Profile < Location < Service Areas. In the Service area section, you have the ability to list up to twenty service areas. You definitely want to use up all twenty slots.

The best way to decide which areas to list is to run several Google heat maps and compare them to each other. You’ll find similarities between the heat maps and where your practice begins to lose front page rankings. Where the colored dots start turning from green to yellow and orange, that’s where you’re falling off the front page. 

It doesn’t make sense to put areas in your listing that are high-density locations far away from your practice if you’re not ranking in the neighborhoods closest to you. The best practice is to expand your reach on Google Maps gradually by improving your rankings where you’re beginning to lose rankings. 

6) Add Dental Services

You can add as many services as you would like. The way that you edit or add services is to click on the Edit Services button. A pop-up will appear where you can edit and add services. 

Adding services will help improve your listing rank for those keywords. If a patient searches “Invisalign near me” and your practice’s GBP doesn’t have any information about Invisalign, it’s less likely Google will rank your listing. 

When we’re hired to perform dental SEO for DSOs, we’ll add as many services as possible. 

Pro Tip: When listing the services use geographical phrases to help improve the local rankings of your listing and make sure to use up the entire character length. An example for Invisalign would be, “Here at ABC Dental in Miami Fl, we offer Invisalign, which we feel is the best clear aligner service a dental practice can provide….”

7) Post Twice a Month

GBPs allow for posts, which is kind of like posting to a social media account. When you post to your GBP, you’re allowed to include a link. The best way to do this is to link in the post to an offer on your website, new blog post, service page, or social media account. 

Here is an excellent example of a Google Business Profile Post for Sweet Smiles Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. The Learn More button that links to their Las Vegas sedation dentist service page:

Links from your GBP to your website and vice versa are a helpful way to connect the dots for Google. Your job is to make things easy for Google and improve your link profile.

BONUS! Add your Social Media Profiles

A strong social media presence will encourage patients to choose your dental practice over the competition. An important social media tip for dentists and DSOs is to connect your social media accounts to your Google listing. This creates a link connection which is helpful in ranking your listing and it also provides a simple way for patients searching on Google to quickly see your social media posts. 


The world of dental SEO is vast, and with ever-evolving algorithms, it’s essential to stay updated and proactive. Ranking high on Google Maps helps your practice locations get in front of potential patients actively searching for services you offer. 

By following the detailed 7-step process above, dental practices can significantly boost their visibility and appeal on Google Maps. However, if this process seems daunting, turning to a trusted dental marketing company like My Social Practice can make a difference. With our expertise and hands-on approach, we simplify the complexities of digital dental marketing, ensuring that your dental practices are visible and competitive in the digital age.

About the Author:

Adrian Lefler is the CEO of My Social Practice. With deep insights into the dental industry and a passion for digital marketing, Adrian regularly educates and speaks in the dental community about the nuances of digital dental marketing. Read Adrian’s other article: 9 Brilliant Social Media Tips for High-Growth DSOs.