Michigan Dentist Local SEO: A Dive into Google My Business Listings


Full disclosure, Miriam Ellis’ Moz blog post, Restaurant Local SEO: The Google Characteristics of America’s Top Ranked Eateries sparked my idea for this blog post. You will notice similarities between our posts because there are only so many ways to evaluate and collect data for a Google My Business listing. None the less, I wanted to take a look and see what similarities Google My Business listings for dentists across Michigan had.

To collect data, I did an incognito search for dentist in [insert city], MI for the largest cities in the state according to the US Census and examined the Google My Business listings for the top 5 businesses.

  • Detroit
  • Grand Rapids
  • Warren
  • Sterling Heights
  • Ann Arbor
  • Lansing
  • Flint
  • Dearborn
  • Livonia
  • Troy

I examined 8 data points for the top 5 businesses for each of the cities, but will look at the following in this post:

  • Top Category
  • Number of Reviews
  • Average Rating
  • Review Response
  • Google Posts

Google My Business Top Category

While the majority of the listings used dentist as the top category, I was surprised to see that over 25% of the listings had cosmetic dentist or dental clinic as their top category, especially due to me using dentist while making my searches.

Does the number of reviews for dentists matter?

I can’t give a definitive yes or no answer if the number of reviews matter. While examining the reviews of Google My Business listings, there was a wide range in the number of reviews. The listing with the most reviews had 341 and was the only listing with over 300 reviews. The U-M Dental School was the outlier of the data with 0 reviews, which I kept in for an accurate average rating. The next lowest number of reviews was 6. The average number of reviews for the 50 listings was 118.78, but the grouping with the largest number of reviews was those with less than 50 reviews. The data leads me to believe that reviews do matter, but going overboard and getting as many as possible doesn’t need to be the top priority. Based on this, it’s best to naturally accumulate reviews over time.

Does my dentist office need to have a perfect 5-star rating?

I can definitively answer this question with a no. Of the reviews, only 4 had a perfect 5-star rating. Does this mean you can successfully rank well with numerous bad reviews? Also, no. Of the listings, 84% had at least a 4.0 average rating or better, with the majority having a 4.8 average. Below is the breakdown for listings with an average rating of 4.0 or better.

Are dentists active on their Google My Business listings?

This is a toss-up because there are two different ways a dentist or business owner can be active on their listing. The first is by responding to reviews, which didn’t happen 50% of the time. Of the listings I looked at, 20 had responses from the business listing owner, while the rest didn’t. The second is by utilizing Google My Business posts. Although the ability to post has been around for a few years now, only 10 dentists have shared a post recently, while the rest have not. The listings that did have a recent post were commonly tied to a large brand with multiple locations, which isn’t much of a surprise to me.

Google My Business is a big part of local SEO for dentists, but there is a lot more to it too. Having a well-optimized website that uses keywords related to your services and location is crucial. Another increasingly important factor is utilizing Schema markup with the business name, address and phone number that you will be using across the internet for citations. Link building, especially links from local organizations, can also be beneficial in helping your site rank out well in the Google My Business local 3-pack and Google’s organic listings.



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