So, what is Local SEO, really? Local SEO used to be called “local search marketing.” It is simply a methodology designed to get your site and services to rank more highly in search engine results for certain geographic keywords, like New York or Miami.
It is important to distinguish Local SEO from basic search engine optimization.
The goal of regular SEO is general appeal, regardless of time and place. You would select your keywords and attempt to rank them through link building, content creation, and pushing that content throughout your existing social media accounts, irrespective of the location of your customer.
Local SEO, however, is different.
Instead of going for general appeal, you’re attempting to persuade them to select yourself as a dentist, or locate a dental service that you are offering, where they are presently located.
An example would be if a prospective patient is searching for the term “dentist near me.” Their search engine would offer them local results, both in regular search and their map apps if their location settings are currently on.
Local SEO is a series of strategies and techniques that have a focus of enhancing your visibility on Google and other popular search engines so that people in your local area will perform a search and your practice will pop up.
Local SEO History
As complicated as it may sound, SEO is basically another name for methods involved with improving sales through the enhancement of online visibility.
In order to enhance the online visibility of your practice, you must show Google that your practice is able to provide value to prospective customers so that it appears at or near the top for relevant search terms. This gets your practice out front so that people searching online will be aware of your existence, and you are not withering away on a lonely island surrounded by thriving competition.
As a practical matter, this may involve tasks like incorporating your city name and ZIP Code within content, using local websites to build links, and garnering more favorable online reviews.
The critical importance of local searches has not always been paramount in the thinking of Google. More recently, Google began acknowledging user intent when noticing that numerous searches contained geographical information.
2004 witnessed the launch of Google Local. This service provides maps and directions, as well as neighborhood listings. The following year, Google created a combination of maps and directions services incorporating satellites and SMS driving instructions. 
The service eventually evolved into enabling prospective patients with smart phones to get directions to local businesses by simply clicking on their Maps app.
By the time 2018 rolled around, local search occupied a central place in Google’s business model. They realized that the ability to search and navigate for local dentists offered great value to prospective patients.
Benefits of Local SEO Optimization:
- Enhanced online visibility using business listings and citations, resulting in additional sales over the Internet and locally.
- Helps in avoiding wasting money in marketing through improved traffic targeting that arrives at your site.
- Enhanced user experience via local content creation that is highly relevant.
- Dramatic enhancement of visibility on popular platforms like Google, Bing and Apple Maps.
- Outstanding reputation management and review-driven performance that leads to higher rankings and an improved customer bond with your customers and patients.