How Optimizing for Sub-Locations Can Improve an SEO Campaign
Alex Nuttall
Blog Search Engine Optimization seo Sub-Location

Here at Great Dental Websites, we provide SEO for practices in all types of markets. When it comes to dentists who are located in larger cities, a specific common concern tends to arise when campaigns begin to gain traction. It usually goes something like this:

“I want to be ranked number one in (insert city here) since I’m located in that city. Why are we, instead, concentrating on a neighborhood or area within it? Doesn’t that limit opportunities for new patients?”

We understand the rationale behind this question. Our clients, of course, aim to expand the reach of their patient base by building a prominent presence online. We also want your website to rank well across a large population. In most cases, though, a campaign must build a basis by dominating the sub-locations, neighborhoods, and prominent areas within the larger city first. In fact, according to Moz and Whitespark, proximity to the searcher is the number one Google Local ranking factor.

Let’s use an example: GDW’s home base of Denver, Colorado. Denver has a metropolitan population of over 700,000 residents, with several well-established outskirt towns and neighborhoods surrounding it. These areas bring the overall incorporated Denver population to 2.8 million.

This means a dental office targeting Denver (and only Denver) would be in direct competition with hundreds of established dental offices, many of which also utilize digital marketing tactics. Even for a well-established practice, this would be a very daunting and time-consuming goal to achieve.

How can sub-location targeting help?

Targeting a sub-location helps break up the competition and gives your campaign room to come into prominence and succeed. Working with a large enough, but digestible, population increases the likelihood that a practice’s website could gain visibility online.

Say that the hypothetical Denver dental office was located in Cherry Creek, a well-established neighborhood with 45,000 residents. Cherry Creek is technically located in Denver, making it a prominent and direct enough area to market to the practice’s immediate population. Optimizing for Cherry Creek now allows the practice to potentially rank in Google searches like “dentist 80206”, “dentist in cherry creek”, and “dentist in east denver”.

If my website dominates the sub-location, could my practice ever rank for the larger area?

Absolutely, it can. Optimizing websites for sub-locations can help increase Google My Business interactions, onsite form fills, and overall website traffic.

In a 2018 GDW study of three plateaued SEO clients in medium to large markets over the course of six months, we found that sub-location targeting increased Google My Business phone calls by an average of 40 percent and onsite conversions by 69 percent. There was also an overall increase in rank for vanity terms (e.g. “dentist in denver”) for the original, larger area. It’s important to remember that increased traffic and conversions raise your site’s prominence in the eyes of Google, and, therefore, can help with rank later on.

So, what should I take away from this?

It may take time and patience, but ranking well in a smaller, more immediate location can help a website get to the point of prominence where it can stand a chance to rank and convert in that desired larger market. It’s also important to remember that targeting a less populous, but closer, area does not hinder your opportunity for increased site traffic and conversions, but can potentially strengthen it.

Want to learn more about SEO?

Considering SEO for your practice but still have some questions and concerns? That’s what our team is here for! Get in touch with us by calling (720) 399-7071 or email us at for a free SEO audit and quote.

Alex Nuttall
Alex is a native of Colorado. He was born in Denver and grew up in Fort Collins. He graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in business marketing. In his free time, he can be found playing guitar and producing music, cooking a delicious meal, or heading outside to enjoy all that Colorado has to offer.

More Resources

Explore All Resources
Do you want to see more or still have questions? To learn more about the products and services we offer, explore our resource library.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram