Naming Your Dental Practice
For many dentists, choosing the right name for their practice often poses a real challenge. Should you simply use your own name? Should you include the name of the city or state in which the practice operates? Or is it better to name the practice after the street on which it’s located? What name will get the best results online? Fortunately, we have the answer!
What Not to Do When Naming Your Dental Practice
1. Naming a Practice After Yourself
Generally, it’s not a good long-term strategy to name a practice after yourself. At some point, you’ll probably want to retire or sell the practice for one reason or another. A dentist is less likely to buy a practice that features the name of a dentist who is no longer working there. It would mean that they would have to go through the process of rebranding the practice, which can be costly and time-consuming. But even if you never plan to sell your practice, naming it after yourself is still ill-advised.
First and last names are hard for people to remember. A short, clean name like Trinity Dental is more memorable than John Doe DDS. Making your name the name of the practice also makes your practice appear small and unsuccessful in the eyes of many patients.
2. Naming a Practice After a Street Name
Another naming convention you should avoid is using your street name in the name of your dental practice. It has the potential to confuse and dissuade potential patients.
For example, let’s say you own a practice on Main street, so you name it Main Street Dental. That seems fine– as long as you’re the only practice located on Main Street. But what happens if other dentists move into the neighborhood and decide to do the same? Suddenly, there is one practice called Main Street Dental, another called Main Street Dentistry, another called Main Street Dental Center, etc.
Now potential patients can’t remember if the ad they saw online was for your dental practice or the three other practices located along the same street. Maybe they even end up going to one of the other practices, thinking it was yours. At that point, you’re essentially running ads for competing practices– which is far from the desired outcome.
3. Naming a Practice After a City
Like naming a practice after a street, naming it after the city in which it’s located can lead to similar issues of confusion among potential patients.
There was a time, ten or fifteen years ago when businesses registered website URLs based on the city they were in (www.dentistintoronto.com). Assuming they had a strong marketing strategy and top-notch SEO, this kind of naming convention often worked in a business’s favor, allowing them to outrank the competition.
However, this strategy is now largely outdated and doesn’t perform well with Google’s ever-evolving algorithm.
What to Keep in Mind When Naming Your Dental Practice
1. Think Like Google
For many, Google’s algorithm is a source of great mystery and frustration. But, you don’t have to be a marketing expert to know why certain businesses rank higher than others.
When sorting results, the algorithm is essentially trying to determine how well-known your brand name is in the area in which it’s located. This is why when you Google something like “restaurant in Toronto” the top result will be a brand name like The Keg, instead of a generic website like resturantintoronto.com.
With SEO, the objective is to improve the brand recognition of your dental practice name in your area. The more Google sees that the people are talking about you or searching for you, the more popular Google thinks you are in your city and the more likely you are to rank higher in search results.
2. Make Your Name Unique
Now that you know what Google is looking for, pick a name for your practice that’s unique in your area and easy to remember. Go with something like Trinity Dental, or Alpine Dental. Use a word that nobody in your area is using. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s simple to understand and easy to spell.
Keep in mind, the name only has to be unique to your immediate area. There may be another practice in a different city with the same name, but as long as you are the only practice in a 50-100KM area that uses the name, it’s totally fine. Google is smart enough to discern when a person is looking for a dentist in their city, and not in the next one over.
3. Already Picked a Less-Than-Ideal Name? Don’t Panic
So, now you understand the difference between a good name and a bad one. But, what if you’ve already named your dental practice using your name or the street name? Should you really change the name and rebrand? Well… it depends on a couple of factors.
- How many practices in your area have a similar name and how close are they to you? If you have 10 practices on your street all with a very similar name, then your name is probably worth changing.
- How long have you owned the domain and how much marketing work have you put in already? If you have invested a great deal of time and money into SEO work and pushing your brand name, it may not be worth changing the name. You would look like a brand new practice in Google’s eyes and you would lose a lot of your hard-earned reputation and credibility.
If you do decide to do a rebrand, keep in mind that the process is very involved. It includes updating all of your directory and citation listings, as well as performing a 301 redirect from your old website to your new one. Of course, all of this can be done, and we rebrand dentists all the time– but it’s not necessary if you have a website and a domain that already ranks well on Google.
On the other hand, if a dentist has owned a website for five or ten years but has never done a great job with the marketing, it may be worth changing the name and putting the marketing work into ranking a different name that will have more long-term value.
If you’re in this situation and you’re not sure what to do, you can always reach out to us by going to revupdental.com. We’d be happy to look into it for you and give you some advice free of charge.