Hidden Pitfalls of Googling Yourself: Dentists & the SEO Performance Mirage

By: Sean Hamel

In this digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business, including dental practices.

Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in improving a dentist’s visibility in search engine results and attracting potential patients.

While it’s natural for dentists to want to assess the effectiveness of their SEO strategies, relying solely on Googling yourself may lead to misconceptions and inaccurate assessments of performance.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why dentists should avoid using personal searches as a reliable indicator of their SEO success.

Personalized Search Results

When you search for yourself or your dental practice, the results you see are influenced by various factors, including:

  • Location
  • Search History
  • Browsing Habits

Google tailors search results to provide you with the most relevant content based on these factors.

As a result, dentists may see their website ranking higher or lower than it actually does for the general public.

This personalized search bias can create a false sense of accomplishment or frustration, leading to inaccurate conclusions about the effectiveness of SEO efforts.

TIP: If you want a more accurate reading of where your site stands in Google rankings, open an Incognito or Private growing window and complete your search.

Dynamic Search Rankings

Search engine rankings are not static but rather dynamic and personalized.

Google’s algorithms continuously evolve, considering numerous factors when determining search rankings such as:

  • User intent
  • Relevance
  • Authority

Thus, it’s essential to understand that rankings can fluctuate from one day to another, even for the same search term.

Relying on a single search or a short-term observation might not provide an accurate representation of how well your dental practice ranks consistently over time.

Local SEO Focus

For dentists, a significant portion of their clientele comes from the local area. Implementing local SEO strategies helps target potential patients within their geographic vicinity.

However, when dentists search for themselves, they might see their website ranking fluctuate for local searches due to their proximity to the dental practice.

This localized bias can skew their perception of their website’s visibility, leading to misleading conclusions about the overall success of their SEO strategy.

Misinterpreting Traffic and Conversion Rates

The ultimate goal of SEO is not just to increase website visibility but also to drive quality traffic and convert visitors into patients.

When dentists assess their SEO success based on personal searches, they neglect important metrics like:

  • Organic traffic
  • Bounce rates
  • Conversion rates

These metrics provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of SEO strategies and user engagement on the website.

Googling oneself fails to capture this crucial information, resulting in a skewed perception of the overall SEO performance.

Limited View of the Competitive Landscape

Googling oneself offers a limited perspective on the competitive landscape. The true measure of SEO success lies in how well a dental practice ranks compared to its competitors.

By focusing solely on personal searches, dentists miss out on valuable insights into their competitors’ strategies, tactics, and overall performance.

Understanding the competition is vital for optimizing SEO efforts and staying ahead in the race for online visibility.


While it’s tempting for dentists to gauge their SEO success by Googling themselves, relying solely on personal searches can lead to skewed results and inaccurate assessments.

The personalized nature of search results, dynamic rankings, local bias, and the failure to account for traffic and conversion metrics, PLUS the limited competitive view all contribute to the unreliability of this method.

Instead, dentists should focus on comprehensive SEO analytics, including organic traffic, conversion rates, keyword rankings, and competitive analysis, to obtain a more accurate and holistic understanding of their online presence and SEO effectiveness.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Sean Hamel

Sean Hamel

A recent addition to the DentistryIQ Advisory Board, Sean Hamel is a seasoned dental marketing professional and the founder and CEO of Art of Dental Marketing. ADM is a story-based dental marketing agency that helps practices get found online and convert web traffic into real patients. We understand that every practice is unique and has a story to tell, but they just don’t know how to get it out to the community. ADM builds state-of-the-art, video-based websites, powerful local SEO strategies, and effective pay-per-click campaigns, and provides an attentive and comprehensive client service experience for every practice.