When potential new patients look for a doctor or healthcare provider, they want someone nearby.
You want to make sure that your business is noticed locally, so you can attract the patients you want. With a well-designed strategy, you can improve your online presence and achieve your business goals with Local SEO.
You went to medical to become a doctor, not an expert in marketing.
Learning something new takes time, and local SEO is no different. We have the tools and staff to handle all of your local search listings to make sure you stand out from your competition.
Let Just A Web Company handle your local search profiles while you focus on providing excellent care to your patients.
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Normal SEO and local SEO have some cross over, but there are key differences that separate them and warrant them being separate activities.
Both serve to push your healthcare website higher in organic search engine rankings so that your site is given more visibility.
However, local SEO sets itself apart from traditional healthcare SEO by limiting the scope. Local SEO as the name suggests, focuses on patients that are searching within your local geographical area.
This may seem counter-productive, but employing this limited scope will help you get attention from potential patients who can actually visit your office, and is one the quicker ways to start getting new business in the door.
Both strategies employ many of the same tactics. They both serve to build up your website and the content on each page. But, local SEO uses specific measures to directly connect with users around your office. This includes using Google Business Profiles to show in Google’s Map Pack or Local Pack to push your business to people directly around you. Both strategies will help your practice in the long run, and optimizing local SEO works in tandem with your organic SEO.
Local SEO for doctors is especially unique compared to other industries. The healthcare industry is closely tied to well-being and quality of life. For this reason, websites that provide medical information are classified as “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)” by Google.
Google requires YMYL pages to follow more strict quality standards. These pages can influence a user’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability, so any inaccurate or misrepresented information directly impacts the user and your rank on Google. Google holds YMYL pages to higher standards for this reason.
By focusing on localizing your SEO strategy, you can increase your website’s visibility to increase the chance that potential patients will contact you for their healthcare needs. Local SEO helps you improve your site’s user experience and make a positive impression on visitors to your website, which all help increase the number of potential patients contacting you.
When you optimize for local searches, your site will appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for those with “near me” or other indicators of location. This prompts Google to show nearby businesses. For medical professionals, this kind of search is especially important since many practices operate locally rather than nationally.
The main benefit you gain from targeting a local audience is this increased visibility with high quality leads. Google ranks websites and web pages based on their relevance to the question asked, prominence or authority on the subject, and on their location. For your website to rank higher, you should focus on these three things.
Because of its focus on local businesses, local SEO is especially beneficial for any medical office looking to establish itself in a region or community. Boosting your visibility online tends to boost your visibility within a community. This can turn into more patients over time.
The data shown in the Google Map Pack is drawn directly from your GBP, or Google Business Profile.
The first step to getting your healthcare practice in front of a local audience is to create a GBP for your practice.
A well-optimized GBP ensures your medical practice will will be well positioned to compete for new patients.
If you are a new medical practice looking for patients or you have been around for years, we can help you create and maintain a profile that converts more visitors on your website into patients.
You can optimize this listing by uploading high-quality pictures of your practice onto your listing, getting reviews from customers, and making sure the information on your listing – business name, phone number, address, and hours that your office is open – remains accurate and up-to-date. Just A Web Company can manage your listing for you, so that your page stays on the first page of Google.
The first step in this strategy is normally to create a Google Business Profile (GBP) profile. You can do this by first checking Google to see if you already have an auto-generated profile.
If you do, you can claim that business listing as your business and begin editing the information. If not, you can create a GMB listing for your medical practice.
If your practice has not been verified yet, click the “Verify Now” prompt on the GBP dashboard. Google will then deliver a verification code via phone or email.
As part of your Google Business Profile, you should include your Name, Address, and Phone number (NAP). Once you have filled in these basics, also consider including your hours of operation, photos of your office or the building it is in, and a small description about your practice and what services you offer. Each piece of information boosts your relevance to a query, especially in the description where you can add keywords to increase visibility.
It is critical that all your business information is accurate and up to date. This includes any photos or videos that will become a part of your profile. If any details of your business, such as an address or a phone number, have changed, you should update this information immediately.
Google Business Profiles for healthcare providers allow you to also put other important information such as appointment links, insurances that you accept and other important pieces of information that potential patients may need.
Keeping your information up to date also extends to any other directories, such as healthcare directories or other online websites like Yelp. Make sure your NAP is accurate and consistent with your GMB listing. If information is missing or incorrect, take the steps to correct it so that patients are not left confused or frustrated by multiple listings.
A common mistake made by businesses when creating their Google Business Profile is not claiming their proper primary category.
If you are a Family Practice Doctor, you should be claiming “Family Practice Physician”. If you are an Orthopedic Surgeon you would choose the “Orthopedic Surgeon” category.
The Services Section: The services section is a newer feature of GBP. It offers a great place to add information such as conditions treated, areas of specialty and more.
By adding your specific area of medicine that you specialize in, you can highlight your expertise and ensure you only attract relevant patients looking for the care that you provide.
Accessibility: This section is meant to list the physical features of your practice. Here, you can select the options relevant to the building where your offices are located, such as wheelchair accessibility options and amenities.
While this section may not seem relevant, it can boost your reputation in the local community. Having a medical practice that accommodates certain groups leads to more potential patients coming through your doors.
Providing images and videos of your medical office is important to optimize your Google Business Profile.
While Google’s algorithm is smart, without emphasis on your own images they’ll try and fill the blanks. This means that images representing your practice may be incorrect.
Upload your own photos of videos of your office’s interior and exterior so that patients see accurate information. This will help increase your profile’s reputation.
Images are one of the three main factors Google looks at when deciding to rank your website. Websites and listings with more images tend to rank higher than their competitors. Having images on your listing and your website also directly helps with a potential patient’s first impression of your practice. Reviews are close behind, but people are more likely to look at an image than read through a review. Make sure your first impression sets the right tone.
Reviews are a great way of managing your online reputation.
Having direct quotes from patients who received the service they needed provides solid proof to both Google and potential patients that your practice provide quality services.
These positive reviews establish credibility for your practice and can make or break your online visibility.
Monitor your reviews to make sure that you have positive reviews on top.
For any business, reviews can make or break their reputation. This is especially true of healthcare practices. As part of your local SEO strategy, you want to encourage patients to leave reviews, whether it is directly on Google or on review sites such as Yelp. These reviews can boost your authority within a community and with Google.
Patients want to find the right practice for their healthcare needs. When researching local medical offices, they will likely turn to reviews to determine whether your practice is the right fit for them. Reviews can also tell them about the quality of care they will receive if they choose to become your patient. These reviews act as a sign of trust, especially from existing clients.
Negative reviews are just as important as positive reviews. How you handle any negative reviews will reflect on your professionalism and your practice, especially if handled well. For negative reviews, you want to rectify the situation and show potential patients that you value transparency; you are willing to show times when your practice has failed and how you worked to fix the mistake.
NAP stands for the name, address, and phone number of your business.
This information needs to remain accurate on your GBP listing, as incorrect information can cause potential patients to lose trust and interest in your practice.
It’s also important to keep these three key points of information consistent across all other citations that your practice creates.
Conflicting information on your business over different sources causes both Google and patients to lose trust in your practice.
Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to NAP. These means that if you use abbreviations such as “Ave.” or St.”, make sure you use the abbreviations everywhere. If you use STE don’t use Ste. Suite number. Stick with one way of presenting your information and keep it uniform. This helps to instill trust and helps with your online authority.
Citations are mentions and links back to your medical practice website from another website or online directory.
By claiming your GBP listing and adding a link, you are creating a citation in the Google BusinessProfiles directory.
Other directories, such as Yelp, and Yellow Pages also count as citations and help your Local SEO efforts.
Any website that displays your NAP openly is considered a citation website.
Uploading a listing with your information will help get your business out into the open.
The importance of these citations comes from their ability to increase your authority. The more citations you have out there, the more Google takes your business as a business they can trust. This raises your authority. The higher your authority, the better chance you have at ranking higher in SERPs.
Even social media accounts for your business count as citations. Facebook business accounts with your address and phone number listed get your information out and build Google’s trust in your business’ authority.
When creating each of your citations, make sure you fill out them completely. Claim a category that matches what your business does, link your website, and add any logos or photos of your healthcare office that you have on your Google Business Profile. Photos are an important part of brand recognition. The more unique information the citation has, the more likely more traffic will come on to your site.
You also need to actively make sure that no duplicates of your listing exist, and make sure you don’t create any duplicates yourself. Duplicate listings don’t help with your business’ SEO efforts and can create issues with the search engine data aggregators that are gathering information on your business.
These aggregators can also sometimes create their own listing from the information they gathered. Even if you don’t create a duplicate listing, there’s a chance one will form automatically. Make sure to actively check back on these websites and delete any duplicate listings that form.
Like SEO, you will want to include keyword optimization in your GBP in order to maximize your ranking. The description of your business should use keywords to signal to Google what your business is and what is should be ranking for. When choosing search results, Google is looking for GBP’s that match the inquiry.
Medical offices can boost their relevance by claiming their category, uploading the correct images, and include keywords and key phrases – which are words and phrases commonly used when searching for a specific subject – in the description section of your Google Business Profile. It’s important to do research on what keywords to use so that your listing has the best chances of ranking above the other medical offices in your area.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that distance between your medical office and the person conducting the search is important. This is a big difference from organic SEO, which focuses more on content versus location.
Google determines this factor by measuring the distance between the IP address of your office and that of the person searching. Those closer to you will see your listing higher on the list, and it will be tougher to rank for the people that are further away from you.
Many people search for medical professionals, or just businesses in general, on their smartphones. Because of this, Google will use the exact GPS location of their phone to determine what results to show to the user. They further a person is away from your location, they less likely your practice will show up in the local results.
There are quite a few strategies to consider when trying to increase your medical practice’s prominence. The main thing to consider is the overall performance of your website. This is measures through backlinks, the number of articles posted onto your website, and the number of ratings and reviews your listing has.
Backlinks are near the top of the list when it comes to measuring your website’s authority. Backlinks are essentially when another website, whether that a competitor, blog, or news source, links to your website from content on their domain. Having other trusted sites link to your website shows Google that your site is also able to be trusted.
Reviews are also incredibly important, not just for gaining the trust of potential patients, but also for gaining Google’s trust. Google uses the star-rating of your listing as one of several signals as to rank your business.
Your organic SEO results also effect your local prominence. The amount of time that people spend reading articles on your website also sends signals to Google that your website is trustworthy. When writing articles for your online source, you need to keep the information concise, informative and accurate.
Your website is often responsible for your healthcare practice’s first impression on new patients. You want to showcase your professionalism, expertise, and care. You must invest in creating a user-friendly and informative website.
Potential and existing patients should have a good experience with your clinic online. Your website should be visually appealing, clearly structured, and easy to navigate.
One of the simplest ways to do this is by clearly displaying your NAP and hours of operation in a visible location in an easy to find area on your website. This can take the form of a footer or a ‘Contact Us’ page.
Navigating your website should also be easy. For practices that offer multiple services, consider creating a landing page for each type of service, so potential clients can find the information they are looking for without having to search through your entire website. For doctors who may work in multiple locations, consider creating landing pages for each location you practice in, to make it easier for patients in different areas to find the right location.
Your website should also be optimized based on keywords relevant to your practice and location. For local SEO, geographic keywords, such as “Los Angeles” or “San Diego,” are especially important. These geo modifiers tell visitors to your website where you are located. They also help Google connect your business with its location, so that when users search for a nearby healthcare provider, the search engines can server up the best results based on a users query.
Many users now search for nearby businesses via their phones. You want your website to work regardless of the device being used. Having a responsive design for a healthcare website is a must. This means that your website will automatically adjust to fit a screen size while making it easy for a visitor to navigate and use the site on their mobile device.
It is important to link your website on your GBP to increase incoming traffic to your website.
That means that you should have an optimized page for new patients so that they get the best possible opinion of your practice from the first look.
If you have multiple locations it is recommended to develop a landing page for each physical location that matches the information listed on your Google Business Profile.
Meta Titles, Descriptions and Heading Tags are part of traditional SEO, but do cross over and can impact Local SEO results for healthcare providers.
These three things are very important for signaling to Google what your page is about.
They also signify the first bit of written content that potential patients will see before coming onto your site.
Make sure to use keywords and carefully craft the few sentences you get to draw the most attention.
You can use this short description to include local keywords as well, boosting your local SEO efforts for your medical practice.
Meta Titles show in the search results page. They are the blue links that someone clicks on. This is your “shingle” for your medical practice. Your title needs to convey the visitor that you are indeed to the medical practice they are searching for.
Meta Descriptions are your “elevator pitch”. You have about two sentences worth of information to convey to a potential patient that you are the right choice for them to click on.
You don’t have complete control over meta titles or descriptions. Google may add your brand name or other words without your permission. Regardless, you do not want to stuff your meta title or description with keywords. Make sure to include location and a relevant keyword or two.
Heading tags are often the first piece of written of content that shows on a given page after the header section. This is an important signal search engines and readers use to determine what your page is about. Putting location information such as “Family Practice Doctor In Los Angeles” will help boost your local marketing efforts.
Mobile friendly websites effect Local SEO. With more people doing voice searches, the users location effects the results that will appear.
More than 50% of Google searches now happen on smartphones, and Google promotes websites optimized for mobile use. Mobile-first indexing means websites optimized to be responsive and fast for mobile devices leads to higher ranks in SERPs when compared to those websites that are not.
The number one action users take when searching for local healthcare practices on their phone is placing a call via their mobile device.
There are a few other factors that make mobile critically important to your website’s local SEO:
‘Near me’ searches are automated search mechanism in Google’s mobile search app. When a user begins to type in a key phrase, such as ‘orthopedist,’ Google will give recommendations that reads ‘orthopedists near me.’ When users tap this recommendation, they will instantly see a collection of orthopedists in their area. Google rewards healthcare practices who actively engage in local SEO strategies.
The increased use of voice search has been one of the biggest game changers in mobile searches. Users can pull out their mobile device, open the Google search app, tap the mic, and state their search query. Large numbers of voice searches are for local businesses, so using best local SEO practices boosts healthcare practices over their competitors that do not optimize their local SEO strategy.
Further emphasizing the importance of mobile-friendly local SEO, Google’s search app uses location awareness as a key factor. By using a user’s exact location via their mobile device’s GPS, a search engine can find the most relevant results based on the practice’s distance from that user. Direct data is the best way to maximize your local SEO for your healthcare practice. In basic terms, direct data is all the small details Google associates with your practice and uses it to determine your rank. The more specific your direct data, the better your local SEO.
Examples of direct data include:
Schema, or structured data, is a coded text language that directly helps search engines understand not only what’s on your page, but what it really is about.
This understanding directly helps Google match your page with the people who are looking for it.
Adding this while working on your SEO and local SEO strategy will directly boost your page on search engine results pages.
Schema is one of the most underutilized tools, so using on your website will give your website a leg above competition.
There is Schema that is specific to medical business’s. It is important to be specific as possible with your organizations type of schema. There are various types of medical business specific schema such as Physician, Oncologic, PlasticSurgery, MedicalClinic, PublicHealth and more. You can view the different types of schema for MedicalBusiness here.
The faster your website loads, the better. No one wants to wait for a page to load every time they click on a link on your website.
The quicker that each of your page’s loads, the longer a potential patient will stay on your website.
The longer they stay on your website, the more likely they’ll become an actual patient.
This is the same for both desktop and mobile users. Make sure you use the proper tools to track your site speed. There are multiple items that go into increasing your site speed. A few examples of the items include compressing image files, not using plugins or visual builders, have a good hosting server. There is a lot more that goes into it, but this is an important ranking factor for local search.
In order to encourage more potential patients to contact you, your website should include helpful and informative content.
Content can improve your ranking in SERPs by driving more traffic to your site and acting as an added place to use local keywords, boosting relevancy and authority.
Examples of localized information are events hosted by your practice at your office, articles about a new service available at your practice, videos, or posts about local health information such as flu outbreaks, and information tailored to your specific office locations.
You should consider local interests and what type of patient would likely search for you or your site. Blogs are one of the easiest forms of sharing information and generating content, but you should consider what content is right for your practice.
For healthcare websites, the most important types of content to include are:
The more content you add to your website, the more opportunities you have to use local keywords such as geo modifiers to target your relevant audience. Do not miss out on the opportunity to build your credibility and visibility. By covering current and common medical topics you can help provide relevant sought after information and increases your relevance in the local search results.
Creating a successful localized strategy for a healthcare practice requires a strong understanding of SEO, content creation, and web design.
With constant changes to Google’s algorithm, monitoring your keywords and website optimization can be a difficult task. It takes time to do the research necessary to stay relevant and improve your rank in SERPs.
A digital marketing agency can step in to help your practice gain visibility online
Experienced agencies can monitor your website’s progress for you and adjust your local SEO strategy based on those results. This frees up time for you to focus on your practice without having to worry about your online performance.
Our team at Just A Web Company knows how to create a local SEO strategy for your practice. No two healthcare practices are alike, so we tailor everything to suit your needs. Whether you are struggling with your current local SEO strategy or you have no strategy at all, contact us to learn more about how we can boost your practice’s online presence.
Keeping on top of your online profiles is time-consuming and difficult. Save time and fruition and allow our team to do the work for you. Contact us to learn how you can benefit from LOCAL SEO FOR YOUR Medical Practice today.