How important is local SEO for your medical business? As 46% of results on Google are local searches, it’s safe to say local SEO is very important for the growth of your medical business. Local search engine optimization can make a huge difference in your conversion rate. It can significantly increase website traffic and clientele.
Now you might be asking — If local SEO increases business, then why isn’t everyone doing it? Local SEO is a tricky concept and requires a lot of time, effort, and consistency. You must be familiar with SEO if you are using it as a marketing strategy. If search engine optimization is new to you, consider researching this marketing strategy prior to utilizing it, or read more about it here. Otherwise, continue to read this article to learn about a local SEO checklist that can enhance your medical website, and grow your medical business. The checklist contains the following:
- Technical SEO
- On-page SEO
- Link building
- Google My Business
- Social media marketing and review management
Prior to checking off the components on your local SEO checklist, it’s important to understand the factors of local SEO rankings.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
There are many different factors that will affect your local SEO ranking for your medical website, however these change over time and we can expect them to always change with Google’s algorithm. This can be challenging because you want to organically rank on search results while maintaining a presence on Maps Pack, which is where your medical business is displayed for patients who are searching for business listings. However, if you focus on the following factors, your local online presence should increase:
- Google My Business
- Web user responses
- Social media
It’s important to understand what these local SEO factors are and how they can affect your medical website’s ranking on search engines.
Now that we know which local SEO factors affect your ranking on search engines, let’s get into the local SEO checklist that will aid the local SEO factors we just discussed. We will cover the above-mentioned components, and what each of these SEO components consists of to get your medical website to rank on local search engines.
Technical SEO Factors
The technical factors of your website are the basic standards that your medical website should meet. It is what provides users with a good user experience, and revolves around the following capabilities:
- Mobile and desktop
- Google Analytics and Google console
- XML sitemap
- Robots.txt file
- 404 errors
Your website speed is crucial. If your website does not respond in a quick manner, website visitors will instantly click out of your website. Furthermore, the speed of your website contributes to your ranking on search engines. If your website speed is slow, this should be the first thing you fix. The internet and its users will not browse a website that is slow in speed. There are websites you can utilize to check the speed of your medical website for both mobile and desktop, such as PageSpeed Insights.
Ensure your Medical Website is Both Desktop Friendly and Mobile Friendly
There is no longer a need for computers, desktops, and laptops because we have phones that can now provide us with more tools than a desktop does. In fact, website traffic is higher on mobile devices than on desktop devices. Because of this, Google now considers how your website appears on mobile devices first prior to indexing them and ranking them. For obvious reasons, you need to make sure your medical website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate for mobile users.
Google Analytics and Google Console
When running a website for your medical business it’s important to be aware of how well it is performing and how effective your marketing strategies are. Tracking and measuring your website statistics can help you decide what needs improvement and what is functioning well. To do this, you will need to add Google Analytics to your site and set up Search Console. The longer you have these tools connected to your medical website, the more website data you will have. So, it’s useful to incorporate these as soon as possible.
An XML sitemap is a web file that contains a list of the pages on your medical website. Search engines use these files to grab pertinent information regarding your site and its URL. This makes it easier for search engines to recognize your medical website. In order for this to occur, you would need to submit the sitemap of your website to Google Search Console.
Similar to an XML sitemap, Robots.txt allows your website to be indexed by Google, and rank on search engines. However, this is a single text file that notifies engine crawlers if they have permission to, essentially, enter the pages on your site. So, if you have blocked bots from your files, search engines won’t be able to crawl and index your site. In this case, you want your website to be indexed to rank high on search engines. In order for this to occur, you need to create a Robots.txt file.
404 error messages indicate that the page is unavailable. This happens when content had been deleted, a site has been moved, a server has found an error with the URL, or the URL no longer exists. If website visitors receive this message when attempting to visit your site, it will leave them feeling frustrated. Furthermore, it isnt a good representation of your medical business. In order to avoid this, use a tool such as Screaming Frog to detect any 404 errors on your website.
On-page optimization is the process of optimizing all of the pages on your website to rank on search engines. This includes optimizing website components such as title tags, content, URLs, internal links, etc.
Ranking on search engines is competitive and may take several SEO optimization attempts before earning a spot on the top pages of search engines. Consider your medical website to be a car. When trying to sell the car, it may catch the attention of a few people. Paint and detail the car and people will become increasingly interested. The same goes for your medical website. It won’t attract attention if it is old, slow, and hard to navigate.
On the other hand, when first beginning your local search SEO, you don’t need to overthink it. Update, fix and adjust your website, ensure it’s user-friendly and easy to navigate and you are off to a good start.
Include important information such as your medical facility address, contact information, and hours of operation. These small details are important and play a crucial role in optimizing your site for local searches. When patients are searching for a medical facility like yours, this is the information they are looking for. The more information about your medical business, the better.
In order to optimize your medical website to rank on local searches, here is what you will need to do:
Update your homepage, contact page, and about page
As previously discussed, these will be your most important pages. If web searchers click on your website, the first pages they will visit are the homepage, contact page, and about page. Make sure these pages are welcoming, eye-capturing, engaging, and useful. Include a call to action, and how your services can benefit those who are visiting your website.
Make sure your NAP is easy to find
The name, address, and phone number of every medical facility you have should clearly be stated. Ensure website visitors find your information quickly and easily. Your NAP can be on your about page, homepage, or contact page. To take it a step further, you can include it at the bottom of each page on your medical website. On any page where your NAP is present, ensure the information is accurate and up to date.
Include a Google Map on your contact page
Make it easy and effortless for potential patients to locate you. This contributes to their user experience and immediately creates a positive patient experience.
Create a navigation menu
As a medical professional, you may work in several different areas under your practice. For example, you own a med spa and offer laser hair removal, facials, and acne treatment. Patients are only interested in one service and want to know more about it. Create a menu that lists the services you offer. Make sure these pages are up-to-date and provide website visitors with useful information regarding these services. Make sure website visitors are able to easily navigate their way through your website.
Use clickable phone numbers
It is convenient when potential patients can click on a phone number and it directs them to call the phone number of your medical facility without having to manually input it on their mobile device. Make sure the phone numbers on your website are clickable for website visitors.
Offer a good user experience
User experience is crucial for good SEO. it’s very easy to exit out of a website that isnt delivering fast results, valuable information, and a solution to a problem.
Optimize your metadata
Optimizing your metadata is another small website component that can positively impact your local SEO. Use your city, practice area, or main keyword in your meta descriptions, header tags, URLs, and title tags.
Use quality images
The images that you use on your medical website matter. Don’t use large images that can slow your site down, but ensure they are high quality and have a title that describes the services you offer.
Add schema to the pages of your medical website. Essentially, this aids in the process of being seen by Google. This is code that is recognized by many different search platforms.
Local SEO Content
The content throughout the pages of your website also plays a role in your local SEO. Additionally, you can enhance your website by publishing valuable content each week, such as blogs and articles. This is important because each page on your website increases the chances of being recognized by search engines.
Focus on targeting local keywords to reduce competition and improve your reach. To improve your reach, you need to provide valuable content. Prior to writing the content, do thorough research and consider common questions that patients ask you.
Here is how to create effective local SEO content:
Create unique content
Make sure the content you create relates to your medical business in one way or another. It should offer value to patients that are visiting your medical website.
Optimize your content
Optimizing your content is key. This is so your website can generate local searches. To optimize your content for local search, include your target keywords in the title, headings, meta description, URL, and throughout the content on each page.
Avoid dull text & remove duplicate content
When creating content, ensure you are maintaining the tone and style of your writing and providing engaging and valuable content. Do not create content just to fill your website. Google will catch onto invaluable content and duplicate content and it won’t benefit your website or medical business. Write valuable content that addresses common questions, and procedures, and proves the value of your work by including testimonials, and social proof.
Create local landing pages
Landing pages are pages that land website users on a page that demands action such as a “Book now” form. These can especially be useful if you offer services to patients in more areas than one. If you do create local landing pages make sure each one has the correct NAP and a map for its location.
Use customer testimonials
Patients feel more confident in their decision of choosing you as their medical professional if there is proof of your work. More importantly, it creates trust. Add patient testimonials to your medical website to enhance its presence.
Add local images and videos
Adding images and videos that show your medical facility or represent its location can optimize your local SEO. When adding photos ad videos to your medical website, include relevant keywords in the title.
Citations are great for local SEO and establish trust and credibility. Citations are when another business references your business’s NAP. Citations are different from links, which is something we will also go over. Citations don’t necessarily link directly to your website, they are similar to listings that best describe your medical business and provide online users with your business contact information.
Consider the following for medical business citations:
Make sure your name, address, and phone number are accurate
There can be several different websites where your medical business is displayed. Make sure your contact information on all of these sites is accurate and up to date.
Link to the correct website
If the citation provides website users with a link for your medical business website, make sure the link is valid and correct.
Perform a citation audit and a competitor citation analysis
Get rid of listings that are incorrect and get listed where your competitors are listed.
List your business on local and niche directories
Get your medical business listed on local directories and directories tailored to the medical field you work in. Use websites like Yelp to increase your visibility online.
Citations are very important for local SEO, however, it’s important to also local link build. This idea can go two ways, both of which are equally as important. One way is to reference other credible websites by providing links. The other way is when another website references your website by including a link to your website. This can be tricky, but it is an effective SEO strategy.
Here are ways to build backlinks:
- Create niche-specific content
- Promote your content
- Star as a guest on relevant websites
- Analyze the citations and backlinks of your competitors
- Become partners with businesses in the same area as yours
- Attend relevant events to network
Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business plays a vital role in enhancing your website and ranking on search engines. This is where all of your patients and potential patients get the most important information regarding your medical facility. Additionally, it’s the most important citation.
When you search for a business on the internet, a list of businesses will generate on Google with the business’s name, address, phone number, photos of the business, and reviews. This is a Google My Business listing.
Here are the steps on how you can optimize your Google My Business listing.
Claim your listing
Claiming your listing is similar to claiming your business online.
Verify your listing
After you claim your listing, Google needs to verify you do own the business you are claiming.
Add data to the listing
When adding data to your Google My Business listing, you want to input accurate data. This is not a place for keywords, this is how your business will be presented to online users. Use the accurate name and information of your business.
Add the physical address of your medical facility
Ensure you correctly input the address. If your medical business has multiple facilities, create a new GMB listing for each one.
Select the type of business
This is another component Google will consider when internet users are searching for a particular business based on their service type.
Add your business phone number
Add the phone number of your business. Do not input a phony phone number or one that is no longer in service.
Add your website URL
Ensure you accurately input your medical website URL.
Choose business categories
This is another component Google will consider when internet users are searching for a particular business based on a specific service type.
Adding pictures of both inside and outside your business builds trust with both your customers and Google.
Last but not least, add any pertinent information such as your prices and hours of operation.
Social Media Marketing and Review Management
Social media and reviews are great ways for patients to learn more about you, your medical facility, and the services you offer. They can also increase your visibility and the chances for Google to notice your website. Furthermore, social media and reviews allow patients to trust you and create a reputation for your medical business.
Here is what you need to know to get started with social media and review management:
Create social media profiles
Social media is an amazing marketing tool for medical facilities. Millions of people use social media as a way to find the services they are interested in. Begin by creating an Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook account. Once you have a consistent posting schedule, consider a Youtube channel for your medical facility.
Interlink each account
In the bio of each social media profile, make sure your website’s URL and social media profiles are included.
Follow a schedule
Social media is only an effective marketing tool if you post consistently. Hire a social media strategist or task this job to an employee that has the availability to take it on. Staying consistent with social media is time-consuming and requires creativity.
The more reviews your medical facility has, the better. Google will notice your website if you are accumulating reviews. This is an important aspect, do not push this idea on patients. Mention it to them a few times and include notes around your medical office and on your business cards that remind patients to leave a review.
Respond to reviews
Respond to all the reviews you receive, both negative and positive. Thank those who have submitted a positive review and reach out to those who have submitted a negative review to solve the issue at hand. This shows you care about the patient experience.
Display reviews on your website
Dedicate a page on your medical website for testimonials and reviews to emphasize your hard work and the services you offer to patients. Website visitors will consider your patient testimonials and reviews before moving forward.
Local SEO is a very challenging marketing strategy, but it is essential if your marketing goal is to increase your medical website’s visibility and earn a presence on the top pages of search engines. It’s important to optimize every aspect of your website. Though this can all be an overwhelming lesson to learn, there are plenty of SEO agencies that focus on medical websites and are willing to help. Otherwise, you can review this article to grasp the marketing concepts revolved around local SEO for your medical business.