Grow Your Practice

Right now, potential patients in your local area are searching on Google for the services that you provide.

They are using their computers and mobile devices to locate a professional with your credentials, experience, and training. Naturally, Google wants to provide these users with the best, most locally relevant results possible.

A properly executed Local SEO strategy will allow you to come up for more of these searches, both in Google’s organic listings and Google Maps results, ultimately resulting in a steady stream of new patients and the substantial growth of your practice. Once your Local SEO strategy gains momentum, you’ll be getting valuable new reviews, links, and citations every month. Few strategies offer better return on your investment.

Effective Local SEO Strategy Elements

As is usually the case with Google, there is no secret to what the search engine wants when it comes to an effective Local SEO strategy. Among the most important elements are:

Your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP)

Perhaps the most fundamental component of Local SEO is making sure that the NAP – name, address, and phone number – contact information for your practice is absolutely consistent across the Web, down to the last detail.

For example, a practice name should not appear as “The Center for Advanced Health Care” in one location and “Center for Advanced Healthcare” in another. Such inconsistencies will damage a business’s reputation both with Google and its prospective clients.

This may seem like a simple concept, but many businesses fall at this hurdle. Making sure that your NAP information is consistent is essential to your being found for local searches.

Your Local Profile Pages

From Google+ and Bing to Yelp and Foursquare, there are hundreds of online resources that provide you with the opportunity to create a business listing. At the very least, you will want to make sure that you create and verify a Google+ Local page for every one of your office locations. Beyond that, your practice should have local profile pages on as many reputable review and directory sites as possible.

Make sure that your NAP and other information is consistent from listing to listing, and make sure there are not duplicate listings for a single office location on any given website.

In some cases, you may find that listings for your business already exist even though you didn’t create them. By exercising your right to claim these listings, you can make sure that they accurately represent your practice.

Patient Reviews

Reviews from actual patients in your area are among the strongest local signals that can be transmitted to search engines. Legitimate reviews, especially those that are balanced, fair, and detailed, are more likely to be trusted by your prospective patients than any other form of marketing. Therefore, Google is more likely to view practices with substantive reviews as a good resource for local searches.

When it comes to reviews, both quality and quantity count. The more thorough, well-written reviews you have at a variety of review sites, the better.

Locally Relevant Content

Including the location of your practice in your website copy doesn’t automatically make that content locally relevant. On the other hand, devoting blog posts to your monthly specials, your community involvement, the history of your practice in the area, and patients with particularly compelling stories will signal to Google that your content is of legitimate local interest.

As you create locally relevant content, don’t limit it to your website or blog. Publish it to your practice’s Google+ and Facebook pages. Announce it on Twitter. Link to it from your LinkedIn account. Let people in your community know that you have something to say that they will want to hear.

Citations, Citations, Citations

In the early days of SEO, inbound links from one website to another weighed extremely heavily in Google’s search results. Unfortunately, these results could be manipulated, with many companies relying on low-quality paid links to prop up their rankings.

These tactics no longer work, thankfully. While quality links are still extremely important, local SEO is more reliant on quality citations. What is a citation? Loosely defined, any instance of your practice being mentioned on another website constitutes a citation. If that citation happens to occur on a highly respected website and include your NAP contact information, your logo, and a link to your website, it will contribute powerfully to your Local SEO.

The more of these strong citations you have, the better your chances of being found locally.

Honesty and Fair Play

There are no shortcuts when it comes to Local SEO. Some businesses try to cheat by providing false addresses, stuffing keywords into their business names or profiles, lying about the services they provide on their websites or in their profiles, creating false negative reviews of their competitors and false positive reviews for themselves, and other dubious practices. Eventually, these businesses are caught in the act by both Google and consumers, with the latter invariably leaving negative reviews.

Avoid over-optimization, be clear and distinct in describing your practice, and respond professionally and courteously to less than positive reviews while promoting the positive.

Let Google deal with the businesses that attempt to manipulate search results. While they fall by the wayside, your practice will continue to be found for the services you proudly offer. Google readily rewards clean hands.

Are you doing your local SEO correctly?

Benefits of Local SEO Done Right

It is worth repeating that the ultimate benefit of Local SEO done right is improved visibility for local searches on Google and, as a result, a consistent flow of new patients. In addition, Local SEO allows you to:

Strengthen Your Brand

People are more likely to trust and be loyal to brands that are represented consistently across all platforms, from brochures to radio ads. When done properly, Local SEO imposes this brand consistency across multiple Internet platforms, sending positive signals to search engines and instilling in your prospective patients confidence in your professionalism and standing within your field.

Manage Your Online Reputation

Google relies on signals from multiple sources to determine not only where your business is located, but also how likely its users are to be pleased that they were directed to your practice. By taking ownership of the social media pages, directory listings, and ratings and reviews resources devoted to your practice, you gain tremendous control over your online reputation.

Connect with Patients in Your Area

Many small businesses are led to believe that if they target as many cities, towns, and neighborhoods as they can within as large a radius as possible, they will draw clients from these areas as well as from their local communities. Depending on the nature of the business, this strategy may even make sense. However, practices that aim big and neglect the prospective patients in their area often see such a strategy backfire. Not only do they fail to attract patients from these relatively distant locations, but they also risk coming across as irrelevant to local searches.

By providing prospective patients with locally relevant blog and social media posts, reviews, and other content, you will engage and create bonds with people in your community before they even contact your practice.

Convert More Users into Patients than with Traditional Marketing

According to a report conducted by Search Engine Journal, Local SEO leads convert at a rate of 14.6 percent as opposed to a 1.7 conversion rate from leads generated by more traditional forms of marketing, such as print advertising and direct mail.

While this rate varies from industry to industry, this statistic underlines the fact that Local SEO provides better value for money than virtually any other marketing medium.

What Is the Cost of Doing SEO?

The road to a successful Local SEO strategy can be confusing. The cost of your customized strategy will depend on your answers to several important questions:

  • How competitive is your marketplace?
  • What types of patients are you looking for?
  • How aggressive do you want to be?
  • How effective is your current Local SEO strategy?
  • Are you at risk of being or have you already been penalized by Google?

We Have the Answers

A complimentary consultation will map out the answers to these questions and set you on the road toward the SEO strategy that is right for you.

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