For local healthcare businesses such as GP’s, Dentists and Surgeons, the growth of technology and digital marketing have given customers another way to interact with various services including: finding their local practises, booking appointments and even reserving prescriptions.
The internet presents opportunities for any business within any industry to grow and expand their audience. With well implemented local SEO techniques, healthcare companies can improve not only visibility but also have an advantage over competitors.
An important statistic to note is that 77% of patients used search prior to booking an appointment. This post will provide some great tips for professionals and practitioners on how to make the most of local SEO.
In a nutshell, I would recommend:
- Having a fast, secure and mobile friendly website
- Getting listed on Google My Business
- Using medical schema
- Building links
- On-page optimisation
- Adding a reviews page
Fast, secure and mobile friendly
As well as being great for usability, having fast website load speeds is also a ranking factor.
Google recommends that your website should load within two seconds as a threshold, but ideally, it needs to be under half a second. Research has found that 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
With 52.2% of all website traffic coming from mobile, it is important to optimise your website for this. As of March 2018, Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the site within search results on mobile and this can be seen as a ranking factor.
To coincide with this, according to the mobile search moments study conducted by Google, 40% of mobile searches have local intent, making this ideal for targeting local healthcare customers.
Ensuring your website is SSL secure helps to improve the security on your website and also inspire greater trust from your customers. It could be very off-putting when filling out a form about personal medical details if a customer were to see a “not secure” sign next to the URL. In the examples below the left is not secure, whereas the right is:
We have previously created a handy guide on What you need to know about optimising for mobile
Make sure you are listed on Google My Business
Google My Business allows you to further improve your visibility in Google search results and maps. It is free to sign up to and includes many sections to help breakdown your company in detail and give your potential customers as much information as possible.
It is important to fully utilise all of the features in Google My Business as Google relies on this for local searches.
Often, a patient’s journey begins online with 1 in 20 of all Google searches being health related, so giving a snippet of information to entice someone to the website can aid to answer their question.
This can be done through schema. Schema is a piece of code you put on your website to give search engines more information about your company or page and project it back to users in search results.
Medical schema can help search engines interpret the information on your website, giving it a chance to be included within search results. It is recommended that your schema is drilled down to specific levels such as dentist or pharmacy.
Gain links from local businesses, websites & directories
Adding your healthcare business to local and creditable business directories is a great way to help people in your local area find your services. This will also help search engines determine your location and business information.
Tip: ensure that your citations are consistent and match the NAP (name, address and phone number) on your website.
As the local community is at the heart of most healthcare businesses, it is important to concentrate on targeting keywords that people in your area are looking for. Ensuring location-specific keywords are in on-page elements such as titles, headings and body content is a great start.
If your business offers multiple practices, consider creating service area pages to help specifically target areas. This can only have a positive impact if the content is unique and high-quality enough to warrant its own page.
Another area of the website to consider is the NAP. You need to ensure that these are clearly visible throughout the website, as well as the contact page.
Finally, it is important to optimise images with alt text, as this helps to rank them within image search results.
Add a reviews page to your website
Allowing patients to add credible and honest reviews helps build trust with visitors to your site, so be sure to ask customers for reviews and feedback.
Just to note, there are various ways to add reviews to your website, whether it be via a widget or a reviews page.
It is important to consider local SEO techniques to help drive customers to your website, helping you to not only be more visible but to showcase your brand and services.