Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the goal of most businesses with any level of internet presence. A good SEO program means that your website and information is easily found, thus drawing clients, customers, or patients to your business. Much of the information about SEO discusses how to make your business stand out on a global level, but the target audience for many physician groups and healthcare providers is more local or regional. The key is to maximize your SEO within your local market.
Google My Business:
Google+ has been around a while now and it is a great way to connect with family, friends, and associates. Many businesses have Google+ pages but are missing out on the many advantages of Google My Business. With this program, your business information will be on Search, Maps, Google+, and Google Places; which means that customers can find you, no matter what device they're using. It will also show reviews, hours of operation, and driving directions. To use this program to its best advantage you should:
- Make sure your business name is what people know you by so they are searching for the right person/group. Some physician groups become known as a nickname and if that is the name that is prevalent in the market, that is the one you should use.
- Claim a custom URL.
- Tell a great “story” about your business as it will be your meta description in search results.
- Assure all contact information and office hours are complete and accurate.
- Use a great screen shot of your business.
- Encourage participation from your clients/patients, especially reviews. Within the medical field in particular, positive reviews are critical to attracting new patients.
- Provide categories to assure that the right people can find you.
When used well, Google My Business is a great way to boost local SEO.
Get Your NAP On:
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Get your NAP on as many external websites as possible. This includes business directories, Angie’s List, websites about area businesses and general local, etc. It is important to assure that your information is accurate across all listings.
Get Your APP On:
Nearly 80% of local searches on a mobile device leads to off-line purchases. While this statistic is global rather than healthcare, it is reasonable to expect in our smart-phone-happy world that many healthcare decisions are also made from a mobile phone. Because of this, it is critical that your website be mobile friendly.
Register Your Medical Practice Where it Matters:
In addition to listing the business with directories, there are several sites you should register with to maximize local SEO. These include:
- Yahoo Local
- Yelp For Business Owners/Yelp
- Bing Places for Business/Bing
- FourSquare for Business/Foursquare
Each of these sites is used by people searching for medical care or businesses within a specific, local area. By registering with them, you become part of a larger local search process which brings more potential patients/clients to your doorstep.
SEO doesn’t have to mean that you reach the world. When used well, you can maximize your effectiveness in reaching your local audience to best benefit your medical practice.