Getting new patients on a regular basis can be difficult, time consuming and expensive.
With so much competition, many doctors are spending a fortune on advertising, marketing services and local promotions and getting very little in return.
Local SEO for doctors will help you get a steady stream of quality leads every week by increasing the visibility of your practice in search results for Google, Bing and Yahoo.
It will also help you build trust and authority for your practice to help it grow fast, and consistently, over time.
Doing local SEO the right way can be your ticket to great success whether your practice is new to your local area or has been around for decades.
Online is where your best new prospects are looking for doctors.
In this article I’ll give you the basics of local SEO, and then I’ll give you an example of good local SEO for doctors and break it down for you.
That way you can compare what you’re doing now to what you need to be doing.
After that you can make the changes that will send your medical practice soaring in your local search results for your most important keywords.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Local SEO For Doctors?
Local SEO is an online marketing strategy based on a search engine’s ranking algorithm that determines which sites get to the top of their Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs).
Google is by far the most popular search engine followed by Bing, Yahoo, and a variety of others.
Once your practice gets to the top of the SERPs for your most important keywords, the search engines will act as a virtual referral service that sends quality leads to your business like clockwork.
There are a number of ways to help your practice take advantage of the ranking algorithm, and we’ll go over them in this article.
First, let’s talk about why it’s so important for you to use local SEO for doctors to grow your practice.
Why Local SEO Is Important for Doctors
Referrals from current patients are great, but when people are looking for a doctor, a very high percentage are going online to find a doctor they believe they can trust.
The bottom line is that if you don’t have a strong online presence, your practice is missing out on an awful lot of new patients who’ll find another doctor nearby.
If you’re not already convinced that your practice needs to use local SEO to get in front of people who are actively looking for a doctor, take a look at these stats.
What The Numbers Tell Us
- 93% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, with 34% searching every day. (brightlocal)
- 80% of local searches convert (webfx)
- “Near me” searches have increased more than 500% in the past few years. (Webfx)
- 87% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses in 2020 – up from 81% in 2019.(brightlocal)
- The industries in which consumers are most likely to have read reviews: 1) Restaurants, 2) Hotels, 3) Medical, 4) Automotive, 5) Clothing stores. (brightlocal)
- Only 48% of consumers would consider using a business with fewer than 4 stars. (brightlocal)
- 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month (that’s why you need to focus on getting new reviews consistently). (brightlocal)
What you see clearly is that people are going online not only to find local businesses, like doctors, they are also looking for reviews to see if others trust these businesses. And trust is a huge factor when people choose a doctor.
More and more, people are making up their minds before they will even think about contacting your office.
Getting into Google’s top search results on page one for your most important keywords is the holy grail of local SEO for doctors.
When you do that, you will generate a consistent source of quality leads for your practice, and your revenues will spike upwards as a result.
What To Focus On For Good Local SEO For Doctors
Google is by far the most used search engine, so that’s what we’re going to focus on here.
There are more than 200 criteria that Google uses in its algorithm to rank the results on their search pages.
However, they’re not all weighted equally. Some are much more important than others, and many of the ranking factors are completely out of your control.
MOZ did some research and found eight of the most important ranking criteria, and of those eight, there are five that you have some control over.
So, that’s where you need to focus your time and resources in order to get to the top of page one in the Google SERPs.
What I’ve found is that doing what it takes to rank well in Google will also give you similar results with Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.
For Google you want to try and rank in the Local Pack and the Organic results.
If you’re not familiar with those terms, here’s what they refer to.
Here’s a pie chart with the results from MOZ.
You can see that the order of importance of these five factors are a little different for the Local Pack versus the organic results.
From the results seen in the pie chart above, I came up with a system I call LOGIC that focuses on the five most important factors where you have some control that lead you to the top of the SERPs.
LOGIC is your local SEO foundation for success.
LOGIC is an acronym for…
Links to your website
Google My Business
Citations (and business listing accuracy)
If you focus on these five things you’ll take care of about 80% of the most important ranking factors for Google search (great for Bing and Yahoo as well).
Links refer to when other websites link back to yours from one of their pages. These are commonly called backlinks.
An example would be like when you click on a link in a blog post like this that references something, and it takes you to another website.
On-page SEO is when you optimize your webpage to rank higher in the search engines. Some of the elements for on-page SEO include the content of your page, the URL, the title tag and the image alt text.
Google My Business is a business listing (business profile) that gives detailed information about your local business to those who find it while searching on Google.
This is a free listing and is an extremely crucial ranking factor that you should be one of your local SEO top priorities.
Internet reviews are what your patients say about you, including a rating, on different websites like Google, Yelp and Facebook. There are several other websites that focus on the medical field like ZocDoc, Health Grades and Rate MDs.
Citations are a mention of your business and don’t necessarily give complete information about your business. They can come from any other website, but many come from various online directories, big and small. You can also get a mention from a blog post that gives your business name and phone number, and it’s considered a citation.
Many doctors can get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done for local SEO so that their practices can build a strong online presence.
However, if you use LOGIC you can stay focused and build a strong foundation step by step.
A Good Example Of Local SEO
The internet has changed the way we do business, especially since the COVID 19 pandemic.
It has changed how we find a new restaurant, buy a car and even how we find a doctor.
We’ve just reviewed the best process for improving your local SEO using the proven LOGIC process.
Now I’ll show you a good example of local SEO that follows the principles I’ve laid out with LOGIC.
I’m just going to use Google to search for a dentist in Chicago, Illinois, and show you the first good one I find: Family Dental Care.
Here are some highlights: they’ve got 3,052 backlinks and about half of them appear to be “follow” links, which is great.
What I focus on more than the total number of backlinks is how many referring domains account for those backlinks. You can see that Family Dental Care has 516, which is really good for a local business.
As you can see, they get almost 50,000 visits each month as a result of their SEO efforts, and their backlink profile is one of the biggest reasons why.
Also, they have a domain authority of 30 on a scale of 1 – 100.
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score that gives an idea of how well a website will rank in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
If your website domain authority is higher than your competition, your chance of ranking higher in the search results is generally better than theirs. However, this won’t be true in all cases.
On-page SEO should be done on a page-by-page basis with a focus on one keyword per page.
However, to give you a good general idea of how well they’re doing, I’ve run a report to show you results for their entire website.
As you can see, this dental practice is doing a decent job overall where there on-page SEO is concerned with an overall score of 70 out of 100.
If you check the “SEO issues discovered” section you can see some of the things they can address to improve their on-page SEO.
Google My Business (Knowledge Panel)
Following is the “Knowledge Panel” for this dental business, which is driven by their Google My Business account.
You can see the basic information like their address, website URL and phone number at the top.
Following are their reviews which shows a total of 1,043 reviews and a 4.9 average rating, which is excellent.
They also show that they’re getting a steady stream of reviews on a monthly basis. That’s something every business should try to do.
They are also taking advantage of using Google Posts, which every local business should take advantage of, and it’s free.
Make sure that you optimize your Google My Business account because it’s an extremely important ranking factor for local SEO for doctors.
Regarding the internet reviews for this example, I’ll refer you to their Google reviews above.
Something to keep in mind is that Google likes to see reviews across different review websites as well as a good average rating and a steady stream of reviews each month.
In addition to having reviews on Google, Family Dental Care also has reviews on Yelp, Facebook and some healthcare websites.
They also display their reviews on their own website, which is an excellent practice because people searching for reviews on their business will be taken to their own website.
So, their review profile is certainly helping their local SEO rankings.
I just checked their citations for one of their locations (South Chicago), and as you can see, it looks like they should do a little work here and clean these up.
Here’s the report I got from MOZ.
This business should clean up the listings they do have and look to build citations each and every month.
Page Speed Insights
Page speed is very important for your local SEO, so I ran a report using the Google Page Speed Insights tool.
There are two scores, one for mobile devices and one for desktop computers. Family Dental Care is doing pretty well here.
As you can see, they got an 89 out of 100 for their mobile score shown above. FYI, they got a score of 98 out of 100 for desktops, which is excellent.
Google, and other search engines, grade on a curve, so there’s no exact amount you need to strive for regarding any of the local SEO criteria.
So, what should you use as your local SEO goals?
To get to the top of page one in the search results for any given keyword, you don’t need to be perfect for all of the search ranking criteria, you simply need to do better than your local competition.
For some local markets you may not do anything and rank well because your local competition isn’t doing anything either.
For competitive markets, you may need to be looking to build backlinks, get reviews, build citations every month while continually looking to improve your on-page SEO and work on your Google My Business account (like using Google Posts).
There are more than 200 ranking criteria that Google looks at, but the LOGIC factors are your foundation, so focus on them first, and foremost.
Summary – Local SEO For Doctors
Local SEO for doctors is an online marketing strategy that relies on feeding the search engine algorithms what they’re looking for in order to get ranked at the top of page one in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Google is the most popular search engine by far and uses more than 200 criteria for their algorithm, but there are five that a small business should focus on as the foundation for their local SEO strategy.
Those five factors include Links to your website, On-page SEO, Google My Business, Internet reviews and Citations. The acronym LOGIC is a good way to remember these ranking factors.
To learn more about how LOGIC can help you grow your practice, you can click here to get the free eBook.
The reason local SEO for doctors is so important is because more than 90% of the people searching for local products and services (doctors included) use the Internet and search engines like Google.
Whether you’re a dentist, a chiropractor, a plastic surgeon or any other kind of doctor, once you get to the top of the SERPS, Google (and other search engines) will effectively act as a referral service to send new patients your way on a monthly basis.
Local SEO for doctors is a proven way to get more new patients in this age of the Internet that we live in.
What do you think?
Can you see how local SEO can help you grow your practice?
Let us know in the comments below.
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