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How to use local SEO to grow your medical practice


Improve your local online presence to increase patient volume.

Are you having trouble getting more patients for your medical practice? If so, your online presence may not be up to scratch.

The typical healthcare consumer’s journey often begins with extensive research. In fact, search engines drive 3x more hospital visits than non-search visitors.

Therefore, if you’re not getting enough patients through your door, there’s a good chance that your company has a poor local online presence. Not enough patients are coming—they are going to your competitors instead simply because they found them first while doing a local search.

But all is not lost.

With a well-designed healthcare search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, you can improve your medical practice’s digital presence and attract more patients.

4 Ways to Use Local SEO to Attract More Patients

Below are some of the best ways to leverage local SEO and get more patients through your door.

1. Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

All local businesses, including healthcare providers, should claim their Google My Business (GMB) listing. Not only does GMB significantly influence your search engine rankings, but it’s also one of the first things that potential patients see (Google’s Local Pack) after doing a local search query.

Fortunately, claiming your GMB account is easy and free. After signing up and claiming your listing, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Name of practice
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Hours of operation
  • Photos of the practice
  • Short description about the practice

The idea is to bring your GMB listing to life by providing complete information about your practice to your potential patients. To optimize your GMB listing, make sure that you frequently update it and answer questions that people may have.

What about multiple locations?

Even if you have a main phone line for answering calls and booking patient appointments, all office locations should have their own Google My Business listing.

Otherwise, when a patient searches for your secondary locations (satellite offices), they’re likely to end up finding the Google listing for the main location. This can result in patients traveling to the wrong office or confused about which office site they’re booked at.

2. Have a Strong Content Marketing Strategy

About 89% of healthcare companies are using content marketing to engage potential patients and grow their practice. This particular trend comes as no surprise because when it comes to medical SEO, there’s no substitute for high-quality, relevant content. This also important that patients have access to accurate information. 

On top of being valuable to your readers, relevant content pieces are a goldmine of information and keywords that search engines can use to rank your website. Plus, strong content will help establish the authority of your healthcare practice.

The simplest way to get your content marketing strategy started is a blog.

Create well-written long-form content such as blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, etc., that are important to your target audience. Research relevant topics that are getting the most traction using keywords that your patients use to find answers to their health-related questions.

For example, if you operate a primary care practice that frequently orders a Lipid Panel as part of routine blood work during a physical examination, consider have a blog post topic on “Why Did My Doctor Order a Lipid Panel?”

3. Encourage Patient Reviews

Online reviews have become a non-negotiable part of healthcare marketing. When 84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate healthcare practitioners, you should encourage your patients to leave reviews about your practice.

As mentioned earlier, the patient journey begins with online research because people want to find the right practice for their needs. Potential patients will check out the reviews about your practice to help them with the decision-making process.

Simply ask your current patients to leave feedback about their experience at your practice to start receiving reviews. Encourage them to leave reviews on your GMB profile, Yelp account, and so on.

Once you have garnered reviews for your practice, make sure that you respond to them regardless of whether they’re positive or negative.

Many practices use texting apps or email to communicate with patients about appointment reminders and other updates. These can be great tools for “follow-up” communication after a visit to obtain patient feedback and request reviews. Just make sure to share the URL link for the site you’d like them to leave a review on. 

4. Optimize Your Website

About 90% of visitors have abandoned a website slow loading, nearly 80% left for non-responsive issues, and 70% left for poor navigation, among other usability issues. Your healthcare website is generally the first point of contact for your brand for many of your patients. Therefore, it must be visually appealing and optimized for usability.

In terms of design, your website must portray professionalism and expertise, so invest in developing a user-friendly and informative website. Visitors must have a good experience while navigating your website and they must be able to find the information that they’re looking for.

For example, your medical website should contain essential information like the clinic’s address, phone number, and hours of operation. In addition, your website must be optimized for mobile browsers by integrating a responsive design that automatically adjusts for the browser being used.

Local SEO can enhance your online presence and will help your practice attract more patients. The local SEO strategies we’ve outlined above will help you get started on the right track.

About the Author
Alex Membrillo is the CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing. Based in Atlanta, GA, Cardinal specializes in medical marketing – focusing on increasing patient volume for multi-location groups. 
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